How To Start A Review Blog and Get Free Review Products
Today I have persuaded my good friend Robb Sutton to share some information with you that a number of you have been requesting. Namely:
How Do I Get Products For FREE to Review On My Blog?
Frankly, few people know as much about this subject as Robb does – as her demonstrated in his recent interview for this site.
I think you will agree, Robb has done an awesome job, and just for the record, he is not paying me or rewarding me in any way for featuring him here. Armed with the information Robb has supplied I am confident a good number of you are going to set up some amazing review blogs – gee, I am even considering it myself 😉
Enjoy the interview – I look forward to your comments.
How To Get Products For FREE To Review On Your Blog
An article by: Robb Sutton
With the recent fire from the FTC in the United States requiring full disclosures from bloggers on their relationships with firms in regards to product reviews – product reviewing on blogs has gotten its 5 minutes of fame. The thing is that in reality, legitimate product reviewing on blogs and other media outlets has been going on since the beginning, and they can be a tremendous source of traffic, subscribers and revenue for your blog.
If you take a minute and scour your favorite blogs on the web, you will find a very high percentage of those blogs review a product related to their niche periodically. As you look around, you might find that your favorite blogs are reviewing product a lot more than you originally thought! Before we jump into the how…let’s look at the why on both sides of the fence.
Why Do Bloggers Review Products On Their Blogs?
As a blogger, this is an easy question for you to answer, but lets break it down to the basics. Why do you want to post product reviews on your blog?
Useful, Quality Blog Content – Product reviews are a source of quality content for your blog. Your readers want to know what you think about products and services that relate to your niche. Your blog is their resource for topic related information, and – by providing this resource – you can assist your readers by providing useful information that impacts buying decisions. By offering product reviews on your blog, you are expanding the resourcefulness of your content for your readers.
Search Engine Gold – For quite sometime now, I have been calling product reviews search engine gold for a reason. Properly written product reviews can bring a massive amount of new visitors to your blog. By writing product reviews, you are targeting long and short tail keyword strings that have very low competition. Over time, you will create a massive library of content that is extremely search engine friendly. On top of that, product reviews are attractive link bait as other bloggers, forum users and general internet emailers will link to your review articles as a resource for information.
Increased Blog Revenue – Product reviews are still the number one way to increase affiliate revenue on blogs. Want to increase your affiliate sales outside of the pennies you are generating from banner ad placement? Review that product on your site and include your affiliate link at the bottom of your review to increase conversions. Little tip: Honest reviews that outline both the good and bad on a product convert at a much higher rate than glorified advertisements.
Why Do Companies Give Bloggers Product To Review?
Now we know why you want to review product on your blog, but why do manufactures, firms and service providers actually want to give you their product to review for nothing (or even for a fee!)?
Cheap, Long Lasting Advertising and Promotion – Once a newspaper or magazine hits the newsstand, you see the ads and then throw that mag away until the next issue comes out. That advertisement is only good until the next issue. With the web, your product review stays on your blog unless you decide to shut it down. The company that provides you with the review product get the increased benefit of long term promotion by giving you something to review on your blog. Future readers will find the article in the archives, search engine users will find your review in the results and you will refer back to your product reviews over time. For the company in question, you – as the blogger – provide more value with a product review over the larger media competition.
Did I Mention Cheap? – What many bloggers fail to realize is the true cost of the review product provided to the blogger. For the company involved, their true manufacturing cost is the cost to them. What did it cost the company to product the product for review? Not nearly what it costs off the shelf for the typically retail buyer. When you convert this to software and services, all of their costs are in the back end development, so they are even more willing to work with bloggers to get the word out because the true cost is an email!
Social Media Is Changing The Retail Environment – If someone would have told you 10 years ago that Amazon.com would be the largest book retailer in the world and the iTunes music store would be the largest music retailer in the world, would you have believed them? The online world has completely changed how people shop and make purchasing decisions. Firms, companies and service providers know this and they want to tap into your audience. Free review product is their ticket to the big show that converts into increased sales.
How Do I Get Free Product To Review On My Blog?
Unless you are an internet hot shot who already has a huge amount of credibility online, you are going to have to cold call, email and fax your perspective review product companies. For many bloggers, this can be a nerve racking road as they have little experience in the corporate sales and marketing world. Here are a couple of tips to get you going…
Research Before Contacting – If you are just starting out in review blogging, do some research and see which companies in your niche will be receptive to giving out free product for review purposes. Check out other blogs in your niche and look for patterns. Is there one or two companies that seem to have reviews on every site? Contact those companies first with your idea and try to look for one of their products that is not well represented online (not a lot of reviews). This will be a great starting point to get things rolling and increase your chances of success on the first go ’round.
Contact Perspective Companies By Email – Email rules the world at this point in time, so you are going to have to research the company and find a valid email address. Many times, this email address will go to a default inbox, so it is essential that you cut the fluff at the beginning of the email and get straight to the point to insure it gets on the right computer screen. When contacting companies about review product, 100% honesty about traffic, subscribers and expectations is essential to success. With a little research, web savvy companies are going to be able to tell if you are stretching the truth and your credibility is shot. Even small blogs can get a ton of review product if they are creative and stick to the honest truth.
Do Not Limit Yourself To Email – Especially with larger companies, your email can get trashed without even being read. If the companies website lists contact information for sales and marketing professionals within the firm, contact those specific people via fax or snail mail with what you would like to accomplish on your blog. Most bloggers are not doing this and it will show your dedication to targeted results.
Stay In Contact – Once you have reached an agreement, stay in contact with updates. Send an email when you receive the product, when you finish the review process, once the review is posted and a follow up email with educated results. It is your job as the blogger to keep them informed, so take that part of your job seriously.
Reviewing Tips That Equal Affiliate Conversions
There is a misconception among bloggers and other review naysayers that there are glorified advertisements on the web to convert into sales even when the product is terrible. The truth…those glorified advertisement convert at a rate that is much lower than an honest review from a blogger. As a blogger, the credibility of your content is everything. New and old readers are going to absorb your content and present their own educated opinions based upon how you presented the facts. If you throw up a review that is blatantly positive in an attempt to increase revenue on your blog, the reader is going to see straight through it and leave your site (without clicking your affiliate link).
The #1 best way to increase affiliate sales is to be completely honest and fact based in your reviewing.
Spell Out The Perfect Consumer For The Product In Question – A perfect way to convert visitors into affiliate income is to spell out exactly who you think the product would be perfect for! Is there a certain group in your niche that would greatly benefit from that product while another might not see any benefit? Lay that out for them. Your readers want to know if that product will work to fill their needs…so tell them!
Show The Good And Bad – There is no such thing as a perfect product. By specifically stating the good and bad points, you are showing that there is also room for improvement. The side affect to this is that companies eat this information up as constructive feedback to make their product better in future revisions. By stating what you think the high and low points are…you are adding value to your review process.
Keep Things Fact Based – Your opinion is your opinion, but it needs to be based off of fact. If you throw up a review that is a bunch of opinion with no reason why…you are going to have a difficult time with review blogging. Every one of your opinions on the product need to be backed up with facts.
Review Blogging – The Big Picture
Review blogging is a great resource to companies within a niche, the blogger and the readers when done correctly. As with most things in life, when you stay honest and work hard at completing a task, good things result. The reason for the FTC disclosure regulations is from black hat techniques that are completely monetary focused by questionable internet marketers. As a blogger, you should want to continue to provide valuable resources for your readers and your niche. By providing 100% honest product reviews, you are achieving just that.
A Footnote By Michael:
If you have not already done so then you should check out the recent announcement by the FTC in the USA that Amateur Bloggers must Disclose Freebies when doing a review or be fined (Actually, there is much more to it than this one point)
I know many of you are thinking, well I am not in USA, so this does not apply to me. My view is that is is good practice to have Full Disclosure in any case no matter where up are located.
Here is helpful link that goes into more details:
FTC Tells Amateur Bloggers to Disclose Freebies or Be Fined
I should also here do my usual Legal and Financial disclaimer – namely, I am not qualified to provide such legal or financial advice, anything you read here is merely discussion, you must do your own due diligence before making a decision.
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