Apr 5, 2012

Product Review vs Promotion

Let's start with  the question so many people have, "Why are companies willing to send bloggers free products to review?"  Simple!  Sending bloggers an item for review is a very dirt cheap way of getting items promoted.  Companies hope that people who read the blogs the item is posted on will visit their site and buy the featured product, or even other products.  Occasionally, to certain companies, it doesn't matter the blog has 100, 200 or 20,000 readers; any exposure is good exposure and any hits the site might get was worth the small amount of money the company lost while sending that free product.  In reality, if a company was to contact a larger media outlet for promotion, they would have to shell out a free product and a good amount of money to be mentioned at all.  Companies find advertising with bloggers to be a steal.

What do most bloggers do wrong while reviewing a product?

Most bloggers promote the item rather than review the item.  How is this so?  80% of bloggers fear writing anything negative about the product.  They feel that if they say anything negative, the company may never want to work with them again.  That's very untrue!  Companies value a 100% honest review of their product.  They don't want you to dislike a product and lie about your feelings.  That's what most items have "infomercials" and "testimonials" for. (Fake, fake, fake! lol)  You're not a paid actor getting paid heaps of money to write about the product, you're an actual consumer, just like those you're reaching with your blog.

If you do not like the product and are afraid to review it negatively, you can always contact the company with your concerns.  Explain to them that the product did not live up to your expectations or did not work correctly and see if they will allow you to send it back instead of reviewing it.  Some companies, depending on the product, may let you send it back or others may tell you to keep it and write about your honest feelings.

How do you write an honest review without sounding mean?

Stay positive in your review and don't have a completely negative attitude or tone to your text.  Tell the consumer that the item did not live up to your expectations or would not work for your needs and give a reason why it would work for someone else, but didn't work for you.  Such as, reviewing a diaper you could say;
"(Brand) didn't quite work for me and my child since my daughter/son has very sensitive skin. (or another reason) I'm sure this diaper would be great for a child that does not have sensitive skin and can take this type of diaper."
You're not quite bashing the product or running it into the ground, you're just letting your readers know that it didn't work for you and why.  You also should include the list of your pros and cons for your readers as well.  It's extremely important that the company and your readers know what you feel the product could use to improve.  Companies value the honest feedback and love to hear what consumers have to say.  This way, they can possibly improve something that's weak if they ever "new and improve" an existing product.

So, what are some tips for a successful review?
  • Actually review the item, don't promote it as if you're the salesperson for the company.
  • In-depth reviews are important.  Try to review every aspect and use for the product.
  • Use the product name in your keywords!  This is key to having your review seen.
  • List the pros and cons of the item.
  • (Optional) Compare to other items from a competitor. Just to get a feel of what's better about the product you're reviewing vs a competitors product.
  • If the company provides you an affiliate link or tracking link, don't forget to include those more than once.
  • PROMOTE YOUR REVIEW after writing.  And this is the most important thing, since you want that review to be seen. Especially if the company provided you an affiliate or tracking link.
If anyone else has any questions about promoting an item or needs advice about promoting an item, please post them below. I will get back to you as soon as possible with any tips, tricks or information.  You can also e-mail at kjart@optonline.net.