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Product Reviews

A huge part of one of my main blogs is about product reviews and giveaways. I didn’t start out with product reviews and giveaways in mind, in fact, I didn’t even know about them.  But I enjoy doing them so much, my blog is now more than 75% about product reviews.

What is a product review?  A company sends you a product, and you take pictures of you using the product (video reviews are best, but not always necessary) and you test the product fully.  Write up a detailed review on your blog about what you liked, disliked, and any comments, suggestions or opinions you have on this product.  Submit the links to your review to the company, and you get to keep the product forever.  Sometimes you will even get compensation for your honest review, it depends on what the agreement is between you and the company.

I’ve probably done thousands of reviews on my blog.  To get started, even though I had a decent following, I wanted to show companies what they could expect from my reviews.  So before I started pitching to companies, I started reviewing things around my house.  Things I thought my readers would like to read about.  I started a tab on my blog for “Reviews” and put all of my reviews there.   So when I started pitching to companies, I had something to show them.  Something to prove to them the quality of my reviews, my writing style, and so on. I also made a “media kit” page on my blog – showing all of my blog stats, listed each social media channel I use, how many followers on each, etc.  Every company I pitched received a link to my media kit.  To my surprise, I started getting products in the mail almost immediately.  And it has never slowed down.   My house is overrun by product review items.

Before you start doing reviews, here’s a few things to remember:

  • Only review products you are truly interested in receiving and know you can give a good, honest opinion about.
  • Be HONEST in all reviews.  Just because you received something for free does NOT mean it deserves a good review if the product doesn’t live up the expectations.  Your readers will start to doubt the validity of your reviews if everything is sunshine and roses 100% of the time.  It’s OK to be critical.  That’s your job.  I’m not saying to post a lot of negative things either.  These companies depend on your review to help them build buzz about their product, which will help them gain sales.
  • Don’t review products you can’t use.  For example – don’t accept to do a review on a baby stroller if you don’t have kids.  Your review will look weak and will not have any validity if you can’t show yourself actually using the product.  I don’t have kids, and never do reviews on products for children.  It just doesn’t make sens.  Your readers (and other possible companies who may want to work with you in the future) will be able to see right through this and you will be viewed as a fake reviewer.
  • ALWAYS state on your blog post something to the fact that you either received the product for free in exchange for your honest opinions, or you received it greatly discounted, or that you received compensation for your honest review.  This is not optional, you must follow FTC regulations unless you want to be fined a hefty amount.
  • It’s very important to have your reviews submitted on time.  When you agree to do a review for a company, they typically ask you to have your review completed by a certain date.  Keep a calendar, and mark down when your reviews are due.  It makes the sponsor happy, and makes you look responsible.

Here are some sites to get you started in product reviews:

Tomoson:  I’ve had my ups and downs with Tomoson over the years, but they have made a TON of awesome changes over the last year or so, and are now one of my very favorite go-to sites for product reviews.  Sign up, fill out your profile, and start applying for reviews.  There are a LOT!  Check it a couple times a day for new listings.  Previously, all products were just free in exchange for your review.  Now, you can even apply to earn money for certain reviews (in addition to getting the product for free) and some companies allow you to purchase products deeply discounted for review.  Chances are, if you are just starting out, you will not win any reviews to earn money in addition to getting a free product to review.  But you will almost surely get jobs to review products for free.  And you always get to keep the items after you review them.  You do have to submit proof of links with your review, so be sure to do that, or you won’t get any other reviews.  You’ll also find a LOT of these companies sell on Amazon and want you to do an Amazon review for them as well.   And in a lot of cases, if you do a great job for them, they will contact you directly to work with you on more reviews.

Swaggable:  It’s super easy to apply and receive free products to review from this site.  You can only have a few items in process at a time, they make you post feedback on the products you received before they’ll allow you to keep requesting more products.  But the whole process is super simple.

PinchMe: Fill out your profile, and when you get an email, act fast!

Influenster:  They send out various products throughout the year, but my favorite is getting their “Vox Boxes”. These are boxes filled with different products (which apply to you, so be sure to fill out your profile completely) and you simply leave feedback on the products you’ve received.

BzzAgent:  Another site I really love.  You get free products to review, based on what you qualify for, so it’s very important to make sure your profile is filled out and you complete surveys as they become available.  They match you up with products based on your survey answers.

Smiley360:  Sign up, fill out your profile, and when new missions become available, you will receive an email with a link to a quick survey to make sure you are a match for that product.  If you start doing a lot with Smiley360, you may be contacted by one of their reps to start doing more campaigns that are different than your regular missions. These are great opportunities, and they always send awesome packages with lots of great stuff for you to review.

All You Reality Checker:  I just recently signed up for this, but it’s put out by Walmart so I have high hopes this will be a good thing. Will update when I have more info.

There are  ton of other sites, but these are the main ones I use.  Another way to earn money and/or get free products to review is to pitch companies directly.  Find a product you really want to review, do some research and find the contact’s name, and send them a professionally written email with your blog stats, a link to your previous reviews and social channels, and what you can do for them, and what you want in return.  Don’t be surprised if you don’t get a ton of responses.  Most companies, especially large ones, are hard to get in touch with, or get replies from.   But it never hurts to get the word out there.