I've been blogging for a long time (since 2004) and I've seen the steady progression of products into the mom blogoshere. I write a lot of product reviews and I really enjoy doing so. But do you think there is a lot of noise going on right now as far as products and giveaways are concerned? How do you think companies will begin standing out so their product is really noticed among online moms? Or, do you think companies will continue to shower products on us en masse and hope the collective, viral buzz boosts their product lines?
I'd love to hear your thoughts. I believe companies will have to find more creative ways to get the attention of the mom blogosphere just like Wal-Mart and Disney have successfully done as opposed to sending 75 of us the same product to review. Then again, perhaps 75 product reviews is great to a company's bottom line. What do you think?
I think that it depends on the company's individual marketing goal. For new product launches, they might go the "mass" way just in order to get their product's name out there. For "niche" products, I think that companies are going to start being more selective and choosing the blogs that they think will best meet their "ideal" buyers.
I've been wondering about this and pondering this topic for awhile now. I get several requests to do giveaways on my blog, but am not certain the direction I am going to take. I have done a few, and will continue to do some but want to make an informed decision about how I will handle giveaways and contests. I don't want my blog to become only a place to go to get something for free. I think that there are some really good blogs out there, but then I notice how many giveaways they do and it distracts me from the writers original intentions.
As far as product reviews, I typically only write about a product that I purchased. I don't want it to seem that I was paid to write something.
It's going to be an evolving issue for bloggers and marketers to figure out.
I'm getting tired of doing giveaways, but my readers aren't. My last two were very successful for traffic, RSS signups, and people signing up for my enewsletter. Since my readers want them, I'm happy to oblige.
Still, I'm trying to stop saying, "Yes!" to so many companies. I get swamped with reviews and don't have time to do other blogging.
I don't do any promotion or giveaways (cos frankly, I'm not really "out there" yet). As I continue to read blogs, and figure out what I like to read (and therefore incorporate into my own writing) - I don't read any of the blogs that have post after post of product reviews. I think its a unique marketing angle, but I agree with some of the other comments, that there has to be a balance between promotion and writing. Just my thoughts!
I, too, am getting to the point where I have to start saying "no" more often and being a little pickier on what products I review. I don't like to do more than four or so a month because I don't want my blog to be littered with products, but I do like to support small mom businesses and will always be happy to spotlight them on Mom Spark.
My readers also like giveaways, which is totally fine with me. :)
There's only a few blogs that I follow that do giveaways--that's about all I can handle. Too many giveaways and reviews turn me off but only because I like reading blogs that have more content. I think I might be in the minority though.
Honestly I never read product reviews. If I am thinking of a certain product and Google it - I might read a review then if I come across one...but I don't read them on the blogs I subscribe to and I don't subscribe to blogs who only write product reviews and giveaways.
for this reason it's better for the companies to do large review sponsorships so they can guarantee I'll come across them in a Google search however, it's better for the blogger to keep them in a separate blog or to do them sparingly so their content isn't too dilute to keep an audience. Kinda a catch 22.
I think companies need to think about the blogs who are promoting them and think about the blogs readers....I get so many off topic pitches. I would never review most of the products because they don't fit my topic (creativity) and even if I did accept them, my readers wouldn't care.
As for giveaways - I won't do more than one a week -I was doing more for a while and it was just too much!
It's a fine line and I agree with Kimberly that it depends on the product. Something like a new CD from an artist or a movie, video game etc. can be sent out in large quantities. What I would like to see is companies taking chances on new bloggers an not using the same people over and over. I realize on their end it's so much about numbers but I have read many blogs by women who are not on the A list who write so well and have such a great voice they would be great at reviews.
Another thing to think about, sometimes reviews get you amazing traffic. I did a SAM-E review for the Nature Made vitamins and supplements company and they linked back to my review from their site. I also get excellent traffic via Google for the "Total Transformation Program" CD program for parents, since I'm one of the few people who have reviewed it on their blog. (It's an expensive product, so people are searching for info.)
Marketing directly to the consumers are a proven and effective way for these companies, especially small ones to get their products out. It's a no-brainer marketing tool that I believe will continue to expand. Cheap Advertising. Letting the consumer advertise their new products in their behalf. And being it helpful in driving traffic and boosting blog exposure, more and more bloggers will bite the bait. I've recently "opened" my blog for reviews because I have seen the effect of product giveaways as quoted by Anne. They do increase traffic and blog exposure! Win-win situation?
But I think if they are big and creatively generous like Disney, their products' popularity will go off the charts and Moms will make it to a household name. Do you agree?
I've notice that marketing companies are trying different approaches to see how things pan out. It will be interesting to see where it goes.
In response to what some of the other people have said, I agree there are a ton of products coming across the boards. I've had a quality over quantity approach since I started my review blog. I've tried to be selective of the products I review to ensure I can provide a story to go with the review. I encourage giveaways because they bring the traffic - who can complain about that?
I haven't been offered anything fancy like a Wii or a Kitchen Aid mixer or a piece of exercise equipment like some blogs. But I'm happy with the products I receive and I'm enjoying what I'm doing.