Product reviews can increase your blog’s search engine rankings, make you more visible and appealing to brands and you can score some cool loot along the way. However, getting a brand to select you to review their products is no one-two punch—it’s actually a lot of work.
From grooming your blog to creating the perfect pitch letter, follow these tips and we’ll walk you through all the steps—from the prep to the pitch to the product review.
Before you can approach a brand to review a product, you’ll need to do a little blog grooming to show brands that your blog is ripe for product reviews.
Step 1. Get a Media Kit
We’ve discussed the importance of having a media kit on the blog before because it helps you stand out to brands. When you submit your media kit with your pitch letter to a brand’s PR contact, it saves that person some work, which instantly makes you more appealing.
A media kit doesn’t have to be a big to-do—keep it to one page in length, include your readership’s demographics, a little bio about yourself and any terms for working with you. Like a resume, your media kit should highlight your blog’s positive aspects and personality, where your blog is now and your projections for the future.
Read our blog post for a more in-depth guide to creating a stunning media kit.
Step 2. Get Some Reviews Under your Belt
If you’ve never done a product review before, or if you haven’t been able to get a brand to say yes to a review (and send you complimentary product), then review a product that you plan to buy or that you already own.
It’s important to post a few reviews before pitching to brands because they can be somewhat reluctant to work with bloggers who don’t have any experience with reviews. Brands like to know what they can expect and your published reviews will help to sway them.
Step 3. Build a Prospect List Based on your Blog’s Niche
Before crafting your pitch letter, you’ll need to have a plan for what brands you want to pitch. Each pitch letter you send should be personalized and specific to that brand and the product you want to review.
To determine what brands to work with, you’ll need to first consider the interests of your readers over your desire to get a free product. The most important aspect of a review is to grab your readers’ interest and convert their interest into a sale. When brands see that you are able to influence your readers to buy a product, then the brands will be pitching to you.
Crafting the Pitch
The trick to a perfect pitch letter is to keep it short, informative and personable. Pitching to a brand is a lot like writing a cover letter to a potential employer—you want to come across as confident yet humble, established yet open to new experiences and easy to work with. First, you must lay some groundwork.
Before pitching to a brand, you need to do your research. Sending out a mass pitch letter where you just fill in the blanks won’t fly. Find out the PR contact’s name, address your pitch personally and do your research on the product you want to review.
Pitch in your Niche
If you blog about gardening, pitching to an automotive company likely won’t result in a “yes” because automotive products don’t fit into your blog’s niche. Brands want to work with bloggers who can convert, that’s why you should only pitch to brands in your niche.
State your Why & Develop a Plan of Action
Personal experiences are the most important aspect of a review. Tell the brand why you want to review their product, how it will benefit your readers and what kind of exposure you plan to give the review. List your social media outlets, how you plan to display the product and when you plan to publish.
For example, if you pitch to a food container company, you can share that you plan to display the product by hosting a Fourth of July BBQ with all the food and fixings in the containers, show the containers packed neatly away in your refrigerator or in a picnic basket at the beach. Showing how you would use the product in your every-day life will go a long way to create the personal experiences that brands are looking to share with consumers.
Being organized and thorough makes you appear professional to a brand. Read our post on Working Smarter, Not Harder for more tips about getting organized.
Sell Yourself & Your Blog
Reviewing a brand’s product on your website comes with minimal risk to the brand and also creates a cost savings. Keep this in mind while writing your pitch. Spell out the unique benefit of working with you and your blog, especially the cost savings over traditional advertising and your blog’s unique readership and interest in the product.
Once you’ve created your best pitch, send it out with your media kit attached. You will likely receive more no responses than yes responses, but don’t let that deter you. Keep tweaking and keep trying!
You’ve done your research, sent the pitch and now you’ve scored a product to review!
First, do a happy dance!
How you write your product review depends on your blog’s niche and voice. Your readers and their interests come first. Don’t change your tone or your style to review a product, give your readers what they want, which is you!
Keep your readers’ interests in mind as you write about the product and follow these guidelines, adapted from Problogger:
And now a disclaimer about honesty: You must post either at the top of the article or at the end whether you were compensated for the review, either with money or product, and that the opinions are completely yours. This isn’t just common courtesy, it’s federally mandated. Familiarize yourself with FTC’s endorsement guidelines here.
Be honest about deficiencies, but don’t bad mouth. Any negative comments should be fact-based, not opinionated. If the product fell apart while you tried to assemble it, get in contact with the brand and they may send you a different or improved product to review instead. If you simply don’t like the color of the product or something of the sort, leave that out of the review. Bashing a brand will quickly get you blacklisted.
For more resources on product reviews, check out our Pinterest board, Product Review Pro Tips, to find pitch letter templates, more do’s and don’ts and see what’s worked for other bloggers like you! Got any tips of your own? Tell us in the comments below!