Bloggers and Businesses: 3 Tips to Get More Product Reviews and Giveaways

posted by Andrea | 10/20/2012

As many of you know, I offer at least one Weekend Giveaway every Friday morning. It takes a lot of work on my end to coordinate the giveaways, write the reviews, contact the winners, follow up with companies, etc. etc. but I definitely think it’s worth my time and effort.

Not only do I get to try out lots of fabulous products, these giveaways also help to drive traffic to my blog and social media platforms. Plus, I love promoting companies and products that I believe in, and I love sharing all these goodies with you!

Because of these giveaways, I get quite a few emails from other bloggers asking me how I find my giveaways, who my contact people are, how to contact companies, what to ask for, etc.

So today, I’m sharing a guest post (from Aaron of Jenesis International) written from his perspective as a business owner who partners with bloggers for reviews and giveaways. I’ve worked with Jenesis twice over the past few months (here and here)… and not only do I love their products, I also think Aaron has a bunch of great tips for bloggers looking to partner with more businesses.

If you’re a blogger and you’d like to offer more giveaways or do more product reviews, keep reading!

photo source

Guest post from Aaron of Jenesis International.

Over the past few months I have had the privilege of working with several bloggers as I have tried to gain exposure for my company’s new product line.  It has been an interesting experience both as a business person and a technology professional, particularly after a few successful reviews led to a wave of bloggers asking if they too could do reviews for us.

So I thought I would offer a perspective from the other side — the side of the business being contacted by bloggers.

What are companies looking for when interacting with bloggers? And what can you do to get more companies seeking YOU out?

1. Plan Your Initial Contact

When contacting a business and asking for products to review, keep the following in mind:

Your website URL.

If you are serious about turning your blog into a business, bite the bullet, spend the money, and get your own domain name.

A web address of “yourblog.com” makes you look more credible and authoritative as a blogger than “yourblog.blogspot.com” or “yourblog.wordpress.com”.

Your initial email content.

In your emails to product review prospects, be sure to mention your name, your blog’s name, and include a link to your blog.  You would be amazed how many bloggers forget at least one of these elements in their emails.

The best way to remember all of these components, and to maximize your valuable time, is to develop a pre-written form letter that you reuse for every review solicitation.  All you have to do is quickly re-read, tweak, and personalize the email every time you send it out.

There is no need to include every one of your blog statistics.

Don’t bombard your product prospects with numbers touting the reach of your blog.  It makes for a very long email if you include your last three months of website traffic and your follower count on every major social media outlet. The chances of that business owner reading your long email is minimal.

Instead, include your blog stats as an attachement or on a separate page of your blog and link to that page in your email.  Just be sure to keep the numbers on that page current.

A monthly review of your traffic, search engine ranking, and social media followers is an important part of growing your blog anyway, so use that as an opportunity to update this page.

Take the time to respond to every request. 

If your blog gets big enough to have company’s sending YOU emails, be sure to respond to EVERY email you receive, even if you’re too busy to review their product.  Set aside some time every week to respond to these requests; a form letter is another nice tool here.

Respectfully turning down an offer keeps the door open for a later review, and who knows, maybe they’ll come back with an even better product package for you.

2. Write A Good Review

When writing your review there are some critical components, both creative and technical, that you need to master:

Search Engine Optimization

Whether you know it or not, as a product review blogger, you are in the business of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  You might have started your blog to share your thoughts with friends and family, but by putting your thoughts online, you are also talking to search engines like Google and Bing.

Prove to your product review clients that you understand SEO by asking them what keywords they are trying to rank for and include those phrases in your review.

Use your own words.

Always write your entire review in your own words, 300 to 1000 of them.  The company that offered you the product will probably notice if you copy text from the company site, and repeating it verbatim doesn’t help them to persuade buyers or gain search engine exposure as much as your own genuine, well-considered product experience does.

Include lots of pictures and possibly video.

Always include pictures of the product in use in your home, and if you’re ambitious, try video.  Companies like to see how customers use their products, so if your reviews include this material, you’re more likely to get repeat business and new companies seeking YOU out.

Just remember that search engines can’t watch movies or see pictures, so you’re not off the hook on writing.

Understand and utilize metadata tags.

Every page, link, image, and embedded video clip on your blog has fields that allow you to enter text describing what’s on the page, in the video, or behind the link.  These fields are useful for your readers, but they are VITAL for search engine visibility.

By filling these fields with proper keywords you get more exposure for your review clients, which in turn means more readers for you and potential return business from satisfied companies.

3. Keep the Relationship Alive

The review might be done, but you’re not.  There’s plenty you can do to benefit further from that hard-earned company relationship:

Figure out how well your review performed.

Companies are going to measure the success of your review by how much referral traffic came from your site to theirs, and ideally, how many of those referrals became paying customers. Unfortunately, you as the blogger can’t see that information, unless of course you ask the company.

Some might not be willing to share, but if you can get a few companies to let you know how well your review performed for them, you can use that information to help you write an even more effective review next time.

Build a reputation as a reviewer that gets sales, and you’ll have more free samples and giveaways than you know what to do with.

Continue to check back with the company. 

Since you’ve already done so much work to contact that prospect, analyze their product, and write a well-thought-out, search engine friendly review, don’t let that relationship end after the first review.

Check back with the company periodically.  If they release something new that you’re interested in reviewing, let them know.  And if you suddenly make it big as a blogger, let them know that too.

Don’t hesitate to re-use your own content.

Do something like an annual top-ten list or holiday gift guide to highlight the best products you’ve reviewed that year.

While you’re at it, email the companies that made it onto the list to let them know.  This helps to keep you top-of mind, and if they also see a big influx of referral traffic from your holiday gift guide, they might come back for another review.

Hopefully these tips will help you take a few more steps… from blogger to internet entrepreneur!

Thanks to Andrea and Simple Organized Living for promoting several of our products already… and for letting me share a perspective from the other side of product reviews.

Are you a business that works with bloggers? Do you have any other tips to add to this list?

And if you’re a blogger, do you have any other great ideas you’d like to share?

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4 comments

  1. Annette {This Simple Mom}

    10/20/2012

    Those were great thoughts. I find reviews for products or books to be the most helpful if the reviewer also mentions any drawbacks…or mentions that there are none!

    Like you said, Aaron, bloggers are driving traffic to the blog, through search engines and readers. Often bloggers will also link to a place like Amazon for the main product. If this is the case, they can still link several times to the company by linking to a mission statement or related products.

    I have used a form letter, but only for my own basic information.

    Good tips. Thanks!

    [Reply]

  2. Patty@homemakersdaily.com

    10/20/2012

    Thanks so much for this article. I haven’t done any product reviews yet but I would like to in the future. I appreciate having some insight on how to proceed.

    [Reply]

  3. Prerna@The Mom Writes

    10/20/2012

    Great tips.. I’d also add, personalizing the email to fit the business.. For instance, if it is a business where the owner’s names are mentioned, address the email appropriately.. As someone who sends out pitches as well as receives them for clients, I often get emails that clearly have no idea what a business does or is all about..

    Like Aaron says, building a relationship is important and you can do that when you understand a business and approach it accordingly:-)

    [Reply]

  4. Lina

    06/27/2013

    Great post! This has some great and practical tips and ideas – thank you so much!

    [Reply]