In an earlier post, we talked about how to write a great review. The next obvious question is, “where do I get products to review on my blog?” You have so many options.
Why Do Companies Offer Products for Review?
Before we get down to the nitty-gritty let’s discussion why companies send bloggers free product.
Bloggers are influencers. Our readers make buying decisions based on our opinions and the things we share. Brands are taking notice of this and review opportunities are great advertising.
Review What You Have
Before most companies will honor a review request or reach out to you first, they want to see that you know what you are doing and what they can expect from a review (honesty, disclosure, images, etc). That means some of your initial reviews will be out of pocket.
Don’t sweat it! You don’t need to shell out a bunch of money. If you are a beauty blogger, you probably have a drawer (and cabinets and shelves) full of beauty products. Pull out your favorites and start writing a product review.
You should also consider signing up for Ebates, LivingSocial, Groupon and your favorite merchants’ loyalty programs. There are so many reasons to do so.
- You will save big and possibly earn cash back on your beauty purchases (sample kits are an extremely affordable way to pick up items to review).
- You will receive notice of the big sales which you can then pass along to your readers (and earn a commission if you are an affiliate or using VigLink).
- As you rack up loyalty points you can redeem them for more beauty buys to review or giveaway.
ULTA, Sephora, CVS and others offer loyalty programs. Check your frequent online stops for opportunities (often located in the links at the bottom of the page).
Product Feedback Opportunities
There are a few websites that connect brands with consumers for feedback purposes. Though a blog is not usually required to take advantage of these opps – these usually just require the completion of a survey after product trial – you can get double-duty out of those experiences by writing a review for your blog as well. Link to the product on Amazon or the brand’s website for your readers to purchase.
A step above the product feedback opportunities is the blogger networks. These review gigs are available to bloggers only. Review opps are typically listed on the site or emailed to members. You will then need to apply for acceptance. If accepted, you will have a specified period of time to receive and review the product. A link is usually provided to you to include in your review that links to the product. Reader discounts and giveaways are sometimes offered as well.
Some affiliate managers are able to offer review items. This is one great reason to make friends with your managers and answer their emails. When they ask what else they can do to help you, ask if review opportunities are available.
Brand-Based Blogger Opportunities
Quite a few brands these days respect bloggers’ opinions so much they want to keep in regular contact.
- Wet ‘n Wild
If samples are available where you shop, always stock up.
If there is a brand that you would love to work with and would be a great fit for your blog, don’t be afraid to reach out to them first. That being said, do be cognizant that many companies will tell you they literally receive hundreds of emails from bloggers each day. Yours needs to stand out.
Keep it short and to the point. Include all relevant information that is typically requested (traffic and social media stats, a link to a previous awesome review). And have a game plan in mind. It’s all about what you can offer them, not what they can give to you. Bloggers & Brands has some great templates you can use when emailing companies.
Have a PR-Friendly Page
Always have a dedicated page on your blog that speaks directly to interested brands. Tell them what types of relationships you are interested in (reviews, giveaways, advertising, ambassadorships, etc), your social media and traffic stats (updated every three months) and your contact information. Even if you use a contact form, include your email address. Technology sometimes fails us. Don’t let it be the reason you miss out on a great opportunity.
If you aren’t comfortable posting your stats publicly, you can also create a media kit that includes all of the relevant information an advertiser would need. These are easy to do in Canva, or you can purchase a beautiful template on Etsy or Hip Media Kits.
Words of Wisdom
You will not receive every review opportunity you apply to or request. Brands want to be sure their products are being featured in front of those most willing to make a purchase. Many will ask for your blog’s traffic stats and social media following. They will also take a look at your content for uniqueness, professionalism and engagement.
Always disclose and always nofollow links when you have received a product for review. This can get you and your blog in big trouble down the road if you don’t. It’s the law.
Let me know in the comments if you have further questions or advice you can share with your fellow bloggers.