How to Get Products to Review on Your Blog {An Intro for New Bloggers}

So, here’s the thing about product reviews.

I think they’re fun – fun to write and fun to read. I appreciate creatively crafted reviews that have a personal touch. It’s super helpful to read another mom’s take on things and I often make purchasing decisions based on reviews in the blogosphere.

There are really two ways to get products to review on your blog:

tip 1 150x150 How to Get Products to Review on Your Blog {An Intro for New Bloggers}(1) Join a blog review “network.” This is how it works. You fill out a form with some basic information about you and your blog. You are then contacted with review “invitations.” You can accept or decline at will. If you accept, you typically receive a product (that is yours to keep), write your review, and then also typically get some kind of nominal compensation as well (a gift card to Amazon, entry into a giveaway, etc.).

Here are a few review networks for you to consider:

Blog networks are excellent for new bloggers because they give you an opportunity to “get your feet wet” with reviewing and to grow your audience. All the “work” is done for you and you just wait for your products to show up (how cool is that?).

The downside of review networks is that you don’t have “control” over what product invitations you receive. You may want to review a MacBook Pro (don’t we all?), but instead you may receive invitations to review Ghirardelli Chocolates or the latest laundry detergent. I participated in “blog tours” with Mom Central quite a bit in my early blogging days, but now I almost never do because I like to focus on personal content…and I like to pitch for products myself (which leads me to my next point).

tip 2 how to get products to review on your blog 150x150 How to Get Products to Review on Your Blog {An Intro for New Bloggers}(2) Ask. The second way to get products to review is to…ask. Find a company that you would like to work with and send an e-mail, asking if they would be interested in sending you a product to review on your blog. Give a few details about you and your blog…and press “send.”

Can it really be that simple? Well, yes…and no. It’s hard work to craft articulate and persuasive inquiries (maybe someday I’ll share my “top secret” formula for this) and to establish positive relationships with PR agencies and brands. But it’s well worth it. And it’s tons of fun too.

Sometimes people ask me how “big” their blog has to be before they can start doing this. There’s not a specific “number” to reach, but you should have a decent amount of solid, high-quality posts on your blog and at least a moderate number of followers.

So, go for it. Send an inquiry.

Oh, wait!!! Before you do, keep this in mind:

tip 3 how to get products to review on your blog 150x150 How to Get Products to Review on Your Blog {An Intro for New Bloggers}*** Don’t sell your soul for a 3-pack of juice boxes. It’s totally cool if you want to try out those new juice boxes or that bathroom cleaner, but be sure that you can present the review in a creative and interesting way. And be sure that the product is something you can “stand behind.”

Example: I was recently offered an invitation to review a Coach bag. At first, I said “yes.” Then, I decided to decline. Not because I think Coach bags stink (they don’t…in fact, they’re beautiful), but because I would never pay $300+ for a purse (come to think of it, I don’t think I would spend over $20…). It’s just not ME.

I actually decline more product review offers than I accept because (a) I don’t want to “clutter” up my blog content and (b) I want my readers to trust me. 100%. I want them to know that I’m giving them the real deal, all of the time – review post or not.

This is precisely why I will usually decline reviews for medications (we’re kind of anti-medicinal around here), baby DVDs (we rarely watch TV), and low-fat/fat-free snack items (yucky!). I will, however, accept products that help me cuddle a baby and type one-handed more effectively…or that help my hair not to be so frizzy in pictures (since I clearly need help in that department):

working with baby How to Get Products to Review on Your Blog {An Intro for New Bloggers}

Note: This picture was completely “unstaged.” No make-up. No fixing of the hair. No moving away from my “favorite spot” on the couch. This is me in true colors.

  • http://losingitandlovingit.com/blog/ Angie

    Ahh great tips! I have a few ideas of companies I would like to contact down the road. Since starting my blog, I have had a few opportunities to review products some I have accepted and some I haven’t. I also am picky about what I will accept.

    Thanks for sharing the links. I joined Mom Central a while back but don’t get anything from them. I’ll be sure to check out the others.

  • erica

    All of these posts have been great, Steph! (And they’re getting closer to convincing me to start mine…) Thanks!

  • http://workoutmommy.com/ workout mommy

    thank you for all the tips!
    i love that picture too–you are queen of muli-tasking!

    (and i remember last year at blogher thinking “wow, she can type so fast with just one hand!” Now, I know why!) :)

  • Casual Friday Every Day

    “Don’t sell your soul for a 3-pack of juice boxes” Preach it, sista.

    I’ve seen mom bloggers get crazy excited to review (get for free) the smallest things. I want more bloggers to realize their worth, the worth of their blog, and the worth and value of their readers.

    I rarely do a review. Not that reviews are a bad thing, but I’m just not easily impressed or excited by something for free. I’m so busy in my personal/business life that it would take a lot (right now) to get me off my ‘review behind’ and write one up. lol

    And I love the picture of you and your baby. You look fantastic without makeup and hair a muss.

    Nell

  • http://rockinmama.net Caryn B

    When I first started, I’d take anything. Honestly…I was really caught up in the excitement…
    And then I realized the same thing you did…and this is the question I TRY to ask myself all the time when offered a product. Would I buy this? If I were at Target or wherever and saw it on the shelf…would I buy it….if the answer is no, then I must turn it down…..

    Do you know how much you ROCK? Great great post (all of them actually!)

  • ~kris~

    Great post! I’ve just received my first offer to review a product and I’ve been sitting on it giving it some thought and this post along with reader comments has been very helpful! Thanks so much!

  • http://www.jinxyisms.com Jinxy

    Those are great suggestions, really a great series of posts overall. I have always been interested in doing reviews but had no idea really where to start. Thanks I’m going to check those sites out.

  • http://newsonnarrative.blogspot.com/ Becky N.

    I **really** appreciate that you’re being true to yourself on this blog. It makes me much more likely to stick around, after all, since the reason I started visiting your blog regularly is because I felt like I had a lot of lifestyle similarities with you.

    Also, I just had to say that I love your candid picture. You look just as gorgeous there, IMO, as any made-up planned-for picture. And *that’s* a treasure!

  • http://myboyandme.blogspot.com/ Madeline

    You look fantastic! And, oh, how I’m missing having a teeny baby curled up on my shoulder. Sigh….
    Great post. I think it’s especially fabulous that you’re setting an example for other bloggers by being true to yourself.

  • http://web.me.com/marcelabeatty/ Marcela

    Great posts…. sooooo informative! Great pics!
    Your a mac girl too!!! Awesome!

  • http://bighairbetty.blogspot.com/ Sara

    These are fun to read because I’d love to do reviews, but don’t have the time or blog followership(?)! One question I have is, if you review an item and totally don’t like it at all, do you tell the company first or just write your review and then tell people what you really think. I don’t know if I’ve ever come across a review of an item that was not liked at all. Just curious. Thanks!

  • http://www.mamasparkles.blogspot.com Marissa

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge and wisdom with us. I would love to hear your “top secret formula” one of these days!

  • http://crazydogslife.blogspot.com Blessed

    When I first started blogging I was really, really excited about the opportunities to review things and get stuff for free and so was willing to take anything offered. That wore off pretty quick. Now I only go for things that:

    a) I would buy if I could afford it (i.e. I’d never spend $300 for a purse, but I would spend it on a fancy shmancy kitchen gadget so… I wouldn’t review a $300 purse, but I would review a $300 blender if I were ever offered the chance because if I could afford it I wouldn’t think twice about spending $300 on a really awesome blender.)

    b) It’s valuable enough to make the review worth my time – no more juice box or cleaning product reviews from me

    c) or… if the product just really sparks my interest I’ll take it to review even if it doesn’t meet the first two criteria – I can’t think of an example for this point but the possibility is always there – you offer something that makes me curious enough and I’ll take you up on the offer to review it.

  • Erin S.

    love that last picture. i have a special spot where i can feed baby and type one handed in a old hand me down Ikea chair. :)

  • Chuck Urrea

    Great tips for getting into the review business. I am in the initial phase of starting my own web site. Thanks and good luck.

    Chuck Urrea
    Outsiderep.com

  • http://www.5minutesformom.com Janice (5 Minutes for Mom)

    Great tips – and what a comfy spot!!! :)

  • http://www.sandierpastures.com/ Grace @ Sandier Pastures

    What a great post! I have been reviewing products lately and hosting giveaways, although in a very limited manner due to my location (I live in Dubai, UAE). I say, I salute you for being so truthful and so transparent in your product reviews. You’re one of a kind!

  • Johanna
  • http://getmyopinionhere.blogspot.com Betty Sue

    This is truly one of the most helpful posts I have found -to date, for this topic. I can’t thank you enough. I have signed up with the sites you recommend, and look forward to what comes next.

    Also, I love your insight and the bit about “not selling your soul for a juice box”. It’s true that I trust the reviewers that “don’t clutter” their content more than others.

    THANKS AGAIN!

  • http://mascaramamas.blogspot.com/ Tia

    Great post!

  • http://tcrpmg.wordpress.com Michael (@TCRPMG)

    This was a great read. I have just started blogging and am looking to do reviews as well. I have found two companies and am not having luck finding others. I will try asking more and see if that helps.

  • Pat

    This is really awesome. Thanks for the tips. I already have a book review blog for almost a year and a half now but I decided to venture out more and now I am a new Product Reviewer. I just launch my blog today and I am scouring tips from blogs like yours. I do not want to embarrass myself too much and researching is key :)

  • http://whatiscookingnow.blogspot.com Jim Crowell

    I’ve been searching for food products to review. Hopefully I’ll start to get some soon! hahha

  • http://running-w-spatulas.blogspot.com Ali Mc

    I really liked this post. now following you on fb. I am in the process of trying to get some companies to sponsor me and give me some items for my first race….I only get about 200 hits per day though as my blog is not even 2 months old. lol we’ll see….

  • http://angelastrand.blogspot.com/ Angela S.

    This is one of the more useful articles on this subject that I’ve found. Thank you!

  • online

    I was really caught up in the excitement…
    And then I realized the same thing you did…and this is the question I TRY to ask myself all the time when offered a product. Would I buy this? If I were at Target or wherever and saw it on the shelf…would I buy it….if the answer is no, then I must turn it down…..

  • James Jones

    Hi, I have been writing reviews on digital products for years now and it really does help. Thank you very much for this post, it was very hepful.