This "product reviewing" part of the Building a Better Blog series will consist of a few posts. In its entirety, the following questions will be answered:
Preparing to review products
How to become a product reviewer
Ways to find companies and products
Conducting and writing a review
Troubles that come with reviewing products
Do you have more questions?
Leave me a comment below and I'll do my best to answer it!
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making The Dive
Reviewing products may seem glamorous and get-rich-quick-ish, but it's really not a free way to get products for you and your family. In exchange for a product, whether it cost $3.00 or $300.00, you will be investing time--and potentially a lot of it! In my own experience and that I've read of other bloggers, I'd say that the overall average time spent on a review is 3 hours per review. If the average product would cost you $25.00 to buy, you're making $8.33 an hour. Keep this in mind before you decide to jump into the world of product reviews.
Given the value of time, you need to ask yourself the following questions before getting into reviewing:
1) How much time can I spend on reviewing products without taking time away from the most important things like my family, spirituality, health, and quality of life?
For some people, you may be able to devote 10 hours a week to reviewing products. For others, you may not be able to do more than 3. Be honest--it's better to start small and work up rather than build a poor reputation because you're not timely.
2) Who is my audience?
If you've read some of my other Building a Better Blog posts, you'll recall that in order to have a successful blog, you need to be focused in what you write about. If your target audience is people who like to cook and bake, you will want to write about food, not video games! As a reviewer, you need to maintain the same stability by choosing to review products that your readers are interested in, based on your target audience.
3) What products can I provide an honest review for?
If you're to build a community of regular readers, you need to be focused in your reviewing just as you would your blog topics. On top of that, you should never agree to do a review that you can't really do. For instance, don't offer to review a baby's bottle unless you actually have a baby to test it out on! People are relying on your integrity and opinion of the product you're reviewing. If you can't really review the product, your readers will see that and they'll be less likely to look to your opinion in the future.
With that said, though, I do think that once you've proved to your audience that you can knowledgably review a particular sort of product, you then have more freedom later to review that same sort of product even if you can't "test" it completely anymore. For instance, if you've already reviewed baby bottle's while your infant used them, but then a few months after your child has weaned from a bottle, you have some freedom to still do a bottle review since you know what you're looking for and can compare features to other products.
4) What is my platform?
There are outlets for product reviewers who review through different means. Your platform may be a personal blog, friends, or a network that you've established in your community like play groups, PTA organizations, or church meetings. Think about what your platforms are and if they would be viable to a business as a good marketing opportunity. If you don't think there'd be much draw for a business to say "YES! I want this group of people to hear about my product!" then start working on ways to build your platform. A review without someone to listen is...well, not much of a review.
5) Why do I want to review products, anyway?
There's no wrong answer to this question, but you need to know what your motivation is in order to be successful. I'd love to see what other bloggers and people are motivated to review products by, so post your answer below! I'll start. :-)