This has been one of my top searches for the last week so I thought I would discuss it here on my blog. Anyone can start their own product review blog. All you have to do is create a blog and write about products that you love or that you are passionate about. You could also write about products you don’t like if you want to. You can get a free blog from Blogger.com or WordPress.com. It doesn’t cost you anything to have a blog unless you want to be self hosted and then you have to pay hosting fees. But, just getting started it is fine to have your blog hosted with Blogger or WordPress.
After you get your blog set up to your liking all you have to do is write. I recommend to write as often as possible to keep readers coming back, but you have to do what is best for your schedule. Quality writing is more important then the quantity of writing in my opinion. To review products you simply tell people things about the product that you would want to know if you were thinking of purchasing the product. Tell them both the positive and negative things about the item and don’t be shy. If the product doesn’t do what it is supposed to do, then by all means say so! Honesty is very important in product reviewing.
After you have started to gain some readership you can then start requesting reviews from PR firms and companies. Don’t be shy! Just email companies you would like to work with and tell them about yourself and your blog. Be honest. A lot of companies will work with reviewers who have only been blogging for a short time. Open communication is the key to working with PR and companies. While working with a PR contact or a company contact you are trying to build a relationship. That takes time and commitment. Be prepared to email back and forth several times and maybe even for a phone conversation when working with sponsors.
Also, for your blog to gain readers it is necessary to comment at other blogs. That in itself can take hours of your day if you let it. There are just that many great blogs out there! It is important to remember that blogging is a diverse community made of many different people and personalities. A big part of the blogging community is on Twitter. In case you don’t already know, Twitter is a huge social networking site that allows people to connect while writing in 140 characters. Twitter is important to me as a review blogger because it is another way that I can connect with my readers, companies, PR and the other bloggers in the community. Twitter is also a great place to make friends. I met my best online friend through Twitter!
It is also important to be who you really are. Be authentic. Don’t try to copy another blogger! It is wrong and not flattering at all.
Pictures and videos are an important part of a successful review blog. It is great to take your own photos of items you are reviewing to show that you really tried the product and how it worked for your family. I try to take a lot of photos if they will benefit my readers in their understanding of the product and my review. Vlogging (video blogging) has also become very popular for review bloggers although I haven’t started doing it just yet. I am a bit shy! If you do decide to vlog it is important to be real. Being perfect is not required. Readers want authenticity not perfection. After all who really is perfect anyway? Not me!
To sum this all up…
- Anyone can start a product review blog.
- Product review blogging takes a lot of dedication and work.
- Honesty and authenticity are very important.
- Building real relationships with PR is a must.
- Comment on other people’s blogs A LOT.
- Have patience while building your blog.
- Come up with your own ideas. Don’t steal from others!
- Pictures are a must. Videos are great too =)
If you are looking to get into product review blogging because you want all the cool stuff for free please remember that maintaining a product review blog takes time and work. Lots of work! I spend several hours each day testing products out, writing, and managing my blog. For me blogging is not a hobby, it is my business. I love what I do and wouldn’t change it for the world! I have met so many incredible people through blogging and I just love the people in this community (and you will too).
I hope I covered all of your questions about starting a product review blog. If you have any more questions please leave them in the comments and I will respond. Please note that I am not an expert, just someone who has learned some lessons over the past 15 months.
All the best!