I love it when I hear about stay-at-home moms that are trying to supplement their family’s income. I’ve always believed (obviously by what I’ve done) that you can be a stay-at-home mom and still exercise your talents and skills and create a growing business.
Many moms are turning to Review Blogs as one possible method. There is a low barrier to entry, few mandatory costs, and you can get some free stuff for your family. Based on the number of requests I receive (20-40 each week), the number of these blogs are growing dramatically.
If you have a very successful blog, companies will often come to you asking you to review their products. But if you’re just starting out, you often need to seek out products to review.
Every time I receive a request, I check out the blog to see if it is one I want to work with. Years ago, I said “Yes” to almost every request. Now, I rarely say “Yes.”
Why? Because the quality of new Review Blogs are in decline.
I see the same 7 mistakes over and over as demonstrated in this actual request that I recently received. (Name and website removed by me)
Sir or Ma’am,
Hello i’m [name] and I am a blogger for [website], a resources for parents to get honest opinions on all things from recipes, DIY, styles, and products.
I emailing in hopes of partnering with you to do a product review for an upcoming blog. Our site is a varied interest and we like to review products to bring to our audience with a first hand experience, and I’d love to write a review on your product and include it on our website.
The main audience for our website is moms and as well all know, mothers really do the vast majority of gift shopping. We only want the best for everyone we gift to and know that our readers do too, making your company the perfect fit! We’d love to introduce our ever growing community of readers, as well as our large twitter following, (over 10k combined followers), to your new products.
I’m looking forward to hearing from you and thank you so much for your time!
These are the seven mistakes that this blogger (and most other bloggers who contact me) make:
1. You do not address me by my name when you ask me to send you my products for free. By addressing your email to Sir or Ma’am or anything other than my name, you are showing that you have not spent any time on my website learning about Goat Milk Stuff. I understand that if you are reaching out to Starbucks or other large corporations you may not have a name to address. But if you are reaching out to a small business owner, find out the name of the person you are addressing. I no longer send out any free soap to somebody who does not say, “Dear PJ or Jim,” in their email.
2. You did not proofread your email or use proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation. You are reaching out to me in a professional manner asking me to trust you to do a quality product review. Why would I believe that you will take care to proofread the post you write about my soap when you don’t even proofread the email that you send to me? If you do not have good grammar or spelling, you need to find someone who does and have them edit for you. Your initial email to me represents yourself and the quality of your work. This email shows me you don’t care about the quality of what you do. You just want free stuff.
3. Your blog is brand new and/or receives little traffic. I understand that everyone has to start somewhere. But when you are starting out, don’t ask me to be the first one to send you free stuff. Review stuff you already use or go out and buy your own stuff to review. In fact, I’d be more than happy for you to buy my soap to review. When you’ve been regularly blogging for more than 6 months and are getting real traffic, feel free to ask me again. While I enjoying supporting other moms, I receive too many requests and I work too hard to send you free soap if there is no return in it for me. This is just good business.
4. Your blog gets few comments and social shares. I want to know that your readers care about what you have to say. I want to see engagement and comments so that I know that the post about my soap will be seen and read by other people. What are you doing to engage your readers?
5. Your blog caters to readers who only want things for free. I have been doing this for years and know what kind of blog has a readership where people are only there to enter the latest free giveaway. That is fine for your blog, but it does not meet my needs as a business owner looking to sell my product. The burden is on you to show me that your readers are willing to actually spend money.
6. You overestimate the impact of your traffic or neglect to discuss your traffic at all. It’s all a numbers game and you need to show me that your numbers will impact me. In the above email, the fact that she has 10,000 twitter followers is a meaningless number to me. She neglects to mention the engagement on twitter or how many tweets my review will get.
I recently received an email that said, “I’d be honored to work with you on a review of a product from your website, at no cost to me. It will bring a HUGE amount of traffic to your website and probably a lot of good sales for you as well.” When I checked out the pr page on her website, it says that she has 2409 unique monthly views. That does not meet my definition of huge. In fact, only a small percentage of the readers on your blog are going to click through to my website. Do not assume that the traffic you get will be the traffic that I get or that we have the same definitions as to what constitutes a large amount of traffic.
7. Do you even know what my product is? Nowhere in your email to me do you mention anything about my soap. It appears that this is a form letter that you are sending out to any small business you can find. It appears that you are trolling the internet looking for free stuff. Do you know how many emails I get that say, “My readers would really love your stuff?” That is meaningless to me. Show me that you even know what my stuff is. I know that it takes more time to learn about the companies you are reaching out to. When I receive your email, I do you the courtesy of checking out your site. Do me the courtesy of checking out my site before you ask me to invest in you.
In the last several months, I have only offered a review to one person. Here is how she began her email, “My name is ___. I am very interested in doing a review on your products because I was raised on goats milk and have allergies from several soap products.” Showing that she knew what my product was made a huge difference.
Those are seven of the most common mistakes that I regularly see from people asking me to send them free soap to review. I hope that if you are a Review Blogger, they help you to better reach out to businesses as you seek products to write about.
Please remember the fact that as a review blogger you are acting as a business person. When you reach out to people and are requesting free product, you are reaching out to business people. If you reach out to me and do not make the above mistakes, you have a much better chance to receive our goat milk soap to review.
What about you – do you have a review blog? Or do you regularly read them? If so, which ones?