I get literally hundreds of emails from people asking me; how do you get all that free stuff to do reviews? To put it very bluntly…work! Not all of it is free; in fact, I do have to pay for some of it in order to be able to do an article or even a video demonstration on a product. The items I do receive that are free I work just as hard on those reviews as I do any others. There is a lot of time that goes into research of a product in order to make what I call “contact.”
Once this happens I have to come up with the “Pitch” I will get deeper into what all of these are in a moment. In order to get to this point you have to have something to offer the company you are trying to contact. In my case, I have an established YouTube channel, I have good social networking followings, I also have good web site traffic. All these things work together so they can use me for advertizing.
Initially people think its all fun and games. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy doing this, what I don’t like doing is a simple table top review. In the beginning of many of my review videos, I will do a preliminary tabletop…or in my case a tailgate top. I will then proceed to the field to show the product being used. I do this because the company that is taking the time to send me a product, on their dime mind you; deserves to get a return on their investment. Whether you want to see it that way or not it is an investment, they are looking to you to do an honest review and hopefully you can help them make a few sales so they can keep the business going.
Let us look at the first key elements of what you need before you can start:
A following: Do not expect to get a 100 or 300-dollar knife for a review if you do not have the numbers to reflect a return for the company. In a lot of cases a simple YouTube channel is not going to be enough. Consider taking the time to buy a website and build it.
Tact: This one is pretty important, don’t put up just any old content on YouTube, your website, or social media pages. Think before you post and use a little professionalism. Trust me this will show not only in your videos but also in everything you do online. When you take photos of the product, do not just take a cell phone photo. Use a camera of at lest 6 MP and study up on light, angles, setting, background, and host of others. It pays to put the work in!
Courtesy: Know how to talk to company reps, sales teams, and PR people. The biggest thing here is WATCH WHAT YOU SAY! Be clear and to the point, do not make them write back and ask you what you meant by this or that. Most importantly be polite!
Honesty: Here is another big one. If you say you are going to do something then do it. Most companies want a video and an article to go with the review. If they ask you for web stats then give them up, never make up numbers they will know.
Respect: DO NOT trash a company publicly; you can be sued for that. If you have done your research then there is no need to trash talk because you would have chosen a reputable company that produces a quality product. If something, breaks while in use talk to them first. Let them know and they will make it right. There is never a need to publicly slam a company for any reason. That is up to the Democrats and liberals, as a reviewer you are not to take sides.
Politics: This one is big right now, never by any means sound political during a review. Companies do not usually cater to one group of individuals or to one political party. To them everyone’s money is good. Anytime you start to inject politics into a review, it will put a black mark against you and you may not have any opportunities in the future.
Once you know the basics you can move on to contacting the company which as I referred to earlier as making contact. This is where knowing how to write up a short proposal comes in handy. Do not just write a short email asking for a product. Be specific in what you are asking for and offer numbers up front. Make the proper introduction by telling who you are what you is that you do. This is what I said earlier as being the pitch. Do not be discouraged if you do not get a response, this can be for a few reasons. They may be pretty busy and your email got buried. They may have read your email and they weren’t interested, or they may be sending along the proper channels and it could take a week in some cases for them reply. Either way a decline or a non response is not the end of the world. Keep working at it, build your numbers, and try again later.
A college degree is not necessary but having a basic understanding of how advertisement and business actually work is a huge plus. Having a good resume in the field will also be a huge plus. These will take you above most in the field and help you stand out from the other reviewers. Have something to offer and you can go pretty far with your reviews.
I have personally noticed it has become very hard to get gear for reviews as of recent, mostly because everyone and their uncle are trying to do the same thing. This is where hard work and perseverance will put you ahead of the others. As things get more difficult, develop the tools to stay in the game. I hope you enjoyed this short article and the very basics of becoming a good reviewer. Please share and like!