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My desk with the Link

My desk with the Link (Photo credit: tychay)

One of the questions I’m asked a lot is “where do you get all this free stuff?” or “how can I get to review things?”. Well, here it is, I’m about to tell you.

It’s a process, you need to work at it. Blogging isn’t easy. It’s terribly rewarding when you have others’ attention and they come to you though.

Above all – build your online presence – build your reputation. If you have a site with 6 posts and 2 visitors per day, don’t expect companies to be beating down your door. If you’re got a bunch of posts, you post regularly and have garnered a healthy readership then you will stand a better chance of being noticed.
Become an authority – someone people go to for an opinion.
Make you count.

Decide what fits your audience –
It’s unlikely that you’l see a review of a coffee table on – unless it has a display in it or something.
Decide what you’re going to blog about, where your forte is and who your audience is – go for that.  Look for items that your audience will be interested in. Look for items that others will be searching for and will come across your site and build your online reputation.

Review your own stuff –
Did you buy something? were you given something? How about writing constructive, creative reviews of what you already own? what you like, what you don’t like, what you’d change, would you buy it again? Why you bought it, etc. etc.  Who knows a product better than it’s owner, right?
Even if you’ve had your item for some time you can still review it. Did it just break? was it just upgraded?
Do you have something special, custom or unique? Even better!

Connect with those in the know –
Manufacturers have PR companies, PR companies like to work with groups – if you’re a mother or father who writes online there are groups for you.  See Dad Central, Social SparkMom Central and My Blog Spark.
If you can find out who the main PR company is you can reach out to them, just let them know who you are, what you do and that you exist.

Link, Link, Link –
Link to store and manufacturer sites. It’s good practice and theres a better chance of being noticed if you’re sending traffic to sites. They might even link back to you from their site (which is great!)

Connect –
Did you review something? Let the company know – many companies have Press links on their sites. Drop them an email saying “hey, I love your product… this much” send them a link. I like to watch my Woopra dashboard the day I send an email like that because you’ll see the visit from the company.
Talk to your locals – do you have a grandma who makes candles? maybe a software developer or clothing manufacturer.

Give them facts and figures –
If you’re not looking at your site analytics you should stop reading this and get right on it.  If you don’t know every detail of your site traffic how can you sell yourself and it to others?
Be truthful though, it is just as easy for those in the know to see how much traffic you’re really getting.

Don’t feel pressured –
If you’re approached by someone who wants you to review something you don’t agree with don’t do it.
If you don’t like the product don’t like about it and tell your readers how great it is. Don’t be nasty, don’t slam it. Be constructive. Maybe suggest a change and different use or a different color.

Be aware –
Make sure you’re all on the same page. Do you have to write your review in a certain amount of time? do you have to send the item back? Will postage be paid? These are all things to check on.

Disclose –
Make sure that you add in your post or somewhere (noticeable) on your site  that you do review products. Mention that you’re truthful in your reviews etc. etc. Just Google “Review Disclosure” for many who already do this.

Form a Media Kit –
A media kit is a bundle of information selling you and your site. Put a link on your site so that PR companies can come along, find it and learn all about what you offer.
Highlight some of the companies you have worked with and some of your reviewed products.

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Author: Andy Quayle

Andy was born in the Isle of Man and currently lives in Pittsburgh.
Known globally as a willing source for tech news and views, Andy takes great pride in consultation and education.

Should his schedule permit, Andy is available to help you with your SEO and Web Analytics needs.