By Sodelba Alfaro
I, like many other beauty devotees, have my go-to blogs like Temptalia and BellaSugar when looking for a shiny new lip gloss or a smoky eye shadow. In many instances, bloggers will post a review after receiving a product sample. For cosmetics and many other consumer products reviews are an important source for consumers in shopping mode and are essential to converting readers into customers.
Public relations pros also know the value of getting the product to the right reviewer so they can experience it first-hand and give a fair and balanced review. Here are some tips for handling the review process efficiently:
Check out your media targets. Before pitching product reviews, make sure to examine your media targets and research what is being written about similar and, competitors’ products. For example, you may think a new healthy snack product ought only go to food press, but your research may determine that some sports writers or mom bloggers are interested in reviewing as well. Then you can create a well-targeted media list and a pitch that highlights the product’s best features.
Share necessary press/product materials. Providing press/product materials are key to ensuring reporters are aware of a product’s essential features and also provide guidelines to setting up a product and using it. Specs are very important to tech media, for example, so make sure to provide information on the product’s operating system, hardware, and other essentials. Don’t forget availability and pricing; a complete download will help speed up the review process.
Provide the reviewer with the “rules of the road.” Many reporters will ask to review a new product. Set up guidelines depending on your client’s strategy. How many samples do you have? Tier your list to match your quantity. Are reviewers able to keep the samples or must they be returned? What is the return process? Set up the proper paperwork for taking possession (even temporarily) and returning a client’s product. If you don’t have samples yet but are expecting them, make sure to communicate all the pertinent information to the reporter.
Make sure to follow Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines. According to the FTC, if bloggers receive a product in-kind, they must disclose this information to their audience, or both the blogger and the PR agency risk being fined. Make sure to share this information with the reviewer when sending out the product.
Follow up, follow up, follow up. Did I mention you should follow up? Send the reporter a note a few days after receiving the product to be certain everything is going well. Make sure there are no problems so they can effectively use all features and provide a thorough review.
Even with all the preparation, even the best practitioner can’t guarantee a positive product review, but these steps will result in a smooth process. Got any great (or not so great) product review stories to share?« TGIF: The Hellfire and Damnation School of Journalism | TGIF: Why Boring (Sometimes) isn’t Bad »