Welcome to this weeks edition of the ‘Blogging Behind The Scenes’ series. Throughout the ‘Blogging Behind The Scenes’ series both myself and a group of bloggers will be sharing our experiences and advice upon a range of blogging related topics, this week we are discussing product reviews and whether bloggers feel they are ‘tit for tat’ or a worthwhile venture.
Why And When I First Began Reviewing Products
Following having our son J back in 2009 I set about creating an online magazine/ blog to share informative posts for fellow parents regarding products and tips that I had found to be either useful or a total waste of time. Whilst I was essentially reviewing products by carrying out these posts, they were all products which I had purchased myself as I had never really considered contacting the companies to ask for product samples and such like.
It was only after a few months of writing honest reviews that I was contacted by a company suggesting that I carry out reviews on their behalf through my website. It was then that I realised perhaps I should offer well written, honest product reviews and posts in exchange for products.
Pitching For Products
I slowly built connections with a number of companies and began to be sent numerous products (all of which we were able to keep) in exchange for detailed, honest reviews. I then realised that rather than settling for ‘any old’ product I needed to pitch to companies in order to receive things that actually interested both myself and my children.
As J grew older I began pitching to children’s furniture and toy companies which resulted in us receiving large amounts of quality, wooden toys all of which have been well-loved and well-used by both of my children over time.
Sadly after having our daughter I lacked the time to continue working upon my online magazine and shut the site. It was only after our daughter turned two-years old that I decided to return to blogging and setup this here blog.
It wasn’t too long after setting up my blog that I began carrying out further product reviews all of which I ensure are detailed, include either photographs or video footage and are always honestly written. Whilst I often worry that companies may fall out with me should I write negative comments upon their products I would worry far more if I were to outright lie to my readers.
As with most products on the market there are usually good points and bad points both of which I aim to highlight and to share through product reviews. As a blogger I tend to incorporate humour into my posts, this also includes review based posts, if there are any negative issues which I need to cover I often do so by making light of the problem rather than simply slating products.
‘Keep It Personal’
I am often asked to review products which aren’t really of any personal interest, if and when this happens I usually decline the request as I far prefer to work with products which benefit either myself or my family in some form. I prefer to be able to write positively about products and of course to make good use of them once I have completed said review.
What Makes A Good Review
As a parent I have read countless product reviews for numerous products, I often find myself wondering how much of what I read is honest or perhaps ‘positively written and paid for advertisement’. I dislike wasting my hard-earned money on products which aren’t ‘all that’ and often find myself skim reading through amazon reviews and such like to get a better picture of an item before purchasing said product.
I personally feel that a ‘good product review’ will always include the pros, the cons, quality pictures (of the item setup or even better in use) or video footage of the product. I also like to read tips and tricks for how else the product may be used, where it can be purchased and even better, where and when bargains or sales may take place to reduce outgoing costs.
I would like to think that the reviews which I write are well written, informative and helpful to my readers. If you have any tips or suggestions which you would like to put forward then please get in touch and let me know!
Having asked a number of other bloggers their views upon ‘reviewing products’ here are a few of their responses:
“I know that I’m a fairly positive, easily pleased kinda gal… so it doesn’t take very much for me to be excited about a product. I sometimes worry that my reviews come across as ‘too positive’ because I’m being biased rather than just the result of my natural disposition! I hope my readers would still trust what I say and don’t think I’m selling out. “
“I like reviews, if I’m not sure about a product I always search for blog reviews to help me decide. I only review products I like on my blog and turn down requests for things that are not suitable or do not fit my lifestyle. I prefer to only recommend and give exposure to products I genuinely like, so my reviews are only positive. I won’t review it if I don’t like it and I don’t feel pressured to. If there’s something not quite perfect I will also state this in the blog post, so I’m not always just gushing about things!”
“I LOVE product reviews, I love reading them and writing about them. I think it’s a good way of helping brands to expand and it also helps recommend products to others, I always write an honest review. I also only review items that are relevant to my blog, I am a lifestyle & mummy blogger so usually review baby items or books about parenting.”
“I love reading an honest review but when I’ve reviewed the same product and can see that it’s poorly made or not worth the money and other bloggers have praised it, I take their future reviews with a pinch of salt! I try to only review products I know we will like, but if I’m not happy with a product then I’ll always say so.”
“I try to only review products that are genuinely useful to us and something I would buy. As a parent, I spend an unhealthy amount of time reading reviews to try to find products that will answer our problem so it’s important to me that any reviews I do are honest and informative. I’ll always be careful to highlight any potential issues, if the cost is too high for example but I’m sure to also feed this back to the PR or brand before hand to give them the opportunity to respond. Some of the things we’ve been offered to review have been things we just wouldn’t naturally use… I don’t see the point in that. One, I don’t want to review something just for the sake of a review and two, I think it stands out to any readers.”
“As a blogger, I love doing them as we get to try products that I might not have bought otherwise. I am always honest but and would say in a the nicest way possible if there is something about a product I didn’t really enjoy. As a customer, I always read reviews before buying anything, especially new products I have never tried before. I think they are a valuable thing for consumers.
Also I think sometimes you might be surprised. I sometimes reviewed things I would have never considered buying before and I actually loved them and can’t even imagine living without them now! That’s me done x”
“I do a lot of reviews and always try to be as honest as I can be – I have on occasion however refused to write the review if the product has been exceptionally bad. On all my reviews I share pros and cons so that people can make their own decisions, however in all cases what works for me may not work for everyone!”
Should you fancy being part of the series and sharing some of your own ideas or expertise then please feel free to join the ‘Blogging Behind The Scenes’ Facebook group’, we’d love to hear from you! Alternatively you can get in touch via email, drop me a message via social media or add your comments below.