There are many perks that come with blogging, but none so welcomed as the ubiquitous product review. That is, receiving free products from a company to review on your blog in exchange for an honest review or advertorial.
Some bigger blogs, in an ad network, are paid to do product reviews and smaller ones sometimes aren’t. It all depends on how you position yourself. If you’re able to successfully grow a loyal following, brand managers and publicists will notice and come knocking at your door.
The only rule everyone must follow is full disclosure. Tell your audience if you received products or payment in exchange for a review. If done right, your readers won’t mind and will support your hustle.
Beyond the full disclosure rule, here are a few etiquette points bloggers should follow to keep their sponsors happy and to position themselves for financial growth.
Treat your sponsors like clients
They are your clients, even if they aren’t paying you in cash and are providing you with free products. No rough handling, please! Care, attention to detail, and a basic understanding of their business goals puts you at an advantage for future business.
Respond in a timely manner
After you’ve done some preliminary research on the company to speak intelligently about their products, give them a call or respond back to their email as soon as possible.
Ask yourself if the product is a good fit for your blog
If not, let them go easy. Don’t burn bridges so the publicist keeps you in mind for future projects.
Give the sponsor a definitive time for publishing their review
Give a firm date even if it is months ahead and meet your deadlines. Plan your blog posts ahead of time or give a realistic estimate of the time it will take you to craft a blog post or film a YouTube video. Stay committed and make good on your deadlines so you don’t keep your client in the dark, waiting.
Make the product review honest and relatable but don’t kill your client’s business
Find kind ways to be positive about your client’s product. Yes, you can be honest with your audience and positive about a product you don’t necessarily care for at the same time. It’s all in how you word it. Your goal is to serve your clients and be honest to your audience while exposing new brands to them—not kill business.
If you are having a hard time crafting a positive post, communicate this with your client, tell them what you would change about this product to make it better. (Brands love constructive feedback especially from influencers like yourself.) Tell them about the review you will post and if you’re willing, work with them to craft a post that works for both of you. You always have the last say on what goes up on your blog.
Thank them for selecting you to review their products and keep in touch so that your blog/brand stays top of mind for future projects.
Bonus: After the review goes live, provide your client/ sponsor with post stats. They’ll thank you for the extra attention to detail and customer service.