Beginning Blogger How-To

Do YOU want to start writing a Product Review Blog?

Okay, so I have received many emails asking opinions on how to “begin” a product review blog. What these people do not realize is that writing a product review blog is A LOT of work, but if you want to do it, you can…

I have been a personal Blogger for many years. For years, I blogged about my life so that family members in other states could keep up-to-date on my life and then one day I entered a giveaway on a review/giveaway blog and WON! I was super excited so I started following review and giveaway blogs all over and it hit me, I could do my OWN BLOG… and do my OWN Product Reviews…

Let me stop here and remind you, it takes A LOT of time and patience to get anywhere.

These are the steps I took…

  • I started a Blog on Blogger.com (I chose that site since I used it before and it was free) 
  • I opened a separate email address for my new blog – if you purchase your own domain you can get your own email, but I kept a yahoo acct. 
  • I chose a random design and began writing about myself, my family, and my reasons for blogging… I wanted to be sure people KNEW who I was to make it more personal
  • I set up a Facebook Business Page, Twitter Page, Instagram Account, Pinterest Account, YouTube, and Google+ Account
  • I joined Blogger Communities… 
  • I contacted another Mom Blogger (Mommy Rantings, which is a GREAT blog with so much information) and asked her opinions on what I should do next. (Let me take a quick moment to thank Mommy Rantings, without all of her advice, I would not be the Blogger that I am!)…
  • As per Mommy Rantings advice, I wrote the first draft of my Sponsorship Letter. This is a letter that I could easily copy and paste into any email to any company. In this Sponsorship Letter I was sure to include information about my Blog and other social sites and communities. I made sure to answer the questions: why, how, what, & who…
    • Why they should sponsor a Product Review(not because I want free products, which by the way, I had one company tell me was in a request for PR that she had received.)
    • Why they should work with me – their are TONS of other Bloggers, what makes me different and what I can offer as a Blogger
    • How they go about sponsoring a Product review/ Giveaway on my Blog
    • What I will do to promote their Product review/Giveaway
    • Who I am – in this I include all my stats, including: my Alexa Rating, monthly unique followers, Blog, Twitter, & Facebook Followers, etc…
  • I then wrote a review on something I knew about and promoted it, kind of as a test…
  • At this time I wanted The Adventures of My Family of 8 to stand out a bit, so I upgraded my Blog design with Princess in Pigtails Designs… they were cost effective and I loved the other blogs they had designed. Note that they ONLY work with Blogger Blogs… 
  • I began looking for companies to work with (This takes some time and searching.) I started with emails to PR/media people or info@companyname.com, with “May I help you with a Product Review” in the subject line but after a while I realized that was not working for me, so I changed my verbiage up… until I felt more secure. Remember you have to make it appealing so that companies want to work with you.
  • I searched everywhere, through Etsy and other sites and finally started getting “okay’s” from companies.
  • And away I went

Don’ts – Please DON’T do the following:

  • Write this – “I was wanting to know if your company would send me products to do product review on. My address is…” (Yes, this was something a Mom Blogger wrote to a company.) First of all, grammar, grammar, grammar… second, this just put a bad taste in the mouth of the company and made it seem like Mom Bloggers are only out for FREE PRODUCTS… This is so unprofessional. 
  • Slack on follow through – Always keep PR Reps and Companies informed. I send an email the day the product arrives to let them know it arrived, as well as an idea of when their review will go live. I normally take between two-four weeks and most companies are okay with that. 
  • Hound companies, if a company does not get back to you, contact them once more (sometimes emails get lost) but that is it, don’t send them ten emails!
  • Don’t forget to PROMOTE, PROMOTE, PROMOTE… I promote every single review/giveaway up to three times a day on my social sites. 

Do- Here are some Do’s that I have learned…

  • Be organized, I tell you, I was not organized in the beginning and I was soooo overwhelmed
  • Make a calendar… give yourself two weeks to a month, to try a product out! When a company agrees to a review, this is what I do… I send them an email that says, “I have your review scheduled to run from May 1st – May 15th, so I need to receive your product by April 10th… I hope this works for you.”
  • Make a document for all your sponsors to fill out so you have it on hand…I include the following on this document:
    • Contact Name
    • Contact Email
    • Company Website
    • Company Social Sites
    • Product(s) for review
    • Product(s) for giveaway
    • Discount or special for my readers
  • Keep sponsors involved, let them know when:
    • Their review will be posted
    • Their review has been posted with link
    • Their review is over

AFTER BLOGGING FOR OVER THREE YEARS things have changed a bit… 

  1. I switched to a DOMAIN – this is a MUST – Godaddy.com offers domain names cheap…
  2. I switched to a WordPress Blog – WP offers more options… I used RL Web Designs to create my latest design and use RFEHosting!
  3. I do NOT include my stats with my Sponsorship Letter… I include a round about # and tell them that I have a Media Kit on hand if they would like one.

 

I hope this helps you. I am available if you need any advice or assistance and I know many, many other bloggers as well. 

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