chapter 14

Get Product Reviews

This is the online guerrilla marketing method of PR. There is a unique benefit of getting product reviews from other websites that helps increase brand credibility and trustworthiness in addition to word-of-mouth marketing.

Here's how to start.

Start by Creating a List 

You’re going to want to spend a lot of time on Google searching for all the sites that would be a good fit for reviewing your product. Chances are your initial searches will lead you into more searches, so prepare to devote a good chunk of your day to this.

Perform Google searches like (but, replace "widget" with your product):

  • widget blog
  • widget reviews
  • submit my product for review
  • widget intitle: "product review"

replace the word “widget” with a word that describes your product

As you are performing these searches, list the URLs of all the websites you come across that might give you a review. Depending on how you like to work, you may want to contact them as you come across them, or simply list all the ones you can find first. We think it’s a good habit to go ahead and contact them as soon as possible so you can quickly gauge a return on your efforts.

One important thing that can happen as a result of doing this work is that you will make relationships with bloggers in your industry. These relationships can be very important and beneficial for years to come. When you approach a blogger be sure to be very genuine and treat the conversation as you would a real-life business or networking relationship.

For starters, don’t send out long canned emails. Start your first email out short and conversational. For example:

Hi I’m Sean Work and I invented an espresso machine that can grind and brews fresh espresso drinks in your car so you can have uber-fresh lattes on the way to work. I would like to send you my mini machine so you can try it out.

Sometimes we even like to take an even simpler approach. We just start with a very simple subject line in our email message:

RE: Question

And then we go on to write a very simple email:

I wanted to ask about having a really cool product reviewed. Just curious about the steps involved. Thanks!

- Sean

People who run busy websites love short emails from people. Long emails equate to more work. Breaking up the conversation into bite size chunks goes a long way.

A List of Review Sites

Below is a list of sites that review products. By no means is it comprehensive. Depending on what you are selling, some of these sites might be in the wrong niche. The point here is really to show you the type of sites to look for, just so you get a feel for it. 

If you are selling electronics or software, then consider submitting your product to CNET.com

We suggest trying hard to find blogs that are related to what you are selling that normally don’t do reviews. There are a few reasons why:

  1. They probably won’t charge you to review your product.
  2. Review sites can have a bad rap with Google. Anytime you pay for a review and a link is given – there's a chance Google will penalize you.
  3. A lot of review sites usually don’t focus on a niche which means there really isn’t a dedicated audience learning about your product.

We really do wish we could give you an awesome list of sites where you could just plug away at asking for reviews. But the point is that this just takes digging. Every product is different and every online world surrounding a product type is vastly different. To see what we mean, have a look at the example below where a maternal clothing brand is being reviewed on mamabblog.com.

How Reviews Can Help With SEO

One of the major factors that determine how high your website ranks on search engines like Google is the number of other websites that link back to your website. Getting bloggers or other websites to review your products is a great way to “build links” back to your website. And of course the benefit of this is that it will increase the amount of free traffic your website receives from search engines.

There are a few tips you should be aware of when you go on your product review quest to make sure you get the most bang from both a SEO and PR perspective. Chances are you will be able to discuss how you want your links to look in the review. If you get the opportunity to specify your links and link text then keep these tips in mind:

  • Choose your link text wisely – It’s normal for people to link back to your website with link text that is simply your domain name (ex: http://mywebsite.com ).  You should ask them to occasionally change the link text to the keywords that you want to rank for on the search engines. For example if you want to rank for “cheap widget” then your link text should be “cheap widget”.
  • For more targeted marketing, link to your product pages – An often overlooked practice is not linking to specific product pages. For example you might sell a “green widget” and have a specific webpage for “green widget” located at http://mywebsite.com/green-widget.  Having reviewers link to these specific product pages will help these pages rank higher for specific searches.

So give this exercise a bit of elbow grease and see where it gets you. The best way to manage this is to spend a good 15 minutes a day contacting websites and blogs on your list. You’ll get through it in no time.

Reach Out to Video Bloggers

Video blogging is at an all-time high right now. As you’re conducting your searches, you’ll probably come across some video reviews.

Take note at who are the most popular video reviewers out there for your product type. Simply look at the view count on their videos to gauge how influential they are.  

Usually video bloggers and reviewers make it pretty easy to find out how to contact them. Look for links to their website or just skip to the end of their video to find out how to reach them.

At some point in your dialogue with the video blogger or reviewer, ask if they will link to your product page in their video description. They may say no, but it’s worth a shot.

Once the News Gets Spread

One thing you'll want to keep in mind is to take note that when a review gets published that you've replenished your stock or have a plan in mind to fulfill the orders coming from all that extra traffic. Always be ready to capitalize on publicity and satisfy customer demand. All you need is that one product review and you're well on your way to your first sale and beyond.

Next chapter

15. Write a Press Release

4 min

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