Author Topic: Dealing with Bloggers/Reviewers  (Read 4031 times)

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JTT

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Dealing with Bloggers/Reviewers
« on: November 25, 2014, 12:34:06 AM »
I suspect that many of you hear from bloggers regularly and many of those interactions probably leave you shaking your head. I am a blogger myself and I operate a small retail business so I have seen both sides. Here are a few things that may be helpful to keep in mind when dealing with media types like me.

First, not everyone is out for free gear. There are reputable blogs like Soldier Systems Daily who rarely do reviews. On JTT, I have never asked for gear and I turn down more than I accept because the gear is out of my lane, not applicable for my audience, or I am too back-logged to provide a timely review to the gear provider. If a blog asks for payment or product in order to give you some exposure, tread carefully.

Sending out gear for review can be a way to generate traffic and sales but be cautious. Before you send anything, be sure that the reviewer you are considering working with has a long track record of turning out quality reviews. Bloggers burn out all the time and you don't want them to burn out while your hard earned cash in the form of "free" gear is sitting in their to-do pile. Also, beware the types that use controversy to drive traffic. It is not below some to use overblown negativity to drive traffic. I know many reviewers who will quietly contact you or just pass on the review if they can't be positive and constructive about your product. Those are the folks you want to deal with.

The goal of sending out gear is to generate sales so be strategic. As much as it pains me to say, I have personally seen better conversion rates from providing review products to YouTube channels than bloggers but my sample size is pretty small. Make sure the reviewer you are thinking of working with has wide reader/viewership in your intended audience.

Don't be afraid to cold contact blogs. I absolutely love hearing from gear makers with new products to talk about and I don't expect you to send me gear in order to motivate me to write about it. This stuff gets me fired up. I actually like writing about new gear and new makers. Think about it this way, you need exposure and I need stuff to write about - we both win. There are a few of us bloggers who are posting 3 or more articles daily and I suspect that many of them are like me, spending more time looking for content than actually writing about it. So, please, don't hesitate to reach out.

When you do reach out to a blogger, have a clear idea of what you want them to talk about whether that is just your business as a whole or a new product that you are rolling out. Provide pictures. Spell out features, benefits, specs, and options. If you provide press releases, consider providing them in multiple formats including MS Word, since many of us will be copying and pasting from your materials. If you don't have a specific product that you want to highlight or you aren't sure, just introduce yourself. It puts you on my radar and I'll find something to write about.

Don't take anything personally. I feel like I have failed at a review if I can't find at least one thing about a product that could be better. Nothing is perfect and a quality reviewer will work hard to find those imperfections. It is your opportunity as a gear maker to address any imperfections head on and take them as a chance to improve. In fact, if changes to a product are necessary and the whole thing is handled/spun in a positive way, it can result in even more exposure.

Hopefully this helps. There are a few of us bloggers/reviewers out there who I believe have the best intentions. If you can find them, they can be a great resource and an integral part of your marketing plan.

gearmaker.org

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Re: Dealing with Bloggers/Reviewers
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2014, 02:37:49 PM »
Great information!  This is an excellent piece for understanding the review and blog world.  Thank you so much for sharing.  Sticky-ing this :)

BOgear

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Re: Dealing with Bloggers/Reviewers
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2014, 08:27:45 PM »
Fantastic information @JTT. Cheers.

I have spent far too long dealing with the day to day running of my business, and not enough time focussing on the marketing and future growth. Contacting Bloggers direct is one avenue I am about to start exploring so appreciate your information. Your timing is fantastic!  :) Do you have any suggestions on how to find the right blogger in the first place?

From a "seeding" point of view, your thoughts on contacting YouTubers is fantastic. I will try this angle also. For what it is worth most of my growth in the past year has come directly via Instagram, mainly as our product is a very visual medium (most are custom packs). I have only just started to play with this "seeding" idea on this medium, however can say it works for gaining exposure but not necessarily direct instant sales. One little thing I do is send a surprise "lumpy mail" which doesn't have to be big (usually just stickers or a patch, or a keyring). If done right it is unexpected (getting their address without them knowing is hard) and as a result they usually take a photo of the mailed item and then link back to you. Hey presto more exposure!

Anyway, not trying to hijack your thread. Just an appreciation, and further information in regard to "seeding" on different mediums!

Cheers again JTT
BOgear: http://www.bogear.com.au   |   Blog: http://www.bogear.com.au/blog   |   Instagram/Facebook/Twitter: @bogear

JTT

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Re: Dealing with Bloggers/Reviewers
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2014, 11:21:18 PM »
I have spent far too long dealing with the day to day running of my business, and not enough time focussing on the marketing and future growth. Contacting Bloggers direct is one avenue I am about to start exploring so appreciate your information. Your timing is fantastic!  :) Do you have any suggestions on how to find the right blogger in the first place?

I am not sure I have any great tips for you other than to try to work with the bloggers that you are already reading. That can be a good indicator of quality.

I would also check their advertising page, if they have one. Some bloggers are very transparent with our traffic numbers (though I always undersell mine) and those numbers can give you a good idea of the potential reach of the particular blogger you are considering working with. Similarly, you can check their Twitter followers, Facebook fans, or subscribers in the case of YouTube.

Just remember that social media numbers don't tell the whole story. Facebook limits reach and likes/followers can be bought in a variety of ways. I suppose that unique visitors and subscribers are probably your more reliable indicators when it comes to numbers.

BOgear

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Re: Dealing with Bloggers/Reviewers
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2014, 03:51:32 PM »
Thanks again for the information. Appreciated! :)

Just remember that social media numbers don't tell the whole story. Facebook limits reach and likes/followers can be bought in a variety of ways. I suppose that unique visitors and subscribers are probably your more reliable indicators when it comes to numbers.

Too right. This is something that I have believed since day dot. It is not about the numbers, but the engagement. A smaller bunch of active followers is more valuable than a large group who do not interact. I guess I will look at their content, their reach, coupled with their engagement to make up my mind.

Thanks again for the tips!
BOgear: http://www.bogear.com.au   |   Blog: http://www.bogear.com.au/blog   |   Instagram/Facebook/Twitter: @bogear

1811tactical

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Re: Dealing with Bloggers/Reviewers
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2014, 12:21:43 PM »
Great info!  Thanks guys!
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HRO

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Re: Dealing with Bloggers/Reviewers
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2014, 03:08:50 AM »
Great info guys! Thanks

SunriseTacticalGear

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Re: Dealing with Bloggers/Reviewers
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2014, 09:25:58 AM »
Matt, thanks for sharing.
It's nice to hear a bloggers point of view. I have had a few reviews of my products from paying customers, which I feel we're very sincere. Since I currently build all of my product in house I have a hard time shipping off "free gear". I will keep your opinions in mind as I move forward and grow my manufacturing and sales.
Thanks, Scott

rouge

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Re: Dealing with Bloggers/Reviewers
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2016, 01:59:05 PM »
I spend an awfull lot of time online looking at peoples blogs, its a great way to see other peoples gear and get ideas for your own use....bloggers will open up and fill packs etc its a great way to get a good look inside of them its really made me aware of just how many bloggers there are for tactical gear .....and also how much tactical gear has seeped into mainstream gear
Seems like a sensible idea to reach out to bloggers to me

Though as food for thought i still discover and purchase most gear i use from looking through instagram and pinterest.

Migo

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Re: Dealing with Bloggers/Reviewers
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2016, 01:09:38 AM »
I could just speak out of the german speaking area. Review sobriety is going down. If you want to reviews on big sites you have to send free stuff.
Quality of reviews is going down, you see that the author didn't have any clue what he's talkes about and is just counting down the facts from the manufacturer. No hint that there was a real use (in the field or wherever) and personal experience.
Got the feeling that a lot of guys just writing the reviews to grab the free stuff and I'm worrying that in the future you have to pay money (like an advertising) to get reviews on popular sites.

Fortunately I didn't run a business any more, just stitchbitching for fun and friends - so I could lean back and smile over it, because I didn't truste a lot of reviews any longer.

- Migo

Green Ant

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Re: Dealing with Bloggers/Reviewers
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2016, 06:48:34 AM »
Have been asked by 4 reviewers if they could make a review on my bags.

All of them more or less openly stated already in the first contact that they would want free stuff to do the review in the first place. All of them argued that their review would definitely get me lots of additional transactions.

I asked back "How many more?"

I think three out of four answered that they didn't know and hadn't the slightest clue if that would be one more sold item or 20.

I answered responded "I'm more than ok with giving away an item for free, but that must be of mutual benefit. I've asked what you can give me in return and you don't know. Would you make that deal?" - I didn't hear anything back from them.

The fourth anwered "I'm sure you will sell 10 more of the items if I do the review for you."

I responded "Ok, I'm going to provide you with an affiliate link to the item in my shop and when then purchases have been made, you are eligible for a free item. That's the deal you suggested if I'm not mistaken, right?"

Never heard of him again.

Regards,
Green Ant
Individual Outdoor and Tactical Equipment
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