Review Bloggers Take Stock!

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In the Blogosphere, it’s so easy to get absorbed into the “rat race” when you review products/services on your blog.

At some point of time you want to review what Blogger X is reviewing or want to go on the blog trips that Blogger Y is going to and  without you realizing it, the heart and focus of your blog de-rails off track.

 

There are a few things I’ve learned over time and from experience and I sincerely hope these little nuggets of wisdom will help you, irrespective of whether you are a newbie review blogger or seasoned.

 

  1. Review products/services your family can use. Don’t feature products just because another blogger has featured the same.
  2. Be true to yourself AND your readers. Don’t copy (or steal) another blogger’s content. Be yourself .
  3. Don’t be desperate for traffic. Write good content regularly and the followers will troop in automatically.
  4. The Blogosphere is HUGE. There IS space for everyone. Don’t get nasty or mud sling just because another blogger gets to review a product, attend an event or enjoy an opportunity you wish you had. Over time you WILL get there.
  5. Getting recognized by brands and PR companies does NOT happen over night. It takes time, hard work on your blog, sincere content and genuine interaction on your social media channels.
  6. Remember to stay clear away from product overload. It will only result in a burn out and burn bridges with your “sponsors” when you write a half hearted post or publish the post months later.
  7. ENJOY what you do. As soon as what you’re doing becomes a chore, take a step back to see what went wrong. {Sometimes a bloggy break helps put things into perspective!}
  8. NO product, service, blog gig, campaign and/or opportunity is EVER more important than the needs of your family. NEVER forget that!

 

Do you have any bloggy nuggets of wisdom?

 

 

About Marina

Marina is the grateful, Texas-based, Mommy of a book-loving, 8 year old daughter, a 4 year old son who loves all things that fly and a serene 6 month old daughter. Her husband (and best friend) is her biggest support as she shares snippets from the awesome life God has blessed them with on Mommy Snippets.

What tides her through each day?...A hot cup of cardamom chai and Philippians 4:13!

Comments

  1. 1

    Good tips, though I do get burnt out sometimes I look at my blog as a job since it provides us an extra income. So at these times I slow down and post the necessary until I feel up to it again.

  2. 2

    Marina, great (and important) post. It seems like every time I turn around, there’s a dozen new people who think they can be a blogger. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’m some renaissance woman BUT blogging (WELL) is an art form. It takes effort and talent and dedication and, well, tons of other things.

    #2 shouldn’t even need to be said, but, sadly, it does. #1 is important as well.

    I wish every single blogger would take their work as seriously as you and I, but alas, that is not the case. :(

    But we can try to lead by example. :)

  3. 3

    These are great tips!! I really try to stick to all the tips you listed especially products that are reviewed… I don’t want “stuff” to pile up around the house! I want things we can really use!!

  4. 4

    Love the tips!! It’s hard being a review blogger. I’ve stepped back a few times and taken on less things and am more picky with what I do do now.

  5. 5

    I am just learning on how to pick and choose better. When I first started out I was on major overload! Great tips!

  6. 6

    Thank you for the amazing tips and reminders for me! As a blogger, I have taken the attitude to support and encourage others and be happy for them and the opportunities they have. Sure makes life a lot easier when I can focus on rejoicing for them. At first I accepted every opportunity but now there are way more opportunities I decline than accept.

  7. 7

    Great suggestions! Very well said.

  8. 8

    Great post Marina but I do have another tip to add.

    You should NEVER stalk another review blog and sit and go thru their archives and contact every single company/sponsor that they worked with and as soon as that blog posts a new review you hammer that sponsor too. We have a handful of bloggers who are contacting all of the companies we have worked with in the past and in regards to new ones we post, they contact those within a few hours too. A lot of the companies we work with are “first timers” and they don’t like getting a gazillion emails.

    In addition, you should NEVER bash another review blog to a sponsor. We have had 3 other bloggers email our sponsors and bash us to them and it totally back fired on them b/c those sponsors showed us their emails and think they are unprofessional for doing that. They shot themselves in their own foot by doing that!

  9. 9

    Great tips. I especially love #8. I have had opportunities to take my blog to a higher level, but have thought and prayed about it and have decided the blog is a part-time venture. I do my very best with the sponsors I represent, but I don’t take on too many, otherwise family suffers.

  10. 10

    Beautifully written!!
    Thank you!

  11. 11

    Every blogger that writes reviews should read this. It should be part of “Blogger Rules”. I’ve learned many of your tips the hard way – by trial and error. So nice of you to share so others learn in advance.

  12. 12

    Another reason, I just appreciate you! Kindred spirits! :)

  13. 13

    Great tips. I think we all get burnt out sometimes or just have writers block. But it is normal and somehow we overcome it.

  14. 14

    What awesome advice! Thanks for sharing.

  15. 15

    Great tips. As a new blogger I find it hard to refuse any offer. But as you wrote with time, I know I will be able to choose and pick. And thanks for the advice on overload and stalking other blogs. I try to stay true to myself and write and post what I know my readers will love.

  16. 16

    Thanks for all of the tips. I’m just getting over a bought of writer’s block myself and this post came at the right time for me. :)

  17. 17

    I completely agree with you on this. I have had to make clear priorities and set expectations early.

  18. 18

    Love the last point! It is so important to remember that family comes before the blog.

  19. 19

    Great tips. For me, I just had to learn to say no…and I do it a lot now! It’s better to have a few strong relationships with brands, than dozens of insignificant relationships.

  20. 20

    Recently I got an offer from a sponsor to write a review of a product I haven’t used, to write it only according to photos they’ll send me and according to manufacturer’s description. Of course, I refused it… I mean what kind of a review is that?

  21. 21

    These are really great tips! I’ve recently started diving into the world of reviews on my blog. One thing I’ve quickly learned is not to take on too many reviews at once. It can overload not only you, but also your blog and your audience.

  22. 22

    Your #1 is the same as mine! If it’s not something you do or can use why bother reviewing it, right? I made that decision right off the bat.

  23. 23

    Until I read your post and the comments, I had no idea that there was actually a niche of “review bloggers.” I used to write a book review blog and the books piled up (so many were sent unsolicited, yet I still felt obliged to read and review in a timely manner) and I quickly got overwhelmed. So I can see where your advice would be very relevant to bloggers who review many products. It’s also relevant to someone like myself who isn’t currently reviewing products but might consider reviewing a few here and there at some point down the line. Thanks for your honest advice!

  24. 24

    Yes to all of these. I think staying true to yourself/your readers is extremely important. There have been times I’ve lined up way too many sponsored posts and felt I burned myself out (not to mention, no reader is going to want to read so many sponsored posts in a row). It’s difficult sometimes to find that balance.

  25. 25

    Great tips! I have passed on many opportunities because they weren’t a good fit for me and my readers. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so picky, but I have to keep reminding myself that I will be better for it in the long run.

    Visiting you from SITS!

    ~ Ferly
    Gifts We Use {to grow, love and serve}

  26. 26

    Great thoughts! It is a tough balance sometimes getting to where you want to be and wanting to dive in head first and do everything! Great perspective!

  27. 27

    Great tips! I would like to work more with brands but I know it will come in time. I have turned things down that didn’t make sense for my blog.

  28. 28

    Definitely great tips, must remember that the blogesphere is endless and it’s not a race to the finish. Thanks!

  29. 29

    Great post and great tips. I work with a lot of companies and have been since Oct. 2010. I chose to write reviews because of an incident that happened with a product that I personally purchased for my [at the time] newborn daughter. Long story short, it failed and could have seriously hurt her. After not receiving any kind of help after contacting the company, I ended up contacting the BBB. I eventually decided that I would just start a site with my opinion on products. If I couldn’t get help, I was going to do it myself. And I did.

    I do agree with what Kristin said; a lot of people are starting to blog and honestly, aren’t very good at it. I believe a lot of these bloggers just do it to get the free products. I’ll admit, of course I like the free stuff too; it helps my family out a lot. But, I love being able to give people an honest opinion on something, especially if it’s one of those “I wonder if it really works” products or if it’s a company/product that deserves more then what they’re getting.

    In fact, not to long after I started my blog, I had three of my friends ask if I could teach them how to blog. I helped them with what I could and eventually they were on their own. The first one (Girl Number 1) that I helped did a really great job on her reviews. She actually gave useful information in her reviews, took her time, and used proper grammar/punctuation. The second one (Girl Number 2) I helped was completely different. She wanted all of the hard work done for her (gaining followers, Facebook Fans, review products, etc). It was only obvious that she only wanted the free stuff and she didn’t care about anything else. Her reviews were sloppy, hard to read (bad font), and uninformative. She would use incorrect grammar, punctuation, and spelling. She even went as far as using curse words to describe what she thought of the product or company. This only happened if she actually took the time to write her own post; in the beginning she was copying and pasting text from my reviews into her own. She actually copied from ‘Girl Number 1′ and kept the affiliate code intact. In multiple posts that she made, she mentioned that she didn’t even try the product or that she was giving the extra [giveaway item] away to her friend or family. I could go on and on about her horrible blogging but that’s not the point I had for this comment. The third person didn’t make it very far at all. She created a blog and only wrote 4-5 posts that were in the “product vs. product” format. She hasn’t touched her blog since.

    After several months passed, the first two people I helped seemed to switch places. Girl number one changed her way of writing reviews. She was just looking to get the product, get it posted, and move on to the next. Her reviews consisted of a paragraph of copied content taken from the companies website and a few sentences of her own. The few sentences she would include weren’t even useful. She would not state any information about the product she was reviewing, nor did she state her opinion. She began using large glitter graphics as her signature in all of her posts, no longer included links to the product/company page, and [just like Girl Number 2] was not even using the products before creating her posts. As of April 30th of this year she hasn’t created any new content. Girl Number 2 began to write her reviews with more thought, better grammar, proper spelling and punctuation. They even included useful information about the company/product [sometimes in her own words] and she got better with explaining what her thoughts were after using it. To this day, she still posts on her blog and she’s doing a good job. However, she still has a lot of things that would need to be improved if she wanted to take her blog to the next level.

    I’m not a perfect review blogger and I’m not claiming to be one. I actually find it hard sometimes to write a review. I’ll be stuck on a post not knowing how to start the first paragraph or not be able to think of useful information that’s not already available on the product page. I’m sure some of my punctuation is incorrect or that I miss using the correct ones. Overall, I think it’s pretty good. If I have strong feelings toward something or if I can highly relate to a topic, I can write pretty good, thought out posts. I’m always learning new things and will continue to as long as I remain in the ‘Blogosphere’. The first mistake I made was requesting too much product for review in a short amount of time. I ended up getting backed up, which just made me feel overwhelmed, stressed and guilty. My blogging did feel like a job at one point and I didn’t like feeling that way. It was supposed to be fun for me. Since I’ve moved and had a bit of a break, I’m gradually getting back into it all.

    Sorry for the long comment; just something I could relate to and that I had something to say about. =)

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