A great way to promote your online business and have very targeted traffic sent to your site is through reviews by bloggers and owners of industry resource sites - but grabbing the attention of these people can be quite a challenge. You can wait and hope that some of these people stumble across you; but it's far more effective to reach out to them.
Don't rush it and research
At times I get notes along the lines of "How do we get our product reviewed?". That's it, nothing further. These drive-by requests will often be ignored. If you're serious about reaching out to related sites and blogs, spend some time researching the popular destinations and focus your efforts on those. This is not the type of strategy you want to rush and quality is better than quantity. You're better off spending 10 minutes researching on one popular site than 1 minute each on ten sites; for reasons that will become apparent through this article.
Personalize your request
Find out the site owner/blogger's name and use it. Make mention of something you've seen on their site. This level of personalization helps make your target feel they have been singled out rather than just another email address on a list.
Don't be demanding
I've had some product review requests come through that were so aggressive and egotistical that I didn't even bother to look at the site. Stuff like "Why are you promoting X? Our product is far superior - check it out now; I'm sure you'll be changing who you promote quickly". Do I really need to explain why this is a "don't"? :).
By the same token, don't go over the top with schmooze - the blogger/site owner will appreciate a compliment, but crawling can have the same effect as being too demanding; it can be quite repulsive.
Easy on the hype
It's great to be enthusiastic about your products and services, but keep the fluff and puffery to a minimum. We've read it all before :).
Include key information
You may get lucky and hit a quiet patch in your target's schedule, so ensure they have easy access to all the information they need in order to publish a review. Include unique selling points and differentiators from your competition.
It's also important not to overload your target with information - they should be able to read your entire email in under a minute. As your target will likely scan the note rather than read it in depth the first time around, paragraphs should be brief and dot points used where possible. After an initial introduction; appeal to the WIIFM (What's In It For Me) factor with one of the following in order to grab attention.
Offer a freebie
This is a great way to get noticed. It's hard for a blogger to promote something if they can't experience what it's like. While sending out free products or free access to your services can be a little costly; if you've done your research right, the return on investment can be huge.
Offer revenue share
Resource site owners and bloggers need to pay their bills too :). If you have an affiliate program, make mention of it. An offer of revenue share is a very powerful way to attract the notice of a reviewer. It doesn't necessarily mean they are mercenary, it's just compensation for their time and gives the person added incentive to not only write a review, but to promote that review on an ongoing basis instead of it just winding up being buried on their site.
This is a tricky one that I don't see offered too often except via services that specialize in paid reviews - it's an approach to be handled carefully. Many bloggers are idealistic and the thought of them being "bought off" can be quite repugnant. Still, as I said, we all need to pay our bills so the offer of compensation for time isn't totally off limits. You can mention it along these lines:
As much as we love to get stuff, we love to give stuff too - so if you can swing a special offer for your target's readers, that will be generally *very* well received and can be a critical factor in whether your note is acted on, filed away for later or deleted.
As mentioned, resource sites and popular blogs can be inundated with requests for reviews; so it's likely that you may not grab your target's attention the first time around. Keep track of all those whom you approach and if you haven't heard back within a week, follow up with something like this:
Sample review canvassing note
Based on all those points, here's a sample note you can base your approach on - the offer you use will just depend on the nature of the site you're targeting - you might offer one
WIIFM aspect or all four; just depends on how keen you are to get a mention:
In the interests of transparency and disclosure, please note that the owner of Taming the Beast.net often receives goods and services mentioned in reviews for free, or may receive payments or affiliate commissions for advertising or referring others to merchants of products and services reviewed.
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