When can I start contacting companies for review product for my blog?

by Robb Sutton

There was a question posed to me recently that I thought was great content for a blog post. It’s great how that works out isn’t it?! The question was…

When can I start contacting companies for review product for my blog? I only have about 100 visitors a day…is it too early?

The short answer? No! It’s never too early to start contacting manufacturers, companies and other firms in search of growing a long term relationship that will eventually lead to product reviews. Notice…I didn’t say that you are going to get something right off the bat just for asking. Each company may or may not have an idea in their head about review product and how much traffic is needed before they will hand you something for free or to return after the review process. In most cases…they actually don’t, so your highly attentive 100 readers might be just the small group they were looking for!

Typically, you want to start small and work your way up. Do not go after the biggest fish in the sea with a half assed blog design and an idea. If you do not have at least some track record to pull off of…you are going to get laughed out of email and phone call oblivion and that respect will be hard to earn back. When you are small and just starting out…treat it that way! Reach out to companies in your niche and start to build a relationship with the employees. They are going to…in most cases…really enjoy your enthusiasm and dedication to a product that they put their lives into as well.

A lot of the time, you are going to get no response at all or a quick no. That is ok too. Keep plugging away and start relationships built upon credibility that you will be able to use in your company and review resume for the future. Remember, every company that you have a working relationship with is now part of your resume that you can further build on. Also remember, just because you didn’t receive and immediate answer does not mean that you are not on that prospective companies radar. I have run into situations in the past where my answer came months later. They had kept my email all that time and they were watching. Once the decision makers were comfortable with me and my track record, they moved forward with the offer.

Having said all of that, there are several things I would have in place before writing that first email or picking up the phone for that first cold call:

  • Professional looking blog design – If you want people to take you seriously…you need to look serious. Have your own domain name and a professional looking blog design. Your name at blogspot.com reviewing the latest in electronics is not going to work. You have to treat this venture as a start up company and present it as such.
  • Reviews in the bank – Have reviews that you can pull off of to show a track record. Do not blindly email companies with no history of actually performing a review. Ideally, I would have at least 20 quality reviews in the archives before going after some of the bigger fish in your industry.
  • A plan – You would be surprised how many bloggers get a “sure, that sounds like a great idea…how do we get started?” and they don’t have an answer. Lay out your review process and stick to a plan. The companies you are dealing with are going to want to see that you are organized.

Other than that…you should be good to go! Trial and error are going to show you how your industry, niche responds to the whole idea and you will have to adjust during the process. Start small and think big…

Image above by placbo

7 comments

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7 comments

Aaron Mielke April 21, 2009 - 8:32 am

Great points Robb.

Thanks for this read this morning. As you know, I am in the planning stages of my own blog so your tips and advice could not be coming at a better time. Thanks!

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Mike April 21, 2009 - 2:22 pm

Thanks for going into further detail. I’ve started doing reviews on my coffee blog, building up the database. I’m also working on creating relationships with companies that can provide me with products to review. So far, it’s going pretty well. I have one company sending me some coffee to review, and they’re even going to link to my review from their blog, so it’s a double win for me.

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Robb Sutton April 21, 2009 - 3:12 pm

@ Mike

Thanks for the question!! Great to hear you are already seeing results. Keep it up!

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Paul April 22, 2009 - 4:50 am

Great post πŸ™‚ I’m currently looking at advertising and then approaching companies and local bike shops to try and work out reviews etc. Some sound advice in your post- appreciated!

On another note- can we please link exchange??? :/ or even banner exchange? I’m happy to add a 125px x 125px banner to my site.

Happy trails!

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Aimee Pickett April 24, 2010 - 9:36 pm

This is a good post! I have been scouring google looking for information on how to get started on reviewing products and this is the best one I found by far. I have actually contacted about 3 companies and have heard from 1 so far, telling me that I do not have enough traffic, which I already knew, but I figured it never hurts to try. I’m wondering how to get my blog “out there”? I am using wordpress and haven’t gotten my own domain yet (my budget will not allow it right now). I am a member of an online sweepstakes website, so I get a little traffic from there, and I have also subscribed to other people’s blogs with similar issues/interests as me, but still haven’t gotten a whole lot of traffic. I guess in time it will come. Also, does anyone know where/how I can get a custom button? I do not know how to make them, but maybe someone could point me in the right direction. Anyway, great post! Have a good rest of the weekend.

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Robb Sutton April 29, 2010 - 7:20 am

What custom button are you looking for?

Keep up the great work!

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Aimee Pickett April 29, 2010 - 1:10 pm

Hi Robb, I am looking for a button that has the name of my blog on it, where people can add it to their website to advertise my blog. Thanks for your reply!

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