Posted in Tips for bloggers and expiring

How To Review Products and Host Giveaways – A Step by Step Guide

This is a question I often get asked.  Blog hosts want to know what I do to get products for review & for giveaway hostings.
This is the process I went and go through:
Preparing & Writing the Review
  1. Build up a visitor count!/followers. This isn’t completely necessary, but I myself didn’t actually start working on reviews & giveaway hostings until I felt that I had enough followers to attract the giveaway sponsors’ interest.  Of course, it’s all relative because building up a following without any giveaways being hosted on your site might take too long a time.  You may want to give something away yourself at first to start bringing traffic to your site or just start trying to get reviews/giveaway sponsors anyway.
  2. Sign up for Google Analytics, Feedburner, Twitter, Facebook Page and/or any other social media that interests you.  You will need to gather information from these sites to present as statistics to possible giveaway sponsors. The majority ask for these details.
  3. Find someone to sponsor that very first giveaway on your site.  Maybe it’s a friend, someone you know, or someone who’s giveaway item you have won.  They may be willing to help you out with the giveaway but not necessarily send you a review item.  You have to make do with what you have in the beginning!
  4. Write a Review & Giveaway Policy. Feel free to read mine to get an idea of what it should look like or take a look at other giveaway blogs’ policies.
  5. Write an e-mail template and/or a Media Kit to send to different companies/businesses that may be interested in a review and/or giveaway.  Make sure you write all important information in that e-mail (Who you are, your website, your website’s traffic stats, what you want to do, if you have any requirements, etc). Also, keep in mind that sponsors look at grammar and spelling so do try to write the e-mail as best as you can and proofread it.
  6. Keep organized! Make a document where you can keep track of when you contacted a company, which company, their response, their review & giveaway item, and where the process stands.  It’s very easy to lose track of all the companies’ responses.
  7. When writing reviews, make sure to be as honest as you can without damaging the company.  If the product is that horrible that you cannot write a positive review, it might be best to write them a very polite e-mail and let them know that you cannot write a positive review, rather than posting it.
  8. Be aware that companies will look at your site and read former reviews/giveaways that you have written. Make sure that spelling and grammar are correct, that your reviews are well written and that you put effort into them and into displaying the company/products in good light.
  9. Provide an option for  businesses/companies/stores to write YOU an e-mail if they’re interested in a giveaway sponsorship.  Place a form or your e-mail address somewhere in your blog or site, either on a page of it’s own or somewhere on your template where it is made clear that you review products or host giveaways.  A lot of blogs have a “PR Welcome” image on their sidebar or a little blurb.  I actually got some awesome giveaway sponsors this way.
  10. Create a consistant format for your reviews and giveaways.  Don’t make each review/giveaway too different from the other. You want a format that flows and makes sense.  Options for what to write as part of the review are: an interview, placing pictures of your favorite items, writing about the sponsor’s website or store, reviewing the item they sent you, etc.
  11. Set up your giveaway entry options.  Make sure you include any options the giveaway sponsor may want, like picking a favorite item from their store, giving more entries for purchases, following them on Twitter, etc.  Ensure that the entries place the sponsor as a priority and NOT your blog.  The sponsor is trusting you to promote their product and/or store as best as you can, and you aren’t doing that if you’re making the mandatory entry to follow YOUR blog.
  12. Practice! The more you write, the easier it will get.
Preparing and Writing the Giveaway
  1. Create a consistant format for giveaways.  Don’t make each review/giveaway too different from the other.
  2. Spellcheck and prooread. Looking professional is very important.
  3. Make entry options linkable.  For example, if you provide an entry for Twitter followers, make sure you place a link to your Twitter account.  It’s annoying to the participants to hunt for links.  They may not bother and that’s a loss of followers for you!  (For people who use Google forms, you can’t place clickable links but you can write the URL underneath the entry option.  Participants will just have to copy/paste it.)
  4. LINK TO SPONSORS.  Anywhere in your review or giveaway where the sponsor is mentioned, those words should link to their website/store. Remember: promoting the sponsor is top priority.
  5. Clearly state the mandatory entry. Make it bold if necessary or a different color… whatever works for you.  Just make sure that above all, it’s clear that there is a mandatory entry.
  6. Clarify whether the participants should post separate comments for each entry.
  7. Clarify where the giveaway is open to! (Worldwide, US, Canada, etc)
  8. Clarify what the expiration date is.
  9. Clearly state the giveway prize and place a GOOD picture of it.
  10. Keep track of your giveaways.  Make sure you close them when they expire, and you may even disable commenting or the entry form to avoid confusion.
If something is left unanswered or if you have further questions, please feel free to write me an e-mail to internationalgiveaways[at]gmail[dot]com or fill out the form here.