I am approached nearly daily by beauty PR agencies and brands that want to advertise in some way on my OxfordJasmine blog and YouTube. I am always on the lookout for exciting new products to try and tell you about. But half the time I wouldn’t get to hear about it otherwise without this vital contact.
This isn’t a post ranting about PR agencies and the ramifications of paid for posts, sorry. I have no problem with either of those subjects and I don't want to rehash old arguments. PR intervention in blogging is here to stay but it is up to us to set the rules, each to their own. This is just a post offering insight in to my decision making process as to whether I accept an offer to review.
When considering an offer from a company, firstly I ask myself
Does their product excite me? If it excites me then it is likely to be an interesting read for you.
Do I really want to try it?
Would I buy it to review anyway? If not, why not?
Is it cruelty free?
Is it accessible for the majority of my audience?
Who else have they approached (everyone?)?
Does this product reflect my style and persona?
Secondly, I consider the tone and language of the email itself.
Is this a general email, am I addressed by name?
What are they offering in return for my help? This is really important. If it’s someone I know and like then it’s a no brainer. If it’s someone new and unfamiliar then I have to consider whether they deserve my help! I am helping, this is not a formal contractual arrangement or service I am providing! I am putting in my “professional” opinion and time. Not to mention photographing, videoing and all of those take resources and time.
Is my blog or YouTube mentioned?
Do they know I am a cruelty free reviewer?
Then I research the company, especially if I haven’t heard of them before
Main website - about the company
In the news?
Are there any other reviews?
Then I make my decision and sometimes I reply, and sometimes I do not.
Now I also approach companies, to review their products, based on my research of their products, ethos and willingness to engage with social media. I have always assumed they will say no, which I think is the best way to prepare yourself! If they say no, which so far they haven’t, and I am sufficiently interested, I will buy the product and review it anyway, no hard feelings.
I also approach bloggers and YouTube reviewers as part of my job. I am extremely good at it because I have been on the other side too. I cannot be anything but honest and I am choosy about who I contact and why. I am always polite and often my emails come as a nice surprise! I offer the reviewer the opportunity to choose their items for review, unless it is for a particular launch. I don’t expect a review on every single item, or even at all. I am happy to receive feedback privately or via a post or video. It’s all really useful.
There are distinct similarities between reviewing and purchase decision making. We know that brands spend a lot of effort, time and money considering their marketing messages to their customers. You may think I mean you, but I don’t. You and I are secondary customers for most make up brands. The primary customer is not a person but a business like a department store or Boots/Superdrug. We buy what they set out for us. Direct to consumer is the way forwards for purchasing as they really do want to know what you think to make their products better.
The conclusion I have reached and the advice I want to give is this:
Never be afraid to say No and stay true to your blog and its audience.
What do you think?