POSTING MAINLY POSITIVE PRODUCT REVIEW POSTS MAKES A BLOG LESS TRUSTWORTHY
If phrases such as ‘perfect’, ‘must-have’, ‘essential’ and can’t live without’ more commonly appear in your content than comparison and critique you may be doing a disservice to your audience.
You may not feel that product review posts highlighting flaws fit the aspirational aesthetic of your website, but it’s a necessary evil if you want to be influential.
Browsing beauty, fashion and lifestyle blogs can leave you with a sense of deja vu. Many offer pretty, enthusiastic accounts of new or favourite products. An entertaining hobby for the creator, but one which may be lost on readers.
A successful blog is one which offers relevant and useful content. To be truly useful you need to create something of value to your audience, something they need or can’t get elsewhere.
BLOGGING TO GET FREE STUFF
Before spending money many people research their potential purchases. There’s lots of evidence to show that the opinion of friends and family is more trusted than advertising. Consequently word of mouth marketing is the most powerful means of persuading someone to buy something.
Generating word of mouth buzz about a brand is the job of PR and marketing people. Sometimes this is done by giving away free products.
By gifting a product companies are hoping to buy bloggers’ favour. It’s human nature. In exchange they get free advertising space on a site or social media channel and a link back to their website, helping their search engine rankings.
BENEFIT OF HONEST PRODUCT REVIEW POSTS
Honesty may impact your relationship with PR and marketing companies. But your following should grow to appreciate your authenticity.
Reputation is built on whether the experience of something lives up to the expectation. You could be swayed into creating positive content about something just because you got it for free. But if someone buys it based on your recommendation and doesn’t like it then this could affect their opinion of you. It may make them less likely to trust you in the future too.
CONSTRUCTIVE PRODUCT REVIEW TIPS
If your aim is to present yourself as an expert in your field then use your position to help your readers.
You might have access to a range of similar products. This puts you in a good position to share your knowledge and experience.
Compare and contrast them. Offer alternatives. Help people to work out what is value for money and what not to waste it on. They’ll value your opinion.
RULES ABOUT PRODUCT REVIEW POSTS
Google has published best practice for bloggers reviewing products they got free from companies. It’s stated its intentions to penalise websites which don’t properly disclose advertising. In theory this includes being sent a product for free in exchange for you writing about it and linking to the company’s website from your own.
The Advertising Standards Agency has also produced guidance on the rules around branded content.
Many do disclose if a post was sponsored, or if they were given an item for free. But not everyone.
What do you think? Does social media feel a more comfortable place to share such tips and criticism? Is what’s actually happening is that bloggers only choose the best products to write about and don’t waste their time on the bad?