Most of us read reviews of movies, books, games and CDs before making a purchase decision. Well, it’s often the same with other products too. With so many choices in every product category, we generally look for critical reviews of a class of products to help guide our decision making.
Find the trade publications, consumer magazines/newspapers, web sites and our social media networks that publish product reviews on a regular basis. If you have a tech product, contact the publication’s test labs or other staffers to find out if and when they’re evaluating your type of product. As them what the evaluation procedure is that they follow. If all goes well, you’ll get some kind of “Editor’s Choice,” or “Top Pick” ranking in the published review, which, believe me, looks just great in article reprints, in sales collateral, on your web site – and, yes, as the subject of a news release.
But be aware that you can’t control or influence the evaluation process or results. They do have editorial integrity. So while a rave review can do wonders for your sales, a negative ranking can have just the opposite effect. Take a “warts and all” look at your product’s overall strengths and weaknesses before going forward with a product review.
In consumer publications we call these reviewers new product release editors or gift guide editors. And bloggers must come clean on product reviews. FTC regulations on blogger payola and freebies went into effect on Dec. 1, 2009. Bloggers, Twitterers and others who write online reviews or endorse products using new media must disclose when they receive free merchandise or payment for writing about an item. This is a controversial subject. Fueling the controversy over the new guidelines is the fact that mainstream media, such as newspapers and magazines, are exempt. But in an age of media transparency, bloggers must play fair if they want the public’s respect.