Over the past few weeks I have been stewing over my opinion of reviews I have seen on other blogs. Let me just get this out quickly for the readers and fellow bloggers out there:
A Press Release is NOT a Review
Why is it not a review? Well, first we need to discuss, what IS a review. Wikipedia refers to them as:
A consumer review refers to a review written by the owner of a product or the user of a service who has sufficient experience to comment on reliability and whether or not the product or service delivers on its promises, otherwise known as product reviews
If this is the case, then a product that has never been opened, used, or accurately tested by a reviewer doesn’t qualify as a review.
(*I realize Wikipedia is not a “reliable” source of research, however, I liked their definition better. If anyone can find something comparable somewhere else, please let me know and I will gladly replace it with something more respected.)
How can a reader know they are, in fact, reading a review?
My number one, most important quality of a review is personal content. If you are reading a review and the reviewer doesn’t say anything personal in it, they may not have even opened the box yet. This is not a reliable source of information; they don’t know any more about the product than you do if you are picking up the box off the shelf.
Next, personal photos. When it doubt… check to see if they included any personal pictures. The only time I would make an exception is with beauty products or clothing… many reviewers lack self confidence and will not take photos of themselves (myself included). Otherwise, they should be there AND they should be there with the product in use out of the box!
Finally, check the length of the review. I can talk about a child’s t-shirt for more than 400 words. If you see less than two [complete] paragraphs about a product… leave the page; it isn’t going to tell you more than what you can find out on the product’s website.
If you don’t do “reviews” please don’t call them one. This is misleading to readers and tarnishes the name “review” for bloggers who DO complete a review. I know you may not care about that, but let me put it to you this way:
If you are receiving a product, preparing a press release in five minutes, posting to you blog and doing a little promotion while….
the blogger next to you has just spent two days with the item, one hour editing pictures, two hours drafting, five hours working on the final, and a week promoting it…
aren’t you sort-of the equivalent of the school bully/jock who doesn’t do his homework but still makes straight A’s?
What should you do if you don’t want to do a review? There are other ways to appropriately post your “Press Release”. You can call it an “Announcement” or “Exciting Release”, have an infographic prepared; but please, refrain from using the term or categorizing it as a “Review” because it is not one.
Business Companies and PR Firms:
Be more clear about what you want! If you want a review, ask for one, and don’t be surprised if a reviewer requests a small fee. After all, an accurate review is becoming the rarity and the time one spends on such is valuable.
If you want a “press release” posted, take the time to have an infographic prepared instead. I think you will find that this will be much more appealing to the reader. You can order one on Fiverr for a whole $5! (Please refrain from sending the same infographic to everyone.. add a little variety.)
Do your homework! Lower your standards on follower numbers and raise your standards on quality. Stop giving away your product to someone who isn’t going to review it properly. There ARE reviewers out there that actually perform a review. You can find them by taking a few minutes to check out their work before you send a shipment.
Before a family purchases a product or curriculum it is vital to read appropriate reviews. Homeschooling curriculum isn’t cheap and it is shaping a child’s future! DenSchool understands this and wants our readers to KNOW what they are going to get from a curriculum company. Does that mean they will be 100% satisfied with a product once it arrives? No, but what it does mean is that they will be better informed to make those important decisions.
When you ask me why I do this when bloggers around me aren’t, I can say:
We review products and curriculum as a service to our readers!