I will never forget the feeling of being offered my first product for completely free, in exchange for an honest video review on YouTube. It was the Coosh Headset from Bic (yes, the pen company) and I enjoyed my time with it — regardless of the questionable name.
Okay, so reviewing the Coosh itself wasn't that exciting, but surely this was the start of something big. Between then and now, I have put a lot of time into building my channel and forming relationships with larger, more well-known brands. Some of these brands include GoPro, LG and HP — with LG being one of my favorites.
So, you're probably wondering how you can do the same. It's honestly not that difficult. Follow my pointers below and you'll be reviewing products in no time.
Build your brand before anything else
Whether you're making videos on YouTube or blogging via WordPress, I cannot stress enough how important the overall image of your brand is. If a company is going to send you a product for review, they need to know the investment will be worth it.
Does your YouTube channel need thousands of subscribers? No, but it certainly doesn't hurt. And the same goes for the traffic analytics on your website. Numbers aren't everything, but brands do pay attention to this sort of data.
My best recommendation before doing anything else? Create original and interesting content. Show the world you're good at what you do, and then take things from there.
Start with smaller, more affordable products
I'm not going to lie, it amuses me when newer, less established creators expect to receive expensive products from some of the world's most popular brands. Thinking this way is simply not realistic. You need to start out small — much smaller, in fact.
Once my review of the Coosh was complete, I began reaching out to companies in hopes of reviewing some different products. Obviously I wanted to do things right, so I started out small. I contacted companies that I believed would be easier to get a hold of. These primarily included manufacturers of iPhone and iPad cases. Because the average case retailed for between $30–$40 at the time, there was no real risk involved.
Fast-forwarding through time a bit, I did indeed get my hands on quite a few iPhone and iPad accessories for review. Not only was I building relationships with brands, but my channel was also growing. Easy win-win.
It's that simple. All you need to do is ask at the right time. The worst that can happen is rejection, and believe me — you will hear "no" all the time. That's just how it works. But don't let that discourage you.
Present yourself professionally
"What up, LG? Can I have that new 4K monitor you just released, yo? That shit looks bangin'. It would look sooo pimp next to my Mac Pro. You dig?"
If you contact a company with a request like that, you're going to make yourself look like a fool. And you know what? They will probably laugh at you, and deservingly so.
Really though, it's important that you take this seriously. If a company is willing to send you something for completely free, then you need to make the experience worthwhile. What I like do is work off a review template document I have saved on iCloud, that way I can access it from any of my devices.
The template includes a bit of information on my channel, links to past reviews I have done, as well as what I am looking to get out of the review I'm inquiring about. Having this self-made template allows me to quickly contact companies in bulk, making things easier on my end. All I need to do is replace specific text that is relevant to that particular review request.
Know where to look
Everything is together and you're ready to contact companies, but where do you look? This is probably one of the most common questions I receive in regards to product reviews. The solution is actually quite simple, but your experience can certainly vary, depending on who you're trying to get a hold of.
The first place I always go to is the company's website. I usually start with their contact page and see if there is anything I can use. You generally want to stay away from typical contact forms and instead focus on locating information relevant to the media and/or press.
Can't find what you are looking for? Not a problem.
Sometimes it's smart to give Google a try, and this is actually your best bet. Using search keywords like "Company media contact" and "Company press contact" will quickly narrow down your search. Obviously you'll want to replace "Company" with the brand you're trying to work with.
If going the route of Google doesn't work, you might want to consider turning to social media — particularly Twitter. Tweet the company you're interested in and just hope for a response. Because Twitter heavily relies on real-time interaction, you might be surprised at how quickly they get back to you. Contacting them via a Direct Message is also a viable option.
When all else fails, it's important to remain confident in yourself and keep trying. If a company turns you down, which they most likely will (it happens to me all the time), then move on to the next company. There are hundreds of other companies that are worth contacting, so don't be picky.
Remain consistent and true to yourself, and you'll be reviewing products in no time. I can guarantee it.