March 26, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Brand Partner Part 1: The Value in Product Reviews and Giveaways

Brand Partner Part 1: The Value in Product Reviews and Giveaways

value of product reviewsBefore I was a marketer I was a mom.  When my daughter was born, though I intended to, I never went back to work. I took off 3 years to stay home and soak up my babies. I was lucky not only to stay home, but also to be blessed with incredibly easy babies. All bragging aside, in the early months I found myself with quite a bit of time on my hands. For the first time in my life I had all the time I could dream of to do my favorite thing- craft. I took to craft blogs for inspiration (pre-Pinterest days) there I was introduced to some of my current favorite brands. These introductions were almost exclusively through brand partnerships. A brand would offer the blogger product to test and the blogger would, in return, share a review and often a giveaway on her blog. Because I became a brand advocate after first being introduced in a product review, its understandable I feel so passionately about this form of marketing.

Lets go through the value of reviews and giveaways and then gain insight on how to choose a valuable reviewer:

What is the value of a review and giveaway?
The value at its core is brand advancement, getting your brand in front of the target audience in the most successful, efficient, cost-effective way to market. Since there are blogs about any given topic under the sun, blogs are an ideal platform for nearly every consumer brand. So what can a blog-based review and giveaway do?

Drive Traffic 
The simple truth is a review generates interest and interest generates traffic. When a large group with related interest to your product is introduced to something new and potentially valuable to them they will want to know more than a reviewer can provide.  They are directed to your site to find additional information and just like that, your traffic is thriving

Increase Reach
If the blog subscribers like what they see they will be compelled to stay in touch with you. Many giveaways will reward this desire by allowing interested parties more entries into the giveaway by following and sharing your brand on social media, which results in expontentially increased reach.

Improve Authority
With every credible, industry-applicable (I stress the importance of these adjectives) link pointing to your site your domain authority has potential to grow. Domain authority is actually an important signal with strong correlation to high organic search rankings. A higher domain authority than your competitors means that your site is more likely to rank higher in search engines.  A great way to increase your page authority is through inbound links from high-ranking sites (NOT through spammy link directories). More about this later.

What makes a valuable reviewer?
Bloggers amass a following with similar interests. If you find the right fit for your brand they can become your followers, too. How do you choose the right blogger to represent your brand? What qualities prove to be most valuable for you?

value of product reviewsPopularity
I know you were taught that popularity isn’t everything, but the reality is that in the world of marketing, popularity is everything. In the real world being popular means you have influence and a blogger with influence is like gold. Check the site’s monthly page views, unique visits per month, and social media followers for a start. The image in this blog shows a comprehensive analytics gauge for a popular lifestyle blog Dear Crissy. Check for a similar list of statistics on the blogger’s ‘About Me’ page or ‘Advertise with Me’ page when considering a review on a blog.

value of product reviewsAuthority Ranking
Rankings such as mozRank give you an outside, unbiased evaluation of the blogs ‘authority.  It’s best to use Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA) as comparative metrics when doing research in the search results and determining which sites/pages may have more powerful/important link profiles than another. While more specific metrics like mozRank can answer questions of raw link popularity and link counts can show the raw quantities of pages/sites linking, the authority numbers are high level metrics that attempt to answer the question “How strong are this site’s links in terms of helping them rank for queries in Google?” Having inbound links from high authority sites that are relevant to our industry improves your authority for search. Just be careful that you don’t focus exclusively on this factor, as Google constantly changes how they rank pages and if you’re doing a large volume of links that aren’t relevant to your audience or industry, it could have a negative effect on your rankings.

Quality
Finding similar lists on a blog will almost guarantee the blogger has some experience in brand partnerships. Though these lists are a pretty good indication, don’t blindly trust simply because a blog has a high rank or significant traffic. Quality over quantity.  Read some of the reviews, check out the other brands she represents, and skim some of the other topics she writes about. These are important factors in ensuring a quality review. Her previous reviews should be well written and cover the product features well. Ideally, the other brands would be interesting to your buyer persona. And last, but most important, the blog topics should be targeting your brands target buyer persona. I cannot stress this point enough. If you sell trendy, diamond jewelry having a coupon blog review your product is not effective marketing. Couponers may not be the target audience for a high-end brand no matter how large their follower base is. Focusing on the buyer that you’re targeting will mean that the blog’s audience is getting the most relevant product to suit their needs.

There is no doubt in the potential value of blog reviews and giveaways. The key is to find the right fit for your brand. Both parties in a brand partnership should share a common target audience; the blog’s reader base and your buyer base should have very similar interests. This makes the partnership mutually beneficial. The return on investment for a brand partnership is really incredible. Partnerships with the right site can increase not only traffic, reach and authority, but also visibility. And visibility is the drive of marketing.

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