4/23/14

Why Don't Bloggers Review Products Faster?

"Why don't bloggers review products faster?"
"How long could it possibly take to review the product I sent?"
"I better send a follow-up email to make sure the product arrived and maybe that will remind the blogger to hurry up and review it."
"Okay, so if the product is there, why isn't the blog post written yet?"
"It's been a whole week since it was shipped! Maybe I better email the blogger again and get an estimated posting date."
"I bet that review won't ever be posted and now my company out a $20 product plus shipping. Bloggers are so unprofessional."
The Blogging Review Process (in reality)

When a product arrives at my house for review on Planet Weidknecht, it generally falls into one of two categories: perishable or non-perishable. Hopefully that fact is marked on the outside of the box. Perishables are opened immediately, a few quick initial photos are taken, then into the fridge or freezer it goes. Non-perishables are opened (usually within a day or two) then join the review table (which stretches across several tables). At any one time, there are as many as 30 items waiting to be reviewed. Everyone wants their product advertised as soon as possible and bloggers work very hard to achieve a level of balance for all.

Products are reviewed in the order received, unless of course there is a looming deadline agreed upon in advance or the product is accompanied by the generous nudge of a company who actually pays for a blogger's time and work. Most don't. Bloggers also don't work 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, to review products so, not surprisingly, products are seldom reviewed the same week they are received. 

Reviewing a product can be a lengthy process. The first photograph is of the product, either in the packaging or immediately out of the packaging. The photography step is tricky by itself because unless a blogger has a full-on studio (most of us don't) we have to wait for the right lighting, set up the area around the product, select appropriate props, and then take a number of photographs from different angles to find the optimum introductory photo that will entice a reader to take the time to read. 

The next step is to actually use the product, while taking pictures during the process. If it's a food item, it has to be prepared (and photographed) and tasted (and photographed again). If it's a food ingredient, a recipe creation is often necessary or at least a website search to find a recipe that can be used or modified to feature the ingredient. Again, preparation and tasting are photographed extensively. If it's a fashion item, the blogger has to put together an entire look that highlights the product. Since bloggers are often home without other adults around all day, recruiting a stand-in photographer is necessary. It may end up being a six year old or an overworked husband home in the evening, neither of which truly understands how a blogger needs lots of photos taken to find the right one. In addition, finding the right natural background (either inside or outside) and lighting can also be a challenge. Each product comes with its own review challenges, whether it be a frustrating assembly process, an uncooperative child that isn't in the mood for helping, a pet that won't sit still for photos, or a product that just doesn't photograph well. If it's raining, photographs are too dark. If it's too sunny, photographs looked washed out. 

Once the product has been used and photographed, the blogger moves on to the editing phase. From the 20-100 photos of a single product that are uploaded to the computer, usually only about 2-10 actually make it past the approval stage. Woe to the blogger that is unhappy with all the photos and must restart the entire process! Then the approved photos need to be edited, which can include re-sizing, enhancing, cropping, re-naming, and occasionally adding requested overlays or text. 

The next step is to write the blog post. After reviewing hundreds of products, it can be tricky to come up with wording that doesn't sound like every other post on a blog. A blogger needs to be creative, funny, and original, yet sincere, personal, and honest, while writing a blog post of 200-500 words that clearly describes the product, its uses and features, and how it improves the blogger's life in some way. If the product doesn't perform as desired, the blogger is faced with contacting the company for possible replacement or a mutual agreement to forego the review process. Some bloggers are comfortable about posting negative reviews, but I personally prefer to only share products with readers that I can recommend. Once the post is written, it must be re-read multiple times to make sure the wording, grammar, and punctuation are correct. The photos are added to the post, as well as text links to the company's preferred URLs and social media accounts. Bloggers also have to adhere to (and include) FDA disclosures about receiving products or compensation. If a giveaway is part of the review, bloggers must create a giveaway form and insert that into the post. Finally, the post is ready to go live. 

A blogger's job is not done yet for that product. That post is then shared to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, and a host of other sites, in order to reach as many readers as possible. The sponsor must also be notified that the post is live. If it's a giveaway post, it needs to be promoted throughout the entire giveaway time frame. At the end of a giveaway, the blogger must randomly select the winner, contact the winner, wait for a response, and then provide the sponsor with the winner information. Follow-up may be required if a winner doesn't receive their prize in a timely manner. 

Although this is a description of the review process in general (and that's just for ONE product), bloggers may face a host of other challenges along the way, including things beyond their control, like hacked websites or computer crashes. Then there are the pitfalls of everyday life at home that include spouses, children, neighbors, pets, phone calls, deliveries, and the stream of steady noise and confusion that comes from that, all occurring around the blogger in the home while the review process is happening. The blogger is also busy answering the flood of daily emails from readers, PR reps, bloggers, and companies. Keep in mind, the blogger may be working for simply the product received, without any other kind of compensation. 

Yes, blogging is fun, but sometimes it can be difficult to find a balance and it's easy to get overwhelmed. Bloggers put their heart and soul into what they post. They spend tireless hours at the computer not just to get something for "free" (insert hysterical laughter here) but to contribute something meaningful to the rest of the world. 

And THAT'S why bloggers don't review products faster!

P.S. If you'd like a product review, please contact me at LisaWeidknecht@hotmail.com.
StumbleUpon

41 comments:

  1. I love this! Well explained!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great point of view. The fact that some companies email me within 24 hours of receiving their package means they don't actually care if I USED the product. Sorry, that's now how I work.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You so hit this on the head! So much, I feel I need to blog something similar as I am asked many times, after having a product for a day or two, "When will you have the review up". Really ;) LOL

    ReplyDelete
  4. I couldn't agree more! During the Holiday rush, it sometimes took me a month to get the review posted. If I remember correctly, I had to take many pictures of one product on different days, especially if the weather was crappy or I wasn't happy with the first 30 pictures I took. If I have to write several sponsored posts (which usually have a deadline) within the same week, the review might get pushed back a day or two. Luckily, I've only had one or two pushy PR people, wanting the review right then and there. Patience, people! It will save your sanity.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You mean you're not outside waiting on the UPS man with you camera in hand to photograph it and laptop so you can write the post real quick there? LOL, I don't know what a comma is as you can tell.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is why I slowed down on reviewing products and hosting giveaways. When it becomes more work than fun, it's time to change things. If I was retired or working from home I could handle this schedule, but my day job, husband, and 6 year old are enough to make me crazy already!

    You do great work, Lisa, so keep it up and tell those pushy people to back off and give you time to ENJOY their product before posting about it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Definitely well written and entirely correct. Maybe this should be copied by all bloggers (giving you credit of course) and sent to those impatient for the product review!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Bravo in describing all that goes into a product review. I have a small backlog to get done and that's after becoming much more selective in what I'll take for a review.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am trying to cut back on reviews for this reason. You did a great job explaining it Lisa!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sometimes it amazes me how quickly they check in to see how it's going. They should all have to be a blogger for a month so they understand how it works. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Well put!! I know someone asked me how much time I spent on reviewing one product--I said if it's less then and hour of total time: use it; photos; writing and editing -I'm probably NOT doing a good job-- I've tryed to stay away from product that want a review in a tight time frame unless I have nothing on my plate-HA HA RIGHT!

    ReplyDelete
  12. It's so wild to see the process written out in detail. It's a job description worth a nice salary ;-> Ah, wouldn't that be nice.

    Good job Lisa!

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is all so true! I wish more people understood that blogging takes time. Thanks for the great explanation Lisa!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Blogging is a full-time job in itself and some bloggers actually have day jobs as well so budgeting your time can be extremely tough. Plus, we have families and most of the time my home is not quiet so being able to focus can be beyond frustrating.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thank you for writing this post.....Wow you nailed it sister! Awesome I say, awesome. I too wish companies would understand this!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I LOVED it!!!! You nailed it perfectly!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Well said. My dining room table is my review table

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thank you for posting the reality of a bloggers lifestyle and review process. I try to implement some of my reviews into other content so that it isn't a full review and looks natural to google. I usually take 4 to 6 weeks, sometimes longer, depending on the topic. I feel bad when it takes me forever but if I am not being paid or the product is low value I do it when I get to it. Paid gigs come first. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  19. YES! Well said, my friend!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Great post! I am often 6 weeks to get a post up depending on the line on my review table lol

    ReplyDelete
  21. Well done! Great post - I wish I could review stuff faster but it take so long for all of those steps!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Very well said! Doing reviews and giveaways is a job in and of itself. And if the company wants that job done right, they should practice patience. Luckily, I've rarely come across a pushy company.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Great post!! You laid it out very well.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Very well laid out. One additional point is that after all that, the blogger then may have to actually pay for all the work done to review the product since he/she may have to claim the product received as income on their annual taxes. So, that sort of takes away from the "working to receive something for free" aspect.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, yes, taxes. Even the government wants a piece. LOL

      Delete
  25. Great post. Most (non-bloggers) have no idea the amount of time involved.

    ReplyDelete

Your comments bring more sponsors to Planet Weidknecht, which brings more great information and giveaways to the blog. I appreciate your comments and read every single one. Thanks for stopping by my blog today!