Getting reviews in the right media is essential for any product-led PR campaign and how to do it correctly can make all the difference to how your company’s product is perceived by consumers. At Vitis PR, we share a few pointers on how to maximise the success of your product reviews programme.

The power of product reviews should not be underestimated. Having your own (or your client’s) product put through its paces in target media and recommended by an independent, expert reviewer is key to its success. Particularly, amid the growing distrust from consumers of online advertising. 

In just a few clicks now, a customer can search for the product they want to purchase, read expert reviews to persuade them whether it is a worthwhile purchase, and immediately buy it. 

Whether you are a technology company with the latest gadget, a healthcare company ready to showcase your new innovation or a beauty entrepreneur with your latest must-have, a well-considered product reviews programme works not only expands your brand’s footprint and credibility but can also work wonders for your SEO.

Keys to success

It is vital to have a good product that works, is easy to use and comes with clear supporting documents as the first step. You need enough samples for your reviewers and delivery shouldn’t take too long.

It’s important here to understand your product. Part of the reviews programme would be writing about it, not just in a press release or media alert but also pitching it verbally to target media and be familiar enough with its competitors. 

Next, a core part of a successful PR product campaign is identifying target journalists (non-paid for reviews) and influencers (some require payment for reviewing)  for your product, and working with them to introduce the product to them and pique interest in reviewing it. 

Building and maintaining media relationships

As the media landscape evolves, there are more journalists than ever before and rapid changes in print/online media mean they move around. In addition to online, traditional print, broadcast media, there are now independent bloggers, vloggers and influencers with considerable followings on YouTube and social media. 

Think about having a good mix of the types of reviewers you select. Ensure that your top-tier media is included but adding an influencer in the right niche may be just as good. A sample media mix for a technology product could include BBC Click, Gadget Show, Expert Reviews and Tech Radar for starters. Do also remember specialist media and consider verticals to expand your reach. 

Do you have up-to-date contact details for your targets? Have you got a good working relationship with them? Ensuring that your contacts either know your brand or have been “warmed-up” with news will facilitate those early stages of introducing your new product to them. 

Once the review has been agreed upon, have a technical person on hand to answer your reviewer’s questions and manage any technical issues – which could lead to a poor review if not attended to. You also need to keep on top of who has your product, when they’re due to review it and whether they’ve reviewed it. Bear in mind that some journalists, especially specialist media have long review queues so you shouldn’t expect coverage immediately. You also need to monitor media outlets to retrieve your coverage for evaluation. 

Timings

An opportune time for a product to be reviewed is at or soon after its launch, however, a product reviews programme does not have to happen at launch. Any current, relevant product that consumers can purchase online has the potential and reason for a journalist to review it. If you are working for a client, rather than conducting PR for your product in house, it’s good to know their marketing plan for any tie-in opportunities, such as any awards that have been won or any marketing campaigns that are coming up.

Types of product reviews

Standalone reviews – it’s important that your core media can roadtest your product by itself thoroughly. A group test or comparison review is a great move to get noticed and gain traction against sometimes bigger names in the marketplace, particularly if you’re confident it can hold its own against its competitors. This is the case even if you do not come “first” in the group round-up. 

Additional activity

Alongside your reviews activity, consider a few well-placed competitions or partnerships with like-minded partnerships to give your product further exposure and solidify your brand’s messages.

These are some of the things to consider when implementing a simple product reviews programme. If you get it right and it is an astute investment for any product you believe in and want to get out there. 

Vitis PR has extensive experience in creating successful product reviews programmes for big and small technology companies. For further information or to see examples of our work, please contact us. 

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