As both a blogger and a YouTuber, I am often asked for my top tips on how to get started on both platforms. Once I’ve given out a few tips, I’m also asked for my advice on reviewing products: how do you get sent products? What shall I include in a review? How honest should I be? I felt that it would be a good idea to present my own personal criteria for a product review; I am not in any way suggesting that this is a comprehensive guide to product reviewing. It is just my humble opinion!
Let’s get started!
There are basically two ways to get your hands on products to review. 1. You buy them yourself, with your own money or 2. The company sends the product to you. Both ways have their plus and minus points.
If you buy a product yourself, you’ll be out of pocket (especially if the product is no good) but your review will appear more credible and ‘untouched’ by the company you’re talking about. You will always tend to buy products that you think you will like, naturally, so to some extent you might end up staying inside a comfort zone. Also, your personal budget limits you to what you can purchase at a particular time; on the other hand, your viewers or readers might appreciate you featuring products which they can also afford.
Companies sending products for bloggers and YouTubers to review has been widely (and sometimes ferociously) discussed on many platforms. I’m here to offer my own opinions (if you disagree, please feel free to post a comment!). I find that it works two ways; the majority of the time, companies contact me and offer to send me products. Occasionally, I will contact the company first; there is no shame in doing this, and being bold about it might just be what the company likes about you. I always, always state when the product was sent to me for free . This isn’t obligatory in the UK (in the US, the FTC requires you state whether you received the product free) but I like to do it. I am always 100% honest in my reviews, which are never influenced by the company.
What To Include
Again, I have to stress that this list is not comprehensive; I’m sure I will have missed something along the way. Again, feel free to let me know in the comments!
As a basis for your review, I would include:
- How you obtained the product (even if it was not sent for free, let your readers/viewers know where you bought your item)
- Some good, clear photos of your product(s) – or, in a video, make sure you show it clearly
- The product’s full name – if your readers/viewers want to purchase it, they’ll need all the necessary information
- Your own, HONEST, opinions on the following: the packaging, application, durability, finish and consistency of the product (this obviously applies to make up items). If your product is, for example, an electrical beauty item, discuss how easy it is to use and how well the effects last.
- Talk about the price, and whether you feel is has value for money. If it is a high-end item, don’t forget that context.
- If the product lends itself to a demonstration, go for it! This is obviously easier on a video, but you could do ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos on a blog post.
- People always like to hear about customer service too – talk about any points that stood out for you, whether good or bad.
The Honesty Issue
Honesty within both blog and video reviews of beauty products is a hot topic. I can’t speak for others, but honestly is always the best policy. I have watched YouTube reviews of products where someone has raved about a product then slated it further down the line. Don’t get caught up in spinning a company’s line; just say what you think.
People often ask me how I justify reviewing Simple products – as I work as their online ‘face’, surely I’m obliged to say only positive things about them? I clearly can’t criticise Simple’s products, but I can wholeheartedly say that I have never used a Simple product I disliked. Anyone who has watched/followed me for the past few years knows that I am a truthful person through and through; I would never lie about a product, and that includes Simple ones. Simple never ask me to feature their products on my personal platforms; I choose to because I love them.
If a company says to you (which many have to me) “we’re looking forward to your positive review of the product” – politely tell them that your review will be honest or not at all. I’d rather loose a freebie than my credibility.
I really hope that this short guide has been useful! I’d love to hear any feedback or additional comments below.