All Indie businesses are special, but face it, these days, anyone with a credit card and time on their hands can launch a competing business in no time flat. Suddenly, your golden egg looks like just like the one at a website that launches the next day. What's an Indie to do?
Make your products stand out in the crowd of course! And one of the most effective ways to do that is to build your brand online by having your products featured in a popular weblog. But before you send the same old tired "my products are great" email to every blogger you know, read this post to get some tips from the pros.
In April 2007, Technorati tracked over 70 million weblogs, noting that about 120,000 new ones launch worldwide each day. That's about 1.4 blogs for every second of every day. These staggering statistics make it clear that you can easily waste your time pitching your products to blogs that will never be read.
Choose Blogs That Are Updated Constantly
According to Cybele of Cybele Says, while beauty blogs are improving with the rest of the blogosphere, there are certain things to look for before pitching your products. "Look for a professional layout with well written content that is upated regularly," she advises. Cybele has published Cybele Says since February 2001 so she's had a lot of practice. "I still read most every beauty magazine on the stands, but you can't beat the instant gratification of having your products featured in a blog," she adds.
Some blogs are a complete waste of cyberspace, especially ones that are not updated constantly. Cybele Says launched in 2001 with a monthly format featuring dozens of products. In May 2007, they switched to a blog format which is updated with new products at least once a day. Cybele recomends pitching to blogs that post regularly because "it shows that the person behind the blog knows that their readers are depending on them for good, reliable content."
Preparation Is Key
Indie Beauty Network member Andrea Kane of Organic Beauty Expert says that the most important thing to do before pitching products to a blog is to get to know the blog first. "The best way to discover the style of a blog is to read it for at least a few weeks before making contact," she says. Andrea cautions against sending a "canned" email message to a thousand beauty bloggers, hoping that something will stick. "When you do that, it shows me two things: you haven't read my blog and you are rude."
Andrea suggests that you do at least 5 things in your pitch:
1. Address the blogger by name
2. Include some indication that you are familiar with their blog
3. Share a little about you and your company
4. Link to high resolution product photos
5. Include a price sheet, and product ingredients if the blog serves a specific niche
Hi Andrea:STUDIO at Fred Segal is going organic. Internationally successful Australian organic skincare brand Stem Organics will be available in store from the end of July 2007. Products are also available now for retail purchase online at www.stemorganics.com.I have attached Stem Organics latest release and line sheet with more about why STUDIO founder Robin Coe-Hutsching believes Stem Organics is the perfect match for her store.Visit our website to get a great feel for our brand and skincare. Feel free to consider us for beauty features or beauty product reviews in The Organic Beauty Expert.
Andrea says this email got her attention because it included everything in her list and showed that the company had prepared in advance before contacting her.
Beware Of Pay To Play
If you pay a blogger to review your product, that's an advertisement, not a product review. Reputable product reviewers almost always post an editorial policy at their site so you can see whether they require or accept payment before they post a product review. Readers are savvy enough to know that if money changes hands, they are not getting an objective product review. For maximum credibility, check the blogger's site to see if they tell their readers that they do not accept payment in exchange for reviews.
Glossies vs. Blogs
Marla Russo of Bella PR in New York City has the unique perspective of a publicist who pitches beauty, fashion and lifestyle products for a living to both glossy magazines and beauty bloggers. "Many of the most reputable beauty sites are managed by former beauty editors at major magazines and newspapers, and their reviews are very credible," notes Marla. She also points out that her years of experience have shown that there are major differences between glossy editors and blog editors.
For example, online publications are more flexible. Glossy magazines have layout and editorial formats that must be closely followed while online beauty sites can post a product review whenever they feel like it, even within hours of receiving the product, and they don't have to get approval from anyone. Marla also points out that while most glossies set out to find products to fit a pre-determined story idea, online publications tend to get products first and then compose a feature around them.
Be Ready For Prime Time
Andrea reminds us that if your website is not up to par, your products stand little chance of being reviewed. "If there's no shopping cart, bloggers won't want to feature you because their readers won't be able to buy the products quickly," says Andrea. She also suggests you consider that blogs have an international audience so be prepared to field international orders and queries.
Stand Out In The Crowd
Has a blog review helped your products stand out in the crowd? What's your favorite beauty blog experience? If you have a beauty blog, please add your best tips and link to contact you or send products for review.
Beauty Blog Resources
Beauty and Lace. In Australia, reviewing fashion, beauty, health and hair.
Cosmetic Connection. Founded in 1996 by a former fashion model, panel of product reviewers reviews everything from niche to drug store and big box products.
The Organic Beauty Expert. Product reviews (including some video reviews), giveaways and posts of general interest to the beauty industry.