Link Building Strategies: Product Reviews

20 May

This is the first part of a brand new series, which will be featuring specific link building strategies every once in a while. Every ‘Link Building Strategies‘ post will explain what the benefits of the featured strategy are and it will give tips on when and how to use this tactic. This first part will discuss Product Reviews.

If you’re planning on launching a new product (or just want some exposure for an existing one) and know where to look in “your” blogosphere, the product review can be a great way to get targeted traffic, positive brand exposure and good links. Just sending out (or offering to ship) one of your products might help you to obtain great links. Can you think of something better than an authority blogger explaining to his audience what your product is and why it’s great, together with providing a deep link to the product itself? Neither can I, but getting one is harder than it sounds.

Step 1: Make great products
It’s impossible to get nothing but positive reviews while your product is crap and still look sincere. It all starts with a great product. If your products are of bad, mediocre or ‘just ok’ quality, actively pursuing product reviews probably isn’t the best choice for you.

Step 2: Participate online
Online participation is a must, whether you do this yourself, have a web savvy co-worker or have an online marketing agency that handles this on your behalf. Contacting people in your industry out of the blue with an email that contains information about your product will be perceived as spam in probably eight out of ten occasions. If you already know the people you want to send your product to, you’ll have a lot more chance of being successful.

Do you think that Glen Alsopp would have been able to get industry bloggers to talk about his Online Reputation Management eBook (which is an excellent read btw! Buy it before the price goes up!) if he didn’t participate online? It not only saves you time if you know who the top bloggers in your industry are and if you know where and how to contact them, but it also increases your chances of getting some great coverage.

Step 3: Pitch your product
A good pitch doesn’t look like a pitch. If you want to control the way that your review should look like or where the links should point to, you can better use a PPP-like review service. If you want great links, a natural and unique piece of coverage and honest feedback, make it look like you’re doing something for the person you’ve contacted. He or she will be more than likely to help you out as well.

To get back to Glen’s book; he contacted me about his ebook and without asking me to write about it, let alone that he mentioned where I should link to or what the post should look like. And yet he still ended up with positive feedback (did I already mention that his book is a great read?) and in content links (with the right anchor text). Not because he told me to, but because his product rocks (step 1), because I knew him before he contacted me about his book (step 2) and because he contacted me the right way (step 3).

Step 4: Follow up
There’s nothing more rewarding for a blogger than seeing that his or her words have had effect. If you’re able to show that you’ve used the feedback that the bloggers that covered your product provided, these bloggers will probably be of great help the next time as well. Also, sending out an update or just a thank you note can help you expanding your network with loyal contacts.

Main goal: Building awareness, traffic
Effectiveness: 4/5
Which markets: Business to Consumer (and sometimes B2B)
When to use: When your products rock
When not to use: When your products suck
Possible Dangers: Backfire (remember this one?)
Biggest benefits: In content deep links, targeted traffic, customer feedback

5 Responses to “Link Building Strategies: Product Reviews”

  1. Glen Allsopp May 20, 2008 at 4:02 pm #

    Cheers for the link wiep :)

  2. Heini van Bergen May 20, 2008 at 5:41 pm #

    Hi Wiep,

    Great article, I’m already looking forward to the other parts.

    Maybe something to think about, but wouldn’t negative publicity work better just for the sake of link building? After all, examples of bad products, service, etc… would have more exposure then the next success story. However, if we take a look at the conversion rate I’d absolutely favor positive reviews. ;-)

  3. Wiep May 20, 2008 at 6:19 pm #

    @Glen; And that’s step 4 ;)

    @Heini; From a link building perspective, having bad products will probably help to get more coverage indeed. Bad news travels faster :)

  4. jamie thompson May 28, 2008 at 1:38 am #

    Great article, Heini brings up an interesting point also. Is there anyone attempting to get negative publicity for a site on purpose for this reason and would this have much of a long term effect? Im thinking the result would be a number one listing for “dodgy widgets” or something else thats not going to help with sales, your thoughts?

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