Southern Mom Loves: 6 Ways to Make Money Blogging: #4 Paid Reviews

6 Ways to Make Money Blogging: #4 Paid Reviews

Sunday, September 21, 2014

This post contains some affiliate links.

If you're a blogger, you know how much time and effort goes into blogging. It's not just writing, but also photographing, editing, designing, promoting, networking, pitching, organizing events, etc., etc., etc.. It's a full-time job getting your blog high in your reader's lists, and you're likely also losing money with hosting and domain costs.

If you've been wondering how to monetize your blog, I can help. You won't get rich quick, but you'll start by making enough to cover your blogging costs and your time. :) There are many bloggers out there who make a full-time income, and then some, but it takes a lot of time and a lot of hard work. Using these methods, I hope to start earning a full-time income from blogging while also being able to stay at home to care for my family.

I get asked constantly how to make money online, so I thought I would share everything I've learned in one place. It became a monster of a post, and was hard to get through, so I broke it up into 6 easy-to-digest pieces continuing with #4: Paid Reviews.

#4 Paid Reviews 

Paid reviews can bring in a little of your income, but it's not something you'll often come across until you've built your blog and readership to a level that has companies coveting your opinion.

Just remember, they're not paying you for a positive review, but for your time and trouble; Don't be afraid to confront the company if their product is sub par. You have a responsibility to your readers to not recommend something that doesn't live up to it's advertising.

Having said that, if you're approached by a company to review their product, it is reasonable to ask for a small amount of compensation. Just make sure they understand, in a polite and professional way, that this is compensation for your time, and not a guarantee of a glowing write-up. Sadly, not every company rep will be on the up-and-up, but you should nip shady practices in the bud because you also have a reputation to protect.

What you charge for your time, and if you charge at all, is entirely up to you. It may be worth doing a free review if you love the product or company and are excited to work with them. You may also be just getting your blog off the ground and want to show what you're capable of.

I would say that most of the bloggers I've come across work like this (if they charge for reviews): Product must be worth a minimum of $25, plus a charge of $25 for time. Some smaller blogs charge lessor not at all , and of course bigger blogs can charge much more.

If you've never done a blog review, you need to get your feet wet. Start by reviewing products or services that you purchase yourself. If you just got a new laptop and are tech-savvy, have a favorite CC Cream, or love to use all of the latest kitchen gadgets, review it. By the time you're done, your readers should be intimately familiar with the product (think: smell, taste, touch, hear, see.) You should cover all of the pros and cons, various uses, and be able to tell people where to get it.

Don't forget the pictures. You want photos of all angles and to show the product in use. Keep it clean and uncluttered. If you don't have a lightbox (you can make one on the cheap), or the product is large, find a neutral background like a white wall, kitchen countertop, or dining room table. If you don't have that available, a lot of people use a clean, white sheet. You can tack it to the wall lower down and let it come out across the floor for a couple of feet, then photograph the object on the floor. A word of advice about this: Tack it up taut. Flow-y, draped folds may look "artistic", but they draw attention away from your focus: the product.

Once you have a few good reviews under your belt, you can begin to pitch companies directly.

Pitching just means writing them an email (or calling), introducing yourself, and telling them why you're interested in their product. Tell them about your blog and your readership, your traffic, and your social media reach. Give them an idea of what they can expect from you in terms of post length, or creative direction. Don't forget to give them a way to contact you, and link your blog somewhere in the email. If you can give them an example of an in-depth review you've done, work that link in too. If you have a media kit, attach it. The more information you can give them up-front, the better. Why should they have to seek you out to find answers to their questions? They shouldn't, and they're not likely to. Be sure to spell- and grammar-check thoroughly.

If I could give you one more tip on writing a pitch, it's on tone: Be enthusiastic and friendly, but professional; Make the email conversational, but concise.

Start small, and work your way up. You have to have the traffic and social media numbers to make it worthwhile for them to spend their money and time with you. A good way to see which companies are currently working with bloggers is to search for 'blog product review', and set the search parameters for the last week.

Pitch, pitch, pitch. You may not hear back from many of the companies you contact, but you'll hear back from some of them eventually. Don't give up. There are also Blogger Platforms that can help you find companies that are looking for reviewers; Some are paid, some are not. Sign up with them and either visit their sites periodically to check for new posts, or wait for their emails. Here I've listed places for bloggers to find products to review. If I missed a popular one, please leave it in the comments, or email me and I'll update the post.
  1. BetaTestBeauty (test beauty products)
  2. Bloggers Required
  3. BlogHer
  4. bookieboo
  5. Business 2 Blogger
  6. BuzzSeeker (sample products)
  7. BzzAgent (sample products)
  8. Collectively
  9. Diet To Go Ambassadorship (review 5 days of food upon approval)
  10. Double Duty Divas
  11. Green Moms Meet
  12. houseparty
  13. influenster
  14. ***NEW*** Linqia
  15. MASSIVEsway
  16. Mizz Review Lady
  17. Mom's Affiliate
  18. Opps For Bloggers
  19. Parent Tested, Parent Approved
  20. Pitchrate (sign up under Journalist. Great way to pitch companies for events.)
  21. Pollen-8
  22. Smiley360 (sample products)
  23. Sponsored Reviews
  24. TapInfluence
  25. Tomoson (Find products to review, and sometimes give away)
  26. US Family Guide

    Company-run Blogger Programs and Ambassadorships:
    1. ah goo baby Blogger Program
    2. Best Buy Wolf Blogging Network
    3. Boon Blogger Program
    4. Cricut Blogger Network Program
    5. CVS Advisor
    6. Firmoo
    7. Franklin Foods Consumer Panel
    8. Frito Lay fans
    9. General Mills Advisory Panel
    10. good cook Blogger Outreach
    11. Hamilton Beach Ambassadors
    12. John S. Brana Fashion Blogger Partnership Program
    13. Joovy Blogger Program
    14. Kraft First Taste
    15. McCormick Consumer Testing
    16. Nature's Sleep Blogger Program
    17. New Balance Wear Test Program
    18. Nike Testing
    19. OXO Blogger Outreach Program
    20. Purex Insiders
    21. Uncommon Goods Product Review Program
    22. The Rubbermaid Buzz
    23. Tweezerman Ambassador Program
    24. Veggie Tales Ambassadors
    25. Wet n' Wild Beauty Ambassador
    26. Wholly Guacamole
    27. Wowee Toy Reviews

    Once you've established yourself as an expert product reviewer, you'll start getting pitches directly from companies in your email. Congrats! You're becoming sought-after for your reviewing skills! At this point, it's not unreasonable to state your charges and get paid for your time.

    I hope this post has been helpful, and I'd love to hear about your successes! Please leave me a comment below or you can email me at! Good Luck!

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    Laptop Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

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