https://www.facebook.com/notes/raven-concealment-systems/so-you-want-to-be-a-gear-review-blogger-eh/604668529582182/

http://soldiersystems.net/2013/12/30/ask-ssd-should-i-send-gear-to-this-blogger/#comments

Soldier Systems Daily posted an outstanding article today aimed at gear companies who get approached by bloggers wanting free gear. Since they get 20-30 requests for free gear from bloggers each week, use their list of advice for anyone that wants to review gear:

1) Gear blogs are neat, but the old “10 pictures and 5 paragraphs” format that a lot of guys still do is largely being supplanted by videos. Consumers still read text and image blogs, but video reviews result in a much higher conversion rate to sales. Since that conversion rate is what we manufacturers are looking for, you’re more likely to get product from us if you do video. Videos are also much more likely to get shared by the manufacturer via their social media program (like Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail newsletters) because that’s what consumers are most likely to click on. Hell, if I really wanted people to see this, I should have shot this note as a video rather than typing it!

2) Don’t hit me up out of the blue with your hand out for free stuff. Buy product from companies and do reviews first. A blogger who e-mails me cold and asks for something will likely get nothing, while a guy who sends me links to four other reviews he has already done on products of mine is likely to get a big box of goodies. On the other end of that, when you get free gear for reviews, it is a major faux pas to sell that gear online when you’re done with it. If you were given something and no longer need it, the proper course of action is to give it to someone who needs it, or donate it to a charity auction or raffle that supports a worthy gun/gear related cause. I’m not sending you free product so you can stock your own personal for-profit tactical gear store. Pay it forward.

3) Actually know what your viewership/readership is. Be able to articulate the particulars of your audience to me. BE HONEST about these stats; I’m going to check you out before I send anything. If you don’t know this stuff, you’re unlikely to get support from RCS.

4) I’m not necessarily looking for the guy who has a billion subscribers to his YouTube channel. What I want is someone who makes videos that don’t suck. Keep them SHORT. Almost everyone (including some of my friends who are big-time video bloggers) make videos that are waaaaaaay too long, which means people skim them, at best. When someone sends me a link to a 10+ minute “review” video, I won’t even skim it. Never make a video longer than four minutes; 90-180 seconds is optimal. If you can’t buffer it on your smart phone and watch it in the time it takes to roll through a McDonalds drive through, most people won’t bother trying to watch it. One of the best examples of a video done right is this one that Stephen Pineau made about the VG2.

5) Make sure you read the product instructions and relay correct product specs and information in your blog. It also doesn’t hurt to approach the company whose gear you are reviewing and ask them to check for any technical errors. Bloggers that screw up these little details are far less likely to get product support from manufacturers on future blogs or videos.

6) Cultivate a relationship with companies; don’t just chase after the latest new gadget. The guys who I send samples of our new products before they hit the shelves are the ones who have a proven track record and who stay in touch with us on a regular basis. They do follow up blogs on gear from us they have already reviewed. If the only time I hear from you is when I launch a new product, you’re probably not going to get what you’re seeking.

7) I like helping new bloggers get traction, because more successful bloggers means more exposure for RCS. But the surest way to get shut out is to do a bunch of posturing about what a big deal your YouTube channel or blog is. Be honest about being small; don’t try to use smoke and mirrors to dazzle me.

8) Seriously, keep your wife/girlfriend OUT of your videos. If your content is so anemic that you have to put Daisy Dukes on your girl and have her fumble awkwardly with a pistol on camera, you’re in the wrong line of work. It’s a gimmick, like having a a stripper working your trade show booth. Frankly, it distracts people from the product, and it makes you look unprofessional. When you look unprofessional, you don’t get product support.

9) Be knowledgeable. You don’t have to have a background in military or law enforcement work, but you DO need to know about the product you’re reviewing, as well as comparable and/or competing products. The best product reviews are the ones that not only tell the features of the product, but also help the consumer understand how the product works in conjuction with other firearms or gear that they also use.

10) This industry is a small one, and the companies talk to each other. If you conduct yourself professionally and create quality review content, you’ll find that doors open very easily to you. Free gear will flow like water. However, if you get a reputation as being a guy who shakes everyone down for free gear and then doesn’t deliver, or you get caught selling things you were sent as demo items, you’ll find yourself black listed pretty quickly.

Advertisements