You’ve Secured a Product Review — Now What?

In a previous Caster Communications team blog post, Megan gave some great advice on pitching and landing the right product reviewer for your client, but once you’ve secured the right person/product combo — now what?

As Megan pointed out “97% of consumers today depend on reviews to make informed purchase decisions“, proving just how important reviews are to a brand’s PR, marketing — and most importantly — sales strategy. It also means that the outcome of every review is important, as one bad review could sway an end user’s purchase decision.

As PR experts, it is our job to manage the review process closely to ensure a positive experience for both the reviewer and our clients. We do this through a carefully constructed recipe of education, information, checking in and fact-checking. Let’s look at those elements and how they help manage the review process.

Set Up Their Experience

I find it helpful to have a conversation about your client’s goals with the reviewer up front. What does this look like? Have an honest but casual conversation about the strengths of the product, who the intended customer is and what the product will solve for the end user as a result. The goal isn’t to skew the review, but educate the reviewer and provide the appropriate context required before they begin testing. This can set their expectations and help them see the intended experience as they go through the review and avoid misunderstandings once the piece is written.

Provide ALL the Information They Need

In her blog post, Megan mentioned providing as many helpful assets as possible up front, whether that be images, data sheets, a set-up guide, or a full-blown reviewer’s guide. This is a great next step to ensuring the review process goes smoothly. The more detail you can provide the reviewer without them having to ask or find it themselves, the easier the process will be and faster they can move through the review without added annoyance. Remember, any roadblocks or frustrations they have along the way will likely come through in their writing and that is precisely what you want to avoid.

Regular Check-Ins

Depending on the scale and timeframe of the review, the frequency of check-ins will vary, but I make it a rule to try to check-in with my reviewers once a week at the very minimum. This can be a simple: “Just checking in to see how the review is progressing, do you have any questions?” email, or if you’ve just got your hands on a new marketing asset or piece of information on the product that might be useful to them, it’s a great opportunity to touch base. As mentioned previously, the reviewer may not reach out to you with questions or concerns because they are in the throes of it or are trying to juggle other writing tasks simultaneously, so you being present and available to help them (as well as having the right technical person from your client’s company available at your fingertips for quick answers) is absolutely essential. But don’t go overboard — if you are bugging them on a regular basis, they may stop answering your emails altogether. Be a resource, not an annoyance.

Get The Fact Check

When I get the indication that the review is nearing completion, I always politely ask if we can do a fact check of the draft before the review is submitted to the reviewer’s editorial team. A fact check is meant to be, quite literally, a factual check — a chance to read the review to ensure any specification, feature, or procedure described is factually accurate. Not only does this allow you or your client to further explain and fix any misconceptions that may have arisen, but also to get a sneak peek of what the reviewer thought overall, and thus the tone of the review. If you’re lucky and have a good rapport with the writer, it is also your final chance to right any wrongs or negative perceptions.

Product reviews can be challenging but they are totally worth the time invested if you find the right reviewer and product match and handle the process with care. Plus, the weight a positive review will carry with your client is huge, so it’s a great opportunity to shine — and we deserve those moments!

Have any tips that work for you when handling reviews for your clients? I’d love to hear about them — reach out to me on Twitter @erinmktgpr.

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