How to Get Free Stuff for My Blog

by Geoff Whiting

One of the best things about entering the world of blogging is that some of your favorite brands may send you free stuff to review in the hope or expectation that you'll mention the products in your blog. A blog with high levels of traffic and an engaged audience attracts brands and products related to the blog's topic. Most blogs aren't overnight successes; it takes time and work to build an audience that attracts free products.

Build Your Blog's Focus

Brands limit free products to blogs that cover their industry and have high volumes of traffic. Create a narrow focus for your blog and post on a consistent schedule to attract readers. Answer reader questions or common misconceptions about your industry to provide readers with compelling reasons to visit your blog frequently. Readers respond well to high-quality content that provides in-depth explanations or help. A blog about your pet’s day is not likely to generate as much traffic or attract as many free products as a blog that discusses the health benefits of pet foods.

Gather the Facts

A blog’s value comes from the amount of Web traffic it receives, the number of new and repeat visitors and how long these visitors stay on your site. Potential product partners will be interested in your bounce rate, which is the number of visitors who leave your blog immediately after they arrive. Install Web analytics tools on your blog to measure all these metrics. Some useful analytics tools include Google Analytics, Sitemeter and Whos.amung.us.

Social Media’s Importance

Social media sharing and traffic play an important role in the success of blogs. A high number of shares, likes, retweets and other interactions makes your blog appealing to consumer brands. Brands tie their products to blogs with high social media followings because they can engage customers in conversations started by the blog. When they pair with blogs that are active on social media, brands promote their products in a way that feels more like a conversation and less like an advertisement.

Getting Goodies to Review

When your blog is up and running and it attracts a significant volume of traffic each day, reach out to brands for free products to review. Contact the marketing department of the brand or product you want to review. You can email or call a brand's marketing team to discuss the opportunity. Provide your Web analytics statistics to the marketer so she can judge your blog's value and see if she thinks it is a good fit for her company's products. Your goal is to show how your blog’s traffic and the brand’s customers align. You can also join services that pair you up with products to review based on surveys you fill out. Survey sites include Influenster, BzzAgent and the American Consumer Opinion site.

Your Required Disclosure

The Federal Trade Commission requires that you disclose when content is promotional if a company compensates you. Compensation is any type of payment or the receipt of free products in exchange for a review or discussion. The FTC says your disclosure must be simple and straightforward enough for your visitors to understand that you are being compensated, but it provides no specific language for you to use.

About the Author

Geoff Whiting is a writer and copy editor who has specialized in business technology, consumer electronics and research reports since 2007. He has written for national magazines like "American Shipper" and "BIC Magazine," has written daily news articles for FierceMarkets, and has crafted research reports for Rider Research, Intel and Spotify.

Photo Credits

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