If you do business online, then you undoubtedly know the power that bloggers have. They can influence sales with just a few keystrokes, sometimes starting a global trend almost effortlessly.
If you’ve ever wondered how to use that power to your business’ advantage, you’re not alone. Businesses around the world use blogging in some way to increase their exposure and their sales. Many businesses have their own blogs, while others simply read blogs as a way of conducting market research.
One of the most controversial uses of blogs in business is buying blog reviews. The concept is simple enough: good reviews on other people’s blogs means positive increases in your business. To gain some credibility and a loyal following, some businesses pay for bloggers to write glowing reviews about them.
Paying for blog reviews is not only about building brand recognition and exposure. It’s also about gaining links and dominating the search engine results for your particular keywords.
Is buying blog reviews ethical? It depends on who you ask and how you go about it. If you are purchasing links to your site outright, you will be flagged and penalized by the search engines. This is a prohibited practice that can have extremely negative implications for you. However, if you are experiencing challenges in building brand awareness or in getting honest opinions from consumers, buying blog reviews may give you the break that you need.
Think of blog reviews as a type of market research. By asking a blogger to use your website or product and review it honestly, you can gain valuable insight for a much lower cost than that of conducting an actual market research study.
If you decide to buy blog reviews, it pays to know how to go about it discreetly. Although you may have the best of intentions for buying blog reviews, your customers (or potential customers) may be turned off by the knowledge that you have paid for reviews.
There are several blog review services out there that cater to businesses looking to buy blog reviews. They can get you in touch with bloggers who are willing to write reviews. However, this should be approached with some caution. The reviews resulting from these transactions will most likely sport a disclaimer at the bottom saying that the blogger was paid for their services.
Another option is to approach bloggers directly. Find a blog in a niche that complements your own, and ask the author for their honest opinion of your site or service. Often, bloggers are more than happy to review your product if you send them a sample or demo.
However you choose to buy blog reviews, encourage the blogger to write naturally. Don’t provide them with a script or with instructions that don’t allow much personal interpretation. If the paid review looks and feels like a paid review, the chances are that it won’t have the effect you had hoped for. Aim for an organic feel and let the blogger express their honest opinion about your site or product.
While it remains a controversial and oft-maligned practice, buying blog reviews can genuinely give your business a boost when it is most needed. It’s not easy to break through the noise and build your brand online. Buying a few reviews can grow your brand awareness to the point that you start getting unsolicited reviews. That is the ultimate payoff for your hard work.
By Shane Hester
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