Happy Wednesdays, folks!
Thanks very much for your input on last week’s post where I share with you the answers to the frequently asked questions about products received for editorial consideration. I’m glad it’s been a helpful post to most of you. Man, I wish someone told me what to expect and do when it came to products sent for review years ago. A lot of the time, I felt like I was running around like a headless chook!
Today, we continue with the second part of the FAQs about products received for editorial consideration.
6. My skin reacted badly to a product that was sent to me for review. What do I do?
If you developed a minor breakout from trying out a product that was sent to you, it’s up to you if you want to let the PR know. If it’s just a minor breakout of one or two pimples, I don’t. I will mention it in the review as a small negative point. Minor issues like this aren’t a deal breaker for me unless I’m getting consistent breakouts from using the product. However, if you experienced a severe reaction to the product (e.g. flaring red and hot skin that feels like it’s burned, hair falling out, rashes and so on), you have to stop using the product and let the PR know immediately. This way, they’ll be able to send feedback to the brand as soon as possible to avoid this from happening to anyone else.
7. If I received products for editorial consideration, does that mean the reviews can only be positive ones?
Nope. That’s the beauty of blogs; you can be honest in your reviews. If the product doesn’t work for you, just mention that it doesn’t work for you. It doesn’t matter if the product was sent to you for review. Be professional when it comes to writing negative reviews and don’t slam the brand and product like it’s smeared poo on your shoes.
Example 1: This lipstick was drying on my lips and smells very waxy. I needed to apply lipbalm prior to the lipstick or else the product will sink into my lines. It’s just not for me.
Example 2: This lipstick is just shit. What was brand X thinking coming up with rubbish like this?
If I read Example 2 before Example 1, I wouldn’t know what was actually wrong with the lipstick. All I know is that the blogger thinks it’s shit. It’s not an accurate review, even if it’s a negative one. If the lipstick was really awful, I wouldn’t even bother writing about it. Unless there are pressing matters about the lipstick that my readers need to know about (e.g. the lipstick contains lead, it goes bad very quickly, it turned my lips green, etc), I’d prefer to talk about more interesting products than one lousy lipstick.
8. A product that was sent to me was damaged when I received it. I don’t know if it was damaged on transit or if it was damaged prior to sending. What do I do?
Let the PR know. I’ve experienced this a number of times: broken compact powders, cracked mirrors, smashed lids, etc. I’ve even received a pressed powder compact once when it was clearly used before. Send the PR a polite email about this and let him/her know. Many a time it’s not their fault. I’ve had couriers which PRs engaged throw boxes clearly marked as FRAGILE on the front over my gate and onto the floor. I’ve had postal workers shove and cram parcels in the small mail slot resulting in damaged products. Whatever it is, if it’s damaged or not looking as it should like new products, let the PR know.
9. I really want to work with brand X. How do I go about approaching them? Or do I wait for them to contact me instead?
When I first started beauty blogging in Malaysia in 2007, the thought of approaching brands was unheard of. I considered myself extremely lucky when a brand in the US sent me a small body of body lotion! When I moved to Australia, I was very lucky to have a prominent PR firm in Sydney contact me and sent me products to review. I actually only started approaching brands myself after blogging for over 3 years.
Having said that, it doesn’t work like that anymore. These days, there are so many beauty blogs out there that it’s confusing for brands and PRs to know who’s who. The saying goes “if you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.” If you want to work with brand X, send them an email introducing yourself, your blog, what you do, what your blog’s demographics are and so on. Send them an updated copy of your media kit (don’t know how to create one? I’ve got a free ebook for you on how to do that! *ahem shameless plug ahem*). Tell them what you’re working on your blog these days. Ask if they can put you on their database for any press releases. What you don’t do is ask for free product with that email. That is a huge no no.
10. Is it a must to disclose products that were sent to me for review?
If you’re a blogger in the US, it’s a legal requirement by the FTC to disclose products that were received for editorial consideration. There’s no such law in Australia. At least, not yet. It’s ethical and good practice to disclose to your readers that that product that you just reviewed was sent to you by the brand. If the question is “why should I disclose?” then my question to you is this: “why shouldn’t you?“. There’s nothing to hide and certainly not a big deal to be honest to your readers. Blogs thrive on the connection that bloggers have with their readers and it’s something they have over glossy magazines. Just a short line above or below the review will do, nothing fancy. Be honest with your readers and they’ll be back.
As always, I hope this helps answer some questions you might have about products sent and received for editorial consideration. Always remember that nothing comes for free, not even that gorgeous free lippie you just picked up from the PO box.
If you have any more questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. I’ll try my best to answer them or make a whole new post out of your question!