How to Choose a Great Product to Review

One of the benefits of being a blogger is getting the opportunity to review products. Once you build a decent amount of traffic targeted to an audience with specific interests, you will probably start to see offers rolling in.

Two Important Things to Consider

There is one question that you should answer first and foremost before accepting any product to review on your blog. If you can answer this question with a definitive yes, then everything else is just details.

Will this product be beneficial to my readers?

This is most important factor I consider before accepting a product to review – whether that product will somehow benefit my audience. Not how much commission I will make off the product, and not how much I will simply like to have that product in my hands, but how much my audience will benefit from the information I share with them once I have reviewed the product.

As a blogger, if you start with answering that question, and the answer is yes, then you can feel good about anything you do in terms of promoting that product to your audience. It will tell you whether the product fits your niche and whether you will actually be able to convert your review into sales.

Then you can move onto the following question, which is also crucial.

How does the product source treat the reviewer?

Customer service is another factor to consider when doing a product review. A lot of the time, products are sent to reviewers prior to their actual release. I have gotten in on a few services while they were in their beta stages of testing, and ran into a few problems.

Fortunately I have been lucky so far in that when I my contact for that product, they were quick to check out the issue and take care of it. This says to me that, if one of my readers were to buy the product, they should get the same service.

Why I Chose the ThinkCentre M90z

This leads me to the latest, and most exciting product I have had the chance to review – the ThinkCentre M90z by Lenovo.

This desktop has been a life-saver when it comes to my productivity, because I had been working with a laptop that, every couple of days, would have some strange issue. The last straw was the day it decided to do some kind of hard drive disk check and managed to wipe out several important files I had been working on, one of which was my blog promotion ebook. Luckily I had been backing that up via email, so it was safe and sound.

So how will my readers benefit from this review?

There are two primary reasons I chose to do this review. The first is about my aforementioned loss of productivity due to not having a top-notch computer to work from. That loss in productivity meant that couldn’t get as much done as I needed to, resulting in less posts and less interaction with my audience.

Now that I have a dependable machine that rocks with regards to speed, I have spent less time fighting with technology and more time writing posts, getting organized, and engaging with my audience. Plus it has a webcam so I can start recording more videos, doing interviews, etc.

The second reason is the best. I get to giveaway one ThinkCentre M90z to my readers!

And my site is not the only one. The following sites are also hosting giveaways of the same great desktop!

You’ll get my full detailed review, along with additional details about the tools I use for maximum productivity on May 9th, the start of the giveaway here.

In the meantime, with exception to the first giveaway on the list above that has ended, you have over 20 chances to win this machine beginning today. So be sure to check out all of the above sites and enter for your chance to win.

Trust me when I say you won’t regret it – aside from a few little quirks that had nothing to do with the desktop and more to do with my lack of Windows 7 knowledge, this computer has been nothing but excellent. If you’re in the market for a new machine, then don’t miss these great opportunities to win one!

What Do You Consider When Accepting Review Offers

Now it’s your turn. What questions do you ask when it comes to accepting or declining a product review offer? What reviews have been the most successful and why? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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  1. says

    Hi Kristi

    I have just done my first review and it had to be something I would use myself. Also I know the author of the ebook I am reviewing and decided that I would not join his affiliate program while this post is active.

    Some of my regular readers queried that decision because they said I had built up a good reputation and people would still trust my review to be an honest one. However, I took the decision as it is my first review of anything other than my own sourced lavender products I have on my site. Had to do what I was comfortable with.

    I know some people are affiliates of products they review and it is hard to know how even-handed those reports are; unless I know the reviewer. If it is someone I trust, will probably go with their review as being an honest one. I know that is not always the case so I err on the cautious and don’t usually buy just based on a review if I don’t know the reviewer.

    I wouldn’t review something that was not relevant for my own use or that of my regular readers. I also like to know the person whose product it is. Maybe it’s being round my experienced marketing friends a lot more, but there are a lot of scams out there. Can’t be too careful eh 😉

    Patricia Perth Australia
    Patricia just posted To buy or not to buy…that is the question

    • says

      Sounds like a good plan! I always find that trying out the customer support will tell you about the character of the person who created the product. I have bought products from “reputable” people who never responded to my support request, and hence not recommended them or their products. And I have bought products from someone relatively new on the scene and gotten amazing support that was passed on to my readers. Asking for support and seeing a great response can build a lot of confidence toward a product’s creator.

  2. says

    I usually find ideas for new products on top story sites like alltop, then check their trending in google trends and finally find hot keywords for this product using the google search term suggestion tool.

  3. says

    Well, firstly, Kristi, this post gives me some comfort that if even the Blog Promotion Goddess has been struggling with a less-than-lovely laptop (alliteration completely not intended!) then I don’t feel so bad when I think about my teenie netbook.

    It was supposed to be a 2-3 month stopgap after my computer died, just to keep me online and writing until I could buy a new computer. That was two years ago.

    I drool over this computer you’re reviewing. However, mainly I’m more interested in your advice on writing a review itself. I’ve been considering writing a review on my blog for a particular product I’m completely in love with, but I tend to gush about it and don’t really focus on what might make it useful for others.

    Delena Silverfox just posted Carbonite offer code

    • says

      Sounds like you should definitely enter all of the contests then! :) That desktop has been a dream. I know I’m accomplishing a lot more if, for no other reason, I don’t dread the next problem or stall that my machinery is going to cause. So far my only “complaint” which has nothing to do with the computer is that my cats like to give the monitor some love, which leads to the touchscreen responding to them. I know there’s a way to turn that feature off, but I like to use it occasionally, so I leave it on.

  4. says


    It was refreshing to read that your concern when considering to review a product was founded more on your audience/readerships needs and desires rather than the affiliate commission that you may gain. Many say that readers come first, as it should be, but there are quite a few out there who attempt to justify review of a garbage product simply because it will make them alot higher of a commission than a lower priced alternative. In the end, you may gain a lower commission by recommending a lower priced product, however, I think you will reinforce customer/reader loyalty. In fact, a viable tactic MAY be to actually show your audience higher priced alternatives and explain thoroughly WHY exactly you are recommending a lower priced alternative.

    • says

      It makes sense, both from the perspective of staying on good terms with your audience and for making money, because if your audience isn’t going to be into the product, then even the most glowing review won’t get them to buy. I guess my other reason for making sure it’s right for my audience is that I’m not the type that can sell just anything. I have to really love something if I’m going to write about it.

  5. says

    Thanks for sharing these tips about reviewing products Kristi. I think since you have gained so much respect amongst the blogging community, a company would be lucky to have you review them. Of course, if their product wasn’t good, you would let us know. So far, i have not reviewed any products but it is definitely something that I will keep in mind for the future.
    Sherryl Perry just posted 8 Reasons I Do NOT Follow Like or Connect on Social Networking Sites

    • says

      My review policy is usually if I can’t say something nice, I don’t say anything at all. Because I found that even if when you say you don’t like something, it still points people in that direction and they could still end up buying it. So my motto is not to draw any attention to something that doesn’t deserve it at all costs, but if someone were to ask me if I had an opinion on it, I’d let them know.

  6. says


    Thanks for this post, as I am just starting into the review end of things. I am planning to create my own piano lessons ebook/vids.
    A question I have is this: Is it alright for me to have other products outside my given field on my site? I am focused on musical instruments, but am learning how to write reviews fairly well. Is it a conflict?

    • says

      Hi Dakota,

      I have found that people who come to a site that usually focuses on one niche will be a little turned off if you start talking about something else unless that something else ties in to your main focus. I could see you being able to branch out safely with products that are related to artists, but definitely not something far off like pet supplies (unless you happen to know that half of your readers are cat lovers or something).

  7. says

    For the products I review on my blog for photographers, I definitely think about my photographer readers and whether they’d benefit from the product. I also think about our studio and the likelihood that I could actually say something good about the product because it worked for us. Even if some photographers might benefit from a product, if I don’t see a benefit for us, I usually decline.
    If a product is not immediately beneficial for you, have you found that you’re still able to promote that product, or do you end up passing on those types of reviews too?
    TJ McDowell just posted Canon Rebel T2i Video Mode Review

    • says

      There have been a few that, although it wasn’t beneficial for me, I have been able to tell that it was beneficial for others. Like a guide to SEO 101 may not be necessary since I’ve been working with it for three years, but it would be perfect for those who are just starting out. I think the key in that case is to be honest about it and say why the product didn’t work for you, but how it might for your audience if they are in a specific position or stage of learning.

      • says

        Yea, I’d definitely be up front about it if it didn’t work for me. It seems like in the example you gave, it would have been a product you used at one point in your career if it were available then. So you could say how it would have helped you had the resource been available. Talk to you soon!
        TJ McDowell just posted Canon Rebel T2i Video Mode Review

  8. says

    Congratulations on the new computer Kristi, but even though it is new I would still be sticking with a strict backup regime as you never know when something will begin to act up.

    Being an Aussie I doubt anyone would ask me to review their product but if one ever I would only take the product on the stipulation that I could give a totally honest review.
    Sire just posted Sharing Photos Is Best Done With Flickr

  9. says

    If I could make a sale on my 4 years old blog, it would make my day. But since so far, I got no sale.

    I think maybe the produce I reviewed is not make any connection to my visitors. Reading your post today make me more clear that we need to choice the right one.

    I signed up as Amazon affiliate few years ago, I hope I can sale something very soon. Thank for the post, especially the first question.
    Santel just posted Cambodian Photos Collection 21 April 2011

  10. says

    Any review should tell about any con’s or will as the plus’s, depending on coat of the item being reviewed it might have to be purchased by the reviewer both to experience the buying process and to keep the reviewer honest.

    Naturally if the item costs hundred’s and the reviewer is an individual it may be beyond there means to obtain, but even then there should be no strings attached by seller.

    Your review of the Lenovo computer is well thought out and makes me hope I win it
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