There’s a lot in the headlines today about Influencers (often Instagram Influencers) will accept free products to review. As an influencer, I want to shed light on why those items influencers get for free, aren’t.
Here’s a typical scenario…
A representative from Widget Company emails me with an offer of a free product in exchange for a review. Usually this comes with a photo or link to the product.
I look at the email and begin research before responding. This includes reading reviews on the product’s website and comparing those review with sites like Amazon, Walmart and other sites. It also involves perusing silimar items from other companies to get a better comparison of the overall popular features.
I’m not just looking at quality and features. I want to know if the item for review fits the scope of the Bodacious Broads Travel Blog or our YouTube channel. The process is tedious and can be time consuming.
Negotiations begin if the product seems to fit my audience. I will email the representative back with my response. If the product fits, then we hammer out details like which social media platforms the review will be shared on as well as finalizing details on videos or both. Hammering this out can take a week or more.
Next, I have to wait for the so-called free product for influencers to arrive. My fingers are always crossed that the package won’t have been damaged in transit. It’s rare, but it does happen. Navigating the minefield of a damaged item can be complicated.
Blogs and my YouTube channel have to be updated. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have to be maintained and comments returned. (Whew!)
The product evaluation period is two weeks. Some of the free items that influencers get don’t make the cut. They are either discarded or returned to the company.
If all went well up to this point, it’s it’s time to create the review.
This part is very time consuming. Photos have to be clear and done in a complementary environment. This can mean props and shooting on location. Ditto for filming YouTube videos which takes longer to create and edit than photographs.
Keywords, a thumbnail and SEO friendly tags are added after upload. Only after all this is the video on the free product ready to be shared on social media.
The time spent on creating the review is what pays for the product and negates the reality of influencers receiving free items in exchange for a review .
The challenge for an influencer is to accept products that are equal in value to the amount of time put into the review, to work out an affiliate program directly with the company or to work out monetary payment in addition to the product.
This is why most influencers including myself have workout a commission agreement through affiliate links like the ones I have on this page or rely YouTube income.
This is nominal. YouTube videos generate around $2-$3 per 1,500 views (although influencers with high follower counts likely earn more).
So why do we do it? We do it to keep you from getting stuck in a situation like this one.
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