One popular question I get is why in the world does it take me so long to get a review done. I would love to be able to tell you all that I can get it done in a day or so. I can when I rush and move things around. However having a product one day and having to do the review the next doesn’t always allow for the best possible review.
MY REVIEW PROCESS
The day a product arrives at my house for review on Rita Reviews, someone (usually me although not always) opens to verify if it is perishable or non-perishable. All perishables are photographed quickly and then placed in the fridge or freezer. The hopes behind this is that if someone gets into them we at least have the initial photos. We do try our best to try the perishable items within the week they are received. Non-perishables go into our review bins (there are like ten). Every single item is recorded on a received this with the date and who opened the package. Also where it was placed (for example what bin.) We do this now because I once spent three weeks looking for a product that I knew came in only to not be able to find it. I ended up purchasing a replacement to do the review. At any given time there are as many as 30 products awaiting review.
I review each product in the order it was received unless it is part of a campaign where a contract has been signed and dates agreed upon. That doesn’t mean that I never fall behind because life happens. It happens daily and not only am I reviewing products but keep in mind that I am the photographer, the photo editor, the writer, the social media manager, and more. All of that on top of being the sole parent at home. I can’t spend 17 hours a day reviewing products. I now have a system that works well for me. Everyone wants there products reviewed the moment I receive them. While I have been pushed into doing that in the past I can promise you those reviews have not been anywhere near as good as they could be. It is rare that a product be reviewed the same week it is received. Typically it is reviewed within 30 days of receiving. Now during holidays or busy months that time frame can be stretched to the limit.
One of the best things for brands and companies to remember is that the earlier you get your items out to a blogger the more likely your review will be up when you need it. If you are planning holiday reviews, try to have the items out to the bloggers by the end of October/Mid-November. This gives the bloggers plenty of time. Photography time is set up for each week. I typically do my photography on Fridays. If the weather is going to be bad and I’m shooting outside then I rearrange that to the best day that week. I have a small portable studio for other indoor shots.
I decide how many items I will be photographing each week. Typically a handful because each scene has to be set, any props needed and locations decided on. The family helps out in this area and we discuss any shots we will be doing. Each and every product gets anywhere from 100-200 photographs taken. Every possible angle is shot as is various scenes. If I am going to be the person in the shot then I have to set it up. Since Ma and I are the same height roughly I make her stand in front of the camera in the pose I am going for. This allows me to line up my shot and get things perfect behind the lens. Then I step in front of the lens and she moves. I use a remote shutter to snap the photos. I also review all of these shots once I’m done so that I will know right away if they need to be redone. All of that so that I can edit and use sometimes only a single photo. Don’t even get me started on the stock photography that I take to use for myself or other sites.
On the same day if there are any videos that need to be shot I do those as well. I don’t edit those in large batches because sometimes I don’t use the video I have and end up having to do another. After all of that I spend the rest of work day editing photos. Adding in anything I need to, changing the clouds, you name it I’m working on it.
The weekends I typically spend time with the products. I use them, take notes about them, get a feel for them. If they are food items, this is when we eat them if we haven’t already. Clothing is tried on, washed, dried, stretched, whatever. Outdoor gear is put to the test and when I say put to the test I mean it. If you tell me that your pan will withstand a tank running it over there is a good chance I’m going to run it over with me car. In fact I even know where to find a tank to test that theory. I want to know that the product will do what it says it will do and I can tell you that I am getting pickier and pickier about that.
Once that is done I have to actually write the article. I batch write, which means I write a whole bunch of articles at a time. I do this on Tuesdays (Wednesdays I edit articles) I do my level best to write at least 200 words (although I try for more) about each product. Now this is just writing the article. It is not putting together or anything else. I do that on Thursday mornings. I put together all of the articles, typically for the next week, together. This means, adding in the photos,links, FDA disclosures about receiving products or compensation, and anything else that readers might need to know and hitting that schedule button. Then I am off on Thursday afternoons putting together social media posts and such for each of the articles that I have scheduled.
That’s it I’m done……..WAIT!! No I’m not because if there is a giveaway I have to manage it. That means checking each and every entry to make sure it is valid, selecting a winner, letting the winner know, getting their information to the sponsor, and ensuring things go smoothly. I also make notes about products that I want to reshare at the end of the year as well as schedule out any other social media for the rest of year. All of that work is sometimes only “paid” for in the product recieved. I also sometimes get products at a reduced rate rather than free.
WHY DO IT AT ALL?
This is the one question I am asked the most. I do it because I enjoy sharing the products with all of you. While I love the name brands and big companies I work with I have also had a soft spot for the smaller brands. The product that is unique or that you didn’t realize would work for you.