After launching a new product comes the daunting task of of garnering publicity and sales. A few decades ago brands were relegated to pursue traditional advertising measures such as magazine, tv and radio ad placements which could easily cost thousands of dollars. The playing level has opened up significantly with the advent of blogs and media properties allowing smaller brands access to tons of publicity for nominal costs or even for free.

One of the most effective ways to promote your product is to contact influential bloggers and authority websites in your niche. For example, if you have a beauty product you’ll want to contact beauty bloggers and offer a sample or free product in return for an honest review on their website.

  1. Build Your Target Blogger List

Start off by compiling a list of bloggers you would like to target. Things to keep in mind include traffic estimates and social media presence.

One really quick way of finding a list of bloggers to contact is by doing a Google search. For example, a query of “list of beauty blogs” and “beauty bloggers” will provide you with ample of sites. Blogs also often link to other blogs in their blogroll or sidebar which can be used for more prospecting opportunities.

  1. Find Out If They Have Any Traffic

You can estimate a site’s approximate traffic by entering their site into Alexa; a lower number is better. This is important because you don’t want to waste time and money contacting blogs which hardly have any visitors. Alexa is by no means one hundred percent accurate but it can be used to compare different sites and help you decide which ones to contact first.

  1. Contact Smaller Blogs First

New hobbyist bloggers are generally easier to get reviews from and may be excited just to receive a free product. However, if you’re contacting influential and uber popular bloggers with tons of traffic and an impressive social media following, you can expect to receive their media kit and “sponsored post” rates which can range anywhere from $25 all the way to over $1,000.  If you have a limited budget you may want to focus on the bloggers willing to review your product for free first in order to test the response before you invest any money.

  1. Reach Out To Product Review Sites

You will also want to contact review websites and magazine publishers. For example, if you want to promote a hair dryer product, sites like Folica or Shop Hair Dryers which are focused on hair dryers, can be contacted in order to generate more exposure for your product. These product review sites may seem a bit dull at first compared to more popular bloggers but may have targeted search engine traffic searching for the actual items you are looking to promote.

  1. Cultivate The Relationship First

The last thing you want to do is send out a templated mass e-mail to every one of your potential prospects. The key to successful business deals in any market is personal relationships and it’s no different in the blogosphere. If you have a big fish in mind you may want to follow them on social media first and perhaps retweet something they’ve posted or leave an insightful comment on their blog in order to get on their radar before you approach.

  1. Offer An Incentive

When you do contact website owners, make your e-mail personable and offer something of value (other than the free product). For example, you can offer to link to their review page from your press page of your website and offer to share it on your company’s social media channels.

If you don’t have a “As Seen On…” press/media page you will definitely want to create one. Bloggers generally appreciate exposure, traffic and links which can help boost their rankings in the search engines.

You can also offer the blogger their very own special discount code for their readers to use when purchasing your product. This will give the blogger something of value while allowing you to track which blogger or site is sending the most sales.

  1. Don’t Be Pushy

CJ, owner of Find My Home Laser recounts one incident where an individual contacted her asking for a product review of his hair removal product. “He seemed nice enough at first and asked me if I wanted to review his product in exchange for free product. I accepted. Before I even had the chance to try out the actual product he started asking me when my review was going to go up and that it would benefit both of us if the review went up as soon as possible. I ended up declining his offer and not publishing his review after all”.

It goes without saying but it’s important to keep in mind that bloggers aren’t at your beck and call (especially if they are reviewing your product for free). Some may publish a post just once a week while others want to actually give your product a try before giving you a write-up.

Monitor The Results

Once your review is up you’ll want to follow up by monitoring the comments section and answering any questions about your product.

Keep track of of the sites that are sending the most referral traffic and sales and make sure to build a relationship with them which can be used at a later time when you need more exposure.