There is an update to this entry since things have changed in the review world. You can view that here.
I have been asked many times how to get into reviewing. Some people are merely curious, some want to know how to start trying to review professionally themselves.
It’s not a cut and dry answer. I fell into it quite by accident, because I reviewed every item I ever bought online, not thinking anything would or even could come of it – I just wanted to share my experience with others because I rely on reviews when I buy things. My reviews got noticed, I got some invitations and here I am. But it took over a decade to get here. Thousands of reviews, I’m not joking – thousands, literally. Most people are looking for a quicker route, so I will try to lay out what I think is a quicker path, but it’s still going to take a good deal of time and effort.
First and foremost, review everything you ever bought (especially on Amazon). No, there is no compensation for it, but it will start laying the foundation of having a good reviewing track record. If people want to be able to see a sample of what you do, you will have something to show.
The next step if you want to get review items for a discount or sometimes free; is get signed up with coupon clubs. I winced a little bit saying that. Actually – I winced a lot. They have a negative stereotype in the reviewing world among established reviewers (and sometimes with good reason), but this is truly the quickest way someone can get into it. Read my blog on coupon clubs to learn what to avoid. Doing a quick search for coupon clubs will find you any number of places to join.
But, please also follow good review etiquette. Read up on Amazon’s terms of service (TOS) and do not sign up with any company that wants you to violate any part of it. This could result in you being banned from Amazon. If you review for coupon clubs and are able to remain honest with your reviews and not violate Amazon’s TOS, this will put you on your way to being a professional reviewer.
As you are progressing, read everything you can about reviewing. Forums, blog pieces… whatever you can find. Get all the perspectives, because there are a lot of them out there. Also, review everything you ever bought. Get a track record of reviews under your belt. Hone your skills. Add photos, consider adding videos. It takes a lot longer, but you are adding value with all these little improvements.
Eventually with a little luck and perseverance, you might begin to have people approach you for reviews (usually once your reviewer rank on Amazon rises to a high level) instead of seeking out coupon clubs, and you may be fortunate enough to review items that are a little more high end than an oven mitt.
Visit my blog archives to learn more about the art of reviewing.