A few years ago, few people knew what a blog was. Now, a blog is a key way for a business to create interest in new products or services. How? Bloggers who are provided with products will typically write about these new products on their blogs.

A blog is a type of website that can be an offshoot of a corporate website, but more often blogs are written by ordinary people, also known as “bloggers.” The sky is the limit with the scope of blogs. Blogs can be an online scrapbook for family members to see what is new or focus on organic products or serve as a travelogue. Many bloggers write blog posts devoted to talking about products they love.

A large majority of bloggers are women, also known as “mom bloggers.” These moms make the buying decisions for their families. A product review of a new product posted on a blog by a person with a strong online presence can be a powerful tool for a business. Want to get to the dad market? Connect with a dad blogger. Is your product a high-tech device? Look for a tech blogger.

While a business can post how wonderful its new product is, a first-hand account of the product posted as a blog could be read by thousands of readers of that blog, and will be considered less biased than coming from the company’s blog. Product reviews coupled with online marketing, a user-friendly business website with an ecommerce component (if necessary), and active Facebook and Twitter pages are integral components of a business’ social media profile.

Why Have a Blogger Review?

A review post on a blog will be read by all subscribers to a blog. The number of subscribers will depend on the popularity and daily traffic of each blog. Sites like Compete and Google Analytics show aggregated data for traffic and visitors to each blog.

A review on a blog may not work for all products. Good products that lend themselves to product reviews on a blog are typically consumer products, for instance, food, toys, music CDs, DVDs, and household appliances. If the product is large in size or used only by industry, having a blog review may not be as effective.

Finding Bloggers

Here’s how a blog review works. A person who reviews your product will give a practical account of the usefulness of a product for themselves or their family. A well-written, comprehensive blog post gives the benefits and, at times, drawbacks of a new product. But don’t panic at the thought of bloggers writing negative reviews; to have a review is to ask the blogger to be completely honest about your product. If the product is great, it should speak for itself.

Readers of review blog posts are more likely to purchase the product after reading a review by a person who has actually used the product. Combine blog reviews with traditional print and TV advertising for a complete promotion package.

Many companies want to have their products reviewed by a well-known blogger with a popular blog. The key to a good review is finding the right blogger for the review. People who blog typically have a complete online presence. As you search for bloggers, evaluate each in terms of their blogs, number and quality of followers of Facebook and Twitter, and influence in their offline communities.

Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth marketing. Many, but not all, bloggers are moms with large groups of friends from college, work, neighborhood, playgroup, preschool, and PTA communities. These moms chat every day about what they love...whether it is their children or a labor-saving device for the home.

You will need to search for bloggers who fit the profile of your customers. A search for bloggers could be done by in-house marketing staff or farmed out to a social media consultant. Find bloggers who are writing about your industry, as they’ll be excited to connect with your brand.

To Pay or Not To Pay?

New bloggers, who will typically not require payment for reviews, will review products for the product alone. But, as bloggers become more seasoned and influential in the online world, a company might need to pay for a review on a high traffic site. Other bloggers will require the product and payment for their writing and promotional services. Still others, will agree to write a sponsored post for payment about a product without a product to review. Sponsored posts will often feature technical information and high-resolution images provided by the business without the first person review account.

Many bloggers join networks that offer to match up bloggers with products. These blogging review sites will charge a fee to a company like yours to find bloggers who fit your product.

Blogging review sites maintain extensive databases of bloggers, listing information, including, name, title of blog, blog url, email, mailing address, phone number, topics covered on their blog, ages and sexes of their children, and any awards won or brand ambassadorships served.

A good blog review of your product can increase sales. Ensure that products that are sent out for review by bloggers are finalized, safety tested, and ready for the consumer market. Be available to answer questions or address issues any blogger may have.