Product Review Trends for Consumer PR
For today’s consumer brands, there is a lot to consider, SEO, social media, and PR, and none of it is without investment. So it pays to know what’s happening in those areas. From a consumer PR perspective, whether for product launch, a rebrand, or to reinvigorate your awareness, product reviews are a key tool for consumer brands.
Sometimes there is confusion over what messaging to use where, and it’s important to understand there are TikTok trends, search trends, and then there are media trends; each of these trends is relevant to finding your customer at the exact right moment, and sometimes they overlap, and sometimes they don’t. If you plan on earned media or even paid content, it pays to know what people are searching for and what the media is covering. We’re big fans of data-informed strategies, especially those that incorporate digital PR, so we like to keep our eyes on the trends lifestyle journalists will love for 2023.
Annual Consumer Product Coverage by Month Presented by Reach and Number of Total Articles
50% more articles in May 2022 than December 2022
By December, most consumer articles have been written, and outlets know consumers are turning their attention elsewhere. This is why our PR Sprints don’t generally cover the month of December.
20% of all annual consumer media coverage happens in September, October, and November.
3.5 Trillion reach
By 2:1 to its next closest topic of skincare, coverage in March 2023 was driven primarily around food by 2 to 1.
This coincides with one of the food industry’s largest expos: Expo West.
What drives consumer review PR coverage? Primarily consumer spending.
Consumer spending is cyclical and of course, to some degree, the cycle depends on your product, but there are a few sweet spots in the year where media coverage and consumer spending cycles coincide. We see these during the spring and fall months, taking advantage of these PR coverage storms is a great way for consumer brands to secure product PR.
Product reviews DO happen all year long, but there are identifiable trends to when press happens. Look to optimize this with product launches, announcements, and concentrated product PR campaigns in the spring and fall.
Click-Friendly Product Reviews
The Media Loves a Story That Performs Well in Search
A common refrain in marketing is that targeting your messaging and your product to everyone waters down its impact. There is some truth to this in PR as well.
Understanding who your audience is and what they read is something we deep dive into for our Bespoke PR services before we engage. What we surface informs our approach. If you want your product reviewed in the press, and you do, because product reviews perform GREAT on Google.
One important consumer product earned media tactic is to be clear on who the product works best for and lean into that niche audience with messaging and tips that are important to your audience.
When you have a product that works for different demographics, provide the media with those hints and tips separately. And know the audience your reviewer targets so that you can share the right information with the outlet’s audience.
Helping a journalist with clear targeting not only helps them help you (believe it or not, most journalists aren’t sitting around dying to write another product review), but it also gives them ideas for how the article can be more acceptable to their editor.
Before & After Pictures
Product Review PR Thrives on Visuals
Before and after pictures are powerful, think about providing before and after pictures to the media in your digital media kit. While the best reviews have their own content, including their own photos like this one which showcases the reviewer’s expertise on the product, providing before and after photos to the journalist helps them get excited about doing the review.
One of the tips we cover in our Consumer PR for Google Guide is providing media-exclusive photos. This is a set of pictures you aren’t using in your social media or website. These photos help journalists write better reviews and stand out in Google, something that’s a win for both of you.
Remember, media relations is branding to journalists. Give journalists all the information they need to get excited about your product – including pictures exclusive to media.
Exclusive Promo Codes
Be Partners with the Media
The state of media is changing, and it’s a survive and thrive media world: Promo codes and affiliate links. We can’t say this enough, this is imperative. Newsrooms are increasingly strapped, so they need to drive revenue somehow. Sometimes, outlets aren’t even considering product reviews without some affiliate program.
Brands who understand the state of media and provide ways to collaborate with media curry more favor with journalists. And journalists remember this kind of thing.
Sweeten the deal with promo codes that are exclusive to the media. While this takes some coordination with journalists, it’s a great way to engage on the second or third round of conversation with a journalist about your product.
Say Thanks With a Tag & a Tweet
Happy Friday to everyone, except publicists who don't acknowledge or thank journalists for the coverage they collaborated on once it publishes. A thank you email is an easy way to cement a relationship and build a bond, yet less than 10% of publicists bother to send one. (thread)— Jill Schildhouse jillschildhouse.substack.com (@JillSchildhouse) April 21, 2023
Link Shares Are the Ultimate Digital Handshake
Journalists today are often judged by how much traffic their stories get – any lift you can provide is appreciated. It baffles me why people don’t share earned media with their communities and customers, but it irritates journalists. When you consider the time it takes to secure earned media, why wouldn’t you make it easier to create a relationship and secure media in the future?
Position Your Products Against One Another
How To Get 100% Share of Voice in Consumer PR
A common complaint about product reviews or listicles is your product doesn’t have a 100% share of voice; to be fair, getting 100% share of voice in any earned media is a righteous if ambitious goal.
One way to secure a deeper share of voice is to position your products against one another. You’re already doing this on your website to help customers find the right product features for their pricepoint, why not empower journalists to write about your products in comparison?