How I became a tech blogger

I’ve been asked a number of times recently how I became a tech blogger and what do you need to do to become one.

At the moment I currently review for the following companies
Hauppauge, CyberLink, QDOS, Olloclip, Sir Lancelots Armor, eBeam, X-mini, Toshiba and Sennheiser. The majority of these reviews came about by being contacted by various PR companies who found me on YouTube or on my website. As time has gone on I have contacted directly by companies looking for reviews.

I almost invariably get asked “how do you get free stuff” and I am convinced that if you are only after the “free stuff” you are
destined to fail. Companies are investing resources in supplying review items and always expect something in return. I have had several abusive emails and tweets from people asking me to give them the contact names of people in the companies I review for just so they can get the free stuff. I think this is totally missing the point.

I am a very small and modest review blogger but am steadily gaining momentum and a positive reputation amongst companies and this is a brief account of my journey.

Tip 1: Review what you have at home and showcase it on YouTube

Simply start by making review videos of the products you have at home, showcase the best features and produce a balanced argument of the features. When it comes to Birthdays, Christmas or when you buy new tech make an unboxing video. Think carefully about the tags you use when uploading to YouTube to get good exposure.

Tip 2: Find a good role model of someone who is already doing this well and learn all you can from them

For me this was David Di Franco aka
The Creative One on YouTube. He now has over 100,000 subscribers and uploads a never ending stream of unboxings, reviews and personal / family blogs on an almost daily basis. He has been an inspiration for me and through emails and watching his videos has taught me so much. With an awesome number of subscribers he is clearly doing something very well.

I have also watched nearly every video from Dave at
Geekanoids. He also has a massive number of subscribers over 80,000. There is so much you can learn from him for both style and content. He has also helped me out when I needed advice through emails and tweets.

Tip 3: Decide on a brand name that has the potential to grow

UKTechreviews.com has been live for 2 years (we celebrated our 2nd Birthday at the start of May) but I had been uploading videos to YouTube since June 2011. I waited very patiently until my views and subscribers started to grow before starting to write and design the website. I was also very careful to ensure that all different social media streams were consistent.

Tip 4: Enter competitions!

Not long after starting the website I saw a competition of Facebook to win a chance at becoming a reviewer for Sennheiser. All you had to do was upload a review style video to YouTube and send them a link. I decided at the time to do a review of my
digital camera . I was so chuffed when I won. It took a little while for my first pair of headphones to come through (an awesome pair of Momentum) but I was an official reviewer! This then generated further opportunities to attend product launches etc.

Tip 5: Engage well with social media

I have steadily grown my twitter following to 1.3k of which many are big companies. Big tech companies love their products being showcased, tweet out a link to every video and blog post. I have been approached by companies simply on the back of including them in a tweet. Remember - never, ever ask for free stuff - this is probably the worst message you can send! I recently attended
Gadget Show Live 2014 where I deliberately made a point of speaking face to face with companies I had chatted to on Twitter. I spent the day with my son who helped with recording interviews and he was really surprised when I was given a very nice free gift from one company. He pointed out to me later that I didn’t ask anyone for anything I just went to say hi!

Tip 6: Don’t feed the trolls

For a time recently I had to switch off comments as I was getting a barrage of Trolls leaving me comments. In the early days it was very hard to believe that people would write such vile comments slagging off my work which I have invested good time into. I often have to tell myself that these people are not creating any content themselves.

Tip 7: Content is crucial

Simply unboxing a product is not going to generate further reviews. Good quality and original content is central to a good review. I almost want to say that content trumps video quality but there is no point in having a beautiful polished video which basically has no content. I would always say that written content and clear video content are central to gaining more followers and more reviews.

Tip 8: Always give a call to action

This is one that I am not too great at remembering. At the end of a video always give the viewer a chance to subscribe to you and preferable watch over videos you have created. The more time they spend with you the more chance you have of them coming back.

Tip 9: Give back to the community

I have given away every single review product I was sent to keep (apart from one). Engaging with the tech community and giving something back shows that you are not just doing reviews to get free stuff. People value this two-way engagement and competitions are an excellent way of increasing subscribers.

Tip 10: Reputation is everything

You may be 10 or much older like me (39 and a Dad of 2!) but this same rule applies. Reputation is everything and can be lost so easily. Companies, PR reps, your twitter followers and YouTube subscribers will soon go if your reputation become toxic. Be very careful about the public message you give across all different platforms. If you run a competition make sure you have a set of rules and always clearly show who won! If a company wants a review sample sending back make sure you do it promptly even if you have to pay the postage yourself. Never copy someone else’s work, blogs, website design or video content - you will get found out!

Finally,

We do this because we love technology, talking about it and sharing it with our followers. We don’t do this because we want free stuff!

I would love to know what you think, please leave a comment below.


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