I started out blogging as a product test writer and I got paid.
What I have learned is that if you enjoy sharing your opinion and have a knack for writing interesting test and review articles, then you might have a niche in this area.
What’s most important here is that you need to know a specific niche. You can’t just go into niches that you have no experience in because it will become plain to see very quickly.
What I have found really makes a difference is specializing in books, movies, technology, apps, food, TV shows, home, hardware and other niches that people encounter in their everyday lives.
This blog post will help you navigate through some of my experience being a reviewer. I thoroughly enjoyed writing my opinions while testing products.
Sharing my experience, engaging with readers and having a keen interest kept me going for a long, looooong time.
Let’s just put it this way: the most lucrative source of income will be from writing full bodied reviews.
You won’t get paid to test products on Amazon (most of the time) or Yelp. One paragraph reviews don’t get paid most of the time.
Think about it… even YouTubers have to reserve one minute of their video to introduce a product in order to get paid.
They have to put in the effort to assemble the video and generate the content. So for a regular guy with no following, you’ll have to be content for less.
OK, I have no following, now what?
It’s hard to believe but there are people and companies out there that will pay people to write reviews of their products. Not only do you get the free samples and the ability to make some extra money.
Of course, you’ll have to qualify, but that’s not surprising. After all, product testing is usually a means for companies to get a sense of what their average customer would want.
A note about geography
If you’re American, you will do well in this regard because most sensory panels/discussion groups and national consumer panel tests are usually done in the United States.
Of course, it’s a big country and it’s true that certain regions of the US benefit much more from access to a product testing site than other regions.
If you live in Canada or Australia, then you might find some country specific free product testing programs.
Otherwise, product testing opportunities can also be done at home. Sometimes, product manufacturers will send these opportunities to people who qualify. If these are the opportunities you’re looking for as a product tester, then you will just need a reliable internet connection to do their online surveys.
At the heart of it, most of the earnings you will get is done through PayPal, Amazon gift cards, digital Visa gift cards or some other form of online remuneration, so you’ll need to ensure you have checked how the funds are disbursed.
Starting your own blog/YouTube
One of the things that you can do is to start your own content creation outlet with product reviews in mind.
If you want to make the big bucks and get recognized, this is the best way forward.
The thing is, however, this method brings the greatest risk and you need to be well prepared for it.
Choose a niche
A niche is an important guide that will serve as the area in which you will focus all your content creation effort.
Choosing a previously proven, competitive niche is better than choosing one that’s new, unknown and of unknown demand.
The former is better because you already know that people are searching this niche up and you’re just trying to see where you rank in the pecking order of content creators.
If you’re good, you’ll know. If you’re not good, you’ll also know.
Contrast this with entering into a niche where no one is actually in. Now, that’s a real difficult one because if you’re good, it’s not easy to know. If you’re not good, it’s hard to know due to the lack of feedback.
Start by asking yourself… what are you interested in?
That’s important. Then, go search up Google, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.
If social media is telling you that there’s actually a good amount of content out there, then that’s a good sign that you are entering into a good niche.
Even though we’re using the word “niche” here, you definitely don’t want to be narrowing yourself so far that you can’t get out of the trap you set.
Make sure while you niche down, you are also ensuring that you have expandable space. For example, don’t start a website dedicated to a microphone niche. Instead, try audio so that you can write about podcasting, headphones, editing and microphones, of course.
Pump out content consistently
Yeah, consistency is key.
People want to know that if they casually visit your website or YouTube channel, that there will be a chance they’ll see something they like.
As you pump out content, you will be running your own testing program to see what works and what doesn’t.
There are a few fundamentals that really make a difference in this case.
First up is that all the profits (and cost) accrue to you. You would have to cough up the capital to buy all the products to test.
Secondly, people will be able to make a connection to YOU. The way you present information really makes a difference. Your personality makes a difference.
I know creating content based around product reviews is extremely expensive so it’s something that you will need to try to extend as far as possible. If you have multiple products in the same niche, you could try to do comparisons. That will give your products a massive leap in the number of articles
Ultimately, consistency is the key.
Got the traffic?
This is where you can start monetizing.
Start by applying to Google Adsense. Adsense is very advanced and can detect what your website is about and what ideal ads to display.
There are even better ad networks out there but you do have to qualify for them. Just keep increasing traffic and you might get a break through.
Then, you can go out and seek sponsorships, earn commissions through affiliate links or write sponsored articles, etc.
Best Product Testing Sites
The best thing you can do for yourself is to find a market research company or research companies that have a vested interest in doing testing.
Mature companies need your opinion before they try out something new. Market research is a pretty normal step in a product launch.
So let’s take a look a few in-house testing schemes where you can find out about new products.
Johnson & Johnson has a Friends & Neighbors program that allows you to join their product testing USA arm.
The great thing about this is that you get great rewards.
The downside is that in order to be a panelist, it will give you an advantage if you live near their Skillman, NJ facility. If you are considered a person who has a greater than average ability to assess the appearance, feel and performance of skin care products, then you might be chosen to go to their Skillman, NJ facility to help them develop their products.
To sign up, follow the link and then sign up. As long as you are 18 ears old or older, you can be part.
What you will be doing is testing of various products that haven’t been released into the market. You’d test them in various ways including smelling fragrances for a new body wash line, evaluating a new lash lengthening mascara, or testing types of dental floss, just to name a few. This may be Home Use Studies or studies conducted at our local facilities. Participants will receive compensation for their time and participation after the study has been completed.
In addition to these tests, there are also online surveys, focus groups, discussion panels, consumer discussions and sensory evaluation panels.
McCormick Consumer Testing Program
If you are a resident of the USA, Canada or the UK, you could join the McCormick Consumer Testing Program.
McCormick is a food and spice company based in the US.
If you live near their Hunt Valley, Maryland location, you can test products at their testing facility by invitation. Or else, you might also be able to get these products to your home where you will test them.
McCormick does qualify their candidates. They pick people from their testing program who meet the demographic requirements for the product that’s meant to be tested. If you are chosen, you will be sent a further follow up to find out whether you qualify, and that’s when you’ll actually know if you are a candidates who they actually want.
There is a limit to how much you can do, though. McCormick says you can only do a maximum of four times a year and once every three months and each test varies in what you do and how long they last.
If you are an Amazon enthusiast who has a track record of making a lot of great and valuable reviews, then Amazon might want you on their Amazon Vine program.
How it works is that Amazon wants people to help them understand the value of a new product. So, if you are good, the will send you merchandise for review.
If you have a high reviewer rank (reflecting how useful and helpful your reviews are) then you might qualify. If you have a portfolio of reviews that are well-liked, then you might soon qualify if you haven’t already.
Your reviewer rank is determined by a mix of the overall helpfulness of all your reviews, factoring the number of reviews you have written, with more weight put on recent reviews.
Amazon also weighs the customers’ demonstrated interest in products similar to those enrolled in the Vine program. Basically, if your review history has proven that you know about a certain product, then you have a higher chance of qualifying.
Vine provides free merchandise to members and you CAN leave a negative review without any damage to your chances of being in the program. Amazon says they want honest reviews.
If your expertise with products are a bit more virtual, then UserTesting might be the perfect place for you since they specialize in app reviews and software reviews for companies.
Basically, companies want their apps tested and UserTesting provides these companies with the logistics involved in creating a test.
That’s where you get involved.
UserTesting has various degrees of tests including short, 5 minute tests that pay $4 each up to a 20 minute test that involves screen and audio recording and up to 4 follow up questions that pays $10.
There are also live conversation tests which require joining a scheduled video conference call, and offers a payment between $30 to $120.
You do have to provide certain computer-based hardware in order to qualify for the program.
Payment is done through PayPal.
BzzAgent is partially a means to get you to become an influencer.
Here’s what I mean… you sign up with them, tell them about what you’re interested in and share our experience across social media.
If you qualify, you will get products and you will get to sample the products that you have signed up for.
And then you will need to fulfill the list of requisites that the will outline to you when you signed up.
For example, it’s probable that as part of the agreement you will have to post something on social media to influence your friends, followers and other consumers and/or submit a product review.
To get freebies through Tryazon, you need to be able to host a party or TryaBox and then sharing the products in that party.
It works like this: you sign up, then you browse through the opportunities to get these products and apply.
If you qualify, they will send you a box that you can try and share with others.
Products include Razor kick scooters, chocolates, puzzles and board games with brands such as T-Fal, Crayola, Silk’n, Razor, Disney, Discovery and Barilla.
You could also get a part pack that are a compilation of samples, exclusive offers and other freebies.
BzzAgent offers free products for review.
Of course, you’d have to qualify. You will get the products and you will get to sample what you have received.
Plus, you will be given a list of activities that you will have to do including posting to social media about your experience or submitting a product review.
They say that you must post an “honest review to influence your friends, followers and other consumers” and “be sure to include the required hashtags and @mentions to get credit for your posts. “
Product testing can be a difficult thing to monetize. It’s not impossible, but it does take time and consistency in order for your reviews to have any sort of lasting power on the internet. If you are looking for an easy way to make money with product testing, start by investing some of your own cash into buying products that might interest you (or spend all day at Target).
Then write thoughtful reviews about them on blogs or social media platforms like YouTube. The more content you post online, the higher chance people will find what they need from one of your videos or blog posts – which means more views and followers!
Alternatively, if blogging isn’t something you’re interested in doing full-time yet there is still an opportunity by joining other product testing companies out there.
Product testing companies are a bit of a hit and miss since you’d have to qualify. You could sign up for all of them and then see what you get. It really pays off if you live near the Maryland-DC-Virginia area too, since that’s where most product testing companies have their testing facilities.
All in all, you will definitely benefit from being in signing up for all of them to increase your chances of getting paid or getting free products.