I may not yet be what you call an expert on this subject, but I’m trying to share my experience with you so that together we can reach what we all aim for… to craft an honest review when working with brands.
When it comes to my niche, FOOD, I’d like to take you all back about 10-12 years to a time when we had what we might call the typical blogger’s table. We were contacted about a month in advance by the restaurant that wanted a blogger’s table to be arranged. The date and time would be informed in advance to all involved. It would also be requested that we carry our preferred means of recording, in case we wanted to take notes.
We would reach the venue and take our seats. The owner or the sales and marketing rep would stay with us from start to finish. Unlike today when a PR agency representative greets bloggers and many times disappear midway, leaving bloggers to do what they want. The Executive Chef and the Chef would also stay with us, explaining the menu being served and the process of making the dishes. A few nutritional experts amongst bloggers would even discuss the nutritional aspect.
They Are Expecting Your Feedback
Once the standard pre-prepared menu was served, we would ask for random dishes to taste. The chef and his team would prepare it and serve us, expecting our feedback. We would record the entire menu, presentation, order, ambiance, service, and taste, discussing with each other.
Once done, we were invited into a conference room or lobby where we could relax for a while. The restaurant owners would make it a point to come in and meet all of us. They’d spend some time chatting over tea before we departed. A token of appreciation for our efforts (wine baskets with 6 assorted wines, food meal vouchers or discount coupons for a year) would be given.
Back then there was no after dinner expectations. We were never expected to promote or even write about the restaurant, on any particular website or on our own blogs, for that matter. We were clear on the experience and simply gave feedback to the restaurant right then and there before departing.
How are Reviews Different Today?
Fast forward to our current times. An honest review has now translated in writing blog posts about an experience, which I still try and do with the same good spirit and honesty. Unless and until I have received very poor service, I won’t write nasty reviews about restaurants.Don't promise to write what the brand wants! Stay true to yourself and be honest.Click To Tweet
I also don’t just keep my own experience in mind when writing. I presume that someone new walks into that same restaurant every 20 mins expecting to eat a good meal worth the money he/she paid. And my review may help him/her make the best choices.
So here are some pointers I’ve jotted down about how to craft an honest review when working with brands.
How to Craft an Honest Review when Working with Brands
- Visit the place in advance so that you get to experience the ambiance in its true sense. If the place/corner is being made up just for you then you know it’s not there on regular business days.
- Order at least one dish on your own, so that you know how and what goes into preparing it and you can compare it with what has been served to you from a pre-determined menu.
- Always engage in discussion with the chef and/or restaurant owners so you know how passionate he/she is about serving their customers.
- Never accept anything from the restaurant/product manufacturer with a promise that you will write what he wants you to. Stay true to yourself and keep your rights of free expression intact!
- Write what will not hamper the business or the product manufacturer. After all, we’re all here to make money so don’t put a plug in his/her earnings unless they really are that bad. And if they are, don’t hesitate or mince words. Be straight, be blunt, and above all be honest. While doing this remember not to get personal. But remember you are crafting an honest review here.
- Structure your product review in such a way that it does not leave space for a reader to get personal. He/she can read your review and immediately decide to take it that way.
- Always suggest changes and/or improvements. Remember, criticizing is easy, correcting is difficult.
- Make it a point to use simple words and language so that it’s easy to read by one and all. Don’t use too many complicated jargons, phrases and complex sentences. The readers prefer it simple and straight, to the point.
Hope my pointers help you craft an honest review of your own.
Do you have any pointers on how to craft an honest review when working with brands? Share it in the comments section below so that we can all learn together.☺