Reviewing products on YouTube is what many creators rely on for video topics. You’ll notice many of the big channels, especially in tech, are essentially review channels. When you’re starting out the idea of being able to find a large number of items to review may seem daunting, but if you do a bit of work you’ll end up with more offers for demo products than you know what to do with.
The first thing you should think about is what items your viewers will care about. Remember that without views and subscribers your channel is worthless. Many new creators focus on getting product, but then end up with videos no one cares about. As with anything in business it’s not about receiving 2-3 items, it’s about creating a pipeline for 200-300. So you need to think about your audience and what they will respond to. Are you a gadget channel, or a home how to channel, or a kids toy channel?
Once you’ve figured out your audience and the types of products you want to review the next step is to raid your house for items you already own. PR folks want to see what you’ve done before they’ll ship you anything. If you have no reviews, they are unlikely to care about you. I’d ransack your own home for any product that fits your niche that you’ve purchased in the past 3 years. Don’t worry about packaging and such, you can show screen shots from the vendors page, and then do the demo with the item you’ve been using. By doing this you’ll learn how to do reviews (Lighting, editing layers of footage, etc), and PR people have alerts setup to tell them if creators are publishing content that fits with what they offer. As you upload videos they will be notified and you’ll get on their radar.
Past your own home make sure to raid your friends house, parents house, sibling house, etc. Don’t be worried about whether you yourself own the items. Being able to talk about a second persons opinion can be a valuable extra for your videos.
Once you’ve done 20 reviews you should start reaching out to vendors of products that you are interested in. Generally vendors will have either a Media or a PR email. Email the address listed and tell them you are very interested in their products to show your loyal viewer base. Do some research and throw in some fluff about why THEIR product is so amazing and why you want to show it off vs. their competition. Be very accommodating and say you’ll accept whatever they send, but pick out a few specific items you’re interested in. Tell them if they ship you a product that you’ll review it within 2 weeks and will send them the video URL when it has been published. Repeat 50 times… (Remember in business it’s a numbers game)
After you’ve sent off a pile of emails its time to step up your game and wander to the nearest Best Buy. Pull out your credit card, buy something very cool, and DON’T LOSE THE RECEIPT! Best Buy currently allows for returns of anything within 14 days (Verify this yourself). So take your flashy new item home. Carefully video yourself unboxing it, and then do a review video. Once you’re done pack the item up and return it. It you’re in a metropolitan area there are probably a lot of Best Buys around so I’d suggest rotating through your local ones just so you don’t get a bad reputation at any specific one. (You can also do this at the Apple Store.)
That’s really all there is to it. At a certain point you’ll get on the radar of PR folks for different vendors and then they’ll start reaching out to you. It becomes very easy when PR agencies start contacting you and they’ll literally send an email with 10-20 items and just ask you which ones they should ship. Just make sure to stick to your word, upload videos as quickly as possible, and always keep in contact with the people that reach out to you.
At this point you’ll have to decide how choosy to be, and how many reviews you want to do. Remember that if they are not paying you then they’re receiving incredibly cheap advertising. At first it’s awesome to get a brand new set of headphones for simply creating a video, but at a certain point you’ll have to decide if you really need another set on top of the dozen you already have. Additionally you’ll have to start deciding the types of brands you want to work with. Not every vendor is Logitech, you’ll receive a large amount of contacts from random Chinese companies that simply sell through Amazon.
Never forget that at the end of the day your channel will live and die based on views. Make sure you don’t get greedy in the short term for items, but then turn off the people that might be interested in following your channel. When you start out you’ll be giddy when you receive a $50 item, after awhile you’ll be staring at piles of items wondering what the hell to do with them all.