When I first started reviewing, reviewing itself kinda hit it's peak of popularity but even then there were handful of folks doing it and doing it well. When I first got in candles, there were even less. But nowadays candle reviewing is all the rage and anyone with a smartphone thinks that they can do..which makes me feel some kinda way. Some are pretty good, most are not. So I wrote down some helpful points for people who are thinking of being a reviewer or wants to better
BLOGGER: Write in your own voice
It's your blog featuring your thoughts and opinions in your voice. What you write should come across like you having a conversation, not a dissertation, graduation speech or Bar Mitzvah presentation. Yes grammar, punctuation and syntax is important and the points you want to present should be precise and concise but your words shouldn't sound stilted or too polished; your readers might as well be reading an article on Wikipedia. Your posts be should natural and easy and fun too read.
YOUTUBER: Be yourself
Nothing is more entertaining and enjoyable than watching a Youtuber just be themselves in front of the camera. A fake persona could be entertaining for awhile but then it gets old. Same with someone playing a slightly exaggerated version of yourself, it's gets old. As long as you're having fun talkin about candles, people are gonna have listenin to you
INSTAGRAMMER: Get creative with your candle pics
There's nothing more boring than a picture of a lone candle. That's fine if you're posting it on Evilbay or Mercari to say but it's friggin Instagram. The whole point is you posting pictures to get people's attention and like said picture and preferably follow you. Why would anyone do that if your pictures are boring? Wow, you took a pic of a candle of your table or dresser...how original! Play around and have some fun - use props, use backgrounds, take pics outside. If it's a holiday, use your decorations. Got a pet? Put it in you pic. You don't need a fancy camera unless you plan on being a professional blogger, just use your smartphone. There are all kinds of free photo editing and filtering doo-hickeys on your phones so there is no excuse
INSTAGRAMMER: Write something, anything about the candle
I've made it a point to unfollow people who just post candle pics and write nothing about it. I followed (and unfollowed) one lady who was notorious for this; I asked her why and she said that she didn't have time...didn't have time? Really?! You obviously had time to take the pic, edit the pic, and post the pic but not enough to write a little blurb? GURL BYE! Write something - where you bought, when you bought, what does it smell like, how does it make you feel..anything is better than nothing. Also hashtags are your friends, use em!
YOUTUBER: Watch what comes out of your mouth
The only sounds coming out of your mouth is words only. Be mindful of teethsucking and lipsmacking..though a good ghettorific tongue click is acceptable if you can do one properly but only in small doses. Unless you have a cold, keep the throat clearing to a minimum; and even if you do have a cold, drink some tea, swallow some honey, suck on a lozenge, do you whatcha gotta do. And guys don't burp/belch, it's not cute or funny or attractive. And if you do burp/belch on accident and there's no way to edit it ot, SAY EXCUSE ME! If not, there's this big white stank elephant in the room that takes away from your video. You want your subscribers to follow your every word, not be distracted that your nasty impolite ass didn't say excuse me after letting out a throat fart.
BLOGGER: Pictures are worth a thousand words
Yes the whole point of the blog is to speak your mind with words but sometimes you can save yourself so much time and words just posting a pic. That said, take a candid pic of the candle you're reviewing, preferably lit to show it's performance. Don't just steal pics off of the website. Also take pics of any candle issues - tunneling, puny wicks, etc. There's only so much words, your readers can handle at a time and good way to break the monotony is with a pic.
YOUTUBER: DICTION DICTION DICTION
I've seen some videos where I literally couldn't understand a single solitary word coming from the person; they weren't foreign and English weren't their second language, just a regular ol American. What is the point of doing a video and talking about whatever if viewers can barely understand you?!You can NOT get in front of your camera/smartphone and talk regularly like you do with your family and friends; they understand you cuz they're used to you, the strangers out there watching your videos, not so much. And I'm lookin at y'all, my fellow Southerners..watch that drawl y'all. Speak slowly! ENUNCIATE! If you think there's a possibility that you won't be understand or you have a bad case of annoying voice, do a practice run; record a tidbit of your voice and work on any issues. Do a few mouth/jaw exercises to loosen then. If you were a drama kid or a speech and debater backintheday, do a few of the vocal exercises you were taught.
YOUTUBER: The dictionary is your friend
Back when BBW was still writing long monologues for their notes, one fall they kept using the word"autumnal" a lot in several different candles..and a least 5-6 different all mispronounced this word. There's no excuse. If you encounter a word and you don't know either how to pronounce or what it means, LOOK IT UP! Looking and sounding dumb is not cute!
Also if you encounter a fragrance note that you've never heard of, never smelled and/or don't know how to pronounce,LOOK IT UP! Wikipedia that shit!
INSTAGRAMER: Post the damn notes
This annoys me to no friggin end and I've already ranted and raved on IG about this. If you are one of the fortunate few who live near a test store and you want to post newness... awesome, please do! BUT POST THE FRIGGIN NOTES! Just posting a pic of newness is not remotely helpful cuz you're not saying what it smells like. You know people are gonna ask you, so why not post them?!
INSTAGRAMERS/YOUTUBERS: It's not a contest
People break their damn necks to be the first to post newness or test scents...why? It's not a competition and if you think it's a competition, you need serious help. Stop posting in the damn store, just sniff and take pics. It 's easy to get noseblind or discombobulated or overwhelmed while you're in the store. Wait til you get home away from the BBW fumes, the adrenaline rush is over, your brain has calmed and you can make sense. At home, you have no excuse about lack of time or SAs peeking over your shoulder. And if you're about to make a video, take some time to really sniff, do some comparisons and get your thoughts together.
EVERYONE: Do your homework
I have read/heard a few reviewers say rather erroneous things and it grates my nerves. As a reviewer you are an authority figure with more knowledge and expertise than your followers. if you're giving out false info and you're followers know more than you do, what's the point?! One major issue I have is people love to throw around the R word - repackage. Sometimes thing's aren't a repackage but rather a rerelease (a candle with the same name and notes released over and over) or it just happens to be similar or has similar notes. Then when people call them out for being wrong, they either have to backtrack, correct themselves and apologize or they make passive aggressive flippant/sarcastic remarks about being called out. Another issue I have are folks who are relatively new to the candle fandom and think that every scent that comes out is new or they have no earthly knowledge of candles prior to the start of their candle obsession. In both cases, there's no excuse - DO YOUR RESEARCH. There are sooo many videos and blog posts (cough cough like mine) with all the info you need. Do sniff comparison. Look up notes on the Internet. Consult with people how have been into candles longer than you. EDUCATE YOURSELF!
EVERYONE: If you gonna be a reviewer, then REVIEW
Nothing pisses me off more than hearing a reviewer say nothing else about a candle besides "I like this one" or "This is my fav". THAT'S NOT F***ING HELPFUL! No ones gives a flying shit what you like or dislike, what people care about is what the damn candle smells like and what the burn is like. If you're doing cold sniff reviews, say it what it smells like and if you like or dislike, explain why. If you're doing a post-burn review, talk IN DEPTH about the burn performance and the throw strength. People are relying on you and what you say determines if they will buy said candle or not.
Also, I hear soooooooooooo many people on social "I'm not good a describing scents"...which in my opinion is bullshit! Nothing makes me roll my eyes quicker than hearing that. Granted many people are not familiar with certain notes and being able to pick apart a blend and pinpoint notes is a skill that few possess. However if you have a working nose, a functioning brain and a grasp of the English language, you should be able to say, even on a basic level, what a candle smells like. Just say something about it, anything; Id rather you say something than nothing at all. And if you truly are unable to say what you smell, DON'T BE A REVIEWER. A candle reviewer who can't describe scents is like a blind seeing eye dog, cute but useless.
EVERYONE: Engage with your audience
There is nothing worse than a reviewer who thinks themselves too high and mighty to converse with the common rabble that is their followers. And do NOT use the excuse that you're busy. If you have the time to write a blog or post a pic or especially make/edit/post a video, you have time to answer people's comments. And don't just talk to your friends who are following, talk to EVERYONE. You might have people who are new to the candle fandom and have questions; what's wrong with answering them? Granted you may occasionally get a question that's really stupid or is self-explanatory; feel free to ignore those. Or if someone gets irate or you get some trolling, just delete and block. But do try to reply back as often as you can and develop some kind of bond so that they'll keep coming back for more.
EVERYONE: Develop thick skin
Anytime you put yourself out there, be prepared for haters. That's just life. And the world of candle reviewing is full of em. Unless you're a bitch, most people are gonna support you, have your back and give your all kinds of positive reinforcement. However, a run-in with an asshole is inevitable. You'll have knowitalls disagreeing with you, people who know less than you wanting to critique, people jealous of your popularity, folks who ask incredibly stupid questions, the follow for follow hoes who get salty when you don't follow them, and of course there are trolls who have nothing better to do than to right nasty comments and goad you into a comment battle. Don't let these bitches get to you; haters gon hate so keep doing you! And the block button will be your best friend, use it well and often
EVERYONE: Don't take yourself so seriously
I've seen some reviewers' inflated ego get in the way and their arrogance increase with their likes and views and follows. They get a little too full of themselves - they think their reviews are holy gospel edicts coming from on high, they focus more on getting more views and follows than actually reviewing and look down on their followers/subscribers treating them quite nastily and confuse their "popularity" for "celebrity". If you aren't getting paid for your antics and/or you don't work or have some kind of working relation with a candle company, I'm gonna need you to slow your roll and calm it the eff down! And even if you are getting paid or not and even if you have several followers or not...YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT CANDLES!!! First world problems like a mofo! You're not curing cancer or AIDS; get off of your high horse and treat this like the hobby it was intended to be!