Imagine having a car company dropping off a new vehicle for you to drive every week. Most people are stuck with one car for five years but you get something new a couple times a month ranging from a two-seater sports car to a top-of-the-line SUV to a pickup truck or even a family sedan and drive it for a few days or even a week. All you have to do in return is write about your experiences candidly and thoughtfully, sharing a few pictures of the vehicle on social media too. Does this sound too good to be true?
You might be surprised to learn that there are a number of bloggers and vloggers who have just such an arrangement. You might even have blogger friends who have relationships with car companies including Ford Motor Company, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Hyundai, Chevrolet and others. It looks fun and glamorous right? But how and why is it happening? It's part of what's known as influence marketing, and if you love cars and sharing your smart, thoughtful impressions of vehicles, it's something you can probably start doing soon too.
I'm Dave and I Blog About Cars ...
I know because in any given month I have 2-3 car loans, the most recent two being my review of a 2016 Toyota RAV4 and my roadtrip with a 2016 Mazda CX-5. Each of them was a standard blogger arangement. I was given a seven day loan with unlimited mileage, giving me a chance to really put the cars through their paces. Driving a car on a day-to-day basis really highlights its strengths and weaknesses. It's enough time that it's worth pairing your phone and programming the favorites on the radio, for example, which means, yes, you actually learn if that's hard or easy to accomplish. In other words, the glamor of having a shiny new car gives way to the good and bad elements that you simply can't experience during a one-day launch event.
The closest most of you probably have come to this is at a dealership. On a typical dealer test drive you usually have 20-30 minutes behind the wheel and often that's with a salesperson in the car with you. No blasting the radio, no zero-to-60 acceleration tests at a green light, no trying to fit your drum set into the trunk or your child's bike in the back seat. Longer test drives definitely reveal things about car design and functionality that can be unexpected but hugely beneficial for potential buyers to know about. This might include poor placement of the lighter plug or buggy software that causes trouble when you try to pair your phone. Of course, it can also reveal things that you love too!
How To Start Doing Car Reviews on Your Blog ...
Some people start reviewing cars by making friends with the local car dealership, creating an arrangement where they feature or highlight the dealership, not just the vehicle. I work primarily through an agency called Rocky Mountain Redline but also often interact directly with the marketing groups at the auto manufacturers.
If you'd like to get involved, write a straightforward letter to the marketing team at a car company and see if they're interested. State your interest, what makes you an interesting person to write about cars, and make sure to share your vital stats: age, where you live, how many people subscribe to your YouTube channel or read your blog, how many followers you have on the various social media networks. Don't assume that because you are a smaller blogger that brands won't work with you. In addition to raw numbers they are also looking for creativity and interesting pitches. Remember this when crafting your letters.
Give it a whirl, start by sending personalized queries to a couple of your favorite car brands and keep your fingers crossed. Don't be discouraged if things don't work out initially, at any given time there is a limited number of vehicles available to loan out but if you are patient, flexible and willing to network you'll eventually get your foot in the door with your first car review blog post.
Dave Taylor writes about cars on his GoFatherhood blog and is a member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. You can find him on Twitter as @DaveTaylor