How to Get a Job Reviewing Gadgets
Gadget reviewers test the latest cell phones, GPS navigators and other high-tech toys and write about their findings for magazines, websites or their own blogs. Early access to new technology may sound attractive, but it’s not an easy field to break into. You must prove you’re tech-savvy enough to write an authoritative review, and, if you’re writing for your own website, you must establish your reputation and build an audience.
Enhance Your Tech Knowledge
You might have an interest in smartphones or be a fan of a certain brand of technology, but technology reviewers must be familiar with the entire gadget marketplace. Read other people’s reviews and learn about the array of technological innovations on the market. Though you don’t need to be a technology professional, some tech background can help you better understand and explain what you’re reviewing. A few college courses, for example, can help you understand the basics.
Hone Your Writing Skills
Gadget reviewers need excellent writing skills and the ability to understand and address the needs of their audiences. In many cases reviewers play a teaching role, helping readers understand how gadgets work and if something meets their needs. They must know how to present information step-by-step in a simplified fashion, but with enough detail to help consumers make responsible decisions. Moreover, they need insight into what consumers want and how they make decisions, combined with the ability to write for the everyday consumer.
Make a Name For Yourself
You likely won’t land high-profile gigs when you’re starting out, and will have to establish your reputation gradually. Read established tech sites and publications to get a feel for the writing style. Leave comments on posts and pitch an idea or two. Find a new angle on something you know the site regularly covers. Until you amass several clips, you might have to write for only a small fee. Editors might also ask you to submit the piece “on spec,” which means they won’t propose a fee until they read the article to determine if it’s a good fit.
Build a Blog
Many gadget reviewers operate their own blogs and websites. However, this can take a more significant investment of time and money than writing for other publications. Manufacturers likely won’t give you their products for free to review unless you have an established blog and a sizable following. Your site should look professional, and companies will also want to know how many visitors you receive per day. This may require spending several months paying for gadgets out-of-pocket or writing about general tech topics until you can prove yourself to the companies who make the products you want to review.
Contact Magazines and Web Sites
Both technology-focused and general consumer publications and web sites employ gadget reviewers. Web site Business Insider hires full-time gadget reviewers based at its New York City office, and requires applicants to have both strong writing skills and an enthusiasm for technology. They also need basic knowledge of the types of gadgets available. The website Ars Technica hires full-time work-from-home gadget reviewers and requires that candidates have at least two years of professional tech writing experience. The site prefers applicants in the New York, Chicago or San Francisco areas, or those who are able to travel.