Expert: Julie Strietelmeier, The Gadgeteer

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About the Expert

Julie Strietelmeier, a self described “gadget freak”, is Editor in Chief of The Gadgeteer, a blog dedicatd to reviews and news on gadgets that has been online since 1997. Julie’s history as an internet publisher goes back to the early 90s where she ran three dial-up BBSes (Bulletin Board Systems). Chitika is proud to have Julie share her insights as to how she develops her relevant and informative posts.

Chitika: When we think of The Gadgeteer we think quality posts. Striking the right balance between giving the reader too much information and not enough can be a challenge. You are clearly successful in not bombarding the reader with too much information and you do this by writing quality content reviews with just the right amount of information and pictures to support it.

Chitika: Please share the thought process behind your writing and how you strike that perfect balance between too much information on a product and not enough information on it.

Julie: From the very beginning of The Gadgeteer back in 1997, I decided to try to write reviews that I myself would want to read. I know there are a lot of other sites on the net that provide product reviews, but sometimes they can have so much information that my eyes glaze over and I end up just looking at the pictures and quickly leaving. While I do like to provide a lot of product images in my own reviews, I also try to give the reader only the necessary information that can help them make an informed buying decision. I like to include real world test info and actually talk about how I use a product. My goal is to keep the reviews light and fun so that people don’t get bored.

Chitika: Another part of striking a balance in content is in the amount and type of pictures you provide. How do you determine what kind of pictures to take and display? When is enough enough?

Julie: A. Yet again, I think about the pictures that I would want to see if I was interested in the product. For example, if it’s a phone review, I try to show it in my hand to give the reader an idea of its size. You know you have enough pictures when there is almost an equal amount of text / info and pictures. I also try to remember that not everyone has broadband yet, so I just include only the pictures that I think are the most necessary.

Chitika: You are the force behind The Gadgeteer and you successfully manage other bloggers on your team to be consistent and share your passion. What are the pros, cons and challenges of having a team of writers contribute to your site?

Julie: The pros are having other people contribute content so that I won’t have to always be the one to have to post something. I actually have a full-time day job too, so having extra hands makes things much less stressful. The opposite side of that coin is that I have to keep track of who is writing about product x and who owes me a review for gadget y and z. It really helps to be organized, that’s for sure! You also want to keep your writers happy so that they will want to continue to write for you. Monetary incentives help a lot ;o)

Chitika: Advertisers fear having their products affiliated with negative remarks or even questionable content. On the flip side, bloggers want to maintain unbiased and honest content but still may have concerns that a negative review they give could alienate their advertisers. What advice can you give bloggers on handling this dilemma?

Julie: I’ve been doing this for close to 10 years and my advice is to be honest to a fault. Your readers will respect you and your advertisers will too. If your advertisers get mad, then you really don’t want them as advertisers… at least that’s my opinion. I’ve not had any qualms writing negative product reviews for products that my advertisers happen to sell or even manufacture. So far I’ve not had an advertiser storm away in a huff either. The biggest asset that a blogger can have is their reputation, so don’t screw that up by trying to make everyone happy. Just tell it like it is.