In recent years as homeschooling has become more mainstream decisions of what curricula to use has become more complex. The market that once belonged to a few scattered textbook companies now bursts at the seams with endless choices and opportunities for homeschool families. Freedom of choice can be a blessing and a curse for families as they fill the role of curriculum coordinator; weeding through product descriptions, reviews, fellow homeschool opinions and price points.
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Homeschool Review Crew, launched in 2008, by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine helps homeschool families navigate through a seeming endless ocean of choices in curriculum. As part of a viral marketing campaign for paying vendors, TOS hand-picks 100 homeschool families each school year to serve as members of their Crew. Participants use curriculum provided free of charge from vendors in exchange for a detailed review of the product. Reviews are posted on reviewers personal blogs creating a marketing buzz for the vendor which inevitably leads to higher sales.
"Using the services of the Homeschool Crew is a great benefit to vendors", said Heidi Strawser, Special Projects Manager and "Captain" of the Review Crew. "We have found that homeschool parents are very passionate about homeschool products and love to share their opinions with others. The reviews reach such a broad audience on-line, as each Crew member's blog reaches a different audience. Vendors are pleased with the results in both getting the word out about their product and driving traffic to their websites, which in turn boosts sales", she added.
Homeschool families benefit from this unique marketing technique by being able to read 100 different real life experiences with a particular curriculum. TOS created a blog just for their Homeschool Review Crew detailing product descriptions and direct links to crew member blog reviews.
"Most sites that contain product reviews have them from one or a handful of people", explained Strawser. "With the Homeschool Crew, you can read reviews from 100 or more reviewers who are just like you--homeschool families", she added.
Utilizing blogs and other social networking options is a relatively new marketing option for businesses. Strawser agrees TOS Homeschool Crew fits well with this trend. "The TOS Homeschool Crew has a fan page on Facebook and an account at Twitter. Social networking is a great way to spread the word about products and have fun while doing so!", she said.
TOS magazine is currently accepting applications for its 2010-2011 Homeschool Crew. If you are interested in learning more about this unique opportunity, visit their on-line ad at http://www.theoldschoolhousestore.com/homeschool/Homeschool-Crew-2010.htm