At some point most writers, especially working on blogs and websites, will need to write a review of some type. This could be for an affiliate company, for a client’s website or to inform your own readers about different products. This article explores some of the different aspects to consider when writing your own review and provides links to a number of resources that can support you.
The content in this article has been divided under the following headings.
- What is a product review?
- Product review template
- Make the product real for the reader
- Know your product
- Articles versus reviews
- Experimental reviews
- Add video content to your review
What is a Product Review?
A product review is something that many readers choose to read before making a decision to purchase. For the writer it is an opportunity to answer the type of questions that you would be asking for yourself if you were about to buy this product.
Many sites offer their own recommendation or customer reviews. These tend to be short and to the point as I have shown in the example here from Argos, which is a general house store with an online catalogue.
However a product review on a blog site usually tends to be longer and will go into slightly more detail than the one shown in the screenshot. In addition to wanting reassurance on whether it worked or not, readers often have a few questions that they want answered before they will be convinced to buy it.
These questions could include wanting a detailed description of the product with an explanation of the good and the bad parts about it. The review could compare it to other or similar products on the market and then make a personal recommendation to the reader as to whether it is useful or worth buying. Other questions that a review might seek to answer could be.
- What does this product or service do – why would it improve your life / work?
- What does this product do differently compared to other similar products on the market – is it faster, smaller, easier ?
- What does this product do that is good – is it easy to use, value for money?
- What does this product do that is not so good – weaknesses in design, colour choice, cost?
- Who is the ideal person for this type of product – what prior experience do they need?
- Where can you buy this product from and how much does it cost?
Product Review Template
Having decided to write a review the next stage is to develop a simple review template so that readers know what to expect when reading your reviews for different products. One of the simplest designs can be seen in the review I did in this post here, where the review is broken down into the following 5 sections.
- PRODUCT ……
Overall Ranking: optional give it a mark out of 10 or 100
- INTRODUCTION What is ….Different Types of Product – premium levels, membership options, etc.
- Additional Material – What else does it offer, how does it differ? etc.
- FINAL OPINION/VERDICT – What do you recommend and why?
This is quite a simplistic design but it covers the main points and allows readers to quickly and easily see what the product is and what you recommend. Other types of template that you might be interested in using include a clear and easy to follow format from contentchampion.com which is shown below.
Providing links to the product as various stages saves the reader having to move back to the top or look for the link. However there shouldn’t be too many that it annoys the reader and interferes with the actual reading of the review.
If you are going to make a lot of reviews on your site then you can also purchase specific software packages online that provide standard review templates. Or WordPress has developed some of its themes specifically for writing reviews, if you are setting up a blog or website for this purpose.
Make the Product Real for the Reader
Either of the simple review templates that have been shown can also be enhanced, to help the reader to become more familiar with the product. This could be done by using screenshots and pictures of the product.
You could always digress slightly and link to an article on tea making in order to get your readers in the mood for thinking about the product, as it would work for them.
Know Your Product
The other way to make the product real is to provide evidence that you know this product very well. Either photos of you using the product, or evidence that you have read and researched this topic in-depth. If you are gathering opinions from across the web what else can you add that will inform the reader and encourage them to buy from you, rather than leaving your site to find another review of exactly the same product.
Add something into the review about who this product would suit and who it wouldn’t be so good for, so that readers can again get a sense of what exactly this product is and how it would or would not work for them. e.g. the kettle is very utilitarian and basic and is at a low price, would suit students or couples starting out, or a holiday home purchase.
Articles Rather than Reviews
Not all reviews are short and to the point, some can involve a longer article type format. The review that I did on this site for Scrivener, follows a different pattern from the other template. (This site isn’t really a review site, so that’s why the formats are different depending on the product I’m writing about). In this review I have used a number of screenshots of the software, but along with this the banner ads for the product are also great images that I have used as well.
The difference in this review is that it is more descriptive, because it is a product that I am always using therefore I can give more examples of how it works for me. These kind of reviews suit a particular type of audience who want details and stories behind the product. Some readers however prefer different types of format.
This may or may not be something for a small blog site, but larger glossy magazines such as Good Housekeeping use this approach all the time. Basically they undertake their own industrial research tests of the product but on a smaller scale.
In this example airtight containers were tested under a range of laboratory conditions, all of which relate to situations they would endure in the home if readers were using them.
Experimental reviews can include anything – for example if a product states it is quick and easy to install, you can compare the installation times of three similar products and report back to the readers within your review.
Sometimes it is easier to show your readers the product and how it operates using a video. This may sound off-putting to some writers who have never produced a video before, but like many of the online skills with the right support and information it is relatively easy to achieve.
Add Video Content to Your Review
According to the following infographic there are over 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute. That means that video material is a major source of potential content. If you aim to reach your readers through using platforms such as YouTube you can reach a massive global audience. And if that isn’t enough to convince you then you may also be interested to hear that Google is keen to promote video content, and will rank sites if they contain video clips.
Here are a few other reasons why adding video content might become a necessity for many writers involved in review writing.
There are a number of videos already available especially on YouTube that you could direct visitors to. Plus many products might already have their own video commercial or advertisement to match the product that you are reviewing.
Video Academy learn how to produce Youtube videos for your business Click Here!
However for the more adventurous, there are specific courses and products designed to help you produce your own video content. One such product is the Video Academy which walks you through the entire process and provides support to get your YouTube video up and running.
Video production and using platforms such as YouTube will be a skill that will always be required in blogging and website management, and so it could be well worth the investment and time spent, to learn the best way to manage online video content.
The following video tutorial is taken from Wealthy Affiliate. It illustrates how a video demonstration can make understanding a topic a lot easier. Here the video topic is about creating your own video!
Promoting Your review
The final stage of your review is to promote the article to as many people as possible. Using social media is perhaps the easiest and most effective way to get your work noticed, as well as using email lists, and waiting to get listed on Google’s search engine.
Alos don’t forget to link to the article in future posts especially anything that is relevant, such as an article on kitchen appliances.
One of the advantages for potential buyers of reading reviews, is that the readers have the opportunity to interact with people who have used the product, or researched about it and other similar products. It is important therefore that any questions readers may have that are left as comments on your website or on social media are answered.
To summarise the main points suggested in this article for review writing are as follows;
- Select a type of review format that will suit your audience
- Do they enjoy reading lengthy articles or do they prefer short and to the point information?
- Is your audience interested in visual information and likes diagrams, pictures, photos of the product?
- Does your audience like video and is there a video easily available for what you are showing?
- Research your article and share your own personal angle on why you chose to select this particular product.
- Share your review and link it to other articles you have written that are relevant to the subject.
- Be available to answer questions and comments, especially on your website and social media sites.
I would love to hear of any other ideas or tips for writing reviews that you have found worked well, and don’t forget if you enjoyed the article why not share this resource with others who may be interested.
* Note this article includes affiliate links to some products