How to write a product review

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.

screenshot argos review example

Screenshot of a typical online Argos product review

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.

  1. PRODUCT ……
    Overall Ranking: optional give it a mark out of 10 or 100
    Price:
    Website: 
  2. INTRODUCTION  What is ….Different Types of Product – premium levels, membership options, etc.
  3. PROS/CONS
  4. Additional Material – What else does it offer, how does it differ? etc.
  5. 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.

screenshot of review template

Review template found on content champion.com 

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.

screenshot Argos review product picture

Argos kettle reviews

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.

Experimental reviews

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.

photo example of an experimental review

Example of an experimental review – reproduced from GoodHousekeeping

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.

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Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 14.59.53

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!

Video link on making videos

 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.

Answering Comments

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

16 thoughts on “How to write a product review

  1. Warren

    Your template and explanation of how to write a product review sets the bar to a new standard. It is very thorough and complete. The most important point to me is that you must “know your product”. There are so many reviews out there where people are just going through the motions. Using your template and ideas will make for an in-depth, professional review. Well done!

    Reply
  2. Hollie Rose

    As an affiliate marketer I often write reviews on products. I have to admit writing is not my strongest point and I do struggle with it to some degree.
    Your template is really helpful and I will use it in the future for my review articles. thanks for that! And all your other points are really great points too.

    Reply
  3. Nikos

    That’s a great article with lots of information and details. I bookmarked your post so i can back and read it again. Your post it’s a compete guide on how to write product previews and a very good one.

    I know there are themes specifically designed for reviews but i didn’t know there are plugins you can use for writing reviews. The majority of people will look for reviews before they buy something so if you can write good reviews you can increase your ROI. I also believe visual information is highly appreciated by people.

    Reply
    1. Marie

      Hi Nikos, I think you’re right visual information is very useful and, especially with all the social media use and information sharing, most people want succinct and visual information.

  4. Aless

    You’re right, it is really important to know how to properly write a review.
    It’s both knowing how to review a product, researching, finding the proper way to expose your own opinion, as well as building trust with the reader, keeping the content both informative and interesting. I think it’s great of you to teach us the proper way to write a review.
    Cheers, Alex

    Reply
    1. Marie

      Hi Alex thanks for commenting and sharing your own experience because it can be daunting in the beginning. I need to get around to writing more of my own reviews, hopefully over the next couple of months because I have been asked to look at some cool software and keyword tools.

  5. Chris

    I often feel that a lot of marketers online miss the boat by never really getting to know their product they are reviewing. This is by far the biggest mistake you can make in writing your review. Not actually ever using the product, seeing the product, or owning the product. The finished article always comes out a little thin – what are your thoughts on this?

    Reply
    1. Marie

      Hi Chris I think you’re right. I know that I prefer to read reviews by people that have actually used the product. I only review products I have used although occasionally if I know reputable people I will pass on their recommendations.

  6. Theresa

    You mentioned software that can provide templates for reviews, and I never knew that existed. Do you know the names of any of those software programs? And do you have any experience with any of them? I may want to check into that as I plan to review quite a few products in the future and may want a set template on my site for those pages. I could also create my own using Word, but that may take more work. Thanks for the info.

    Reply
    1. Marie

      Hi Theresa thanks for commenting, there are some writing software packages that allow you to create templates such as Scrivener Writing Software, but the best option is probably to use plugins. This article https://www.elegantthemes.com/blog/resources/best-… provides an overview of some of the better plugins that would be suitable for review writing.

      I haven’t used any yet because I don’t tend to write many reviews, but I would be tempted to look at some of these especially the WeReview Plug in.

      Hope that helps and good luck with your own site, Marie

  7. David

    Product reviews are all over the Internet and are a good way to promote a product. Your article is full of informations! I like the template you show, it’s a good starting point for a well-written review! I think that adding a video is a very good thing to do, because the reader can see the product “in real life”. Good article!

    Reply
    1. admin

      Hi David it can be hard knowing where to start when writing reviews, so I’m glad you found the template useful.

      Obviously not all reviews need follow this format, in another article I wrote since this one was published, it shows another format for referencing products within a content article – Best Web Hosting for Small Businesses

  8. Anh Nguyen

    Hi Marie,

    I think product reviews are a nice way to catch the buyers right before they make a buying decision so they are more likely to buy from you. It’s the better part of the customer life cycle.

    Doing YouTube videos would be nice but… I guess I am quite shy about it so I only blog at the moment. What are your advices for someone who wants to start a channel on YouTube?

    Reply
  9. Tanya

    Hi Marie,

    This is a great article about product reviews. You went into great details and information. This was well thought out and put together. Job well done!

    I like the part about adding video content to your reviews.. this is something I haven’t done yet and need to. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. admin

      Thanks Tanya I appreciate your comments, and yes video is a whole new area that I’m only starting to get my head around. But you can easily use existing video content from YouTube, just like images so long as its referenced and credit given to the source.

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