Every blogger worth their salt should be able to create a decent review post.
However, a review post needs to be more than “decent” if it’s going to gain the trust and respect of your audience.
After all, most people will go online and look at a review of a product before they buy it. or they will have seen a review of a product and decided that because of that review they will buy it.
Either way, product reviews hold a lot of sway with people.
Get it right and you are now a trusted and reliable source of information, get it wrong and you may never see that reader/viewer again. Once bitten, twice shy and all that.
Now, the common misconception is that a review post simply states what is good and what is bad about a product or service, this couldn’t be further from the truth, so let’s get into it and explain how you can write a review worth reading.
The Aim of a review post
This is where people often make their biggest mistake, they think about the “aim” of the review post from their perspective. Remember, you are the one writing it, your “aims” or “goals” don’t come into it, in the slightest.
You should be thinking about, what is the aim of the review post for the person who is searching for it?
There are many reasons why people will search for a review of a product, place or service but most are to answer questions like;
- Is it any good?
- Is it for me?
- Will it do what “I” want it to do?
- Is it worth the money?
- What is the quality like
- How have other people found it to be?
- Can I go ahead and buy it?
If you can answer these types of questions then you will be doing the reader a great service.
You better own it
If you are going to take the time to review a product, you had better own it! This is a mistake I have seen bloggers make over the years, they have never actually used the product or service or been to the place they are reviewing.
So for the love of the baby Jesus, make sure you have used or own the product. If you haven’t you had better state that in your review. Although I would argue that if you haven’t owned or used it or been there, you have no real right to review it.
Give it the full 360
Many bloggers will write about a product from their perspective and I guess the logical question is “who else’s perspective can the write from?”
Well, the answer is everybody’s. To be able to give a full 360 review you need to be able to look at it from the point of view of a complete novice, someone who has no prior knowledge of what it is and how you would use it and also the point of view of the pro.
Not every product will be for every level and you have to remember that, one size does not fit all.
It can be sometimes difficult to get back to that beginner’s mindset, so if you are struggling, enlist the help of family or a friend. When it comes to tech I usually reach out to my technophobe mother and get her to try and use it and document the problems and questions.
This is a great way of having the review practically write itself.
Ignore the PR Department
This is another “pet peeve” of mine. People using the press release documentation in their review. It smacks of laziness and you can almost feel the rigid nature of the “scripted corporate speak”.
I am not suggesting that you disregard what the company are saying about the product, but use that as a basis for discussion rather that “gospel”.
Try using their claims or sales copy in your review, for example, you could state: the company say that this is so easy to use a child could do it, so let’s test that out.
Or claims that using this for 14 days will give you some sort of benefit, well then use it for 14 days and see if it does.
Search for questions
If you really want to write a review that people are going to find useful then this is one of the best ways of doing it. Answer the questions people are asking about the product.
Search for Facebook Groups or Forums etc and look for questions relating to the product. I can take a little time to find questions, but it is my number one way of finding out what people really want to know.
Another great place to find questions is to look at the brand’s Facebook page, have people asked questions about the product there and have the company replied? If they have test the answer, if they haven’t try and answer the question posed.
*Tip – Keep a record of where you find the questions and go back afterwards and reply to the question with an answer and a link to your review, it’s a sure fire way to drive traffic!
Go Pinocchio on that shit
Think of yourself as Pinocchio, or Jim Carey in Liar Liar, you must and indeed have an obligation to tell the entire truth.
There can be no omitting information just because you have received the product for free in return for the review and elements of the review would be less than favourable where you to disclose them.
You have to go full Pinocchio on it, or else the only thing that will grow will be your nose, coz it certainly won’t be your audience once they find out you’re full of shit, so do yourself and your readers a favour be honest.
That doesn’t mean that you have to rip it a new one if you don’t like it, there are ways of being truthful without being down right mean, so try and find that balance.
What’s the alternative
This is another one many bloggers seem to miss out on, the chance to be overly useful.
Once you have reviewed the product ask yourself what is the alternative? Is there another product that does the same thing? Is it better, worse, cheaper, more expensive etc?
Your audience will really love the fact that you have gone that extra mile and sought out alternatives for them, because when you think about it, you have just saved them even more time, not only with the review but with the selection of an alternative or two.
Before and After
In this case, I don’t mean the before and after in terms of the use of the product, I mean in your mindset.
We all have predefined opinions on products, some we see and instantly think “I need it, I want it, I have to have it.” and we see others and think, “who in their right mind would waste money on that?”
So be honest with yourself, how did you feel about the product before you got your hands on it, did it live up to your expectations? Tell your reader if using it has changed your mind.
Quite ofter when someone comes to you for advice, be it on your blog or in person,they are not really looking for advice, what they actually want is someone to tell them they are right and to proceed with their planned course of action.
This is where you come in, many people coming to your review will have already made their mind up to buy or not to buy and they only reason they are reading your review is to ensure they are right, we all need affirmation after all.
So bare this in mind too, many people only want the last question I listed above answered: “Can I go ahead and buy it?”
If you sit on the fence you will get splinters. Do not try and hedge your bets, you have to be black and white about how you feel about the product.
Be clear, be coherent, be honest.
Finish off the article with a final wrap-up of the “for” or “against” argument. This is vital, the main reason being that many people will open the article, read the first few lines and then skip to the end to see what you have to say.
If this is not clearly defined they will have gained nothing and will not come back. Don’t be disheartened by this, it is just a fact of life, so make sure that you service those who will simply skip to the end for the result.