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Bloggers all over the place write hundreds of thousands of product reviews every year. So many of these reviews could actually be great sources of passive income for bloggers, but more than half of the reviews are poorly written, dull, and uninformative. If you are spending time writing a product review, why not do it right? Otherwise, you are just wasting everyone’s time.
Today’s post should hopefully paint a picture in your head as to what a solid product review needs to look like. By investing a little more time in your writing, your reviews will become hot topics on your blog, and hopefully drive more revenue and traffic to your blog.
OWN UP TO YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE PRODUCT
One of the very first steps in writing a solid product review is to detail how you got the product. Did you buy it and are writing it on your own time? Did someone pay you to write the review? Did you get the product for free in exchange for your review? However you arrived to write the review, your readers need to know. Some readers may shy away from reviews where they feel like the writer was paid off for writing positive comments.
If you are setting out to write product reviews as a part of your income, you need to establish a firm set of guidelines (see mine for an example). Part of these guidelines should state that you only write honest feedback about products you receive. Assure your readers that the compensation for the post in no way sways your review of the product at hand.
If you have received a discount, free product, or compensation in exchange for writing your review, you MUST disclose this relationship on your blog post. This is FTC law in the United States as well as many other countries. (I am not a legal professional, so if you have any doubts as to what is expected in your country, please consult an attorney).
KNOW YOUR PRODUCT
You can’t write a good product review if you know nothing about what the product is, how it works, and how it helps people. Perform extensive research on it by going to the product manufacturer’s website. Gather as much information about it as you can and be prepared to talk about any competitor’s products. Don’t just write out a few features of the product and be done with it. Good product reviews go into great detail. Know how to use the product – especially if it’s a complex gadget or electronic device. If you are unsure of all of the features, refer to the product’s website and/or instruction manual.
INCLUDE HIGH-QUALITY IMAGES
The presence of images in a product review can easily make or break a sale. Readers want to see the product in action. The best way to do this is incorporate your own images with you or a friend using the product. Occasionally, you may get permission from the merchant or marketing agency to use their branding material. Always, always, always give proper attribution to any images that you don’t own, and don’t use any images that aren’t yours without permission.
CREATE A FUN VIDEO
A great way to spread the knowledge about your product review is to accompany it with a fun video with you and the product. Don’t just shoot a boring video of you using it. Make it unique and fun. Videos share very well on YouTube and can catch on quickly if made creatively.
WRITE A FREAKING SWEET OVERVIEW
The very beginning of your product review should be anything but boring. Write an overview that could sell the product then and there without having to even go into any detail. Many readers move on if there isn’t a good explanation at the top of the page. Briefly answer who, what, when, where, how:
- What is the product?
- Who would enjoy using this product?
- When is this product used?
- Where can the product be purchased?
- How can the product be purchased?
WHAT ARE THE PROS?
While you shouldn’t be fake about the good in a product, you should definitely call out the major selling features in a way that will promote the product positively to your readers. Be specific! Does your product have a long battery life? How long? How much longer than its competition? There’s a fine line between making a quick list of all of the features and actually going into detail as to how those features make it an awesome product. Take the extra time to make the good in the product stand out.
WHAT ARE THE CONS?
Almost every product has a bad side. Although some of these bad features may not be huge or sway someone from buying the product, you still want to present the negative side of a product in a professional manner. For example, I absolutely LOVE Candy Club. I will promote them to the moon and back for ever and ever, but I can’t get past the monthly subscription cost. It’s a little high in my opinion. Although my overall review of the product was good, I still gave the negative information to my readers so that they could decide for themselves whether or not the product fit their budget. (See my review of Candy Club)
COMPARE COMPETITOR PRODUCTS
Most people, when they are shopping for a product, will look at more than one brand. A good product review will have a comparison between your product and a competitor’s product. Charts, graphs, infographics, and bulleted lists are all great visuals for readers to see when trying to make an informed choice.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Yes, you’ve already briefly mentioned the cost in your overview, but here’s a chance to elaborate and give out any deals you might have in your possession. If you are reviewing an affiliate merchant’s product, look to see if there are coupons or special offers you can provide to your readers. If there’s a deadline to the deal, putting it in big bold letters helps draw in the sense of urgency to make a purchase decision. Don’t forget to include shipping and handling costs as a part of the total cost.
WHERE CAN READERS BUY THE PRODUCT?
Knowing where your readers can purchase the product is important. It shows that you’ve done your research. Rather than saying that a push mower can be bought at any hardware store, provide the store name and aisle name if you know it.
ASK FOR FEEDBACK
You aren’t the only one who’s used the product. Always ask for feedback from your audience about their experience using the product. It’s always possible their experience was drastically different from yours. The more feedback your product review gets, the better confidence you are giving to your readers when they are reading your review.
USE A SIMPLE RATING SYSTEM
Lots of bloggers have developed their own rating systems for the products they review. If you are going to do this, post a rating system key with your product review so that your audience understands how you’ve rated the product. A simple 5 star rating system is sufficient. These types of systems are most common and easy for consumers to understand. Don’t make them complicated.
WRITE IN THE FIRST PERSON
Nothing pisses me off more when I read someone’s product review that’s written in the 3rd person. Not only does this distance you from the product and your readers, but it flat-out makes you look like a jerk. First person is writing from your own point of view. Please, for the sake of all humanity, don’t be afraid to write in a warming tone that connects to your readers. You can’t do that if you are talking in the 3rd person. Remember how much Jimmy loved Elaine on Seinfeld? Jimmy shouldn’t write product reviews. Jimmy should stick to the gym.
Don’t be afraid to increase your persuasiveness to draw your readers in closer. Start a sentence with a conjunction (I know you shouldn’t!!). Remove any sentences in your review that are too generic, and make them more specific. Sentences with numbers, statistics, percentages, dollars, etc. do very well in product reviews because they are great in drawing in eyes. Replace plain adjectives with super high-octane adjectives that make your words jump off of the page. A simple search of awesome adjectives on your search engine will give you tons of great ideas.
MAKE YOUR PRODUCT REVIEWS EASY TO FIND ON YOUR BLOG
Product reviews should be easy to find on your blog, and not nestled in with other categories. My blog has its own “review” category. Any time I write a product review, I use the category so that it lumps it in with my older reviews. If one of the main features of your blog is providing product reviews, make an eye-catching graphic to put in your sidebar linking to your product review category.
UPDATE YOUR REVIEW
Products change constantly. What may be a fantastic product one day may soon decline in quality and value. If you’ve already written about a product and it later malfunctions, don’t be afraid to update your original post. Many newer model products don’t live up to the original version. That’s okay. Share your experience regardless. The more the reader can trust you, the better success you will have.
WHERE TO GET PRODUCTS FOR REVIEW
Marketing Agencies: This is the primary source of products I get for reviews. I’ve worked with several fantastic agencies on several products I’ve reviewed in the past (Char-Broil Grill, Candy Club, Chococurb, Discover Our America, Little Passports). Most of the time, I’ll get a direct email from the marketing agency asking if I’d be interested in writing a review for their product in exchange for a free product.
Affiliate Networks: If you are a member of an affiliate network, such as ShareASale, you can email your affiliate marketing manager to ask if there are any products they’d be willing to send you for review. You can find the marketing manager’s email on the merchant’s profile page.
Amazon: Did you know that you can sign up as an Amazon Affiliate and review just about anything under the sun that appears on Amazon? For example, my Husqvarna Pushmower is on Amazon right now. I could write a review about it as a blog post and include the affiliate links for the product on Amazon. I will get a commission whenever someone makes a purchase through that link…and it doesn’t even have to be the product you’re recommending.
Tomoson: This site is at the bottom of my list. I’ve found mixed results with Tomoson. You really need to be careful and research the products first before bidding on them. While they often times will offer products at an extreme discount, they rarely offer up compensation for posts.
REVIEW YOUR OWN PRODUCTS
It makes sense to review products you actually own and use on a daily basis. Remember when I talked about my Husqvarna mower earlier in the post? It’ll make a great product to review because I’ve had so much experience using it. I know how long I can mow before it needs more gas, how long it takes to mow my yard, how well it trims in tight places, and so on. I also know that it sometimes clogs easily even when the grass is short and dry (ugh…that really pisses me off!). Besides, you’ve already made the purchase so you don’t have to worry about contacting someone to get a product for review. It’s already in your possession! You also come across as more trustworthy if you actually use the product you are reviewing.
OFF YOU GO!
So now that you are ready to write a kick-ass product review, hop to it! Remember to keep your audience in mind, give them full details, direct them to the product, and be honest. Your readers aren’t looking for fluff. They want real answers, real reviews, and honest feedback about the products.
I sincerely appreciate you dropping by my site today, and hope that this post helps you become a great product reviewer! I always appreciate any feedback, and of course, please share this post across social media.
What are some of your tips on writing product reviews? Share in the comments…