If you have never considered adding product reviews to your business website or blog, there are some good reasons to do so.
Some people write product reviews to make money through affiliate income; others do it to gain access to the products themselves; still others use them as a means to build a reputation as an influencer or thought leader around a given product line or industry topic; finally, some write reviews as link bait to attract search engine attention and increase traffic.
This article serves as a guide to help you write better product reviews, whatever your motivation. It contains tips, review templates, and information about a plugin that WordPress users can add to their sites to create an extra layer of interactivity to the review.
How to Write a Product Review
1. Be Willing to Commit the Time
Writing useful product reviews takes considerable time and effort. It’s not something you throw together quickly in 400-500 words. Rather, the best reviews go into great depth and can easily encompass 1,000 – 2,000 words. Before writing, ensure you can commit the time needed to make yours a review worth reading.
2. Decide on the Product
One of the first decisions a reviewer needs to make is what product to write about. Make sure it is something you want and can use, would interest your readers and fits the theme of your site. Online services, software, technology tools, healthcare products, household gadgets, exercise equipment and books all make good topics.
3. Get to Know Your Readers
While you may choose a product that interests you personally, it’s best to think of what your readers care about most. As such, getting to know your audience (or the audience you intend to reach) is vital.
Ask: What kinds of products would interest them? What would they benefit from the most? What problems do they have that a particular product could solve? What questions would they have?
A good place to find answers is the FAQ page of the product website. If that’s not available, brainstorm any issues that you can think of and respond with answers.
Robb Sutton, an expert product reviewer, writing for the Entrepreneur’s Journey blog, says a well-written, successful product review should address the following concerns:
- What does this product or service do?
- How does the product differ from the competition?
- What makes the product worthwhile?
- What are the product’s flaws?
- Who is the intended target?
- Where can people purchase the product?
4. Be Unbiased and Objective
When done correctly, reviews look comprehensively and objectively at the pros and cons of a product as it relates to the target audience. The reviewer should have no connection to the host company, to prevent bias in the reviewing process.
The adage “honesty is the best policy” holds true for product reviews. Your reputation and credibility are on the line so don’t do anything that may compromise that.
5. Know the Product Inside and Out
A mistake many bloggers make is to review a product without actually using it. To gain credibility, you have to have some experience with the product — and the better you know the product, the more trustworthy your review becomes. So seek to gain expertise in its use and understand its features and benefits inside and out.
6. Don’t Rely on PR and Marketing Material
Once you become known for writing product reviews, expect PR firms to begin contacting you asking you to write about products from companies they represent. That’s a good thing, in that it means you’ve reached a level of respectability, but don’t rely too heavily on any PR or marketing materials you may receive. Certainly don’t merely regurgitate press releases or canned pitches. That’s a sure turn-off!
That’s not to say you shouldn’t use images they send. People love pictures and the higher the quality, the better, so include several. Just don’t allow the use of their materials to replace your investigative efforts, original copy, photos or videos.
7. List the Pros and Cons
Don’t be overly optimistic when writing product reviews. Point out the flaws as well as the useful aspects. Base any negatives you discover on facts, not conjecture. Also, consider laying out the positives and negatives side-by-side in a tabular format, for comparison purposes, such as in this example: