How to write product reviews for your blog
A lot of bloggers are taking to writing product and gadget reviews, and it’s critical for you to understand a few things in the interest of your readers and the brands you’re writing about. Here are a few pointers and best practices you would find useful as you progress on your journey of writing authoritative reviews that your readers would appreciate and find useful.
A few prerequisites for writing good reviews:
1. Understand your audience
If you have a good understanding of the audience you’re addressing, you can tweak your tone and adjust the language accordingly. For example, if you know your audience isn’t too well versed with technical jargon, you can try to keep your reviews as simple as possible (which is a good practice anyway).
2. Know the product inside out
If you’re writing a product review, it’s your job to know everything there is to know about that product. This includes knowing everything from its specifications and features, to how well it works or doesn’t work. There are no two ways about this.
3. Understand the product positioning
You should have a fairly good understanding of how the brand in positioning that particular product. Is it targeted at the youth? Is it being advertised as a value-for-money proposition? Is the design one of its key highlights? Or maybe some features are being touted as exceptional? Once you understand these points, you can structure your review accordingly and make sure you address all of them.
4. Understand the industry and the competitive landscape
You should also have a good idea of the industry which your review product is a part of, and also, other products that compete directly with what you’re reviewing. This will enable you to provide context, and also write a proper verdict which gives enough insight to the reader on whether the product is a worthy buy or not.
Best practices for writing reviews:
1. It’s important for your review to address any key points that are being highlighted by the manufacturer - a smartphone’s camera or battery life for instance. If a smartphone is being promoted as a camera powerhouse, your review should tell the reader whether that’s really the case or not. You can
2. Try to keep your review as succinct and easy to read as possible. This will ensure your readers don’t get bored and abandon reading midway. You should also try and make it interesting to read, but make sure you don’t end up sounding crude in an attempt to add wit and humour. Forced humour is a no-no!
3. Before you start writing, make a bulleted list of the points you want to cover. You should have an idea of how your review will be structured. If it’s a long review, use sub-headings to separate different sections. It could be a good idea to include a short summary up front too, so your readers know what to expect. Also include the key pros and cons as bulleted lists.
4. Try to make your reviews visually appealing by including images, screenshots, tables, infographics etc, as relevant. Presentation is important.
5. Remember that the objective of a review is to help make the reader make an informed buying decision. Basically, after reading your review, the reader should have a clear idea on whether that product is worth buying or not. Make sure your review addresses all the key points that might help the reader in making that decision - in favour or against. Anything that’s unique, interesting, noteworthy, or could turn out to be a potential dealbreaker about the product should be highlighted clearly.
6. You might have gotten the review product on loan from the brand or the manufacturer, but your responsibility lies towards your reader. You shouldn’t feel obliged or indebted to write a positive review if the product doesn’t deserve it - your readers come first and it’s your responsibility to write a fair, unbiased review.
7. In many cases, reviewing is a subjective task. However, it’s your job to make your review as objective as possible. Support your statements with details, images, camera samples, screenshots, benchmark scores, battery life details etc - anything that can justify what you’re saying about the product being reviewed. And if what you’re stating represents your personal opinion, state that fact up front. Don’t try to force your opinion down the throats of your readers. Try to put yourself in the reader’s shoes and frame your sentences accordingly. For example, if you think the design of a device isn’t great, make sure you include words like “in my opinion”, or “I think” in your writeup. You may think a product doesn’t look great, but your reader might have a different opinion about it.
8. Writing a conclusive verdict is important. This is what will make your review authoritative, and will make your readers come back to your blog. Starting with the premise that the product is great, and then going about finding faults could work in many cases. While writing the verdict, a good rule of thumb to use is to ask yourself whether you’ll buy the product at its asking price or not.
On the other hand, you just can’t dismiss a product as trash - remember that the brand or company behind it may have spent a lot of time and money in developing it and bringing it to market. In some cases, you might come across a fault or a defect, but you’d also need to consider the possibility that the issue could just be with your specific review unit. In those cases, feel free to mention the issues in your review, but remember to also give the product the benefit of doubt. Your verdict should bring about all the positive and negative points in a clear, concise manner, and also list other options or alternatives that the reader could consider. And even if you’re leaving the decision up to the reader, you should try to present all the scenarios wherein they would or wouldn’t find it a worthy buy. For example, a smartphone that offers great battery life but doesn’t have a capable camera could still be useful for anyone who spends a long time out of home or office, and doesn’t care too much about how good the cameras are.
When you’re comparing two (or more) products, most of the above pointers apply. You should make sure you compare products that are evenly matched in terms of at least one aspect out of pricing, specs, features or positioning. Inclusion of a table is a good idea. And again, a conclusive verdict makes all the difference.
Writing reviews to generate revenue?
When you are writing reviews on your website in order to make money from Affiliate marketing, do not forget to ensure that you clearly highlight where the product can be bought. This can be done through ‘Buy Now’ buttons leading to the website, text links or a combination of both. Test out what works best for your content design, website and audience and optimize accordingly. Remember, providing a link to the website that sells the product will aid in completing your reader's purchase journey!