When it comes to blog content, writing reviews can go a long way. In a sense, you as a writer are leveraging off of an author’s or business’s readers and customers. That fact alone helps in creating traffic for your website, especially when that particular author or organization has hit the newsstands recently.
However, writing reviews for other people’s products can easily backfire. It’s not enough to write good reviews of everything that Company X has released. It’s not enough to write bad reviews for all their products either. While there are people that enjoy reading those articlesâ€”such as longtime haters of said Company X or Author Aâ€”the general readership will ultimately lose interest.
This is because writing reviews should essentially perform one single function: help buyers and potential customers decide if they want to purchase a particular product or not. The only way you can help customers is by giving them balanced reviews.
Before you write a review, however, there are certain steps that you must absolutely take into account.
1. Knowledge of the Product
It’s not enough to have used a software for a day, or read a book once-over, or fast-forwarded through a movie or TV series. You have to know the subject thoroughly, inside and out. This takes time, and a lot of effort on your part. Ideally you’ll be taking down notes of the pros and cons of the product and weighing the overall value.
Writing balanced reviews requires deep and scrupulous study of the subject. It’s the best way for you to easily earn trust among your readers.
2. Be Open about Any Conflicts
Whether it’s the fact that you were given a free copy or version of the product to use, or if the review was paid for, you must disclose those facts. Yes, it’s part of the legal process, and not disclosing any similar form of information puts you against the law. However, it’s not just about complying with the law, but also about forming trust and being honest with your readers.
3. Your Background
You have to let readers know a little bit about yourself so they can gauge your credibility. For example, you absolutely adore Microsoft and hate Apple, but you’re trying out a Mac for the first time. This is important information for readers, so they can determine if there are certain biases to your review.
4. Enumerate the Pros and Cons
Some reviews tend to use a kind of sandwich method, wherein the feedback begins with praise, followed by the mistakes and oversights, and then covered up again with even more praise.
Ideally, however, it might be best to simply list the pros and cons of a certain product, and then end with a conclusion that is practical and helps your readers make up their minds on whether or not they should buy the product being reviewed. You want to help readers draw conclusions out of your own argument, especially since each individual has his or her own unique tastes.
Ultimately, writing reviews can be a tremendous help in creating a brand around your authorship. It creates trust between you and your readers, and also a sense of connectionâ€”especially with those that share your views and opinions about those same products. Best of all, it provides an opportunity for you to even monetize your reviews by adding affiliate links to those products that you’ve just written about.