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Writing a product review

As consumers, we frequently rely on product reviews to provide us with insight into a product’s or service’s quality, function, and usefulness. By writing your own product reviews, you can share information from your own experiences that will contribute to the larger body of evaluative commentary already in existence.

Such a contribution is not simply a sales message to promote a product you love; instead, a balanced product review will point out the pros and cons of a given product or service, helping your readers to determine whether or not it’s the right one for them.

The following steps can assist you in the creation of a concise and candid product review:

Use the product or service

This may seem like an obvious first step, but readers can usually identify whether or not the reviewer has actually used the product. Once it becomes apparent to the reader that you are relying on conjecture and the reviews of others rather than firsthand experience, your credibility is lost.

In your review, if possible, offer evidence that you have actually used the product, such as photographs or video. The product review process is one built on trust between the reviewer and the reader, and any review you write should be crafted with this in mind.

Look for an appropriate venue

Without the proper forum, your review will remain unpublished and unread. Luckily, blogs and dedicated review sites are just two examples of venues likely to publish your product review. Virtually every major retailer has an online presence that includes a spot for user reviews of specific products sold by the store. These types of reviews are an excellent way for you to establish yourself as a qualified and skillful product reviewer.

Identify the problem and the promise

In the introduction to your review, you will want to include two key pieces of information:

  • First, consider your reader and the problem that he or she may be facing. If an individual has taken the time to check out your review, then he or she must be facing a problem with which help is needed.

For example, the reader might be a novice learning a new hobby:

For those of us who are new to the world of digital photography, choosing the right camera among a sea of options is not an easy task.

  • Second, you need to outline the promise that the product implicitly makes to the consumer. If you are reviewing a piece of camera equipment, then you need to identify the claim that the manufacturer is making:

The revolutionary new ZoomPro 2000 camera lens promises to make shooting daytime and nighttime action simpler and professional-looking, providing the budding photographer with new and enticing reasons to hone their skills.

The introduction of your review needs to quickly engage the reader with a description of his or her reason for seeking a product of this type and a statement of the product’s promise to the consumer.

Describe the product

In the body of your review, you need to cover several basic but important pieces of information:

  • Describe what your selected product or service does. Remember to be specific.
  • Include practical details like the price, the size, the shelf life, etc.
  • Be sure to also identify the target demographic and the benefits to that demographic of this item.

For example:

Though similar to a traditional laptop in appearance and size, the KidKomputer V16 is designed to provide the pre-teen crowd with their first computing experience.

  • The body of your review can also include alternatives to your selected product. Such an inclusion further demonstrates to your reader that you have done your homework on the product you’re reviewing.

Deliver a verdict

In the conclusion to your review, you need to offer your final opinion on the product or service you’re reviewing:

  • Indicate to your reader whether or not, in your estimation, the product delivers on its promise.
  • Be balanced in your evaluation of the product’s pros and cons, your likes and dislikes, but remember that your reader is relying, at least in part, on the honesty of your recommendation.
  • Finally, offer a summative and evaluative statement that indicates whether or not you believe the product offers a good value.

For example:

Overall, the Regalier Hotel does not deliver on its promise of tranquility and world-class hospitality. While the staff was friendly and the view of the mountains stunning, the noise from adjacent rooms combined with the hotel’s inability to provide us with quieter accommodation left us wishing we had chosen differently when booking a suite for our honeymoon.

A good product review can offer valuable user-tested information that provides the consumer with guidance and insight. Remember to be honest, thoughtful, and specific in your review, and you will likely find yourself the recipient of high ratings for your hard work.

Sample product review

See an example product review of a software package (pdf).

 

Back to Writing reviews.

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