How to Write a Product Review (That Actually Sells… Honestly)

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How to Write a Product Review

Updated: 9th September 2019

A sure-fire way to provide something useful to your site visitors and earn yourself a little moolah is through reviewing the products and services you use. I am going to show you how to write a product review that satisfies both these points. By this I mean a review that truly helps your readers AND that actually sells the product or service you’re recommending.

Why Should You Write Product Reviews?

I am a firm believer in the value of product reviews. Whenever I am looking to make a purchase I always spend some time looking at reviews.

Of course, the amount of time I spend reading someone’s opinion does vary. Usually I don’t give up too much of my time if the product I’m considering is inexpensive.

However, if I’m looking at a high-cost product to satisfy a very specific need, I need to know that it’s going to do what I need it to. For purchases like these, I tend to look at product reviews… a lot! 

I’ll give an example.

Booking a Vacation

I recently took my wife and daughters on a vacation to Greece: we had a lovely time (in case you ask!). Taking my family overseas for a couple of weeks is a pretty big deal for me.

  • I have to put in a lot of working hours to pay for it.
  • It’s not something I can afford to do as often as I’d like.
  • Finding the right location is always very important.
  • I want to know that my accommodation meets my family’s needs.
  • Value for money is a priority.
  • Ultimately I don’t want to be disappointed by my decision.

So how do I decide upon a shortlist and consequently the destination? I look at what other people say about the places I’ve shortlisted.

Product reviews play a hugely important role in the place I choose as a destination.

However, I’m cautious. I don’t just go online and accept everything I read. I need to trust the reviewer.

Whenever I find a review that feels trustworthy, it definitely informs my decision about whether or not to buy a product.

For me, trust is a very important factor.

So, how do I trust someone’s review of a holiday destination?

The major thing for me is knowing for certain the reviewer actually experienced the holiday destination themselves.

My point is, if you can write reviews from a very honest place (i.e. you’ve actually used the product) you have something that adds value to people who might be considering purchasing it.

This is good news if you are able to earn affiliate commissions on the products you review, since you can marry together something your site visitors will value and make some money at the same time.

Everyone’s happy… as long as you’re honest!

So How Do You Write Reviews that Sell Products?

Product Reviews

Review a Product You’ve Actually Used

I touched on this above but it is absolutely essential you write something that is trustworthy.

Any numbskull can write a product review to promote products they’ve never actually seen let alone used.

All I can say about this practice is that it’s often clear from the content if the reviewer is purely in promoting mode, rather than actually providing a balanced appraisal based upon real experience.

This is always apparent and makes the reader less likely to believe your words because they simply won’t trust you. Have you ever bought anything from the recommendation of someone you don’t trust?

If you review a product you use (or have used) you should have a clear and communicable understanding of:

  • The reason (or reasons) why someone might need it.
  • The ways in which it satisfies that need.
  • How it stacks up against similar products.
  • Why you are comfortable to recommend it (or not)
  • Whether or not it is worth the expense?

This makes your review credible and above all, trustworthy.

Personally, I ONLY recommend products I have used, even though some of my reviews might contain affiliate links to products I haven’t.

Write an Honest Review

Adding to the idea of trustworthiness, you have to write reviews from an honest place.

Using hype (unless you truly believe a product is that good) can actually turn visitors off. Most people live in the real world and understand that pushy, over-gushy product reviews are trying too hard.

People read reviews to help them feel comfortable that purchasing a particular product is the right choice for them.

If you’ve written a review that explains why a product you’ve used satisfied your needs you are telling people what you really think.

People are savvy enough to realize that many excellent products have advantages AND disadvantages. Hence, if you love a product you’re reviewing but think it could be better, you should say so.

This type of observation isn’t a show stopper for someone thinking about buying. It’s merely honest acknowledgement that a product could be even better that it is!

Now, I’m not talking about making such observations the primary focus of your reviews. I’m just saying that this type of honest observation will balance your reviews and make them more credible.

If you acknowledge a product’s shortfalls (if it has any) but despite this still recommend it, that speaks volumes.

Consider the Needs of Your Reader

In my example about booking my family vacation to Greece, I listed bullet points about why booking a vacation is a big deal for me.

When writing a product review, it’s vital to try to see through your reader’s eyes.

How can you write a product review that answers their concerns about the process?

If someone is already considering a specific product and reading your review, it’s possible they are close to making a decision to purchase and already know what it does.

However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t outline in some detail information about the functional aspects of it yourself. This will help to reinforce your knowledge about it.

The best thing your product review can do is to consider your reader and give them answers that satisfies their needs rather than just relying on a description of what it does.

Some of these needs will be practical:

  • Does the product do what it says it does?

However, many others will be emotional:

  • Will I end up being disappointed?
  • Can I trust this product?
  • Can I trust this review?

To emphasize it again, people want to read unbiased reviews they can trust to feel comfortable they are making the correct decision to buy.

How Does it Compare to Similar Products?

Comparing apples to apples can be super helpful!

If you write a review for a product for which there are other credible competing options that offer the same thing, comparing one against the other (or others) gives your reader a bigger picture view and shows you know your beans.

Of course you need to be able to show that you understand the comparison product in the same honest way that you understand the product you’re reviewing.

Having said this, you might not have experience of these alternative products. In this case you can still compare what you do know about them (perhaps from other reviewers – you could embed their reviews or even quote from them). But be honest about it and say you’ve not used it yourself.

Encourage Discussion in Your Reviews

If you’ve written your review from an honest place, why not be prepared to back it up with discussion?

Encourage people to ask you questions or share their experiences in the comments area of your page. This type of visitor-generated content can help your review in several ways:

  • It gives you the opportunity to discuss specific concerns people have, reinforcing your credibility about the knowledge and experience of the product you have.
  • Other people can give their own opinions (good or bad) about it that you can address directly.
  • The more comment activity you have on your product review, the more the reader will feel safe that your review is real.
  • Your product review will include more content that you didn’t have to write yourself!

Why Well-Written Reviews Are Powerful

Neilsen (a data and measurement company) highlighted the importance of credible and impartial reviews for people making buying decisions about products in their 2014 study.

Neilsen Report - Trustworthiness

The research shows that 67% of buyers are more likely to act upon endorsements from unbiased experts when making a purchase.

Producing a well-written and credible review can help to persuade potential buyers to purchase the product they’re researching. This is great news for people who can provide such reviews.

You can find out more about trust in my article about how to write high-quality content.

With this in mind, here is a guide for how to write a product review that has the potential to sell… based upon the honest approach I’ve discussed.

Product Review Guide

Introduction

Provide a summary introduction of the product. You would of course reference the brand, product name and its key functions.

Your introduction might contain some quick, easy to scan information along with elements such as images or some sort of rating symbols that quickly show your opinions in the key aspects of the product.

Think of your introduction as an overview but try to write this with a view to why someone might want to buy such a product and how it might satisfy that need.

If you can articulate why they might be considering the product in the first place, this will show empathy and be more likely to engage them.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Provide a balanced view about what you like about the product and what you think could be better… but be honest.

If you intend to provide a review that is truly helpful you need to show that you’ve taken a balanced view of the product rather than being cheesy and over-hyped about it.

Of course if a product really is that good, then don’t be afraid to say it’s perfect… just don’t over-egg every product review you write or eventually your visitors will stop believing you.

Product Comparison

If it’s justified, and you know (or have experience) of another similar product, talk about how they measure up against one another… from your experience.

If you have no experience of another product, you could still discuss these as other options, but always be honest you haven’t used them yourself.

In cases where you haven’t used a similar product, you could use the anecdotal experiences of people who have. However, do not pass these views off as your own

Product Review Summary

A summary of why you like / don’t like the product, whether it offers value (in your opinion) and whether or not you recommend it. You could present this as a bullet list.

Keep this short and to the point, but reinforce the key points of your review.

Pricing & Purchasing Options

You can take some of the work out of researching product prices for your visitors by presenting different places to purchase the product and price comparisons.

You may find multiple suppliers offering different prices or terms and if you’re lucky be able to join their affiliate program so you can earn a commission from any direct visit from your site that results in a sale.

Summary

  • Be honest in your approach.
  • Verbalize how the product provides a solution (or doesn’t) to a buyer’s needs.
  • Explain why you recommend the product.
  • Offer different purchasing options
  • Disclose any links whereby you might earn a commision.
  • Invite comments from anyone about the product or your review.

Thanks for dropping by!

Paul

If you’d like to know more about how to write product reviews or would like to add your input to this topic, please drop a comment below.

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