Writing a good product review will offer potential buyers a preview of what it would be like to own or use a certain product. Writing a good product review will require hands on experience with the product, some research, lots of details, objectivity, a very personal voice and of course, good organization.
Writing an informative and helpful product review will require intimacy with the product. If you’re reviewing a movie, obviously this means you should have seen the movie and not just the previews or your neighbor’s reaction to it.
If you’re reviewing a food product, you should have prepared it, served it and eaten it.
If you’re writing a review for a techno product such as a television, cell phone or computer, it will helpful if you have set up the product and used it and all of the available options and features.
If you’re reviewing a beauty product, you should have applied it, tried it out all day, removed it and waited to see if there were any negative or positive reactions.
It may seem obvious, yes, but hands on experience with a product will offer you a more personal voice and longer list of helpful information. Resist the temptation to review your new Slow Cooker right out of the box because you love the look and the advertised features.
While a good product review will be based on hands-on experience and not solely on research, research can also be necessary and helpful. Here are some examples.
If you are reviewing your new Blackberry and it is the latest version, it would be helpful to let owners of an older version know what is new here. Why would they want to replace their old one? What are the new features?
If you are reviewing a zero calorie sweetener, you may want to look up the calories in a spoonful of sugar to let your product review readers know how many calories they are cutting by using this zero calorie sweetener.
If you’re reviewing a new movie you just watched, you may want to do additional research to let movie review readers know details you didn’t get from watching the movie such as who directed it or what other movies the actors or voice actors have starred in.
Sometimes research is as simple as keeping a box or movie case, at other times the internet can usually answer all of your questions and help you round out your product review.
Details, or the lack of them, are what makes a product review very helpful or useless.
Here are some examples.
Don’t just tell your product review readers that this new board game is the “best family game night game ever,” with out telling them the details like how many players can play, how long it takes to play, the age range of players and so on.
If you’re reviewing the “tastiest frozen pizza,” be sure to tell your product review readers the details like the nutrition information, how long it takes to cook and how many servings it offers.
If you’re reviewing a list of your “favorite Christmas movies,” be sure to include the movie ratings, the year of release, the production company and the names of the cast.
Objectivity is what separates a product review from a great product review. In a product review you need to be able to tell readers what you liked or didn’t like about a product. You can be crazy about a new line of cleansing towelettes but still point out that the resealable package doesn’t really work and that you had to store them in a plastic bag.
In addition to sharing what you liked and didn’t like, you need to be able to step outside of yourself and share what might be great features or a bad idea for others. Here are some examples.
You may not have liked the aftertaste of a new zero calorie sweetener but can still share that it may be a helpful alternative for those who wish to prepare desserts for diabetics.
You may have loved your college that had a superior engineering program but you may want to let others know that it was lacking in the after-hours entertainment or arts department.
If you love a good work out and didn’t mind the hikes and hills at the zoo you visited, you may want to mention the terrain challenges for those with walking difficulties or small children.
A Personal Voice:
While a product review should be essentially about the product, your readers should hear your personal voice and get to know a bit about you too. This is what readers will relate to, or not and is part of what separates a product review from a commercial or advertising. Think about what a reader should know about you.
It may not be relevant that you received your toaster oven as a gift at your fortieth wedding anniversary but then again, handled appropriately this may tell your reader a bit more about you. Maybe you are downsizing your home and wanted to use appliances that make the most of your smaller space. Maybe you’re cooking for two now instead of six and so the toaster oven is perfect for empty nesters. Perhaps you’re finding it a bit harder to bend over these days and a toaster oven is easier to use. The point is that when you share personal information back it up and make it relevant to the review of the product.
Also include any information about you that either helps readers relate to you and your use of this product such as “I am a busy Mom,” or “I am a student on a budget” or “I am a retiree trying to improve my golf game.”
As with any form of non-fiction writing, organization is also key. Within this article, I began by listing the important features and used headings for each one. In a product review headings will vary depending on the product but may include features, where to find to the product, prices and pros and cons such as ease of use or durability. Lastly, you’ll want to close your product review a final recommendation such as “I would buy this product again” or a rating such as 3 out of five stars.
The best way to learn to write good product reviews is to read lots of them. Good product reviews will be helpful role models and bad product reviews will leave you with lots of unanswered questions that you’ll know you want to cover in your own product reviews.