What Makes a Good Product Review?

Reviews

Apr 04
Product Testing

How many of us buy a product, be it a hair dryer,  a new scuba mask, or an electric toothbrush, without reading a review? Not many. An awful lot of online and offline purchases are made only after a good deal of research into the product has been made. From manufacturer reviews to bloggers' insights, it's all there and readily available. So there is definitely an interest in reading good product reviews. So, if this is something you want to do, then read on. We'll take a look at what makes a good product review and discuss some top tips in becoming an expert review writer. 

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What is the Purpose of a Product Review? 

A good review, by which I mean an unbiased one, is not designed to promote a particular product to increase sales or awareness. It should be unbiased. If not, then it really won't be telling you the whole story. A good review should cover the main reasons why people are reading your review, what are they trying to find out? 

  1. Is the product right for them?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the product?
  3. Is the product easy to use?
  4. What is the build quality like?
  5. Are there any alternatives to consider?
  6. How have other people found using and owning the product?
  7. Is it value for money? ​

The Reviewer Needs to have Used the Product

This is pretty obvious really. But you'd be amazed how many very legitimate product reviews are written by people who have never so much as seen the product in question. You cannot in all honesty write a decent and meaningful product review unless you've at least tried the product in question out. 

So how do you get your hands on the products to review (without actually buying them!)? There are a number of different approaches here. The easiest way is to ask the product owner (manufacturer) if they would be willing to send you a product so that you can review it. Often the manufacturer will be keen as, if they're confident of the quality of their product and your website has enough hits, they will want the free advertising.

If this doesn't work then you need to go down the affiliate route. This means that you sign up as an affiliate and can then purchase the product for up to 90% off the retail price​ (the exact amount will depend on the affiliate commission you will earn). The only issue with affiliate reviews is frankly human nature. Most of us are just nice people. And I know from experience, that I don't enjoy writing negative reviews. If I come across a product that isn't up to much, there is a tendency not to review it. However, if I have to because it is an affiliate product of mine, and I need to review it be warned: Do not give a dishonest review. In the long run this will harm your brand and your integrity. 

What Must be Included in your Product Review? 

So what exactly needs to be included in your review? There are probably 4 main areas that should be covered in any product review. 

  • Features: What does the product do? Cover core features as well as any additional features that set it apart from the rest
  • Target Group: Who should use this product and why? So if you're reviewing a hair dryer for curly hair be sure to make this clear. It may be the best hair dryer in the world for your curly locked friend, but a waste of hot air for anyone with more fine and lifeless locks. 
  • Stand Out Feature: Many products share similar benefits with other very similar products. When reviewing a product try to single out the single stand out feature of a great product. Why buy this product? 
  • The Practicalities: Often the basic points are at the core of any purchase decision for many products. So make sure value for money, price, guarantee and any other important details (which vary by product) are included in your product review. 

Of course, depending on what you are reviewing there may well be other important points to cover. We've included this below. In all reviews though, it is fair to say that the four items above are a must. 

Other Factors to Consider

Whether or not any of the "other" factors are important, will depend very much on what type of product you're reviewing. But here are a cover of options to consider which are relevant to many product reviews: 

  1. List the Alternatives: For a product such as a woman's razor there may be a place for this. You may want to include options such as epilators or home waxing kits to provide the reader with alternative options to fulfil the same need as a razor. Whereas if you are reviewing a flat head screwdriver there are really very few alternatives (if any). So use your common sense! If there are alternatives I think that this really does add context and gives the reader more to think about when reading your review.
  2. Include the Negatives as well as the Positives: Any good review must include the downsides. ​Listing the pros for any product (that is half decent) is easy. The manufacturer for one makes them clearly visible, and often listed on the packaging for a start! When it comes to the negatives they are less forthcoming. And you need to use the product to appreciate what any negatives are. It's your job as a product reviewer to get to this level. To make it clear to the reader what they'll get. You're not writing a sales pitch. 

Signing Off

Remember, people are reading your review because they want your opinion of the product. They don't want you to simply rehash the sales blurb from the packaging and make up a couple of cons. Say what you think from your experience actually using the product. Is the product worth buying? Don't be afraid to speak your mind, if you love it, say that. If you hate it, say that. People want to know what you think, so tell them.