Do you review products on your blog? Then you should consider the ramifications, especially with all the sponsored posts and reviews out there, as well as the popular notion that bloggers reviewing stuff are more or less fooled by the marketers.
As someone who used to work as a games journalist, with thousands of written reviews over the years, I’d like to share my top nine advice on how to become a reliable reviewer.
- Be transparent and honest. If you got the review sample for free, make sure that the readers knows it.
- Put up a review policy. This should tell the reader what you look for when you review, and if you have any special practices. Perhaps you always send you review samples back for example, then state that, and if not, well, state that too.
- Consider using grades. Grading products is a quick and easy way for the reader to know what you actually think. This can be particularly good if the review is a long one.
- List pros and cons. It is always good to wrap a review up with pros and cons. Some reviewers take care of this in the text, but it can still fill a purpose, especially if the review is extensive.
- Take your own product pictures. Marketing shots might look great, but they are for marketing which means that they most likely have been cleaned up. Take your own product pictures if you can.
- Do extensive testing. No matter how much you like or dislike a product, try to really put it to the test and use it for different things. In the end, you might still like or dislike it, but you’ll know more.
- Write your own opinion. The only thing you can do is write your own opinion. Some people try to write what other people would think about the product, which is a bad idea. You’re the reviewer, it is your opinion that should be published, since it is your review. That being said, if you think that game or movie would be great for kids, say so, but don’t pretend to weigh that into the equation.
- Watch out for personal relations. If you’re reviewing a lot of products, chances are you get a personal relation to the marketers. You need to keep that out of the review. Remember, it is the product you’re reviewing, not the relationship with the company PR rep!
- Don’t mixup a review with an info sheet. While some background information is good, it is better to link to a product presentation than to explain every feature yourself. Stick to the actual reviewing in your review.
The best reviews are honest and informative, but stays on target. Some are long, some short, and some rely more on images than others. It is all a matter of what kind of product that is being reviewed, and your own style.
Do you have any advice on things to remember when reviewing products?
Author: Thord Daniel Hedengren
Thord Daniel Hedengren is a designer, writer, and blogger, and also the former editor of The Blog Herald. He used to be a hotshot in the gaming industry in Sweden, but sold everything and went International. Most recently he wrote a book called Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, and does loads of kickass design.