A product review is really about sharing useful information on a product you had some kind of interaction with.
You should be able to convince your readers that you know the product well and can speak authoritatively about it, either from your personal experience with the product or from researching the product.
You do not necessarily have to purchase every product in order to review it effectively, but of course it depends on the product itself. It may be possible to borrow or rent the product and use it for a while, so that you can produce a useful review.
In terms of services, I would definitely recommend that you experience the service yourself before attempting to write a review, since everyone’s interaction and interpretation of service received is usually vastly different.
Even after some experience, it is still a good idea to conduct some other research to find out if your experience is similar to others. Check the product manufacturer’s website for what you should expect from the product, compared with your actual experience. Also compare with the competition’s manufacturer information so that alternatives are offered to the reader if you are not recommending that they purchase the product that you are reviewing.
Another research option which I find very useful is to check out other marketers’ reviews on the same product. This is not for you to imitate their perception of the product, but rather to ensure that you have covered all the different features and specifications adequately.
You may even check whether they were satisfied with the product and are making a purchase recommendation, but you should still give your review and recommendation based on your own experience and research.
Take a look at two of my product reviews. A ‘good’ review and a ‘not-so-good’ review.
Below I have provided you with a template of what should be covered in your product reviews. Feel free to add any elements that you believe are relevant to the specific product you are reviewing, or remove irrelevant areas as necessary.
Introduction – product name; URL, owner(s); overall ranking (%).
Description – describe the product in detail including brand, manufacturer, model, weight, size and so on. This information can be gathered from the manufacturer’s website.
Price Options – Free trials; starter fees; premium fees; professional fees and so on. Include what is offered at each level if possible.
Who Is The Product Intended For – which market niche does the product claim to satisfy and which do you suggest it really does or should target. Is it for beginners, intermediate or advanced users. This will tell the reader whether the product is suitable for them.
Pros and Cons – there is some good in every product. Be sure to highlight the pros even if you are reviewing a product other than your main product. Include available support services; access to owners; response to queries; unexpected up-sells; warranty honored; price suitability; unexpected additional charges; availability and relevance of training; current technology; free trials; product defects; durability, results gained.
Compare & Contrast – compare the product you are reviewing with previous models of same product; with similar products on the market.
Points awarded (out of 100) and why – which particular pros or cons caused the points to rise or fall respectively.
Conclusion and Recommendation – summarize the main points, both good and not so good, that you want the reader to remember. Conclude by suggesting whether the product provides value for money, and whether you are satisfied that it delivers what it said it would.
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