However, as a business owner with a product or service to sell, you may well wonder: what you could possibly review?
More than you think.
Before I get into that, let’s take a look at the components of a review. I’ll use the word product generically to mean whatever is being reviewed.
What’s in a Review?
- Explanation - you explain the basic premise or function and objective of the product (why would someone want it?)
- Features - functional or beneficial elements of the product which stand out and which people identify with, usually in the form of a list (what does it do or what does it consist of?)
- Testing - convey the experience of using the product (what was it like?)
- Analysis - the results of testing the product (how did it do?)
- Judgment - relating a recommendation or not (is the product worth using?)
There’s room for interpretation with these elements. For example, the features of a software application should be obvious, but what about a book? Certainly there are elements which caught your attention which you could say are features. You could also bring up points from the book you thought were profound or helpful and those would be as close to features as you’re gonna get in a book review.
When you’re constantly reviewing the same type of product, apply consistent criteria to it. For example, on a ramen blog, for each ramen product you review, you’d want the same aspects rated so your readers could compare one particular ramen product to another: ease of preparation, spice and broth packets, consistency and flavor of plain noodles, soup flavor, etc.
You’d want consistency here so that someone could, for example, compare the noodle texture between two different products.
Think about what’s consistent about what you’re reviewing. There are certain elements we look for in movie or book reviews: plot, character development, pacing, dialogue, effective suspension of disbelief, among others.
Some types of products come with a unique and well-known set of challenges. For example, let’s say you were reviewing only fantasy novels. How sub-genre inclusive would you want to be? Would you include alternate history stories, for instance? In fantasy, effective exposition is a tremendous challenge, how is it handled in each case? How does magic work and is it believable? Thinking about the particular common challenges faced by all products in a category can make for some excellent review material. This goes beyond the expected and will hold your reader’s interest while showcasing your authority and expertise.
Good, Bad, Ugly… and Affiliates
Is there any point in reviewing something only to conclude that the product should be avoided? Doesn’t it make sense to only review products which you already know or discover to be beneficial to your readers?
Yes, there is a point to negative reviews. A couple, as I see it:
- People want to avoid making mistakes (arguably, they want to avoid mistakes more than they want success)
- Negative reviews can stir up discussion, polarize viewpoints and drive traffic
Even if you don’t write negative reviews for a product, there probably are problems or concerns you have with something you like. Make sure you voice them in your reviews. A review can be favorable without needing to pretend everything is perfect or couldn’t be improved.
If you’re all rainbows and unicorn farts about something even when you really like it, your credibility and trustworthiness may be questioned. This is especially a concern when you are reviewing a product for which you are an affiliate and from the sales of which you earn a commission. If people think you’re only pushing a happy review in order to get sales, they won’t trust you.
Be sure to throw the bad in with the good in order to have great reviews.
What Can You Review?
As a business, what exactly are you going to review? Here are just a few possibilities:
- Depending on your business, your own products
- Books related to your industry
- Other related products or services your customers would benefit from (whether you are an affiliate for them or not)
The second two are huge, since there is practically a limitless supply of both. Affiliate sales can account for a surprisingly decent chunk of your revenue and review posts always give you something to write about which is highly relevant to your clients–two problems solved at once!
If you haven’t written many review posts or they’ve fallen a bit flat for you, go read tons of review posts by other people. Note what seems to work for them, what gets reactions from people. Then you construct your own review post and incorporate what you’ve learned from this article and your own findings.
Oh, and don’t forget to include a picture of whatever you’re reviewing.
Image by Wonderdawg777