Tell me right off the bat what you are reviewing. It is more helpful to state in the first sentence the product being reviewed than to wait until you are ½ way into it. The consumer doesn’t want to search to see which model bike, refrigerator, or fan you are reviewing. The following is a guideline. You will develop your own unique way of writing a review.
Take advantage of the features (bold, underline, italics) at Associated Content without over using them. Use headings and paragraphs when appropriate. Please proofread, use spell check and grammar check, and capitalize when necessary.
Why are you reviewing this product? Was it the first time you ever saw a front loading dishwasher or a refrigerator with an ice maker? Many people rating can spot a review that comes from a brochure. That isn’t helpful to anyone. But you can certainly use a brochure or website to help you with details you may not have in your hands or have forgotten. Remember to give the site or pamphlet the credit. For example, don’t take credit for listing the ingredients in a nutrition bar when you have copied and pasted them from the website.
About the product
This is where you will tell me how your washing machine works; how many gadgets your humidifier has and how you use it. This is where you will tell me if the piece of fitness equipment is heavy to move; if the nutrition bar tastes good, or why your razor is better than another.
Many people write about a negative experience. That’s fine. People have to know what is bad. There is a difference though between writing about a negative experience within a review and just writing a rant. Let’s say you are reviewing a gym to which you belong. They may have lied to you when you signed the contract, but I still want to know what the gym is like. Tell me about the equipment, classes and day care.
I don’t feel as a consumer that I have to know every single detail about a product or a place. What I do like is to know something that perhaps isn’t listed in the brochure. That stretch of beach that is hidden or a tip about negotiating the roads is helpful to me.
I like to know sizes. It doesn’t have to be the exact measurement. However will the glucose monitor fit in the bag I bring on the plane or will I have to put it in my checked bag?
When applicable I like research. If you state that, “Creatine burns fat” and that is all you state, that isn’t very helpful to me. Who said it burns fat? If the product’s website does, that is great. Giving the website for any product is very helpful but I’d also like to see research done by an independent source. The maker of the brand of Creatine is not exactly an objective party!
Buying the product
Where I can buy this product? Did you get a great deal on an Internet site? Let us know. Did you buy it at a yard sale? Perhaps it isn’t made anymore but that doesn’t mean that the review isn’t useful since many products show up on auction sites and at yard sales.
If you bought it online and the process of purchasing it was a nightmare you can review the online site separately but it would really be helpful to know that buying the product at www.whatanightmare.com isn’t the best choice.
Who is it for and what is it like?
Tell me for whom the product is targeted? Going back to the fitness gym do you think it is targeting the 20 something crowd? Is this electric razor made for men in mind? Is this vitamin only for those who are anemic?
As a consumer having some idea of the price paid is really helpful. Again it doesn’t have to be exact. You may have bought the refrigerator two years ago and don’t remember. I would just like to know if it was a lower end $500 refrigerator or will I be shelling out $1000 for it.
The length of a review is going to vary. Associated Content’s 400 words is a nice number. Certainly though some products can’t really be reviewed in 400 words. I don’t mind reading 800 words of helpful information. The substance is more important than the length, but keep in mind, different products will require a different number of words to say all there is to say. You can probably review an over the counter pain reliever in far fewer words than a diet program.
There is no set time on how long it should take to write a review. However it seems that if a review takes you 10 minutes, it most likely isn’t going to tell me what I want to know.
Write in a word program that you can save. If you haven’t been unlucky enough to write a really nice piece right on the Associated Content page only to have your electricity go out or your computer crash then bravo! If you have had that experience I’m sure you are backing up your hard work.
If you have information about warranties I think that’s really helpful information. I love to know if a product gives me 90 days or 10 years. Did you use customer service for any reason? How did they respond?
My final thoughts:
Writing for me is a hobby thus I feel strongly that it should be fun and not stressful. If you are making significant money then a little stress might be part of your work! Think about why you write and what the purpose of your review is. We are always learning and that is part of the fun. Don’t be afraid to keep learning. That’s my goal as well as having fun. I’d love to read what your goal(s) of writing are. Leave me a comment!