If you build a good blog eventually you will enjoy the opportunity to review products and services that can generate revenue through direct sales or affiliate promotions. The trick to make this profitable without scaring away your readers, is to write a comprehensive, honest review that still converts casual readers into consumers, who take an action that returns revenue for you.
Advertising vs. Reviews
Before we jump into how to write a review that sells, I believe it is important to spell out the difference between conventional advertising and a review. Both of these mediums are forms of media exposure that have the goal of convincing a person to perform an action, but at their core… they are very different.
- Conventional Advertising – Advertising is often just a quick pitch that keeps that specific brand name in your mind long enough for you to perform an action (typically a purchase). The advertisement is prepared by a marketing firm or the company producing the product and it features only the aspects the company wants to portray. Advertisements are often thrown through multiple sessions of market research and are heavily geared towards the psychology of the target audience.
- Reviews – When done correctly, reviews are a comprehensive look at the good and bad of a product or service as it relates to its target audience. A reviewer is not connected to the host company to prevent bias in the reviewing process.
How To Write a Review That Sells
The ultimate challenge for a blog review writer is producing a review that is honest, but still converts. When done correctly, you can maintain your credibility as a review writer and still generate revenue on your blog.
Here are some tips to help you draft up your next successful product review.
Comprehensive Reviews Answer Questions
A well written, successful product review, should answer questions for your readers:
- What does this product or service do?
- What does this product do differently than the competition?
- What does this product do that is great?
- What does this product do that is bad?
- Who is the ideal person for this product?
- Where can you buy this product?
As you can see by these example questions, you are trying to answer all of the questions that a potential reader would ask.
When a search engine visitor or regular reader of your blog reads this review, they are going to ask themselves whether it is a good idea to purchase the product in question for their needs. If you do not answer this relevant question, they will not take action. Your goal should be to answer as many questions as you can in the pursuit of providing a complete product review for your readers.
A review that sells leaves no rock unturned in the search for the truth. As the reviewer, you need to give your readers insight into the product or service that they could not find anywhere else. By using as many examples, pictures and video, you are able to bring the reader closer to the product than any ad spot.
Nothing Is Perfect
In your search to provide the most comprehensive review possible for your readers, you need to remember one very important trait of every product and service on the market…NOTHING IS PERFECT.
Everything you review has both good and bad points that need to be addressed during the review process. A common mistake I see among bloggers is the temptation to write glorified advertisements as reviews in an attempt to butter up other companies into giving them free product for review purposes.
This trap is easier to get in than many would imagine. Remember…you should be blogging on a subject that you are passionate about, so it is natural to get excited about receiving product that you used to pay top dollar for. Your credibility is everything as a review blogger, so it is more important to portray the truth. Your readers will see right past your excitement if they know you are skipping over negative aspects of products in an attempt to get more free stuff.
Negative reviews (and you will have some that are very negative over time) should be fact based so you leave little argument to your conclusions. You will have readers that disagree, but they will at least respect your opinion.
Remember Your Readers
When you are drafting your reviews to publish on your blog, you need to always keep in mind your typical blog reader. If you have been blogging for any length of time, you have a pretty good understanding of how your readers react to certain language.
On one of my blogs, Mountain Biking by 198, we often receive emails and comments about how we should have gotten more technical with our reviews. While there are a small number of readers that would like to talk about suspension curves and shock dampers, the majority of the readers are either not interested or wouldn’t understand the terminology. The majority of the readers want to have the question “will this bike fit my needs?” answered, and that is what we provide.
Try to take all constructive criticism to heart but at the same time remember who your common reader is while you write your reviews. After all, you want your writing to appeal to your core audience.
If your audience is a bunch of web coders, it is a smart idea to get technical. If your blog readers are looking for ways to shed the pounds but still eat food that tastes good, it is not a good idea to go into the extreme details on how food is processed. Get the idea?
Like it or not, there are two different kinds of readers that are going to read your reviews.
- The reader that soaks up every word of your content with the utmost intensity.
- The scanner that just looks for the main points and hits the road.
When you draft up a successful product review, you need to make the review work for both types of blog readers. The easiest way to get the scanner to pay attention is by using attention grabbing headlines throughout the review and summarizing your points at the end of the article. If you open any car magazine, you can quickly scan a review article and get quick points and a basic yes or no on the car.
At the end of your product and service reviews, provide a quick summary paragraph and a list of the good and bad points of the product. This summarizes the article for the word for word reader and gives a quick focus point for the scanner.