If you are new to the blogging world, you may have a lot of questions about how to blog. It's quite a bit to take in all at once. That's why many seasoned bloggers like myself write articles like this one, to help you learn how to blog. We remember what it was like when we started, and we want to help you get a good foothold. Especially if you want to host reviews on your website you want to be sure you are writing quality reviews and following all FTC guidelines.
How to blog: The Importance of a Quality Review
When I first started branching out into the world of reading and writing product reviews, there was something that really bugged me and that was the low quality of reviews I was constantly running into. I'm not saying the writing was bad, or that the post was horrible. I'm saying, the review itself was poorly done.
When you are a reader looking for more information for a product, you want a detailed review. You want to know why you should spend your hard earned money on a product. You want to know what other people liked or disliked about the product. But I was constantly running into reviews that basically all they did was say, "Here is the product I'm reviewing. This is the company it is from. This is the item description. This is the price. This is where you can buy it. Now go buy it." And that was it. I was often let down. I don't think they knew how to blog a quality review.
So when I started reviewing products, I had a goal to hold myself to a higher standard. I decided that my reviews would be written for the reader. What would I want to know about a product before I would part of my hard earned money to buy it? Everything I need to know before I do that, I include in my reviews. Sure, my reviews are quite a bit more lengthy than a good majority of reviews out in the blogging sphere. But I can tell you, the sponsors and readers appreciate the depth that I take. I've had many sponsors thank me for such quality reviews as they have also grown tired of the usual short and lower quality reviews such as I described earlier.
I've had many Sponsors tell me that my reviews have been the best they've seen yet since working with bloggers. And I've had many readers tell me that they've seen reviews for a similar product all over, but none have answered their questions about a product until they read my review. Now after reading my review they are convinced about the product and will be buying it.
I'm not telling you all this to "toot" my own horn. I want you to see that there is a need and desire for more in depth and higher quality reviews in the sphere of product reviewing. And now I'm going to tell you how to blog these quality reviews!
When you are in the world of Product Reviewing, you want to make sure you have a quality review, as this will directly relate to any future reviews you may be offered by future companies. If a company is doing its job, they will take a minute to view the site you are pitching and read some of your previous work to see if your style is a good fit for their business. You want to be sure you stand out from the majority of review sites out there; so here are a few ways to write a good product review.
How to blog a Quality review, key features to include.
1. An eye catching introduction. As with any writing; you need a good introduction; something that the reader can relate to. Sometimes questions are great for drawing in the audience as they may be experiencing the same issues that the product solves. Or you can give a short insight as to how the product you are reviewing fits into your life, or how it solved a problem you had. Again, this is to be short and something that will draw in your audience.It is meant to help the audience relate to the product and want to continue reading. At the same time, you want to let your readers know quickly what the product is that you are reviewing, introduce the product in this introduction. Readers don't like to scroll and hunt for what the article is about. Another way to achieve this is to list the product you are reviewing in the title of the post.
2. A brief overview of the product and company. You need to know how to blog about the company without merely regurgitating what the company already has on their own website and you will need to explain what the product is that you are reviewing. Many times you will be reviewing a product that your readers have never heard of before, so you need to tell them exactly what it is and how it works. Give a little insight into the company/business that produces the product. Many times the reader likes to know more about how trustworthy the company is and how their products will stand out from others. The worst thing you can do at this point is merely copy and paste information from the sponsor’s website. You will want to read about the company, its policies, and its history. Put it all into your own words. If you are quoting from their website, that is fine in moderation, but you need to show that it is a quote and not your own words. And the majority of this background information needs to be your own words.
3. Your personal experience with the product.
This is the “meat”of your review and should be the bulk of your review. As you review your product, put yourself in your reader’s position. This is the most crucial aspect on how to blog a quality review. If you were looking for more information about this product, what would you need to know before you used your hard earned money to purchase the product? Readers want to know in-depth why they should give the company the money they work so hard to earn. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself and answer in your review:
- Why is this product good for your family?
- How well does it perform its designed function?
- How well was it received in your home?
- How sturdy is the product? Is it durable or will it quit performing its function in a short time frame?
- How does this product compare to the competitor products on the market?
- Did you share the product with other people? What did they think of it?
- Are there any cons?
You will want to include any CONS you come across in the product. More often than not the companies want an honest review. If no one ever tells them the negative in a product, they can’t improve the product. But how to blog this criticism constructively? You need to do this constructively and not merely complain about the product. If you have a negative opinion of a feature, is it merely a preference or a defect with the design and operation of the product? If it is a defect, say as much. If it is a matter of opinion or preference, then state such along with the feature you don't like. If it ends up being that you have more CONS than PROS to the product, a good rule of courtesy is to contact the company before you publish the review and discuss with them different options. As you also don’t want to make the company angry with a negative review.
At the same time, you don’t want to put your stamp of approval on a product you don’t believe in. Part of knowing how to blog is knowing your good name goes on every article you write. What if your review for a product was the first article someone read from your site? If you approved a product that you really didn't like; then this reader went and purchased said product and had a horrible experience with it; they are less likely to ever return to your website or take your word of advice again.
Often times, if you don't like the product and can't give an positive review, companies are more than willing to release you from the agreement of writing the review. It is important to them to not have a negative review, as that greatly impacts their business.
4. Use photos. As you learn how to blog, you will also learn just how crucial photos are to your articles. With product reviews, photos are even more crucial. Many times a company will have stock photos they want you to use in a product review; and this is always wonderful. But if it is an actual product that you are shipped and hold in your hands, you will want to include your own photos of the object. Use this as an opportunity to show your readers different aspects of the product that you loved. Show the product being loved by your family,or give a close up shot of something that the stock photos don’t show that you think your readers should be aware of. Not only will this help your readers see how amazing the product is, but also it makes it easier for your reviews to be shared by your readers. With the many social networking sites out there, sometimes many readers merely look at the photos that relate to each post, instead of reading the titles. If the photo is exciting, it will catch their attention and then they will take the time to read it. Not only this, but also if you utilize viral sites such as Pinterest and stumble, having a photo is required.
5. Include Links to multiple sites.When reviewing a product you will want to include a link to the company’s website, where the product you are reviewing can be found. But that is not the only link you will want to include in your review. If the company/business also has a Facebook Page, Twitter site, or even a blog; you will want to link to each of these sites. This helps your readers find more resources to learn about the company and product and make a better decision if they want to purchase the product. It also makes you look good to other companies that may be considering you as a prospective reviewer.
Just be sure that all links directing to the sponsors sites are tagged "no-follow". As per Google's terms of service
agreement, even product reviews are compensation for articles written and if you don't tag links as "no-follow" then you risk your Page rank and the page rank of your sponsor from being stripped without warning and penalized by Google. Don't let any sponsor try to tell you any differently. All review articles and paid guest posts must include "no-follow" links. Google itself has said this quite clearly.
6. Include a Disclosure. Part of knowing how to blog is also knowing the legal requirements that must be met with your review. According to FTC policy you are required to include a disclosure in every sponsored post you write; informing your readers that you were compensated and if it influenced your opinion or not. You need to inform your readers if you were compensated with money, or merely a free product to review. You also need to inform your readers that even though you were compensated for the review your opinions were not influenced and remain 100% your own. Failure to disclose this information can result in legal action against you and includes some very hefty fines.
Example: Disclaimer: I was not compensated for writing this review post. Sponsor provided product for review but my review and opinions are mine alone and were not influenced by outside sources. I make no claim that said product will perform the same for everyone; other individuals may have differing results/opinions.
You can also use a program called CMP.LY
which helps you make an easy widget/button, as seen to the right, to show the type of sponsorship each post rates.
7. Include a Conclusion. As with any writing assignment; a conclusion is always a great way to end. It sums up everything that has been discussed and reminds the reader of the key points in the article. This also gives you the opportunity to invite the readers to participate in a discussion.
After you finish summing up the most important parts of the article, a great way to close is with questions. These allow for easy conversation flow for the readers as they leave comments on your blog. Maybe ask your readers what they like most about the product. Or, if they owned a product, what would they use it for? Things of this nature help spark ideas for your readers and encourages them to interact with you more on your blog.
How to blog a review in a nutshell.
Knowing how to blog a quality review is merely writing the review as if you were the reader that was investigating the product and wanted to know more about it. What worked? What didn't? Why should you spend your money on this product? Include photos, Links, and interact with your readers! Don't forget the legal disclosure, and sum up all the key points of the review at the end!
I hope this has helped you have a better understanding of what goes into the review posts at JadeLouise Designs, and also gives you a better idea on how to blog your own quality review! I love interacting with my readers, so if you have any comments, ideas, or questions feel free to leave a comment below!
Leave your question below and I'll be sure to answer it!
Do you have any questions about how to blog?
Follow our Blogging 101 series menu for more helpful tips on How To Blog.
What did you find most helpful from our How to Blog a Product Review article?
This is a revised writing of an Original Post on Wikimommy by JadeLouise Designs.