How to Write Blog Reviews: Tips for Bloggers
Guide to Writing Reviews on Blogs
Many blogs, in order to bring in views and some money, publish reviews of their favorite products or services. Reviews can be of anything from a favorite book to a favorite beauty cream or even a favorite website.
Most often, these blogs are not compensated for their writing other than with a free product to try out. They are required to give honest opinions and to promote the brand and product in exchange for these free samples.
What This Article Covers
This guide will provide information about how to write reviews, along with the following details:
- what to include in reviews,
- what photos to use,
- how to write disclosure notices,
- and how to properly share your review posts using social media.
The Different Types of Reviews
Review of the item by video or text
Paid, with free product
Not paid, with free product
Review and giveaway
The Best Format for Blog Reviews
Many people today search for reviews of products or services before they invest their money. While many reviews are found on major websites of the brand or company, the most helpful reviews are found on blogs created and maintained by ordinary people who have real-life experience with the product or service.
Writing a review can be a fairly easy task if you follow a simple format:
- Short description of the product or service with mention of the brand or company
- How the product or service can be used in daily life
- How you have used the product or service and for how long
- Likes and dislikes of the product or service
- Where the product or service can be found and for how much
All of this should be said in about 200 or more words.
Write From Your Own Perspective
It helps to write the review from your own perspective, and not from what you have heard or read about the product or service. People who come across your review will want to know that you have actually used the product or service before writing the review and that the review isn't just a script sent to you by the company or brand.
Thoroughly Test Out the Product Before You Review It
It also is a good idea to use the product or service for more than just a few minutes before publishing your review. If the product or service has a potential flaw or perhaps even extra uses, you would find that out after a few days or even weeks of using the product or service. It also gives you enough time to contact the company or brand if an unforeseen flaw or problem occurs while you're using the product or service, which can give them the opportunity to help you troubleshoot the problem or to offer you a replacement product or service.
The Importance of Writing Honest Reviews
Above all, when writing a review, you need to be honest. There are people looking to your blog for a real-life answer, not just something you made up to get some extra money. Also, there are people behind the product or service you are reviewing who have worked hard to develop the product or service who would like an honest and fair opinion instead of an unwarranted negative response to the product or service.
Does that mean you cannot mention things you dislike about the product or service or write a negative review? No! You certainly can mention what you don't like about it, but consider adding in how the product or service can be improved.
If you are working with a brand or company, consider contacting them about a product or service defect before publishing your review. There may be something that can be done to remedy the problem or a replacement product they can offer you for a second chance. After all, nothing is 100% perfect all of the time!
Can You Spot an Honest Review?
Can you spot an honest review based on the wording of the text?
Using Photos on Blogs
Along with the text portion of your review, you should include some high-quality photos of the product or service. The best photos to include for your reviews should be of your actual experience with the product, not just some random photos you found on the web.
While taking your photos using your camera or camera phone, make sure the photos are clear and interesting. You can jazz up the photos using photo editors or add them to a collage to make the photos 'Pin' worthy, meaning that your audience may be more likely to 'pin' the photos on Pinterest, which would then bring in more traffic to your blog review.
Use Photos Legally and Cite Them
Of course, if you are being paid or sponsored by a company or brand to write the review, you may be permitted to use a photo from that company or brand as part of your review. Be sure to cite the photos from the company or brand since they are not your own. Even in this case, you still use your own photos demonstrating that you have personal experience with the product or service.
If you absolutely need to use someone else’s photos for your review, make sure you are using them legally. Finding photos on Google Images or via any other search engine is not necessarily legal. Search for photos in places like Creative Commons, and cite the photos with the creator’s name and the license under which the photo is being used.
FTC and Disclosure Notices
The following article has an excellent explanation of the what the FTC requires from bloggers when they are promoting a product or service. I highly recommend you read it when it comes time for you to include your own disclosure notices!Are You Disclosing? What You Need to Know about FTC Rules and Social Media
What Are Disclosure Notices?
Disclosure notices are needed when writing honest reviews on a blog. A disclosure notice tells your audience how you received a product or service, if you had to pay for it or if you received it for free, if your post is sponsored, and which brand or company provided the product or service.
Disclosure notices are a part of the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) requirements and regulations for blogs and websites that have connections with a company or brand. The connection can simply be that the company asked you to review the product or service or that you are being paid as a spokesperson to write the review of the product or service.
The FTC began these measures after receiving complaints from consumers who felt as if they were being misled about products or services being offered online by bloggers and websites. While it may seem unnecessary for a smaller blog to include disclosure notices, it is still vital to protect yourself by including disclosure notices on your blog so that your audience understands your connections and your basis for posting a certain review .
How to Incorporate Disclosures on Your Blog
Many blogs choose to have a main disclosure notice on one of the pages of their blogs, plus they add a shorter disclosure at the bottom of their posts. There are several free sites you can visit to help build a custom disclosure notice.
If you paid for a product or service yourself, it isn't necessary to include a disclosure notice, but it wouldn't hurt, just to say that the company or brand was not sponsoring the post. You could also state within the blog post that you purchased the item yourself for your own personal use.
Using Social Media to Promote Your Reviews
Once you have written and published your review post on your blog, you should consider promoting it using social media. Not only will your regular blog readers see your blog, but you will be sharing your post with a larger audience on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google +, or Pinterest.
Here's a word of caution when promoting your review post: Do NOT become a spammer! Posting your review post over and over on these sites can be considered spamming by some, who will then be turned off from your constant sharing and potentially stop following you on those sites.
Does that mean that you can't share your review more than once? No; it means that you should sparingly re-share your review post, perhaps with different wording each time which can draw in a larger audience. Re-sharing should happen at most once a week, in between other posts or thoughts you share on those sites.
Quick Review of Review-Writing
As a blogger, writing product or service reviews is a great way to keep your audience engaged with you, plus it helps to expand your audience as others searching for reviews on the web want to read what you have to say.
Remember as you write your reviews to be honest, to use eyecatching photos, to include a disclosure notice, and to share sparingly on social media sites.
Have fun writing reviews on your blog!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.