Lately I've be loving writing reviews on products I've been using on websites such as Influenster, Birchbox, Ipsy, & this blog. While I'm by no means a professional critic I've found there are something that make a review more successful than others. For example, when I'm looking to know if I should buy a certain product I like reviews that give me the most information about the product & information about the user in the briefest way possible. The nine word this product is so great, I just love it! reviews are not helpful. So since I've been reviewing my butt off on these sites - did you know you get points for reviewing the items in your Birchbox? And that those points can give you credit to purchase things!?! - I thought I'd share with you how to give helpful reviews if you're looking to get into that sort of thing.
Title with Key Words - Just like with writing a blog post, you're review title should be descriptive & give an indication whether you liked the product or not. You can touch on the performance, the price, the quality, the way it affected you, etc. For example below is a screen shot of the review I was writing on my current favorite shampoo - Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Shampoo (I also love the conditioner, the mask, & the styling oil!). You can see in the title I've used key words to sum up the gist of the review - it's affordable, feels luxurious, & does give shine. This is the review in itself & will have people reading your review since it's very descriptive. You can also use this technique if you're writing a review on your blog. Having a descriptive title gives readers a reason to click & also appeals to search engines when others are searching for products.
Informational yet Brief Review - The body of your review should give a lot of information but doesn't (necessarily) need to be five paragraphs. In the example above, I used two short paragraphs to describe the product. First, I started off with information about myself - I have oily hair & this product isn't targeted towards oily hair, but it works on this hair type as well. This is helpful for others who might shy away from the product since it's not necessarily targeted towards them. Then I elaborated on the product & it's affect on my hair type. I once learned in an english class that the best way to write an essay is to create the previous sentence into a question & then answer it in the next sentence. This is sort of hard to describe but has really helped me take writing seriously.
It might be small to read, but the first sentence is: Even though this shampoo is targeted towards normal to dry hair, it works great for oily hair as well. If we turn that into a question Why does this shampoo work great for oily hair as well? then you'll see that next sentence answers the question: This shampoo (and the whole Moroccan Infusion line) works wonders for adding shine while not adding greasy-ness. Shine with out turning your hair into a greasy mess is a challenge for those with oily hair. Keep turning your sentences to questions to elaborate.
Continue to answer these questions, briefly, and expand on the title. You might find it helpful to write the review first then pick the most relevant words to create your title.
Consider the Cons (or the Pros) - If you're in love with a product you might want to consider the cons, just in case. (Or vice versa). In this particular review I noted that the moroccan oil scent is strong so if you're sensitive to smells, you might not like this product. Influenster has a section to list the pros & cons of a product. These pros & cons go at the top of the review to help readers get the overview of your review.
I think that product reviews are very helpful - if your writing on your blog or as a part of a subscribtion service or you just plain like a product - others get to know what might be right for them. A helpful review gets more credit than an OMG this is great! review, if you know what I mean!