111913-ProductFeedback

I think one of the best types of articles I can post to my blog is an honest product review. And I’m not talking about a review for a product or service that you’ve contacted and begged them to send you a sample so you could write about it! (Although that type of review can be a ton of fun!) Nope, I’m talking about writing an honest review for a product or service that you use every day in your business.

Why?

Because I get asked all the time for my opinion about a service I use or how I do something. And I ask others for feedback and suggestions all the time as well. For example, just yesterday, I asked one of the business groups I belong to on Facebook for a recommendation for a service I could use to record a phone call with a client. Several options were tossed out but what really stood out was the comment: “Try XYZ. I’ve had great success and they’re easy to use.” Hello! Personal validation.

This wasn’t a suggestion from somebody who typed into Google: “What’s the best way to record a phone call with a client” and then gave me an answer. I can do that myself! It was a recommendation from one client of XYZ company to me.

What’s the difference between a testimonial and a review?
First off, a testimonial is posted on the other person’s website. Secondly, while giving testimonials is a GREAT way to gain exposure, thank a company for their product, and extoll all it’s virtues, a testimonial is by nature one sided: only the positive. A review, on the other hand, will talk about all the things you love about the product or service but also what isn’t so great. Maybe you love everything about it EXCEPT that you can only reach the customer service on Monday mornings from 9-9:45 am. Or that the software loads slowly. Or it has great functionality but only comes in three colors.

All that being said, your blog is NOT the place to be complaining about a product or service up one side and down the other and going on and on about how it didn’t work. Not cool! You wouldn’t want somebody to go on a public rant about you, right? If your review is really nothing more than a laundry list of everything that is wrong with the product, take that straight to the source and send your grievances to the company directly.

Be upfront about why you’re writing the review.
This is a BIG one! Offer up a disclaimer that says that you are writing the review because you wanted to, you use the product, and you weren’t compensated in any way. Unless, of course, you were. Then be honest.

I’ve written quite a few product reviews for my outdoor recreation blog over the years. Some were products that I was given to test and review and others were products I had purchased, used, and reviewed. There’s nothing wrong with a paid review (either money or product) but readers need to know if you’re walking into the event unbiased or not. AND there are laws that state that you need to disclose this information.

How to write the review:

  1. Give a description of the product. Explain how you got it — either bought it and use it or you are being compensated to review it.
  2. Then talk about it. In detail. Give examples of how you tested the manufacture’s claims. Did it do what you thought it would do? How well did it do? Would you buy it again? What would you change? What didn’t it do?
  3. Offer up photos (or screenshots!) of the product in use. Everybody loves to see how YOU are using the widget and it gives instant credibility that you actually do use and abuse the product.
  4. And then give ways that your customer can buy the product or service. Here’s where you need to disclose if you will make any money from that deal! Like if you are reviewing a product and you’re putting in an affiliate link. Say (affiliate link) so the reader knows. Again, laws govern this!

But, don’t be afraid to make money from your recommendations! Every month I STILL make a few pennies from products I reviewed years ago. But I NEVER write a product review because I’m planning on cashing in on sales. I write product reviews because I want to share an experience with a product!

And here’s another bonus for writing a product review. It’s a pretty easy way to create copy for your blog! A review of a product that you’ve used, loved and can recommend is a great article to post when you’re deep in the throes of writer’s block. Or pre-write it when you’re going on vacation. Just be sure you don’t turn your blog into a Consumer Report where all you do is review products! When I was posting something new 5 days a week to TheOutdoorPrincess.com (my outdoor recreation blog) I would shoot for one to two product review posts per month. Any more than that, I and I felt I wasn’t offering enough how-to information to satisfy my readers. I was being given products to test and write reviews on so I needed time to conduct the tests, write the article, allow the company to review it, and then get it posted.

Find me!

Kimberly Eldredge

Kimberly is an author, illustrator, and entrepreneur. She helps coaches, speakers, and authors take the content they already have and FINALLY get their book written and published.
Find me!

Latest posts by Kimberly Eldredge (see all)

23 Responses to Putting Product Reviews on Your Blog

  • This is fantastic, valuable info! Thanks Kimberly! I do a ton of reviews on different juicers and blenders, so this little guide will come in handy!!

    • I’m so glad this was helpful to you! I think we all love to make buying decisions after hearing first-hand experience.

  • Great tips for how to add reviews to your site especially when you are stuck with writer’s block. I don’t do many reviews on my site, but it is a great strategy. I think that it takes a special skill to document pros and cons of a product. A number of years ago I thought I might start a review section. I went through a number of products and found that it was not something that I enjoyed doing. In fact, I was putting it off! Procrastination big time. However, I have a few clients that tell me it is their most favorite type of post and I know I enjoy reading reviews too. Proof that different strategies work for different people.
    Stephanie LH Calahan (@StephCalahan) recently posted…I’m Sure You Have a To-Do List, But Do You Have a To-Be List?My Profile

  • Looking forward to trying out this format on my blog. I love the suggestion to pre-write for busy times!!
    Danielle recently posted…When I lose 10 Pounds Then I’ll…My Profile

  • I never thought about doing reviews on my blog, which is interesting because I always give participants in my courses and workshops a resource list of all my fav things. And I echo the comment that what a great way to post when you are feeling blocked.

    Also thank you for the really clear differentiation between testimonials and reviews and the pros/cons of them. In my field I hear a lot about testimonials, not so much product reviews. And I think that in a lot of cases a review would be more helpful.
    Brenda Adams recently posted…YOU Are a Walking ExperimentMy Profile

    • And a great difference between just a resource list is that your clients get to understand WHAT you love about a product or service. And what challenges you may have had!

  • It’s funny; in my first business (http://academicladder.com), I have a newsletter that I’ve written since 2004, and I have frequently written book reviews. But I’ve never done that in my current business. What a good idea! I also want to help my readers to grow their online business, so I should review services that I’ve used, like Infusionsoft, 1ShoppingCart, etc. Thanks for the idea, Kimberly!
    Gina Hiatt recently posted…Talk to your peepsMy Profile

  • HI Kim, This was a timely post for me to read as I have been wanting to review some products that I use. So you think twice a month is about right? I’ll try to get some queued up and see how it goes. Thanks again, Amy
    Amy Hagerup recently posted…Hair Loss Specialist Speaks Out on Solutions for Hair LossMy Profile

    • It all depends on how often you post. You don’t want your blog to turn into JUST a product review blog without enough information about what YOU do. But if you’re posting daily, then twice a month should be good.

      If you’re a weekly content poster like I am, I would say no more than one review in every 6 posts.

      (I post other stuff on my blog but only ONE content piece!)

  • This is a great idea. I appreciate that you broke down a process to follow. With my business, a demo / product review would be a great idea. I especially like how you recommended this in the event of writer’s block… AWESOME idea

    • Glad it was helpful, Jeremie! I learned a LOT from trial and error about the best way to write a product review blog article.

  • I feel a good honest review is worth researching.. i don’t want to see a product review from a magazine, to me those are not real

  • I don’t always trust reviews that I see posted about companies. Yelp is a great example.. They have gotten to the point that they want you to buy their services. So the majority of their reviews are hidden unless you read the fine print. And they will keep bad reviews up almost forcing you to buy their product. We have gotten 15 reviews and 13 of them are hidden..

    • Thank you for your comment, Kelly. The point of this article is to write reviews about the products and services you personally use in your business and post the reviews on your own blog. It’s a great way to generate content, perfect for when you’re brain is stuck, and helps your readers.

  • I have to agree with Kelly. I had a negative review and it didn’t even pertain to my business and what services I offer. I was able to get it removed, but people are able to do this so easily and Yelp doesn’t always put good reviews and it makes me wonder about other reviews you see.

    • I can understand where you’re coming from, Jeff, regarding review-only websites like Yelp. Thank you for your comment.

  • Thank you for the information and explaining the difference between a testimonial and a review!

  • What a great article that really details how we can write reviews and help our customers do them so they are helpful to us.

  • Great idea! I rely on reviews to make certain purchases and I know that I’ve review things I’ve bought through Amazon. I’ve been notified by them that my reviews helped them make decisions. Honesty is the bottom line. Thanks for the great information!!

    • And putting a highly detailed pro and con review on your website is a great way for your clients to see what services you use personally and how you like them.

  • I think a review must be totally objective while a testimony is mostly subjective.
    However I get your point and I like it.
    I introduced two companies on my website and I wrote a review along with it.
    One was a flooring company in my area and the other was a landscaping company.

  • That is good advice. One of the best ways to get acknowledged is be thought of as an expert. By reviewing products that you use people will know and understand that you know what you are talking about. I never thought of this, but will add it to my website. Thank you.

  • Writing reviews are also great if you are having writer’s block ( like me) LOL I love reading up reviews before buying something.
    marielle altenor recently posted…Owl always love you: My owl collections!My Profile