May 15, 2015

How to Write a Good Product Review for Amazon

Second in my series of articles about how to get free and cheap products to review is how to actually write a good review.

I know many of you are chomping at the bit to get your hands on some free stuff, but if you start joining groups and sites and give your favorite delivery man a workout delivering all your goodies, you're going to have to be ready to start writing reviews immediately, so it's best to know beforehand how to do it.  Articles about how to actually get the products will be covered soon - pinkie swear!  Now let's get to the meat of how to write a good review on amazon.

1 - Disclose.  First and foremost, you MUST disclose somewhere in your review that you received the product either free or at a discount in exchange for your honest, unbiased review.  The FTC mandated it a few years ago for all bloggers or anyone posting any type of review on other sites.  Amazon is a stickler for it and they do read our reviews, and if they find yours without the required disclosure, they will remove the review and you could even lose the privilege of posting any future reviews.  Not worth it.  Don't risk it.  Always disclose.

Some people say it should be in the first line, some say the last line, others will tell you to hide it in the middle.  Amazon's only requirement is that it be included, so use your own judgement.  I tend to mix mine up and put it where it fits best for how I'm writing that particular review.

2 - Tell me something good.  Don't just leave one sentence saying that you love the product and give it five stars.  Tell me WHY you like (or dislike) a product.  Think like a customer.  Make a mental list of things that you might like to know if you were considering purchasing that product.  Does it smell good?  Is the smell overpowering?  Size.  Color.  Quality. You don't need to write a book, but try to make your reviews at least a few sentences long.

If you're just getting into reviewing, you'll likely get a lot of supplements and facial products to test.  There's not a whole lot you can say about the effectiveness of vitamins and supplements within 2-3 days of receiving them, but you can attest to how large a pill is, whether it's easy to swallow (or might choke a horse), whether there's any aftertaste (or aftereffects), etc.  With face creams, you certainly can't show photos that prove that your crow's feet disappeared after just two applications, but you can mention what it smells and feels like, and whether you experienced any side effects from using it (burning, redness, etc.).  

(edited to add the following to #2)

You can also edit your review at any time, so you can go back and add more detail about why you liked/didn't like a product after you've used it for a longer period of time.

Write the review about the product, not the service.  If an item was broken in transit or arrived long after the expected date, that has to do with packaging and shipping, not the product itself.  There's a separate place to provide feedback for whether a product was packaged well and arrived on time. 

3 - DON'T plagiarize.  It's not always easy to come up with unique words to use to describe a product and there will be many reviews that will sound similar, but make sure that what you write is in your own words.  You wouldn't want anyone to copy the reviews you work hard to write, would you?

4 - Make a list.  Some product reviews might be suitable as a list of pros and cons.  If you can come up with a few things that you really like about something, but there are a few things that you'd like to see done better, you might list them separately so that the pros/cons are easy to pick out by a potential buyer.  Pro and con lists are great for things like the latest computers and technical gadgets where you can compare them to previous models.
5 - Be honest, but give the seller the benefit of the doubt.  Sellers are offering products to you in the hope that you'll give a favorable review, but they can't 'buy' your review, and giving a stellar review to a product that sucks isn't going to help anyone.  Many groups will ask that if you can't give an honest review with at least 4 stars, that you contact them first to see if your displeasure is something that the seller can correct before you post your review.  They can't require you to give four or five stars, but if there was something you didn't like that the seller can fix, it's only fair that you give them the chance to do so.
That should be enough to get you started writing a decent review.  Remember, sellers want people who have written a good number of reviews, but they should also be well-written.  If you want, click through to my amazon profile if you'd like to see how I write my reviews.  You don't have to follow my style of writing, but it might give you some ideas of what things should be included in a review.  If you have more questions about how to write a quality review, leave a comment below and I'll answer, or make a separate blog post on that topic.

~ Marie Anne

Previous article in this series:  How to Get Free Products to Review - Step One

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