We’ve covered why you should write reviews of products and businesses. But, we can’t all be Consumer Reports or Cook’s Illustrated. How can the average non-writerman possibly craft a review worth reading? I gotta be honest: the best reviews out there are from ordinary folks just sharing their honest opinions. You see, ordinary folks like the opinions of ordinary folks. They’re easier to relate to. Still, there are a few things I’ve noticed that set certain ordinary reviews apart from other ordinary reviews. Here are some tips:

Wait a Little Bit before Writing a Review

You can’t take a product out of the box and instantly write a review about it. Heck, you can’t even use it once and know much about it. As a professional review writer, I typically use an item a dozen times at minimum over a time period of at least a month before I will feel confident enough to review it.

Also, I’ve seen plenty of reviews where the writer clearly wrote it while in a state of trauma. Perhaps, a birthday cake they ordered from a local business exploded and destroyed their home. Sure, your kneejerk reaction is to get online and destroy the bakery on Yelp. Instead, call for emergency assistance and wait until you’ve calmed down to write your review.

Who, What, When, Where, How, Why

As with journalism, there are the 6 Ws (there’s a W at the end of how) that you could include in your review. Some questions you may want to answer for the reader include:

  • Who would benefit from this product or business?
  • What does the product or business do?
  • When did you buy the product/use the service?
  • Where did you get it? Where else did you look?
  • How much did you spend?
  • How was their customer service?
  • Why did you buy it?
  • How do you feel?
  • Why should someone else consider it?
  • Who are you? What are you doing in my house?
  • How long did delivery take?
  • Why are we here?

Of course, that is a lot to cover so this brings us to our next subheading.

What Strikes You the Most?

Look at your answers to the questions above. Are some of the answers obvious or uninteresting? If so, skip them. Let other less-skilled reviewers focus on the boring details. You are Picasso crafting a masterpiece. He doesn’t bother with the details, and neither should you. Include the information that people need to know about. What strikes you most about the product/business?

No Need to Cover the Specs/Marketing Copy

Piggybacking on the above, you do not need to cover the information that the manufacturer provides on the product page. It’s already there for everyone to see. You should only touch on it if you believe they are presenting false information. In which case, you need to call them on that crap! If they say that their product is guaranteed to improve your life immensely, and you’re still stuck on the streets against your will, then let people know about it. And, you can come stay at our house.

Try to Find Both Positives and Negatives

Avoid being too fluffy or too negative. Push yourself to find positives and negatives. And, if you really cannot find anything right/wrong with a service, then tell us about it. For example, it’s hard to be happy with your cable provider, but hey, at least 20% of the time they are up and functioning like they said they would be.

Most of All, Have Fun

My motto is “if it’s not fun for you to write it, it won’t be fun for others to read it.” Plus, life is too short to spend hours crafting a review detailing your experience putting socks on and taking them off or giving us the results of each of your 512 tests of how well your toaster works. Instead, tell us about how you burned your hand on the handle. That’s helpful and entertaining.

Please give us your review of this article in the comments below!