Just recently we were left a comment from a reader wanting to know a little more about how to write product reviews when you don’t actually own the product. We thought that this was a really good question and impossible to answer in just a few sentences.
We’ve written hundreds (and maybe even thousands) of product reviews over the years and since we aren’t multi-millionaires…yet, we couldn’t possibly buy each of those products to review. What we’ve done however is learned how to write them in a way where we don’t need to own the product.
We don’t have to lie and say we have actually personally reviewed the product or make things up but we can still end up with a top quality review that is helpful to the reader. Always remember however, that you should never promote a product that you wouldn’t purchase yourself. Is it worth buying? Is it a top quality product? If yes, then go ahead and write a review. If not, forget it. You don’t want to promote poor quality products to anyone ever.
So for starters, let’s take a look at the actual question that was asked:
I just like to know how you would write a review of a product which you haven’t owned or used. I have been wondering about it for quite some time now. Rather than just saying… “Most customers who bought this product find it…” how would you structure it.
In another of your post, you mentioned adding your own story as the introduction to make your review more interesting. But that will be quite difficult if you haven’t used the product yourself. Any advice would be most helpful.
Essentially there are two questions being asked here but we will start with the first. The key to writing product reviews when you don’t own the product is to do your research.
Now I can just see some of your switching off already thinking that this is going to mean a bit of work. I won’t lie to you, this will require you to get in there and learn as much as you can about the product. But stay with me here because you need to remember that you only need a handful of pages to make a full time income. Spending a day researching a product and writing a good product review can result in years of recurring income.
So for those that still work full time think about a days work in your current job. What do you get from that one day of work in terms of income? Yep that’s right, you get one day of pay…that’s it! You are never going to get any more than that. Which means you have to head back to work the next day to get that same amount of money. With a product review, you only need to spend one day working on it and then if all goes to plan you can potentially receive a recurring income for years to come.
Researching means reading everything you can about the product – read the Amazon product page and the reviews, find the manufacturers website and read about the product there, find any other website that refers to that product and keep reading. This shouldn’t take any more than a couple of hours. While you are researching you should be taking down as many notes as possible.
Once you have this information it becomes a lot easier to write about the product when you don’t own it….it’s almost as if you do own it when you have this level of detail. But that still doesn’t answer the question on how to actually structure the review. Well it’s actually a lot simpler than you might thing. It really comes down to how you word your sentences.
Let’s just go with an example to see how this works. I’ll use the iPad as an example. Now we both own one of these and just love them so we could easily write a review about it. However our review would sound a lot different to what it would sound like if we didn’t own one. Here’s how they might differ:
Version 1: I Own the Product
What I really love about my iPad is that I no longer need to lug a big heavy laptop with all its heavy cords and cables with me when I am traveling. The iPad measures approximately 10in by 8in and it literally fits into my handbag so I have done away with my laptop bag. It’s small but not too small that I have to squint to see the screen and is light enough and compact enough that it makes traveling a breeze.
Version 2: I Don’t Own the Product
You will no longer need to lug a big heavy laptop with all its heavy cords and cables when traveling. The iPad measures approximately 10in by 8in and will literally fit into your handbag or briefcase. You can finally do away with having to carry around that extra laptop bag. It’s small but not too small that you have to squint to see the screen and is light enough and compact enough that it makes traveling a breeze.
Notice how I am saying pretty much the same thing but in a very different way. Let’s try another example:
Version 1: I Own the Product
I’ve downloaded a multitude of applications since purchasing my iPad. This is what makes the iPad so great – without the apps, the iPad would just be a glorified laptop. I’ve downloaded games, magazines, recipe apps, books, weather apps, to do lists, project planners, office apps, utilities and so much more.
Version 2: I Don’t Own the Product
You can download a multitude of applications for your iPad. This is what makes the iPad so great – without the apps, the iPad would just be a glorified laptop. You can download games, magazines, recipe apps, books, weather apps, to do lists, project planners, office apps, utilities and so much more.
You can see how you don’t need to say you own the product to write a good review. It’s simply how you word those sentences. It basically means using ‘You’ instead of ‘I’. But don’t overdo it. You don’t want to have a review full of sentences that start with ‘You’. So also include the word ‘It’ or the product name itself or other similar words. For example:
- “It has a load of features including…”
- “One of the best features is…”
- “The iPad has a load of features including…”
Just keep wording your sentences using this sort of style and you should find it a lot easier to write reviews even if you don’t own the product.
So now to the second question…. Writing a story to go with your review is a great way to get readers to keep reading so it’s a tip you should all try to learn if you are going to write good product reviews. Unfortunately however we’ve run out of time and this post is already getting way too long. But stay tuned as we will answer it in our next post.