Blog School: Tips for Writing Reviews

By | July 22, 2013


Welcome to Lacquerheads of Oz Blog School, where every week we’ll be giving you tips on various blogging topics. Today we’re talking reviews!

So you’ve bought a product, love (or hate) it and want to share your opinion with the internet… but now you’re stuck. Where do you start? How do you finish?Everyone has their own writing “voice”, and there’s never a “best” way of writing a blog post, but if you’ve hit a block or just want to shake up your style, you may want to explore some of these ideas…

Photos – Photos of the product are great for showing readers what they’re getting, and for breaking up text. Clear, well-lit photos are the most useful for your readers – using macro mode and increasing the brightness with a photo editing program will make your photos look their best. Photos of the packaging from different angles, images of the product in action and swatches (of course!) will help your readers decide if it’s right for them.

Review system – You may want to set up a structure for what aspects of the products you’ll take into account, or even a rating system. Here are some suggestions for factors you can take into account (they apply for nail polish, but also for lots of other products too!):

Shade/variety selection – What colours or varieties does the product come in?

Application – How do you use it? Does it go on smoothly? What is the colour density like? If it’s a moisturiser, is it greasy, or too light, or is it just right? Does it do what it’s supposed to?

Special instructions – Is there a special way of using it that isn’t stated on the packaging? Looking up reviews on Makeupalley, for example, can give you lots of useful info.

Packaging – Does it look good? What’s special about it? Is it durable? Is it easy to use?

Pros and cons – A simple list of pros and cons of the product can help your readers quickly work out whether the product is worth buying.

Value for money – Is it worth the cost? Are there cheaper or more expensive dupes?

What if you hate a product you’ve been sent to review?

This can be a difficult situation – getting something for free understandably makes most people feel like they should be “grateful” and post a positive review! But honesty is best – you don’t want to feel guilty for saying something crap is good and having other people spend their precious money on it based off your post! Having said that, it’s hard to find a product that’s completely crap, and something that doesn’t work on you may work on someone else, so you can always say both pros and cons – so for example, you can say that while the lasting power isn’t great, the colour is really fun, and that way people can decide for themselves whether or not to buy it.

What do I need to disclose? 

If you’re in the US, you’re legally obliged to state if you received a product for free to review (look up “FTC blogging guidelines” for more info). However, even if it hasn’t been enshrined in law (although the guidelines are likely to spread to more countries soon), it’s generally agreed that disclosure is ethical, maintains your reputation, and that it’s owed to your readers. As well as writing a line in your post clearly stating that you received the product for free, you might want to consider placing a longer disclosure policy somewhere on your blog. You can get your own at DisclosurePolicy.org.

What other blogging problems have you come across? Let us know and we’ll try to answer your questions in future episodes of Blog School!

Michelle has *almost* finished her PhD in chemistry. When she’s not busy slogging away at her thesis or in the pole dance studio, she’s blogging at Lab Muffin and Polish or Perish, or buying too many beauty products.

You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@labmuffin).

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