When I started marketing online, I remember that one of the biggest hurdles my mind had to jump over was how to write reviews of so many products, when there was no way that I could own everything I wrote about. I simply couldn't get on Amazon, spend $10,000 on toys, and then give my opinion on each of them.
It just didn't make sense! How could I sell stuff when I didn't own or really know anything about it?
Part of the issue is choosing a proper niche and finding something to write about that you DO know about. But not all niches can be effectively monetized, so many times as professional niche marketers we need to branch into areas we're unfamiliar with.
Here are three styles of reviews I use on my sites. The first one of course depends on you actually using the product or very similar ones. The other two you can do simply by being an expert in an area or utilizing proper research techniques.
Product Review Style 1: I Own It. Here's My Review
Anyone with an internet connection is aware that there are ways to make better buying decisions by searching online. Who doesn't want to read an honest review of a product or service they are thinking about buying?
Product reviews do not have to be limited to “I've tried that and here's my opinion”. In fact, many of these types of reviews are extremely biased. There's nothing wrong with that, but every product is going to have people that love and people that hate it. In spite of this bias, physically owning a product you are reviewing is a powerful tool. If you do own it, be sure to include pictures or video you took, and share anecdotal stories to go with your review. Not including these these could arouse suspicion as to whether or not you actually bought it. A lot of people write fake reviews because it's profitable.
Here is an example of a review of service that I've tried:Wealthy Affiliate Review
Product Review Style 2: I'm An Expert. Here's My Review
Another route is to talk about something related to a field you know a lot about. For example, I've been brewing my own beer for a few months now. I have a system that works for me. I know quite a bit about the process and how it works.
I also spend my time reading about it in books, blogs, and talking to other people with similar interests. Though I'm not a master brewer, I think I know quite a bit more than a beginner. In some ways, I'm a beginner expert. I have an educated opinion, and that counts for something!
And though I might not know everything, I think my thoughts on various related topics can be helpful to at least a number of visitors to my blog. Heck, even the ‘real experts' can be wrong (and are) sometimes. Oh, did I mention that the so-called experts disagree on a lot of things too? There's no reason to think that just because you don't have a PhD in your niche doesn't mean you aren't allowed to write a blog post about it!
This means that I don't have to buy or use everything I review. Just be honest. For example, if I want to negatively review a game I've never tried I could list previous games the company produced that I DID try and didn't like. I could post links to forums with other people that tried this game and didn't' like it. I could use screenshots to demonstrate my points, and explain my opinions so that my thought process was clear to the reader. I don't have to tell them I tried it just to create a false sense of authority.
Here is an example of a product review of something I haven't tried, but it's in a field I know a lot about:IMPho Review
Product Review Style 3: I'm an Unbiased Researcher. Here's My Review
Yet another style of product review could be the unbiased researcher approach. For this style of review, you do not have to mention that you have or haven't tried a product. That's irrelevant. There's tons of other people that have tried it, and if you do your research properly, you can give an objective view of what a potential buyer can expect.
Do not just copy and paste what other people say. This is plagiarism, and can get you into serious trouble. But you can take a screenshot of parts of reviews to demonstrate points. The problem with this is that you need to link back to the source, and it can be a way for people to leave YOUR review and go to someone else's. This is going to be a decision you need to consider.
Even without exact quotes, you can still reference information, such as “7/10 forums I visited had an overall majority of negative comments”, or “83% of reviewers gave this product 4+ stars on Amazon”
You can also dig into related products, previous releases, compare features with other products in the same niche, or simply feature the specs. You should always have VALUE in mind when doing this. Again, this should NOT just be a copy/paste marathon where you take information from a bunch of resources in an effort to piggy-back traffic and make sales. You should always be thinking about what a visitor can gain from reading your review.
Did you consolidate a lot of scattered information? Did you create an awesome graphic that demonstrates a written point from somewhere else? Did you take some technical jargon and explain it more simply? Did you break down the main differences between two similar products to make comparing them easier? YouTube is also a great way to include information from a person that actually owns the product AND you can embed any video on YT in your blog post! These are all great ways to use research as a means to write a product review of something you don't own.
Here's a review of something I haven't tried, but was able to review with proper research:Predator Review
Product reviews can be a great way to get traffic to your blog, but if you're like me, doing review after review after review will get a bit boring and monotonous. But don't worry. There are tons of other ways to get targeted traffic to your website. Part of this is learning how to do proper keyword research and knowing what people in your niche are looking for. Below is a video on the importance of keyword research.