Blogging about tools and products (reviews) are one of the more interesting and popular topics for contractors who blog, for obvious reasons. Here are some tips for writing effective product reviews for your blog:
1. Post Title: Be sure to include the name/model of the tool in the blog post title so that it can be easily indexed by search engines. Don’t make the title too clinical, include a hint at what the content of the article is. If this post was about the ProShot and Erecta-Rack, using the photo I have posted (left), I might call it: “ProShot and Erecta-Rack: Efficiency Defined.”
2. Include a picture of the tool. It is most effective when the tool is in use, especially by you, in a real world situation. Caption the picture as well. As with any website, good visuals make it more interesting, but dont over do it.
3. Explain to the reader the positives and the negatives that you discovered in using the tool. This helps the reader to assess the value of the tool to them.
4. It is very helpful to shoot video footage of yourself using/testing the tool. This makes it real and gives your opinion much more credibility. Lets face it, when you read a “review” of the Graco ProShot that is basically a paraphrasal of the marketing material found on the Graco website, it doesn’t reek of original content. What did YOU do with the tool and how did it work? These are good starting points.
5. Provide Answers: How long did you test the tool for? What types of situations did you put it in? What were the strengths and weaknesses?
6. What would you recommend to the manufacturer for improvements?
7. On the initial draft, just let your thoughts flow, then go back and organize/better define them.
8. Always, always, hit the “Preview” button before the “Publish” button so you can EDIT. This becomes particularly important when you are shipping every post out for syndication. Double check the title, the visual layout, the paragraphs, make sure it reads like you wrote it.
9. Always tag the piece.
10. Be sure to categorize the piece on your blog so that your content stays organized as you archive.
These are a few of the things I have learned in my own product review writing for publication. There are alot more tips, such as inserting effective links and maximizing your content exposure, but the 10 tips listed here are a good start for creating good review posts. Blogging Painters will probably archive alot of info on what goes into building your blog, archiving, using images on and links on the blog itself, etc, and it will all come from the shared experiences of other bloggers, which is what blogging is all about.
I try to do all of these things. I spend months with a tool before writing about it. During that time, I photo and video as much footage as possible. By the time a piece comes out in APC, I have lots of new updates about the tool, and plenty of the testing footage. In the review, if I stated that we were painting doors in 27 seconds with the ProShot, I can prove it. The more you can SHOW what you SAY in writing, the more credibility it has with readers.
This makes it easy to kind of have an ongoing topic. And then you can branch out from that topic into similar products. It is especially rewarding when the tools you are writing about are tools that you are learning about as you do your job professionally each day.
One thing to be sure of is that in blogging, content is king. Its not good enough to just say: “Five Stars, I highly recommend this tool!!!” It’s more like contractor show and tell. Put the tool and your work with it right out there for people to see. Be prepared for criticism if your blog starts reaching alot of readers. There will be someone who will point out that you didn’t pass your product through a viscosity cup. More importantly, if your content and presentation are good, there will be a bunch of people who will appreciate your perspective. Listen to your readers, and don’t get defensive. You are just sharing what you have learned.
This isn’t intended to be a step by step script, good writing never is, but its just some bases to try to cover as you write and edit a piece. Most importantly, have fun and be ready to learn.