Content Marketing / Monetization

A Simple Product Review Template That You Should Steal

We created a practical, step-by-step approach to creating effective product reviews so you can generate more affiliate income.

Sean Brison January 21, 2022
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One of the most effective ways of generating affiliate income is through in-depth product reviews. Of course, we all have sought out recommendations, whether from a friend or online reviews from a trusted source, so it’s no surprise that reviews play a crucial role in helping consumers turn into customers.

It’s time you become that trusted source. This post covers a practical, step-by-step approach that’s helped my team write dozens of thoughtful reviews that convert. We created the best product review template so you can do the same.

What Should A Product Review Template Include?

Writing good product reviews that pertain to your niche is an excellent way to make money. However, all you have to do is search “(any product) review” and you can see how saturated the top 10 google spots are with basically the same run-of-the-mill review post.

Your review has to stand out (in a good way) if you want to bring in a decent amount of recurring revenue.

A good product review blogger should help potential buyers with their purchasing decision so most importantly you need to gain the readers’ trust. You can do that but showcasing features and benefits using real-life examples.

Here’s a simple structure you can steal when writing your next review, and you’ll be well on your way to writing a review that will engage readers and convert.

product review template breakdown

1. Establish Authority As a Trusted Reviewer

You’ll notice I included a picture of myself at the top of this post. A few reasons for this:

People are more inclined to listen to you because they can see the person behind the words. Therefore, your introduction is the place to set the tone for your review and ensure you are a trusted source on the topic.

Your job here is to convey to the reader that you’re just a normal person looking for a solution to the same problem, and this review is your personal experience of using that product. They want to feel that you can relate to them and the problem they are trying to solve.

2. Empathize With Your Readers

A great way to gain trust early is with the PAS formula (Problem, Agitate, Solve). You hit their #1 pain point. Agitate it. Then show them how you’ll help solve it. And this formula can work for any blog post, not just reviews. problem agitate solve intro formula with each section a different color

This doesn’t have to be super long. You just need to let them know you empathize with their problem and you’ve found the solution. Using a casual, friendly voice will make you relatable and the reader will feel like they are getting advice from a friend or colleague.

Empathizing with your readers’ gains trust. If they trust you they will take your advice. If they take your advice they will convert.

Further Reading:

3. Give Them The Solution

Provide a brief explanation of the product, why it was built, or what makes them different from competitors. For example, you might mention the company’s culture, worldview, or operating philosophy.

To help provide an easy-to-read overview of the product and inform your reader of what to expect, include a summary box at your review’s start.

A summary box might look something like this:

Not all of the above may be relevant for you, but it’s a good idea to hit most of these in your summary box. You can also include who the product is best for.  For example, “Best for Beginners.” You want them nodding their head immediately, saying, “Yep, that’s me!”

Sidenote: Adding the company logo is a nice touch here too (e.g., we added Grammarly’s logo above our star rating).

It’s a good idea to include your keyword phrase in the first H2 (heading) of your review, so your post is more SEO-friendly.

Here’s an example of how you can use it:

what is product example

Another good rule of thumb is to format your H2s in a Q&A format where your H2 is the question, and your following sentence answers it (like above). This example is from a product review about a crowdfunded real estate investing platform. But you can use it for any niche.

4. Drive Conversions With Product Displays

Product displays are another element you should absolutely include. Beautifully designed displays have been proven to get more clicks and create more revenue. When your visitors see a descriptive product box, they’re more likely to click because they know where they’re going, and it builds trust.

Our affiliate marketing WordPress plugin, Lasso, lets you create custom product displays for all of your posts and pages. Some of our customers have tripled their affiliate income in a single year, adding Lasso product displays to their site.

Below is an example of a Lasso single product display you could create for your site if you had an affiliate relationship with Grammarly:👇

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And adding them to your posts is simple.

Click the Cactus icon from inside your WordPress editor, choose your display type, and Lasso automatically adds the shortcode to your post.

choosing a lasso display type from six options

lasso adding shortcode to your post

Done!

Tip: Optimize your call-to-action button copy in your displays.

With Lasso, you can also customize your call-to-action button copy for better conversions. Jo at CopyHackers wrote an EPIC copywriting formulas blog post tearing down every conceivable way to optimize your writing. Even your CTA buttons. One simple way to do it is to add the word “Get” at the start of your call-to-action. For example, “Get instant access” or “Get the free guide.”

Further Reading:

5. Highlight Key Features

Build your review features around what buyers consider important. Visiting the product’s website is an excellent idea to understand the marketing language and what features they’re promoting. Most times, the product has a Features category on its webpage. This is where you’ll typically start, as it holds the info that’s most essential to the brand.

If you know which features are the most popular, lead with those to draw your reader in.

But keep in mind, the reader has most likely visited the product’s site and is already familiar with their top features. They are reading your review to understand how these features can solve their problem.

It’s your job to show them how the product can be used in real life to solve real issues. This is a great place to include any story about how a problem you had was solved by one of the product features.

The Key Features section is a broad category, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Here’s one example from the fintech company, Personal Capital, known for its free suite of financial tools, so if you were writing a review about that model, that’s an excellent place to start.

personal capital where to find features

Let’s use another example like mountaineering tents.

I’m no expert in this category, but a quick Google search using “best mountaineering tents” reveals several high-quality reviews. You see immediately what are some excellent ideas to use as features for this category:

features example how to find them

Buyers consider things like capacity, weight, number of poles, and price before purchasing. No matter what niche you’re writing about, a features box at the top of your post is an excellent way to help readers. Using a features table is a great way to structure and easy to consume way to display essential information. Use something like TablePress to see “at-a-glance” highlights of your product.

Here’s one example from NerdWallet.

nerdwallet feature table example

Equate features with benefits in the body of your review whenever possible. If you haven’t used the product yourself, scour the web for it, every kind of customer who’s encountered it, and how it helped them.

A good example comes from the software services review site, G2.com. There’s a section where it asks users, “What problems are you solving with the product?”

g2com solving problems example

You can find a goldmine of information here that you can apply to your review. Equate every feature of your product with a benefit that helps your reader. If you break this down by features and benefits, you get:

Further Reading:

6. How The Product Works

Here’s a great place to mention processes or their approach to handling specific product features unique to its brand. For example, if it’s a real estate product, what’s their strategy for finding properties or vetting sponsors? If it’s a blender, mention any unique technology behind its blades, motor, or settings.

This is where adding any tutorials, user-generated screenshots (points if they’re annotated), infographics, or videos provides a significant value add.

One of the biggest problems people face is learning how to use a product. When you show them how to start with helpful images and video, it boosts your credibility and turns you into a trusted authority.

Use annotated images throughout your post to add color and emphasize your points.

Below is a post explaining how you’d use Lasso with Google Analytics. It tells you what steps you need to take and in what order, where to add your URL, and where the total events display to complete this task.

using analytics to track clicks with lasso

Another great way is to create a case study video. A short tutorial video can help showcase how some of their most important features work as show how the product has solved a problem for a fellow user.

7. Include FAQs

FAQs come in several forms, including the product’s website, Google’s “People Also Ask,” or Google’s “Searches Related To.”

Both the product and Google are telling you these are common questions. Adding them to your review helps to get in front of any concerns your readers might have.

Let’s use surfboards as an example. If you’re writing a review about firewire surfboards, you’d want to visit the particular brand’s website, but also use Google’s People Also Ask.

Here’s what we get:

google people also ask example

In your post, you can use the above questions as additional H2s/H3s (topics and subtopics). It could potentially bring someone to your site searching for one of the above queries.

Or scroll down to the bottom of the SERP and see what the “Searches Related To” box says:

google searches related to example

These can help shape the outline of your post as you figure out what’s important.

Here’s an example using FAQs in your review:

simple bank faq example

Head to the bottom of the company’s homepage and look under Support or Help Center. A lot of the time, you can find the companys’ FAQ there. I’ve found these pages to be extremely helpful when adding the finer details in posts.

Further Reading:

8. Social Proof

When people see other people liking or using something popular, more people are inclined to like it. Social proof is HUGE. So dropping the number of reviews a product has is another way to build your case for or against a product. The same goes for something shared a lot on social media.

Mention how many likes or shares your product has received as another critical metric in helping to guide your reader (and find helpful product details in the process).

For example, if you were writing a review about this blender, you can see how many product reviews it has on Amazon:

amazon customer review number example

“Nearly 15,000 customer reviews.” You can easily sniff out the best products with a number that high. So it’s safe to say people like it, and that could be worth mentioning.

Or use it in your headline. If using the blender example above, your headline could read:

“The Best Countertop Blender (According to 14,986 Amazon Reviews)”

You could also mention any influencers, celebrities, or notable bloggers in your niche who have used and loved the product you’re reviewing (if applicable). When we’re writing about a particular product, we mention other critical players in that space who also use and recommend it.

Case studies are another piece of information to use in your review. If you’ve used the product, document your experience, and share it with your readers.

Here’s an example if you were writing a review about Quickbooks accounting software and Googled “Quickbooks case study”:

product review template case study example

8. Include Pros and Cons

Address all of the things you (and other people) liked and didn’t like about the product.

When you write your review, make notes about what you like and dislike and include them in your pros and cons section.

This helps me to complete this section.

Your topic header could be “Is [Product Name] Right for You?” and your sub-topics could be your pros and cons.

Here’s one example of how you could approach it:

pro con example product review template

Here, we added a green/red background (this isn’t mandatory). It’s more important to distinguish between what’s good and bad about the product.

Another way to do it is to divide your pro/con section into two vertical columns.

9. Give Them Alternatives

Displaying alternatives is good for showing impartiality. If you’re well-versed in your niche, you know who your competitors are, but if you aren’t, use Google’s “Autocomplete” search to find them.

For example, type in your product followed by the word “vs.” and let Google autocomplete it. Let’s say I’m writing a review about Ahrefs and wanted to find its competitors. I’d enter “Ahrefs vs.” into Google.

google autocomplete feature

Google gives you several alternative examples. These alternatives could be your subtopics. Here’s how AuthorityHacker did it with its WP Rocket review:

product review template h2 h3 format example

You can display alternative products as grids using our plugin, Lasso.

product review template lasso grid example

Or you can use a table builder plugin (e.g., Table Press).

product review template tablepress example

Here’s a detailed WP Beginner Table Guide that explains how to do it. Adding these features to your review makes it easier and more enjoyable to read.

Further Reading:

10. Your Conclusion & Call-to-Action 

Summarize your post, provide your objective opinion, and (if it’s a good product) suggest why it’s a good fit.

For example, if you were reviewing a toaster, you might say something that highlights common pain points and positions your product as a solution:

Toasters usually burn your bread’s surrounding edges, toast unevenly, and give you a soft interior. A reason why I’d spend money on this Redmond 2-Long Slot toaster is that it avoids these issues with oscillating heat coils. If you’re searching for a toaster to solve these problems, I’d check out the Redmond. You can learn more here <affiliate product link>.”

Another good trick is to rewrite your opening summary. No rocket science is required; rearrange your words until it reads like something fresh.

Write Words That Attract (While Pleasing Search Engines)

Your review should align with your reader’s queries and provide solutions to their problems. To make your writing easy-to-read, it should be:

Refer to your reader as “you.” A lot.

For example…

Say this: “When you write your reviews, aim for real-life examples.”

Instead of: “When writing reviews, aim for real-life examples.”

Further Reading:

Be Objective AF

Answer questions and provide solutions. Your goal is to be “purely informative.” And you’ll also be better equipped to manage the next Google core update and *hopefully* avoid a significant traffic loss.

If your site’s content affects people’s lives (especially YMYL sites), or if it’s accepting payment in some way, you must be seen as trustworthy. Google’s getting smarter connecting the needs of readers. If you’re writing flowery marketing fluff, it reflects poorly. This article from Rank Ranger sums it up pretty well, referencing a Google core update that occurred late last year.

For a deeper dive, check out Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines. Or this post from Marie Haynes, which is less daunting. She also ran a site audit for us and was instrumental in its improvements. While we’re on the subject…

Avoid language that sounds:

Be objective AF with your product review. It’s more genuine, you’ll provide more value to your readers, and you’ll make more money which is why you’re doing it in the first place.

Further Reading:

How to Get Companies to Send You Products to Review (3 Ways)

If you’ve come this far, perhaps you’re thinking about how you can start writing more product reviews (and where to find companies that’ll reward you for doing it). Let’s explore a few options.

1. Join Consumer Panels

You can sign up to help businesses improve their products (while simultaneously getting hands-on experience for free).

Platforms like McCormick Consumer Testing let you play a part in the product development process. You’ll test items based on meeting specific demographics after creating an online profile. Some only let you test quarterly (four times a year) so what you can do is create profiles on multiple platforms to increase your chances.

You can join panels that are relevant to your niche and the product types you already write about. For example, if you have a food blog, you could try Leatherhead Food. Run a fashion blog? Join the Vogue Insiders.

Tip: Run a Google search using the keyword phrase “[your niche] consumer panel” for finding ones that make sense for you.

2. Get Free Sample Boxes

Businesses want more customers. And one way to do that is by giving stuff away. Many brands are eager to ship you their merch (for free!) in exchange for your testimonial. There are several platforms you can sign up with to connect and get rewards. You can be the first to test new products, content, or offers.

Sidenote: Being the first to review a new product lets you capitalize on organic traffic spikes from trending brands.

Some worth exploring are:

3. Leverage Your Audience

This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s still worth mentioning. If your website attracts a generous amount of traffic, you can use it to your advantage.

Brands want to get as many eyes on their products as possible. So, you can say that your site gets X amount of monthly visitors (or if you’re active on social media, say how many followers you have) when conducting your outreach. These metrics become your selling points when pitching the products you’d like to test. Position your site as an attractive way to get their company seen by potential buyers.

Last Words

Whether you’re an affiliate marketer or blogger, writing product reviews is an excellent way to boost your authority, conversion rates, and commissions.

And when the words on the page won’t come, having a product review template will help.

No need to reinvent the wheel.

Want more affiliate marketing tips? Read this.

Recommended Reading

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