Guidelines and Tips for Reviewers
Writing a very high-quality product review takes a bit of thought, but does not require any special literary skill or know-how. The following tips should increase the likelihood that you will write a great review, by which we mean a review that will be truly useful to your readers.
Don’t just start writing. Think first about the contours of what you want to convey with your review, and maybe write some notes to keep you on track before you begin. Your review will not be free-form, since we ask questions designed to elicit the key information, but it still helps to have an idea of topics you want to cover.
Visualize Your Audience
Remember you’re not writing for us at TrustRadius. You are writing for a potential buyer of the product you are reviewing. What important things does she need to know before making a buying decision?
Detail is critically important. The most important advice here is to give context and examples. Occasionally, reviewers give very short responses the Pros and Cons sections which can be cryptic and unhelpful. An example: Instead of listing “Customization” as a pro, explain what you mean and why it matters. It’s helpful to point out that creating custom landing pages and forms takes just a few clicks, or that the master page can be customized to incorporate corporate branding. The more color and detail you provide makes it easier for potential buyers to get a sense of what the product is actually like.
Cutting and pasting text from vendor websites or other reviews is not a good idea. Reviewers want your unique perspective, not information they can get elsewhere. (Also, TrustRadius staff will not publish copied text.)
Do Not Write when Angry
Feeling anger towards a vendor for promises not kept, poor customer service, or any other reason is perfectly valid. Reviews, however, are not the best vehicle for venting that anger. Vendors are reading your review, and they will likely take your feedback more seriously if your tone is more professional. However, your primary job is to convey information that is useful to a potential buyer. Buyers are probably not overly interested in your rage reviewing. Wait until you are calmer, and write a more balanced review which, of course, should convey in calm detail your critical feedback or negative experience.
Be Fair and Balanced
This does not mean that your review tries to balance out all the positives with an equal number of negatives, or vice-versa. Reviews can be very positive overall, or very negative overall, or somewhere along the spectrum between those two extremes. However, even the very worst software has some positives, so list them. Likewise, the coolest, best-designed, easiest to use software on the planet still has a few annoying quirks, or even more serious room for improvement. List them. In general, try to be as fair as possible. This will make it clear to your readers that your review is thoughtful and trustworthy.
Be honest about how well you know the product and exactly how you used it. Don’t try to exaggerate (or understate) your knowledge or expertise.
The software technology domain is of course drenched in jargon, and it’s sometimes hard to avoid. Again, think of your audience. If you are writing a review of a machine learning platform, it is possible that your review is being read by a data scientist, and that’s great. However, it’s also possible that it is being read by a technical executive, or a business leader without your deep technical background in the domain. Keep in mind the possibility of a general reader rather than an expert. You can certainly discuss complex issues, but try to use straightforward language that non-technical readers can understand as well.
Create a Real Review Title
Your job title, or the name of the product, are not very interesting review titles. Choose something that is related to the content of your review and which will make people want to read more. Our review questionnaire suggests using a catchy phrase or wordplay which is great in the hands of experienced wits and pun masters, but probably the most important thing is coming up with something both descriptive and concise.
Although some reviewers are required by corporate regulations to write only anonymous reviews, consider exposing your identity. Firstly, reviews with a named author have more credibility. Readers often identify with the author if they can see a picture and work history.
Miscellaneous Writing Tips:
- Explain acronyms the first time you use them, unless they are obvious like SaaS or DB
- Use abbreviations sparingly
- Keep sentences short, but do write in full sentences
- Before you hit “Submit”, read back over your review to check for any mistakes or anything that isn’t clear