Why You Don’t Need to OWN a Product to Review It.
Last Update: May 11, 2022
People fear the idea that they “don’t own something” so they are not qualified to review it. Though it can be of benefit to own something, you cannot be expected to buy every single thing you offer advice or insight on...nor is it required.
As you build out your website and work to become an authority within your niche, you are becoming an industry expert. Part of this process is researching products/services to help your audience make an educated decision before they spend their hard earned money on something.
You are a curator of this product-related content, in other words you are performing the research and publishing that so that the prospective customer doesn't have to go through that arduous task. This certainly doesn't mean you have to buy it.
Let’s look at an example, to really exemplify what I am talking about…
You go into BestBuy, and let’s say you are interested in getting some new “ear buds” headphones. You ask the BestBuy employee what the best ones are and they start to share information with you.
They tell you the Apple Airpods are popular and are good quality, but they are expensive. They then go on to say the Beats ones are also good they say, and they are very “popular” with the younger demographic, but if you are looking for something more cost-efficient and the bigger bang for your buck you should go for the JBL ones because of their “true wireless technology” which produces amazing sound.
You can then make a purchasing decision based on that info, or you can ask further questions.
This employee surely doesn’t own all of these products, but they understand them, they communicate with a relevant audience regularly, they get feedback, and they are constantly immersed in the subject matter.
That is YOU with your blog and website. You are very similar to the employee at Best Buy, sure you may own some products that you are offering help on, but certainly not all of them. Nor do you need to own all of them in order to be VERY qualified to offer help and support on those very products.
The person helping you make a decision hasn’t bought every product in the store…the same way the person selling you the car doesn’t OWN every car on the lot, yet they are subject matter experts and they know A LOT about the product, thus can help you.
So never feel like you need to own a product in order to review it. Whether you are reviewing a product in a negative or positive light, you need to be factual, you need to understand the products and research them in detail before you write, and you truly want to have your audience's best interest at hand. If you can do that, you can be very successful with your reviews.
Now get out there and create reviews with confidence, and create reviews that matter! ;)
Ok. This helps me a great deal. I wanted to try to have personal experience with every thing I write about, but you simply can't do that.
Like you say, you can with some things, but not with all things. I do have alot of research to do on some things that I have in mind.
Yeah, but.... the person in the store could easily have had the opportunity to try out each of the products during a demo by the local sales rep. That happens frequently. So perhaps if you are using the "ask the store salesperson" route, consider asking the salesperson if they have ever personally experienced the product.
Yes, that is one approach to try to see their level of "hands on" knowledge, but doesn't dictate their level of knowledge. Someone could be an expert on a particular type of fridge, know everything about it, customer issues and complaints...without trying it.
Whereas the other person could have tried it, opened the door, pulled out the shelves, and even owned it...but not have the same level of knowledge on the specs, the drawbacks, the issues, etc.
That is where the different lies, and where a well research and comprehensive review can beat out even someone that owns the product. 99% of Apple iPhone users could not provide a decent review, whereas someone with a Samsung that researched the heck out of it could.
Thanks HEAPS Kyle, this is very helpful & TIMELY info, as trynna dig into my reviews deeper atm & had been concerned bout coming off as a fraudster if I didn't actually own the product.
I'd never thought about the examples you've used, with car sales people etc, but so true, so thanks again, this is fantastic 👊👊
Quite the opposite actually. You come off as an expert if you offer a comprehensive review that considers the pros, cons, and the idiosyncrasies of a product within the review.
A user of a product isn't often qualified to offer a quality review, someone that can curate information amongst LOTS of consumers and their feedback along side a solid understanding of your niche, will allow you to create amazing reviews.
I agree with you 100%.
BUT we will see what Google says about this with the product review update. Maybe they want to see original pictures of people using the product. Maybe they are just trying to eliminate all the garbage content that merely summarizes the features. Time will tell.
I always read customer reviews to learn more about the products. Unfortunately, products in my niche are expensive, so I can't buy all of them. Even the big tech sites don't always buy everything they review.
If you understand a product category, I believe you can add value without using the products. For example, you can tell people what features are essential and why. Or you can explain why a product costs more and whether or not it's worth the extra features.
Yes, people read customer reviews if they don't get adequate information elsewhere. It isn't all that useful when a large percentage of all customer reviews are fake though and they don't offer full coverage of a product.
That is why authoritative reviews are so important and why most people doing their research on a new purchase tend to go far beyond JUST customer reviews.
If you understand the category, understand how to do research, and understand how to articulate it within a well design reviewed you are a much more credible resource than someone that simply owns a product.
Is everyone qualified to review an iPhone because they own it. No. They can offer their personal experience, in the way that THEY use it, based on their level of knowledge. But you cannot not assume that level of knowledge is high.
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Great article Kyle. I constantly want to write review articles or comparison articles but I get discouraged every time when I google reviews of products and I see another blog that fully tested like 10 different products for an article.
The only thing missing in your post is giving an example of how to go about writing a review or comparison article. Do we tell the readers that we didn’t actually test the products? How do we word it? It’s tough and I’m not sure what to do or say in that type of article.
Help me get to my first comparison article… I just don’t know how to get there!
You are not required to test any product you review nor do you need to say it. If you are writing about a product you have used or using you can always mention it.
In the comparison article, you can write the best three products or however many and compare them per se.
Jay Neil has training on this and you can go through them as a premium member.