Writing a negative review is, I think, a bit of a tricky subject. We all want to “tell the truth” and “be honest” but sometimes, it feels like someone is just rah-rah-ing all over the place. “This is soooo good!” “I can’t live without this!” “Holy grail!!” Been there right? Personally, I don’t like being a Debbie Downer so I only really blog about stuff I already like. I mean, why pepper my blog with negativity right? We get enough of it in real life :P
But sometimes, when a highly raved product doesn’t work, or if I do receive a product for review and it doesn’t work for me, should I write a negative review or just leave it aside and focus on all the other good stuff I have? Should I feel that I should say something nice instead since its “free”? Will saying I dislike a product make my blog more credible? Its a personal call.
I’d love to know what readers think too! Does the presence of a negative review make the blog appear more credible to you? Or do you make your own judgments based on all you’ve read?
Many years ago, when I started blogging, there weren’t many blogs in the field and the few blogs I read based in the USA were strongly criticized by their readers for only ever praising products. They were accused of selling out and pandering to the brands so they would continue to receive freebies. A response from one of the bloggers (now no longer blogging) stuck with me. She said it was her blog and she wanted it to be a happy place so she only focused on the good stuff and stuff she liked. Why should she blog about stuff she didn’t like just to make others think her credible? And I think that makes a lot of sense and its something I personally believe in too.
So I think it comes down to what you are comfortable with. Writing a negative review doesn’t make you any more or less credible as a blogger. Your readers will be able to figure it out themselves. It just comes down to what you want to present and your method of presentation. If you do feel that a product merits a a negative review, but aren’t sure how to deal with it, I’ve got some tips here. Please feel free to share yours too :)
- Don’t be too emotional. Leave emotions at the door because if you are too emotional, the rant may come off longer than you like and you may just look like you’re an incoherent ranting mess.
- Be Objective and use neutral language. Your readers, if they’ve stuck around with you long enough, will notice when you don’t quite feel for a product or service. You don’t have to use words like “hate” or “terrible” or even “bad” but you can still write a negative review using more objective words or phrases like “This product did not work on my oily skin” or “I didn’t like it but the packaging is nice”
- Offer suggestions for improvement. If you did not like a product or service, there may be a reason why. So offer your suggestions on how the product or service could be improved or explain why you didn’t like it. It helps others understand where you’re coming from. This is especially true if you are reviewing a service, because they may pick up on your review and improve. Or they may just make excuses and don’t bother. C’est la vie.
- Keep it short. The more you say, the more you may later regret what you are saying. So if you don’t have many good things to say about a product or service but yet want to say something about it, keep it short and sweet. Your message gets across, you don’t end up raging on and on and you don’t look like you’re bashing.
- Temper it with Humour. Use humour, if that is your forte. If you can bring humour into it, it makes for fun reading, even if you’re writing a negative review. I’ve chuckled over many a humorously written negative review.
Of course, these are just guidelines of how I deal with writing negative reviews. I don’t think one should sugarcoat everything, but I do believe that a more objective stance is a better reflection of your blog in general. Still, its just my view.
Sure, sometimes, there will be people who love drama and thrive on reading and writing firery and vitriolic pieces and they will find this bland and beige. If fire and vitriol is your style, don’t change because that’s what your readers come for. It is your blog and you may write however you wish after all so this is a guide, not gospel :)
I’ve done my negative reviews in my time but as I said, I prefer to focus on what’s good and to share what I like on my blog. I only have limited space and time, and I’d prefer to keep it a happy one. But sometimes, if a highly acclaimed product doesn’t perform then I believe in saying so. That said, I keep to a pros and cons format for all product reviews so that pretty much tells you there’s something bad in every thing just as there is something wonderful :) As a reader however, I prefer reading a coherent well thought out negative review instead of a long post of product bashing. I’ve seen it and it doesn’t leave me with a good impression. I don’t consider a blog with negative reviews any more credible than a blog with mostly positive reviews because I look at the whole package. However, that’s me :)
How do you deal with writing negative reviews? If a product does not work for you or you received shoddy service, are you wont to write about it, or do you just leave it aside? Do you think a blog that has negative reviews more credible than a blog with mostly positive reviews?
Simple Blogging Tips are some simple tips I have for fellow bloggers, based on my own experiences. I’m no ‘guru’ but I hope they will help you. You may read up on previous Simple Blogging Tips here or please feel free to ask your question in the comment box or in email.