How to Weave a Story into Your Product Reviews

Continuing on from our last blog post, today we are going to go through how to include a story in your product reviews. The reason we add a story is that it makes the story more interesting and entices the reader to continue reading. Let’s put it this way, which version do you find more interesting?

This one:

“Today I am going to review the iPod Touch. This has just been released by Apple and is the equivalent of the iPhone without the phone. This makes it perfect for those who don’t need another phone or want to sign up to a phone plan.  The features of this great little device are extensive and I will be going through each of them today.”

Or this one:

” When Wanda and I were in the US attending a conference, we happened upon the Apple Store in New York. If you’ve ever been there you’ll know what an experience that is, but we happened to be there the day after the iPhone was released to the world, actually we were on a hop on hop off tourist bus and when the guide pointed out the iPod store – we hopped off. Well, what can I say, we were hooked, but unfortunately we couldn’t buy one because they wouldn’t have worked back home in Australia. It was only later when the iPod Touch was released that we ended up buying one of those instead and we are so glad we did.”

The first one is okay but I much prefer the second one. I know I would keep reading to see what happens next.

Weaving a story into a product review lightens up the post and makes it more readable. It also lets the reader know that you are a real person and most people love reviews written by real people.

But what do you do if you don’t have a story?

First of all, you don’t need to have a story for every single product review you write. We have hundreds of reviews online and believe me, they don’t all have a story. But when we do have the opportunity we use a story. And that means when we have a real life story to use.

So we don’t recommend you making one up. You want your readers to trust you. If they see a whole lot of different stories on different reviews on your website they are going to start to get a little suspicious and the trust factor will disappear in a flash.

The story about me and Wanda in New York was 100% accurate. We did get off the bus to check out the Apple store as we really wanted to see the iPhone and we did end up buying an iPod Touch when they were eventually released in Australia.

But let’s assume that didn’t happen and I don’t own an iPod Touch. What I would do is try and create a story out of my personal feelings for the product or those of family and friends.

For instance:

  • my opinion of the iPod Touch before I purchased it was that it looked like a lot of fun and I really had to have one
  • a work mate at my last full time job loves gadgets and discussed this product with me a few times
  • I know my niece would love one of these if she saw it in action

So that’s just three simple (truthful) statements that relate to me and family and friends. Now I take those statements and see if I can create a story from one or all of them. Just remember that a story doesn’t mean making something up – it simply means making the product review more personal.

So my opening paragraph for my review might sound like this:

“My nieces birthday is coming up and I have been thinking about what to get her. I am a real fan of gadgets and I know she is too so I thought that perhaps an iPod Touch might be a good choice. I personally want one of these myself so may just end up buying two but either way I think it might be a great gift. So because I never buy anything without doing the research, I’ve spent a considerably amount of time checking them out to see if they are actually worth the money. Here’s what I found out…”

You can see how I took something as simple as one statement about a family member and created a story from it.  It’s only a couple of sentences of personal stuff but it gets the reader in and interested in what I have to day.

Here’s another version:

“In my last job, I had a work mate who loved gadgets. Since I am the gadget queen we would speak extensively about the latest devices and gizmos. One gadget that came up often in our discussions was the iPod Touch.  This is one amazing little device. Some call it the iPhone without a phone and that is essentially what it is. It can pretty much do everything the iPhone can do except make a phone call or take photos. This means the iPod Touch is cheaper and you don’t have to sign up to any lengthy phone plans. I like that!”

For the rest of your review you can just get on and talk about the product and its benefits and if you like throw in a few personal touches as you go. For instance:

  • “I really like this feature”
  • “I really like how the iPod Touch has a wifi function so you can connect to the internet and email when you are out and about.”
  • “This isn’t a feature I would use but I know others would find it super convenient”
  • “When my friend spoke about this, he mentioned that…”

Making your reviews more personal really does improve conversion rates so take a little extra time if you can to come up with something to suit your product review.

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Comments

  1. Great article! I think connecting with your reader on a level that establishes trust is definitely the way to go!

    In addition to weaving in a story, adding PERSONAL photos, not just stock product photos is another way to establish trust with the reader as it shows you really did buy the product.

    I’m doing this with one of my niche health care websites so that I’m not just promoting any ‘ole product, but one that I actually use. :)

  2. Thanks for the post Paula,

    It’s the personal stories that will always draw me in.

    Using family and friends examples is a great way to go. I am not really a gadget person so when I do purchase something I’d rather not have anything too complex. However, my son and his family are into all the latest and greatest gadgets so if I wanted any ideas or feedback with certain products I would be going to them.
    Shirley

  3. People throughout history have always enjoyed a good story. Perhaps there is a bit of voyeurism in all of us? Or perhaps we all need to know that none of us are too different from everyone else? History has been passed from generation to generation by word of mouth story telling.

    And you are so right. A good story is hard to beat :-)

    • Nicely said Jan. I think it’s all of those things. I think we just feel more comfortable and more accepting when we know that a real person is talking to us. And that comes through more so when you attach a story to it.

  4. What about using a friends story; similar but not exact to what you described above.

  5. I’ve been in business online since 2006, and in all that time, I’ve only subscribed to 3 blogs. Yours is one of the three. Your no nonsense advice/approach is excellent, and the info you share is on target.

    I only wish you posted more often! I’ll be interested in purchasing your eBook when you release it.

    • Hey Tammie – thanks for those lovely words. It’s really nice to hear.

      As for the ebook, it is finished and has just been released to our email list.

      We will be releasing it to the rest of the population this week.

    • 3 blogs in 4 years…..now there’s some salable information, how exactly does one get away with that?!?!?! LOL

  6. Thanks for giving us a good post i was looking for this stuff for a while keep up a good work.

  7. (Can you see the light bulb going off over my head?) I’ve just had an a-ha moment!

    THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

    Tying a personal story into an average review is genius!!!

    • LOL. Thats excellent Michelle. Its amazing the difference it makes to conversion rates when you add a personal touch to the review.

  8. Outstanding post! Sometimes writing a review is so frustrating because I feel like a used car salesman. I am certainly going to be using the stories in my future reviews. Thanks for the great idea.

    • It can be difficult getting the right balance in product reviews. If you sound too much like a used car salesman then people aren’t going to trust you so adding a real story can make it more believable.

  9. Hi Paula. I used this technique on a new product review for a prostate health product my dad told me about that he uses and loves. I interviewed him about his prostate condition how long he has had it, what meds he has used, why he likes this product…and yada yada.

    It allowed me to make my product review personal and hopefully to men with the condition in his age group who will now rush out to amazon and buy it!

    Will keep you posted.

    Take care,

    Ken

    • Excellent Ken – you have gone to the nth degree with this one. People will love reading it.

  10. Your right Paula, this was a very helpful read. Thanks again. Brad C.

  11. Writing a review is a bit frustrating,it’s hard to write if you never
    have the product like ipod..what will happen is you end up copying
    review from other site.. great post!

    • It can be difficult at first but the trick is to research the product until you know it like the back of your hand. You only need to write a few good solid reviews in order to make a income online so it is worth taking the time to do it.

  12. Paula, this blog is really great! It helps me see the missing points in my effort of doing business with Amazon. I tend to write many reviews but most of them are not as personal as they should be (you know, copy and paste and reword a little bit). The next time I create any review, I should go back to this and consult your examples, really great stuff :) This is my very first comment on this blog, I see that it’s full of solid information, I will definitely come back for more. Have a nice day!

    Duy.

    • You can also rework the reviews you already have especially if they aren’t converting well for you.

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