Writing a successful review: the best tips

Probably you have already read one or the other review. It can be very informative and contribute to the purchase decision. But what exactly makes a good review? How should the structure of a review look like? You can find answers to these questions in this guide. In addition, we give you practical tips that can help write a review.

How to write a review Header image: A sign that can be put up with two arrows pointing in different directions; above the top arrow is the text'Awesome', uber dem unteren 'Less Awesome'

The review and its definition: in a class of its own

A review is nothing more than a critique or a review of a book, film or product. The author analyzes the respective commodity, a cultural creation or a scientific finding. In doing so, he makes an assessment based on professional and appropriate standards. Especially in the case of artistic works, reviews can vary greatly depending on the author: from effusive praise to a total slam.

If you are looking for an example for a review, you can find it in the renowned newspaper Zeit. This makes it clear: In contrast to the sober facts in a pure news report, in a review the reader receives an unambiguous evaluation of the object of discussion. The language style in which the review is packaged differs depending on the author, the target audience, and the publishing venue. For example, the text can be lively, descriptive, witty, enthusiastic, or soberly worded.

As multifaceted as the style of language is, the structure of a detailed review usually follows a certain pattern. Depending on whether you’re writing a book, movie, or product review, the structure and key content will differ.

Writing a book review

If you want to write a review about a book, you can roughly follow these guidelines. If necessary, you can modify it according to your own style or the wishes of the client – it is primarily intended as an introductory aid. With this, you can create a structure in a review that is clear, informative and reader-friendly:

    IntroductionIn the first sentence you mention the book and the author. In addition, you indicate what direction your review will take. So the readers do not lose the red thread. Afterwards, describe the plot of the book in a few sentences, without giving away the ending. Who are the protagonists and how do they act?? What are highlights/central conflicts? Is there a decisive moment?

Writing a review of a movie: What to keep in mind?

Even in the case of film reviews, the amount of information depends on the desired scope. Here is a short guide to the movie review:

    FeaturesIn the introduction, you present the most important features of the film – this helps to give a better overview. Feel free to list popular, well-known actors, film locations or other facts that will encourage the reader to read on. Some authors already reveal the film title, the year of release, the country of release, the director, the length of the film, the main actors, the FSK and the genre. If you want to avoid too much information at the beginning, you can also list this information at the end of the text.

If you are looking for an example of such a review, take a look at this film review by the radio station Deutschlandfunk. As you can see, the text is short but informative and makes you want to read more.

How to write a review about a product?

Product reviews have become a powerful advertising tool. The more important is to make it informative and exciting. This is the only way they stand out from the crowd and actually get read. Of course, no plagiarism is allowed. But how can you write a review that really captivates the reader?? Here’s a little guide to the product review:

    Prelude: Jump in with a short story about the product or with personal experiences. For example, if you are reviewing a racing sled, you can mention how much you always look forward to sledding in winter. With this kind of storytelling, you convey to the potential buyer right at the beginning of your review why the product is useful for them.

In this context, it should be noted that not all product reviews are the same. Some turn out to be very detailed, while others are extremely concise. For example, those who write a review for Amazon often don’t write it in great detail. In addition, when reviewing for Amazon, there is a star system that the customer uses to rate the product. Many prospective buyers go by the star rating – at least at first glance.

Review writing: Not everything belongs in it

How extensive you write a review depends on you or your client. It can be easy to get lost in the writing, especially with very detailed texts. Then it’s time to curb your enthusiasm, because not everything belongs in a good review. For books and movies, you should watch out for spoilers. Don’t mention anything that might spoil the reader’s or cinephile’s enjoyment of the book or movie.

Example: If the film is about solving a tricky criminal case with a surprise effect, you must not reveal the culprit. Some authors, however, do this deliberately and alert their readers with the word "spoiler warning".

It looks different with untruths. They have no place in a review, even if this genre of text is not a sober news report. The same counts for polemics. If you didn’t like a book, a movie or a product at all, you’re allowed to write that honestly. Good style, however, forbids getting personal. It is better to list with factual arguments why the review is so negative. Comparisons with other works or products can help the reader make better choices in this context.

Write good reviews with these ten tips

It doesn’t matter if you’re writing about a movie, a book, or a product. You can always fall back on these ten valuable tips when writing a review:

    Identify the target audience: Who are you writing your review for? Adapt your language to your readership.

Conclusion: Writing reviews made easy

As you can see, it takes some effort to write a good review. It doesn’t matter if you’re reviewing a book, a movie, or a product. However, if you have thought deeply about the object you are reviewing, the rest often comes naturally. The guides and tips serve you as orientation. Over time, you’ll find your own routine, which you can adapt to the client’s needs.

It is always important to maintain a consistently high information content. You should justify pros and cons, because for one your pro can be a con: a fast racing sled with a load capacity of 100 kg and extra smooth runners may be perfect for teenagers or adults. Parents of an elementary school child are more likely to see speed as a potential danger.

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Do you have feedback or an open question? Then just leave us a comment below this article. We look forward to hearing from you!

  • 18.03.2015
  • 17.07.2020
  • Just_Text
  • Successful copywriting, For authors, Tutorials

167863 19. March 2015 – 12:46

Thanks for this well intentioned tutorial. I want to make two critical remarks about this.

First, copywriters want to make money. Reviews, as the author of the tutorial correctly states, require research. Does the author know the prices Textbroker customers offer for a review on average? Research is NEVER worth it. Some customers even write they want to read a review that sounds like you read the book. So even clients seem to realize that 4 or 5 euros for a well-written review is a bad joke – without doing any research. How this undoubtedly very informative tutorial relates to the reality of the everyday life of a Textbroker author is beyond me. At least, if you want to earn something as an author and (still) *not* write in the 5s category.

Secondly: Dietmar Dath as an example of a successful text – I would never have thought that I would live to see it. Dath writes maximally convoluted. From all the feuilletion editors of the F.A.Z. I like his texts the least, because he can not write comprehensibly. Dath wants to come across as intellectual, so he uses particularly stilted language. But Textbroker usually attaches so much importance to clarity of expression!? The sentence quoted at the beginning alone proves what I am saying:

"This almost entirely charmless film is about a dull two-fer in which a faceless prince and a harmless Cinderella prove nothing more clever to each other than that they can neither enjoy nor overcome the injuries the plot throws at them.”

Does Textbroker actually so a successful review? Adjectives, nested sentences, nouns – either I’ve misunderstood all the tutorials so far, or Textbroker is throwing its philosophy completely overboard for reviews – otherwise it makes no sense. I’ll translate Dath’s statement into understandable German now:

"The movie is about a dull two-way relationship between a prince and a Cinderella. The acting skills pale, however, as the film suffers from a weak plot."

That’s two main sentences, and that’s all Dath has to say. As always, because Dath always needs five sentences where others need only two.

I would be very interested in feedback on my comments!

SB 20. February 2020 – 14:05

I’ll try my hand at a note for TJB.

1. As described in the title of the guide, it’s about writing a WELL-written review. It’s not about how to write a review with the least time investment. And: If you invest time and effort in writing, you will improve. And Textbroker notices improvements, so that it soon "hails" more stars. In addition, the writing process is automated, which saves time.

2. The language of the text is oriented to the customer’s wish and the customer to his target group. At TB, some customers want flowery texts, others clear factual texts, still others even rhymes. Also texts in youth language are partly demanded. The FAZ sells itself as a sophisticated newspaper. A review should therefore not only inform, but also be "academically stilted" entertain. Sure, some may not like this, but others appreciate just that.

Helga Baureis 20. February 2020 – 17:28

I am an author and I am always happy when someone writes a review for one of my books. Many readers have "threshold fear. Is it allowed to link your article – in the form that suits you – on Facebook??
Many greetings,
Helga Baureis

Francisca Wachler 21. February 2020 – 14:27

thanks for asking! That’s not a problem, we are always happy when our articles can offer some assistance.

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