June 11, 2014
How to make a product review video that’s effective
What makes a well-rounded review, anyway? In the simplest terms, the best product review videos tell the truth. There’s a little more to it than that, but that’s the best place to start.
A common problem occurs when reviewers are hesitant about telling it like it is. They make the product sound too good, mentioning only the best features, which doesn’t accurately reflect the user experience. That, or they trash the product because highlighting negativity is going to draw more clicks.
A product review video needs balance, and honesty. It’s important to talk about both negatives and positives, otherwise you’re not really doing viewers any favors.
Know your audience
How are you going to tell it like it is without knowing who you’re telling it to?
A product review video can’t do its job without having a handle on its audience. When you know who you’re talking to, you’ll be able to really address features and have a good idea about what they would like or consider a drawback.
Who’s the average user of the product? Make sure you know not just who they are (age, race, gender, and so on) why they want to use it and what potential drawbacks would be, and then go over them in your review.
The great time debate
When we talk about video, there always seems to be a golden rule about the attention span of our viewers, and when they’ll tune out. Generally, this golden rule states that video that runs over a minute is going to have viewers tuning out and clicking away.
Instead of sticking to a 30 second rule, or cutting off immediately at the one minute mark, the concern should be that you’re saying everything that needs to be said in your video. That doesn’t mean that each product review video should drag on for twenty minutes. A review should be as long as it needs to be. You should cover all of your points efficiently, clearly communicating how you feel about the product and why, at the right pace.
Which is why you should have your main points in mind for the video before you begin filming. That requires knowing your audience and being familiar enough with what they need to hear about the product that you can nail your points without a problem.
Which ties in to the next point.
To script or not to script? I’ve written about this point before, and I think what I said applies here. Using a script works out best if you treat it like an outline. It’s the place where you can dump a clipped summary of your main points.
The problem comes in when you’re relying too heavily on that script. Video that features someone making heavy eye contact with a script rather than the viewer isn’t going to inspire much trust in what’s being said. Eye contact and being at ease with what you’re saying will drive home the feeling that you’ve got some authority on what you’re talking about.
Another danger of using a script is having the review come off as “salesy”. We often write a little differently than we speak. The danger in relying on a script that you’ve written to sound perfect on camera, is that you’ll come off sounding like you’re making a pitch. That can make it more difficult for viewers to trust the review. They’ll respond better to eye contact and an easy-going, unscripted manner.
Show rather than tell
The great thing about video, the thing that sets it apart from pictures and text, is that you can show what you’re talking about. For a product review video, this is pretty important and should be incorporated into your video.
Whenever you can, make sure to show rather than tell. This is especially important with product features, which can effectively give the viewer a general idea about how it works. If the viewer wanted to experience the produce without seeing it in action, they’d read a text review and look at an accompanying picture.
You’re providing the most insight when you’re not afraid to show off features and give demonstrations that prospective users will appreciate. If you’re making a review, you should have quite a bit of familiarity with the product. Before you shoot the video, it’s a good idea to play around with the features you’re going to highlight in your review. You want to make sure you have a firm grasp on what you’re going to be talking about, and avoid any surprises, or miss any aspects of the features you’ll be talking about.
The wrap up
Each product review video should end with a wrap up. It’s a good time for you to share your overall thoughts on the product, namely whether or not it’s worth the investment, or solve the problem that it claims to.
You can go over the pros and cons briefly before delivering the verdict one way or another. Viewers should finish the video knowing your opinion and the reason you feel that way.
There shouldn’t be any doubt about how you feel by the end of the review, and if there is, it means going back and tightening up or re-framing your talking points so your opinion is communicated clearly.