Some blogs are nothing but reviews while others sprinkle some in amongst lots of other types of content. But offering your take on a product, service or experience once you’ve built the trust and respect of your audience is a great way to beef up your content and add real value to your readership.

Not sure how to quick being Mr. Nice Guy and offer an honest critique? Here are some tips you can use to sharpen your discerning self:

Don’t give a review based on your first impression

Think about how some terrible TV pilots turn into classics, or how the first time you tried an ethnic cuisine didn’t give you a true taste of the full menu. If you had reviewed those things after one sampling, you might have trashed them prematurely. Instead you should make sure you have really spent some time with your subject and given it a fair shake.

If you didn’t like it, explain why

Telling your readers that an amusement park “sucked” or a new flavor of toothpaste was “terrible” doesn’t qualify as a review that’s just an opinion. If you want to truly review something you need to get into why it wasn’t great, providing real details and examples, not to mention comparing it to similar products or experiences that the reader can relate to. If you think a roller coaster was “boring” mention one that you thought was better and list the reasons why. Some of your readers might be looking for a less exciting ride!

Highlight the good and the bad

Just because you’re giving something a negative review doesn’t mean you need to denigrate the entire thing. If it had any positive features, be sure to share those too. Likewise, your glowing review can still mention a few disappointments. This well-rounded approach makes you seem like a far more credible source and provides a level of specificity your readers will value.

Don’t hide your conflicts of interest

Are you being paid for a review or did you receive a free sample in exchange for a post? Or do you have an interest with a competitor? Be straight with your audience. Not only will that honestly protect your reputation, it might also keep you out of legal hot water.

Don’t just list the specs

We don’t need to read your review to know how many gigabytes are in the hard drive or how many MPG that car gets. We’re reading your review because we want to hear about your specific experiences with those products. You can still offer some of those details (such as “with a car getting only 26 MPG I’d expect a lot more pickup when I floored it on the highway”).

Future-proof your reviews when possible

Products get discontinued or replaced by new models, services change, new things happen, but your review will have a longer shelf life it you don’t include pricing or promotional details in the body of the review. That video game system might have cost $500 when you bought it, but by Christmas it will be available for $399 and come with an extra controller.

Provide tips and tricks

As the expert with experience, give your readers useful advice on how to make the most of their new toy based on your own time with it. Whether it’s care and maintenance or shortcuts, those valuable tidbit add value and increase your SEO potential.

Short and sweet

When it comes to reviews, less is more. No one cares how hard it was to park at the mall before you bought that new kitchen gadget; get to the point and stay focused on the subject at hand!

Increase discoverability

If reviews are going to become a regular feature on your blog, create a dedicated reviews section and tag those posts accordingly. If you’re going to do a lot of reviews, you can even build out sub-categories to make it even easier for folks to find your hot takes when they’re in the market for something new.

Got any other tips on adding reviews to your blog? Let us know in the comments below.