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An inordinate number of podcasts are based upon the reviews of various products, services, digital items, tools, and just about anything that is sold just about anywhere. Whether you’re a n00bie podcaster or can trace your podcasting roots back to the nascent industry in the Nineties, you’d be well advised to brush up on the basics of podcast reviewing to ensure that you’re providing your audience the highest possible value.
Use every feature of the reviewed product
The first step in podcast reviews seems obvious but it’s really amazing how many podcasters actually fail to do it: Use the darn thing! If I had a dime for every podcast review I’ve heard where the reviewer claims something along the lines of “I haven’t tried this feature yet but it sure must be cool” I’d have Bill Gates in my garage washing my Rolls Royce collection. Unless you have read every page of the publication and/or the product manual, and have physically activated each and every feature in the device you’re reviewing do not even remotely think about hitting the on switch on your podcast recording software!
Hit all these points in any podcast review
Now that you have actually accumulated real and actual experiences that you can legitimately share with your podcast audience it’s time to ensure that you’re hitting all four of the primary aspects of any review podcast:
- Unbiased product information. You have to provide the absolute basics such as manufacturer, MSRP, specifications, etc. but you also have to steer clear of statements which can betray bias. So if you’re comparing this product to a similar one that is manufactured by a competitor your criteria better be factual and sustainable, not just “it’s made by Apple so it’s better than everyone else’s.”
- Advantages. The pros have to be clearly explained and validated. This is yet another situation where you have to be absolutely fair and balanced in your review. The pro can’t be just because you prefer to have the volume button on the lower left, but you have to justify in an absolutely absolute way why that placement is superior to any other.
- Disadvantages. The cons have to be supported exactly the same way as the pros. While some podcasters will claim that the reviews where they mercilessly slag some poor unsuspecting product are the ones which get the highest audience, it is those very same podcasters who soon garner a reputation as habitual flamers and lose that audience.
- Summary opinion. Once you’ve gone through all the pros and cons don’t just stop there! Some podcasts seem as if they have cut the ending off where they summarize their review and leave the audience with nothing but a long list of feature opinions. Once you have weighed all the pros and cons is the product worth buying? Would you buy it? Would you recommend it to Grandma?
Nothing on sale anywhere is total junk
Professional reviewers working in the podcast medium have universally discovered that even if they absolutely hate a product they are going to produce a far more valuable podcast if they remain polite and diplomatic discussing the actual facts about the item rather than descending into rudeness and insult. Nothing on sale anywhere is total junk otherwise no one would have ever bought it. Maybe it’s of inferior quality but it’s much cheaper than the competition, or perhaps it’s an improvement over the previous iteration which was even worse. Not only will your audience respect your opinion more if it is couched in fairness, but you’ll find that other manufacturers are going to be much more amenable to working with you on future reviews, even if the company you last savaged was their own fierce competitor. They’ll figure that if you did it to them, you might give their product the same vitriolic treatment.
As a podcasting reviewer you should consider yourself a peer to any major review site or publication. You have to adhere to the primary tenets of all professional reviewers in order to not only provide valuable information to your audience but also to protect your reputation!