"The Art of Writing Reviews"
"What makes a review?" Ooohh...this is gonna be good.
Engadget is middle ground between a 'professional' review and conversation between friends. Eugenia adds in that she bounces between professional review and not. Her site Literago is unique by reviewing book readings. Claire Zulkey talks about writing reviews on sites like Metromix.com where you get practice. You shouldn't just watch a show and write the facts and add in whether you like it or not.
Example: "So You Think You Can Dance" and parallel to other dancing shows, compare to other summer shows, etc.
Tips: Make product reviews as general as possible and talk about how it could fit into someone's life or your life.
Tips on to summarize movies, shows & books: Keep it down to a few sentences, stay away from plot summaries - they are boring, Claire says it is opposite for TV shows - include spoilers,
--> Check out how much a NYTimes reviewer summarizes a movie. They don't much.
Bottomline: Read reviews you like and learn from them.
You'd think there was more of a secret, but I guess there isn't.
Literary Mama.com blogger suggests that you make it personal or political. It gets you away from summarizing.
Always keep in mind your audience.
How to deal with negative reviews: Try not to shy away from negative reviews, be honest - it does a disservice to the company to write a false review, your readers will know it; come at it as "I wanted it to be good, but..."
Citizen reviewers: Good spelling, don't write in all caps, proof read
---> Oy...I'm a very bad reviewer!
Photos very, very imp of reviewing devices (user interface) and historical data (rank against others in its class).
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
Also, you need feedback. This makes me think that I need to be better about commenting on other reviews I read for the writer's sake. So comment!
A PR person just stood up and said, yes, they are reading our blogs and looking for blogger reviewers.
The blogosphere is built on authenticity thus we usually stay away from advertorial pieces.