How to write a testimonial

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If you have ever been a student, applied for a job or conducted business with clients, you know how important a testimonial is. A testimonial is an acknowledgement of one's achievements, qualities or abilities, usually provided by one who has benefited from another's service or can attest to his skills and knowledge.

It can be useful in different situations and walks of life. There are certain considerations to keep in mind while writing a testimonial so that it is valuable, reflects genuineness and communicates your views clearly.

Focus on specific benefits. Instead of using superlatives that are generic, think about how a person or firm specifically benefited or impressed you, solved your problem or assisted you in your situation. The more specific you are, the more valuable your testimonial is. For example, if you are writing about a web design and hosting service, instead of saying, "They provide excellent customer service," say, "When I had server issues last month, the customer service agents swung into action. They answered my questions patiently, took proactive measures to prevent future problems and not on one occasion have they overcharged me. I am glad I chose to go with XYZ Web hosting"

Be honest. You don't have to wax eloquent in order to write an effective testimonial, but you do have to state the facts. If there is one aspect of the customer or student or business that you are impressed with and would recommend to others, say so. If there is another aspect, where you think they could improve or offer better quality, say so. Do not sugarcoat the negatives and play up the positives. When writing a testimonial, stick to the truth. It is likely to be more helpful if it is accurate.

Keep relevance in mind. Who is the testimonial's target reader? Where will the testimonial appear? Ask yourself these two questions before beginning to write. Craft your testimonial accordingly. A testimonial written for a student applying for a job or a master's degree is different from one that will be published on his business website. Similarly, a testimonial that will appear in a book is different from one that will appear in a magazine ad or a company brochure. Make your testimonial relevant and effective by writing for the target reader and in context.

Acknowledge and address objections. If you have read other testimonials about the same product, service or firm that do not share your views, you could use your testimonial to clarify the difference. If someone else wrote that they had a problem with a certain service and so would not recommend the firm to anyone, you could say that you haven't tried that particular service, but have been very impressed with other services that you have used and that overall, you think the company has several qualified professionals running the show. If you know for a fact that an individual or firm has certain strong areas and other areas that are not their core strengths, but where they are making consistent efforts, you could bring that to light.

Be yourself. The most important feature of a testimonial is that it is a reflection of your thoughts. It is not a paid ad or commercial or a piece of marketing material. So, while writing a testimonial, let your thoughts flow and your personality shine through. It is your unique writing style along with the cultural, social and academic influences you bring to it, that make it a valuable testimonial. So, avoid sticking to a template, rewording other testimonials or using clich├ęs. Write a testimonial as if you were speaking to the reader and telling him about the product, service, firm or individual.

Write clearly and well. You may not be a writer by profession, but when you write a testimonial, make the effort to give it your best. Be aware that what you write will be read and evaluated by others and possibly used to market their services to others. So, even though your testimonial does not have to sound like an advertisement, it is, in fact, a form of advertising. Testimonial advertising is considered among the most effective forms of advertising. Ensure that you pay attention to grammar and all other rules of writing that you would otherwise consider important.