The Best Microwave
Reviewing microwaves was a project that required major sleuthing. My editor and I were frustrated, delayed, and ran into several dead ends. We had to get creative, rethink our angle, and hunt for the truth.
With hundreds of seemingly identical models on the market, we didn't know where to start. After consulting with microwave experts (yes, there is an International Microwave Power Institute), we learned that many microwaves were, in fact, identical. I discovered that the vast majority of microwaves are made by just two companies in China — Midea, and Galanz. Brands like Panasonic or Kenmore repackage those models with different buttons and doors, but the mechanics are the same. So how do you claim one is better when they're all the same inside? We got inventive.
Since we knew they would all do the literal job of microwaving, we anchored ourselves in what mattered most for the consumer — quick heating, reliability, and usability. I learned quick heating correlates to high wattage, so we cut any product with less than 800 watts. Reliability, according to our experts, tracked to price — so we scoured user reviews to find the price point that sacrificed quality ($100). And for usability, we brought in a range of features to test ourselves. I took our crazy discoveries and distilled that information to help consumers make their choice.
During testing, I thought carefully about what our results were going to tell us. I didn't want to arbitrarily heat things just to see if it could be done, because of course, a microwave will heat things. I designed tests to indicate the effectiveness and ease of use. For example, the entire purpose of a microwave is convenient cooking, so we tested that by using the popcorn preset. We tested whether we could simply hit “Popcorn” without worrying about burning or undercooking. In the end, we found a few microwaves that wow-ed us, and I helped navigate readers to the product that would fit their home.
Tasked to cumulate the many things we've learned about health and health-related products over the — I created a massive health guide for our readers. I started by conducting a consumer survey about health goals and new years resolutions. I had to think critically to develop substantive questions that could be easily understood.
We used the results of that survey to inform a comprehensive guide to being healthy and sticking to your goals. I interviewed over 50 experts — doctors, personal trainers, fitness coaches, nutritionists, yoga instructors, etc.
In the guide, we cover fitness, nutrition, and mental wellbeing. Each section offers readers facts about their goals and ways to incorporate healthier habits into their daily lives (both short-term and long-term). All while being sensitive to the universal struggle and motivating in tone. I worked with our design team to develop six infographics that could visually convey the content I created with the same clarity we mastered in words.
The Best Slime
Reviews.com decided to join in on the annual internet tradition to produce some April Fools content. I pitched the idea review slime — a 90s staple for the latest nostalgia movement and a new DIY phenomenon for today's youth. My idea was chosen and I helmed the project.
I took the review absurdly seriously. I tracked down experts (slime scientists and authors) and inquired about the best formulas. I researched the rich history of slime and dissected its resurgence in popularity.
Despite a tight timeline, I was inspired to have real kids test the slime products and pushed to make it happen because of the authenticity and vibrancy it would add to the review. We quoted our kid testers and took their input seriously when choosing the best. In our testing, we factored in texture, scent, residue, sound, aesthetics, and messiness.
In the end, we had a legitimate ranking of the best slime and an article that could tell you everything you need to know about the substance.
The review went live and hit an all-time high for sessions in one day. It was featured in the Washington Post, MSN, and Mashable. Months later, it's still the top-ranking SERP for "best slime."
7 Tips for Spring Travel on a Budget
When tasked to create a "spring travel guide," I was in a unique situation where I had to create a story that would serve the needs of several different teams.
The content team needed the piece to support our credit cards vertical, SEO wanted to capture the seasonal surge in spring break search, social wanted something sharable and topical, and the marketing team needed specificity in the piece so they could outreach to a target audience.
After a few brainstorming sessions, I narrowed the original assignment to focus on budget travel, as it would appeal to families and students alike while still have a specific angle. I crafted seven unique and helpful tips that help you manage a budget while planning for travel.
We had a topic blog piece that fulfilled the needs of several teams and did great numbers with our audience.