According to a 2013 study on Search Engine Journal, 79% of consumers trust online reviews! In an article published on Marketing Land, a survey showed that an outstanding 90% of consumers decisions were influenced somewhat by reading online reviews.
Affiliate marketing is by far one of the simplest, yet most powerful ways to earn an income from blogging. When I say ‘the simplest way’, here’s what I mean:
Let’s take one particular strategy, “writing online reviews”.
If you take the time to really create a great review, if you absolutely nail it first time around, and you get your review ranking high up in the search engine search results, you could be earning a nice little recurring income for yourself, with no additional work needed! Maybe you’ll have to update the review now and again to keep it relevant, but that’s it, nothing else.
I’m sure you’ve heard of blogging superstar Pat Flynn by now, if not then I suggest you go and check out his mesmerising income reports over on his blog, to see just how much money can be made from doing affiliate marketing the right way.
Pat is a high profile blogger and entrepreneur, and in his amazing podcast series, Pat uses an intro byline which contains the phrase:
“…Where it’s all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later”.
This couldn’t be more true to be said about affiliate marketing and creating passive income online, and as far as online reviews are concerned, consumers rely on them, the statistics proves that.
So the moral of the story is – if you work hard now to write the best, the most compelling, honest, well detailed and in-depth reviews for your blog, the rest will follow and you’ll make some good money from blogging.
OK so before you run off to start writing your first review, or your next big review if not your first, I want to share with you something… I want to share the very steps that I take to create compelling reviews time and time again for my blog. Reviews that earn me income month after month…
Take a look at this screen shot below. It’s income generated from promoting one affiliate product, through an online review on my blog. You can click the image to enlarge it.
Promoting affiliate products through online reviews and earning passive income from blogging is not rocket science, most of it is fairly logical stuff, but most bloggers don’t take the time to learn how to do it properly, hence why they fail to make money.
What type of product reviews are best?
If writing a product review is not something you’re used to doing, this post will be useful to you. If you already know how to write a great product review, then this post will give you some additional insights hopefully.
I personally love to write extremely in-depth reviews, I’m not talking about writing an everage 600-word blog post either here, unfortunately those kinds of weak reviews exist almost everywhere online, we’ve all seen them.
They consist of a list of specs that seem to go on forever. Data and information that’s probably been ripped off from another website or the product itself.
In addition, these kind of crappy reviews consist of short descriptions, probably also copied, or the content generated from templates. They consist of one stock photo and the entire content is riddled with affiliate links screaming out ‘buy me now’.
What I’ve just described above aren’t reviews at all, they’re merely desperate and sometimes dishonest ways to try and earn an income online.
If you want your online reviews to convert into sales, then you need to write in-depth, 2,000+ words long reviews.
Avoid writing biassed reviews?
Writing biassed reviews that praise the living carnage out of a product or service, (even though the product might be crap), and offers nothing else in value is not recommended either, even though you might be a die-hard fan of the product itself.
I’ll be honest with you peeps, I’ve been guilty myself of getting carried away with praising a product whilst writing a review about it, but when you do find a really great product, it’s kind of hard to not give constant praise for it.
OK so enough waffling on from me, let’s get to it. Here’s the steps that I take for writing quality product reviews that convert.
Step #1 – Find products
OK so to begin with, the first thing that I’ll do is find products to consider reviewing. When I do find products I’ll simply add them to a list of products that I’m thinking about writing a review for in the future. These could be anything from eBooks, online tools, services, themes, plugins, web hosting, online courses etc.
I would highly recommend that you search for and find high-quality products that are relevant to your niche or industry, and products that you truly believe your audience would enjoy learning more about on your blog.
Here’s a quick checklist to keep handy.
- Find high-end, quality products that will sell.
- Find relevant products. (This is so important! I noticed that there are some bloggers reviewing products and services completely irrelevant to their industry, I personally believe this is a mistake. What would you prefer to run, a blog that offers recommendations and reviews on a handful of specific, useful and unique products and services, that is relevant to it’s audience? Or a blog that specialises in a ton of things and promotes everything and anything?)
- Find useful, ‘problem solving’ products.
So once I’m done with my research and I’ve found a really great product that I want to write about, I’ll then go about learning more about the product itself.
Step #2 – Check product popularity, existing reviews, customer reviews and feedback
OK so the next thing that I’ll do is check to see how popular the product already is. For this I’ll usually run a search on Google to find any current reviews that might exist for the product. I’ll also run a search for reviews using the NinjaOutreach tool.
I’ll also check the forums to see if anyone has come across the product before, and if so, what others have to say about the product in general.
Social media sites are great for finding out more about a product, or even posting questions about a product you might want to review. Very occasionally I’ll post a question on Facebook or Twitter, I might write something like:
“hey guys quick question: has anyone come across ‘such and such’ product before? I’m thinking about purchasing it to use myself for ‘what ever reason’…”.
I just want to mention quickly that when I’m looking at other online reviews for any product I want to review myself, I look mainly for the number of reviews that exists on the first page of search results, and how well some of those reviews have been constructed and formatted.
I might decide not to write a review of a product if I think there are too many other reviews to compete against, unless I can write one better of course.
Step #3 – Purchase the product…
Once I’m happy with my research and everything else that I’ve learned about the product so far, I’ll then commit to purchasing the product to use myself.
This is something that many newbie bloggers and marketers reviewing products online fail to actually do, they’re quite happy to promote a product to make money, but aren’t actually prepared to use the product themselves, I never quite understand this.
If you’re going to write an ‘honest’ review. If you’re going to learn more about a product and convince your audience that they’re going to benefit (or not benefit) from using that product, you’ve simply got to buy it and use it yourself, it’s as simple as that!
The trust factor is massive in affiliate blogging
Gaining trust from your online review readers, your loyal audience is a huge deal. If you end up providing misleading reviews because you actually failed to purchase a product to use yourself before reviewing it, you can kiss goodbye to that trust factor.
Fake or dishonest reviews can hurt you and your blogging reputation. People who rave on about products and services that they’ve never used themselves, are providing a false representation of those products and services! There, I’ve said it…
So buy before you review…
Step #4 – Write the first draft of the product review
After spending some time, usually about a month or so using the product or service I want to review, I’ll start to think about the next stage… actually writing my review.
Here’s how I would break down the content of my product reviews.
- Title and tagline (first)
- Product introduction and details, and proof of purchase.
- Product pricing
- Features and benefits, who the product is for?
- Proof that the product works (Mini case study included)
- Pros and cons
Let me now break down each of these elements even further for you.
#1. Headline title
First thing’s first, the title of my review, I’ll usually write this first and change it later on.
When constructing my title, I’ll usually write the product’s name followed by the word ‘review’ for SEO purposes. I’ll then add an extension to the title, something catchy like, “Is it worth the money”, or “The only thing you need for your business”, something like that, I’m just giving you some examples here.
#2. Product introduction and details, proof of purchase
I’ll always start a review with introducing the product and providing as much details as I can about the product itself. I’ll also include quality images of the product, if it’s an online or digital product, then this is usually in the form of screen captures.
It’s important to talk about the product and describe it as well as you can, right from the start, so not to confuse your readers about what it is you’re actually presenting and reviewing for them. Clarity is important here, so be clear and concise when writing about what the product actually is and what it can do.
Now something else that I do that a lot of honest bloggers reviewing products will also do, and that’s to add proof of purchase of the product in the review.
I usually add a screen shot of the receipt in mine, again this is for complete transparency and clarity for my readers, and to reinforce the trust factor.
#3. Product pricing
Next up I’ll write about the pricing of the product.
Usually the products I review on Magnet4Blogging are priced in tiers, in which case I’ll talk about each tier or package, what’s included followed by the price.
If there are any competing products on the market, I might mention those products and compare just the prices at this time. This has proved to be a very useful strategy in the past.
There’s one instance where I reviewed a particular product in a 2,000 word blog post, and in the last chapter I compared the product price with a rival product.
They both happened to be the same price you see, and so I only mentioned that competing product once, in addition to mentioning some differences in features.
I also added an affiliate link to the rival product. That review ended up generating me more sales for “the rival product” than it did for the product I was actually reviewing, insane right? But it happens.
#4. Features and benefits, who the product is for?
OK so next up I’ll write about the product’s key features, and the benefits of each feature.
I’ll also write about who the product is ideally suited for, and what kinds of problems the product could help users resolve etc, this is very important.
Consumers looking to purchase a product through an online review will almost always have in the back of their minds, “how will this product or service help me solve a problem?” or “how will using this product help me achieve an objective?”, so it’s important to write about who the product is for and who it isn’t for, as well as the kinds of problems it can help people solve.
#5. Proof that the product actually works / using video
Using photos or screen captures is one thing, and yes it does help viewers to establish a visual connection with the product you’re reviewing, but it doesn’t prove that product actually works or you’re in fact using the product yourself.
This is the very reason why I love to use video content to provide insights and short tutorials about the product I’m reviewing.
Again if I’m reviewing a digital product, I’ll often create a short 10 minute or so video of myself actually using the product, and showing off some of the product’s features.
In my opinion there is no better way of proving a product works and that its actually worth the money, than using video medium.
#6. Pros and cons
No product review is true to itself without a useful list of pros and cons. Once again, the only way to find pros and cons with any product is to actually use it yourself.
In the second to last part of the review, I’ll write a short paragraph concluding the product, rounding up the key points covered, final thoughts and whether I would recommend the product to friends or not.
In addition, I’ll also invite anyone else who’s already purchased and used the product, to come and leave a comment on the review post, sharing their own thoughts, experiences and conclusions about the product.
Once I’m happy with how I’ve constructed and organised the content of my review, I’ll add that all important call-to-action, which usually consists of an affiliate link or a Buy It Now button, leading to the product sales page.
A quick note on using affiliate links, when I’m using anchor text links to link to the product sales page or information page, I’ll usually use simple generic anchor phrases like “find out more” or “click here to learn more” or “click here to buy”. Rarely will I use the product’s keyword or phrase as anchor text, to link to any affiliate page.
Step #5 – SEO my post
Finally we get to optimising for the search engines… But here’s the truth of it all peeps.
I have never written a single product review on my blog with SEO in mind, and to be really honest with you, I wouldn’t really know how to anymore. I kind of gave up on SEO a long time ago, and it seemed to have worked for me, but I’m not suggesting you do the same.
Instead, I write the content of my product reviews in such a way that it flows and reads as natural as possible.
I also don’t over use keywords or key phrases. In fact the one product review that is currently ranked on page 1 of Google for a key phrase that I won’t disclose, is absolutely crushing it for me right now, and that review post has a keyword density of… wait for it… exactly 1%…
Here’s the basic steps that I take for what I call, ‘optimising my online product reviews for search’. I also use and recommend installing the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast.
- The minimum word count for most of my online reviews is around 1200 words and more in length.
- I make my target keywords or keyphrase present in post title once, naturally.
- I use multi-variable keywords and phrases in content that describes the product, I believe this helps to make my copy read more naturally to humans and search engines as I mentioned. Keyword density is usually always under 1%.
- I use high quality optimised images/screen captures, with alt tags and keyword (one single image is ALT tagged with keyword, not all of them).
- I use video content in my online reviews (content diversification).
- I have good internal linking structure, so usually I’ll link to around 6 or 7 other relevant articles on my blog from my reviews.
- Affiliate links are kept to an absolute minimum, 3 at most per post, and disclosed and all no-followed.
Step #6 – Don’t touch that ‘publish’ button… Yet!
Last but not least, and before I hit that publish button, I’ll go through the entire review post with a fine-tooth-comb.
I usually end up making three or four edits before I’m actually happy with the final article, once all is good to go, only then do I hit the publish button and begin my post promotion strategy.
So there you have it peeps. That’s my step-by-step process of finding great products, and writing reviews that convert into sales and generate me a nice little income.
There’s really no science to it, just time and effort put into research and writing. One thing I’ve learned from creating countless reviews on my blog over the years: honesty really pays.
Over to you troopers
So I’ve waffled on yet again for almost touching 3,000 words, I’m so sorry… I hope you’ve found this post useful. Now seriously, I want you to have a shout out now.
- Are you writing reviews on your blog?
- Are they converting well for you?
- Do you think you can improve your conversions after reading my personal method in this post?
Perhaps you have your own tips and strategies, how do you write reviews that convert for you? Share what ever’s on your mind in the comment section below.
Thanks for reading, enjoy and peace. Over and out for now.
– Fabrizio Van Marciano