Effective Rules for Product Reviews

Writing product reviews is a great way to get started earning affiliate commission. Yet the world of the great big InterWeb is flooded, and polluted with low-quality garbage.

You’d think this was a bad news situation, making it harder to compete with robotic low-cost publishing – i.e. people who pay somebody in a low cost country to crank out crap. But the truth is, it gives you an opportunity to do a quality job that actually attracts more readers and makes more money.

Let’s take the example of a website that publishes reviews on products sold on Amazon.com. This could be books, physical products, or whatever. It doesn’t matter.

Here are some simple rules to make sure your posts stand out. If you have your staff writing reviews for you, send them here. Have them read this. Make sure it sinks in. Anything else is pretty much unacceptable.

These tips will assume that you haven’t been able to actually use the product you’re reviewing. If you have, all the better. But if not, these tips are super important.

  • Start with a simple mindset that your job is to HELP PEOPLE. The main way you can do this is by summarizing the most important information your readers want in one place.
  • The best way to know what information will be helpful is by reading MANY real customer reviews. Amazon.com offers up tons of these already, but you shouldn’t stop only at Amazon. Search far and wide, and spend the appropriate amount of time to understand what customers like and what customers don’t like about a product.
  • Be as detailed as possible. Don’t hesitate to write a review that is 1000 words or more.
  • When looking at other people’s feedback on a product, learn to notice the difference between a customer who gets annoyed by an irregular flaw (faulty product, late shipping, a rare poor customer service experience) versus a recurring pattern of such problems. When I read customer reviews I often notice people like to complain about every little thing that there is to complain about. But unless the issue crops up in multiple reviews, it may not be valid. It might just be bad luck. You’ll help your readers more by balancing truth versus emotion.

Do you need to buy products that you review?

I think it’s better if you do.  But it’s not necessary.  If you are hiring someone else to write reviews for you then it’s next to impossible.  In that case, you have to think of what you’re publishing as a curation of other reviews from other customers.  You need to act as an impartial journalist who is simply reporting the news and helping people get informed.  Yes, if you can actually review products yourself and write the reviews yourself that’s best.  But it’s entirely possible to build a very good (actually helpful) niche website reviewing products that you’ve never owned.  Just do your research and keep in mine rule #1 is to legitimately help others.

Formatting and other things to consider:

When your review is written, always make sure to include as many photos as possible. Embed YouTube videos if they are relevant and exist somewhere on YouTube. Make images clickable to the affiliate link. On Amazon, I recommend you create a unique tracking ID for each website so you can determine which sites are driving your income. You can do this within your affiliate account settings – it’s very simple!

Also create compelling calls to action with hyperlinks to your affiliate link. For example you may include text blocks that say:

  • Click here to view other customer feedback on this product at Amazon.com
  • To check out the latest low pricing on (item name) click here
  • I recommend shopping at Amazon.com for this item because of free shipping and well known customer service. Click here.

Notice that these are calls to action, but they are not pushy.  I don’t think you should use annoying “Click here NOW” calls to action.  It makes you come off as very sales-oriented, and people who read your reviews will appreciate them more if you’re genuinely out to help them gain valuable insight, or save them time by packaging up the best information from other reviews.

Break up your review into headings and sub headings. Long seas of text intimidate people. Chunks are easier to read.

Keep your paragraphs short. Keep your sentences short. People like to read stuff that is easy to read. If you go on too long, you’ll lose your readers.
The bottom line is that your reviews need to HELP PEOPLE. When you help people solve their problems, they will be in a solid and genuine buying mood, and they’ll be more likely to take action by clicking on your link.

Be honest. If a product isn’t recommended, say so. Then offer alternatives that might be better. There are so many potential products you can be promoting on the Internet you’ll have no trouble finding something that you can genuinely recommend rather than simply promoting anything just because you think you can rank for a keyword.

Help people, and the profit will follow.

I often write reviews myself, but more often I have writers working for me who do this. I’ve taught them these principles and they work. Copy what works.

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