When you look around at other articles on this site, you’ll hear something repeated more than a few times: be honest. Even if it means giving an average or poor review or opinion on a product that’s part of your affiliate marketing programs, keeping and growing your audience with trustworthy opinions is worth more than the short-term gain of having a few people read the review, click the link, and buy the product only to find out that it doesn’t live up to the praise you gave it. Product reviews are a huge part of affiliate marketing, but unfortunately, this practice has been widely misused as affiliate marketers search for ways to make more money online.
Knowing this doesn’t tell you how to actually write a compelling review. You must to be honest, true, but a good review needs to be more than that, too. You need to understand the products enough to tell other people what aspects of it are good or bad, you need to be able to write about these aspects clearly, and you need to know what other people are saying, too.
Start With What You Know
If you’ve decided to build a website or a social media account around reviewing, then the first thing you need to do is pick a type of product or form of media which you know more than a little about. It’s not just a matter of picking something you won’t get tired of writing about (although that should also factor into your decision), it’s also the fact that you need to understand what makes a given product a good or bad choice in the first place. If you don’t know that, you won’t be able to write a good review.
For instance, let’s say you chose to join affiliate marketing programs connected to a few online booksellers. That means you can write book reviews, right? But then what exactly will you write about? Can you tell purple prose from prose poems? Do you know how the three-act structure works? Can you explain the difference between flat and round characters versus static and dynamic characters?
The simple fact is that if you’re offering reviews on your site, you’re positioning yourself as an expert on the topic, someone whose opinion is worth listening to more than the average person on the street. While you don’t have to be a trained expert with years of experience, you do at least need to have a significantly better understanding of your topic than your target audience.
Learn How To Write
Writing is not a skill that comes naturally to most people. Writing is less like the conversations you have with your friends, which come naturally enough, and more like public speaking, which can take a lot of effort and practice to get right. It’s not a tricky skill that demands a higher education, and even people with dyslexia and similar disorders can pick it up eventually, but it is something you’ll need to practice and understand.
The basic problem that good writing solves is the need to communicate your thoughts in a way that anyone can understand. We each have our unique ways of thinking and jumping from one idea to another, but if you wrote down your thoughts exactly the same way you thought them, even you might have a hard time understanding them later.
As such, you should study up on basics like syntax and grammar and also explore a few writing lessons to learn things like how to write a good hook and how to avoid run-on sentences. You should also test out a few articles by letting your friends have a look and tell you what they think. Be sure to have some questions ready to ask them, however, because unless they’re experts on writing, they probably won’t know what you want to improve.
Understand Other Opinions
Unless you’re tackling a particularly obscure or local set of products, or unless you have the connections to get your products ahead of everyone else, the fact is that you’re very likely to find other people reviewing the same thing, although the quality of these reviews can vary wildly from an unhelpful sentence to a very personal review that focuses on a few specific things to a fully professional review that examines every aspect and accounts for the fact that different people will weigh things differently.
The goal of looking at these other reviews is to avoid the second kind of review and create the third kind of review. Take movies as an example: some people crave action and special effects, and they’re willing to ignore bad writing and nonsense plots to get it. They might still prefer good writing, but they won’t let a few cheesy lines get in the way of their fun. However, other people demand a tightly knit plot with relatable characters, and they’ll dismiss any movie that can’t provide them.
Getting a sense of what other people are saying doesn’t mean you should conform to the average opinion or repeat what another reviewer says. After all, if you don’t have anything new or unique to add, why should anyone visit your site instead of anyone else’s? However, you should account for what different people think so that, if such a person reads your review, he or she will know whether it’s worth a look no matter what overall score you give it.
For instance, if you decide to review pet food, readers will want to know if the ingredients qualify as organic, free-range, vegetarian, and anything else they consider important.
Writing honest reviews is one thing, and writing good reviews is something else entirely. If you want to succeed as an affiliate marketer, you’ll need to learn how to do both.