Reviews are the top way I make money with affiliate marketing. In this post, I’m going to show you how to write a review that’s helpful, honest, and has the potential to bring in a great blog income.
Affiliate marketing is one of my favorite ways to make money blogging. One of the things I love most is I don’t have to spend the time (or money) creating my own products and services.
Of course, having your own products and services could be a huge money maker, but it also takes a huge amount of effort. Trust me, I know. I created an ecourse last year and while it’s very lucrative it was quite the undertaking.
With affiliate marketing all I need to do is find products and services that’d be a great fit for my blog and then recommend them to my readers. If my readers choose to purchase (using my affiliate link) then I make a commission.
Sounds easy peasy, right? Ha!
That’s the very basic “2-second” version of what affiliate marketing is. Obviously, there’s a lot more that goes into making money with affiliates than just slapping up a few links.
Last week, I shared some of the best affiliate marketing advice I wish I got years ago – this will help you think much differently about your affiliate marketing strategy. I also shared my $300,000 affiliate marketing mistake which you need to read before you spend any time writing your first post.
Today I want to talk about how to write a review that’s honest, informational, and will make money.
In my experience the best way to make money with affiliate marketing is to write reviews. In fact, the review posts on my blog Organize Yourself Skinny brought in over $70,000 this year!
Let’s put things in perspective real quick….
When I worked in my “real job” my highest salary (with 12 years experience AND a Master’s degree) was $67,000. That’s working 40+ hours a week 49 weeks a year (I got 3 weeks paid vacation). So, I made more from a few review posts than I did all year in my “real job”. Marinate on that for a little bit. The income potential is substantial with affiliate marketing, especially with reviews.
And just so you know, I only have about 6-8 review posts. So, I truly believe if review posts are done correctly they have the potential to bring in a huge amounts of incomes for years to come.
Why do reviews have a high earning potential?
Here are my thoughts…
Reviews bring in a targeted audience. These readers are finding their way to your review post because they’re already thinking about purchasing the product. Meaning they’re coming to that review post as a potential customer. This in itself makes it easier to get affiliate sales (make money) because you’re not trying to sell to someone who hasn’t thought about purchasing that product or service yet.
Reviews educate and answer questions. When a potential customer finds your review they are looking to learn more about a product and/or have their questions answered. Basically they’re thinking “I might want to buy this but I need some more information”.
Your review should give them enough information so they feel confident deciding for themselves whether or not this product is a good fit for them. On the flip side, they may decide this product isn’t a good fit for them – that’s okay. Not everyone is going to be a customer.
Your review is about providing information, not hard-selling. You don’t ever want to pressure readers to purchase a product or service that might not work for them. Your job is to educate and then let them decide.
Think about this.
You don’t want to feel pressured when looking to spend money on something. However, you do want someone to share their honest thoughts and experiences with you – this helps with the decision-making process. I don’t know about you, but I’m much more likely to spend money when I can trust the person I’m purchasing from. Use this same concept when writing reviews.
How does a potential reader find your review?
Most people go to two places when looking for reviews – Google and Youtube. This is where you’re going to get that targeted audience looking to buy. So, it’s important to learn SEO. If you can rank in these two search engines for your reviews that’s where you’ll see great results.
My simple SEO advice for reviews is to use the name of the product you’re reviewing and then add review to the end. For example, if you’re a lifestyle blogger and reviewing the latest FABFITFUN Box then your keyword(s) would be FABFITFUN Review Winter 2019 or just FABFITFUN Review.
Make sure that keyword(s) is in the title, url, and throughout the post.
Basically, think about what you would type into Google or Youtube to find that review. I also use the website KW Finder (affiliate link) to search keywords for the review posts I’m writing.
My advice is to learn SEO.
SEO + Reviews = $$$$
Okay, let’s go over some tips for writing a review that builds trust and makes money.
How to Write a Review
Purchase the product
I think the only way to write a review that 100% authentic is if you purchase the product or service yourself. You can’t expect readers to spend their hard-earned cash on something if you’re not willing too.
Purchasing the product builds credibility because it shows your vested.
More importantly, purchasing a product with your own money means you’re not tied to a sponsorship or contract with a company. Therefore, you can speak freely without breaching a contract or burning bridges.
I know many bloggers who do sponsored posts, and work directly with companies, say that all opinions are their own, and to some extent they are, but I feel there’s always some type of censorship. Maybe censorship is too harsh of a word. But I know, when I’ve done sponsored posts it comes with a lengthy contract. Anytime there’s a contract involved there’s rules.
Also, many companies will ask you to review a product for them and will provide the product for “free”. This is not the same as writing your own review on a product you personally purchased. Again, this review comes with rules. That company is looking more for promotion than a real breakdown of the pros and cons of their product.
Keep in mind, most (if not all) of the time, a company that’s paid you for a sponsored post will not allow you to put your affiliate links in the post. So, you need to figure out if you can make more money getting paid one time from a company or through affiliate links that you can put in your post. Remember, if you can get your post to the top of Google that can bring in $$$ for years to come, way more than a one time payment.
For example, maybe Instant Pot wants to pay you $500 for a one-time post. Sure that sounds like a lot of money but could you make more money long term by using Amazon affiliate links? Because then you can link to a Instant Pot, cookbooks, and all the other tools and accessories that one could get with an Instant Pot. If you take the sponsorship then that $500 is all you’ll make. Make sense?
Okay, I got a little off track there. Anyway, my advice is if you want to write a review that’s 100% completely honest, free of rules, and can make you money for years to come then purchase the product yourself.
Use the product more than once
Another important step to writing a review that’s credible is to use the product more than once. In fact, the more you use the product the better review you’re going to give. It’s important to become familiar with the product you’re reviewing so you can genuinely answer questions and give a deeper perspective.
Most likely, readers can go to the product’s website and get general information on the product they’re interested in. You need to go beyond the basics and give them more. They searched out your review because they want to see what a real person thinks.
A potential customer wants to know what you personally thought of the product, did it work for you, how did you use it, what did you like about it, what didn’t you like, and ultimately if you think it would be a good investment. Basically, you’re taking a person through the journey of your experience with this product.
A great way to illustrate your journey is with pictures and videos. Readers want to see you using the products and what it looks like.
A good example of this is when I reviewed Butcher Box. One concern people have with ordering Butcher Box is the meat wouldn’t be frozen when it arrives. Mine was rock solid frozen so I did a quick video addressing this concern. You can see it below. Read my full Butcher Box review here.
Again, I think it offers a lot of credibility when you’ve use the product more than once. Even more so if you’re a regular user. Anyone can use a product one time and say “well this is what I thought of it”. However when you use it 3 to 4 times, and really get experience with it, you can answer questions that you wouldn’t be able to answer by just using it one time.
Give the pros and cons
When people are interested in a product most likely they start with the company’s website. Well, of course, the company is going to only share glowing reviews.
What sets a blogger review apart is the ability to honestly talk about the pros and cons of the product they’re reviewing. Many bloggers are nervous about listing out the cons because they are afraid of losing money. However, I believe being honest about a product (good and bad) will bring you more money in the end.
The reality is the product you’re reviewing isn’t going to be a good fit for everybody and I think it’s really important to point that out – because it’s the truth.
However, unless it’s a glaring issue – like the customer service was awful – then I don’t speak to these issues as flaws or cons. Instead I talk about who I think this product would be good for and who shouldn’t purchase it. This part of the review shows that I recognize some of the concerns potential customers have about the product I’m reviewing. So, instead of ignoring the concerns I address them and offer my thoughts and/or solutions.
This method has worked really well for my reviews. It prevents a lot of the negative comments about the concerns people have and it provides a deeper understanding to the product I’m reviewing. Again, people don’t search out reviews because they want to read all the good stuff. They want to know what the concerns are too.
For example, I review meal kit delivery services on Organize Yourself Skinny. Yes they are expensive, that’s just the reality. These kits will cost more than if you were to comparison shop and cut coupons. However, that is not a glaring flaw of the company – it is what it is. In the busy world we live in these meal kit delivery services meet the needs of many people. In all my meal kit reviews I address this issue because it’s a question that comes up repeatedly. I want readers to see I understand the issues and not afraid of addressing it.
End with a choice and a coupon
I always end my reviews with a statement like this “I hope my review helps you make an informed decision about whether or not this product is a good fit for you. If you’re ready to make a purchase use my link to get %% off.” Most affiliate programs offer coupons so just add your offer at the end.
Ending the review this way gives your reader a choice and puts the control to purchase in their hands. Again, nobody wants to feel pressure to purchase. Adding a coupon sweetens the deal. I should add I do offer a coupon throughout the entire review. Most of my reviews are about 2000 words long so if they don’t want to go through the entire review I give options to purchase in the beginning and middle too.
Writing affiliate reviews are a great way to make money blogging. Like I said, this year alone I’ve made over $70,000 just from my reviews – and I hope to make much more next year. By sharing my own methods, and experiences, I hope you learned how to write a review that’ll make money for years to come.
Let me know your questions in the comments, I’d be happy to answer them.
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