As affiliate marketers, writing reviews for products and services is a core part of what we do.
When someone searches Google using the word "review" they are almost ready to buy that product or service. They just need to be sure that it is a good investment for them.
But sometimes we will come across a product or service that we are not inclined to recommend. That doesn't mean that we can't write a review for that product. Many of our reviews will discourage our readers from purchasing something which they may later regret. In this case we offer them a better alternative. More on that later.
Why do we write a review?
The first goal of your review is to get people to read it, but then what?
A favorable review will assure them that the product or service is a good fit for them and worth spending their money on it. And the review will give them a clear way of purchasing that product or service immediately.
A less favorable or negative review will advise them that the product or service is not what they are looking for. And will offer them an alternative which is more suited to their needs.
A good product review is based on thorough research of a product, and a balanced assessment of its benefits and flaws.
You don't have to buy a product or service in order to review it. Type the name of the product and the word "review" into the address bar of your browser and study the organic results (not the ads) of your search. The reviews that Google thinks are the best answers to that search query will appear near the top of the list.
The top search engine results will automatically show you what a good review should look like.
Your job as a product reviewer is to write a better article than just one of the current page 1 results. Your article should be very informative and give the searcher everything that they need to know. And for this you need to do research.
Read the product's website/sales page to understand what the product is all about. Then read the reviews on page 1 of the search results.
As you read the page 1 results you'll notice a pattern emerging. The layout of the reviews may be similar. Do they list the pros and cons? Do they have a clear call to action? Are the reviews positive or negative? What other things do they have in common?
This pattern is what gets them onto the first page. For your review to get onto the first page you'll want to learn from the top 10. And, let's face it, if your review does not get onto the first page not many people will see it. And if no one sees it no one is going to buy using your affiliate link.
As you write more and more reviews you will find it easier to follow the pattern.
Everything you need to know about the product or service you can find out using this simple research. And from this simple research you can decide if the product or service is something that you can recommend or not and if it is worth the price being asked for it.
What your reader wants
Your reader will be more interested in the benefits that the product or service provides rather than the features. You need to get inside your reader's head to understand what motivates them. People don't buy a product or service for its features, they buy it for what it can do for them.
Will it improve their lifestyle?
Will it make their job easier?
Will it save them money?
Will it help them make money?
What are the benefits?
Your reader is sitting in front of their computer with their credit card in hand poised on the brink of purchasing the product or service that you are writing about. They just need to make a decision and you are there to help them make that decision.
Writing with purpose
The two purposes of your review are to get your article listed high in the search engine results and to get your readers to take action.
The purpose of your title is to get the searcher to read the first paragraph. The purpose of your first paragraph is to get them to read the rest of the article. So the title and first paragraph must be intriguing and give them a reason to want to read more.
The title and first paragraph will likely be what shows up in the search results. If you don't give them a reason to click on the link they won't visit the website to read the full article. If they don't click on the link you've lost them.
You have probably 3 seconds to capture your reader's attention. So you must provide them with at least a promise of what they are looking for within those 3 seconds. And you must also provide them with a reason to keep reading the rest of the article.
Write for your reader and optimize for the search engines
Some readers will only read a small portion of the review before making a decision to buy or not to buy. Others will want to know as much as possible before they make a decision. Your review must cater for both types of people.
The search engines want to provide the best information available for the people who are searching through them. Google is going to give higher priority to articles which provide relevant information quickly and also comprehensively. The purpose of the search engines is to provide their users with the best search results available.
The purpose of your review is to provide the search engines' users with the best result. So your purpose and Google's purpose are in alignment.
Give your readers and the search engines what they want.
Make your review attractive and easy to read
As you are writing the review break up the text with images and subheadings. Your reader will likely start skimming the article and the images and subheadings are there to get them to read the text in the paragraphs.
They say a picture tells a thousand words so use a few relevant images. The key word here being relevant.
No one likes to read big blocks of text. Use short sentences and break up the text into short paragraphs.
Use a friendly tone of voice when you are writing, and keep your writing simple enough for a 10-year-old to understand.
Only use jargon or technical terms if you are sure your reader is familiar with those terms and will understand.
If you ever use an acronym or initialism make sure that the first time you use it you spell it out in full e.g. SEO (search engine optimization). Don't assume that your reader is familiar with all of the terms that you use.
Calls to action
Before you start writing you must determine the purpose of the review. If this is a product or service that you can recommend then the purpose of your review is to provide your reader with an easy way to buy the product or service.
If you can't recommend this product or service then the purpose of your review is to recommend a better alternative.
You must be clear from the get-go that this product or service is something that you recommend or not.
Your first call to action must be above the fold. In other words it must be visible before your reader scrolls down the page. You will also have a call to action at the end of the article. And, depending on the length of the article, you may have other calls to action within the body of the text.
Use both buttons and text links for your calls to action. You can also have your images linking to the product's sales page. Of course they will be affiliate links. We do not use raw affiliate links, we use Pretty Links as these are more likely to be clicked.
As affiliate marketers, we have many products and services that we can promote. Most, if not all, have competitors in the marketplace. As reviewers, we have to determine which is the best fit for our readers. So we provide reviews for both the good and the not so good.
When we write a negative review our purpose is to introduce a better alternative to our readers.
Your negative review should link to a positive review (on your website) of the better alternative with a brief explanation of why this is a better fit for your reader. The search engines love internal links.
Surprisingly, negative reviews lead to better conversions for the other alternatives that we recommend.
Just do it
Now you should be better equipped to write a review that converts. You know how to do simple research, you're able to write with purpose, and engage with your readers.
Armed with this knowledge you can write reviews that people will love to read. And they will be happy to take your well thought out advice.
Now get out there and write your next review.