Enjoy this super helpful guest post from my friend and rocking blogger Donna Merrill…..
One of the best ways for bloggers to monetize their sites is to write affiliate review articles.
Review articles will work for any blog or niche.
If you have defined your niche, then you might want to think about writing an affiliate review post from time to time.
This can bring some revenue into your blogging business, while also helping to brand you as an authority.
People don’t buy products or services from just anybody.
They buy from people they trust.
As you write affiliate review posts on a regular basis, people will come to trust you more and more for your expertise and opinions.
And, of course, this will lead to them being more likely to make purchases from your blog.
If this sounds like something that would help improve your blogging business from both the revenue and authority branding standpoints, then I encourage you to give it a try.
Start With Your Niche
Find a niche you enjoy.
If you like pets, then find something related to pets, like maybe dog training.
Then find something in that niche that can be monetized.
The fastest way to do that is simply go to Amazon and put in your niche keyword like “dog training.”
Are people selling things related to that topic?
Keep in mind that you want to stick to a very narrow area within your niche.
It’s what we call a “micro-niche.”
If you choose to broad a field of interest, it will be difficult to get visitors to your site.
Very few people who want to buy a specialty dog training collar, for instance, will look for it on a site called “AllAboutPets dot com.”
They’re much more likely to go to “TopDogTrainingTactics dot com.”
It just seems much more likely that they’ll be able to find what they want (training collar) on a dog training site than on a site that looks like it’s about everything in the world having to do with pets.
If your Amazon search shows very few products in your micro-niche, then you don’t want to spend a lot of time working on it.
At the end of the day, it will be pretty tough earning commissions from it.
But if you see plenty of commerce swirling around your micro-niche, then you’re on the right track.
Dig in, find products to promote and you’re on your way.
What Topics Do You Write About?
Now, it’s important that you choose a topic or micro-niche that is interesting to you.
You’ll be doing a lot of writing on the topic and if you’re not too interested in it, you’ll feel like you’re working really hard.
People don’t feel like they’re working really hard when they’re doing something they love, or something they have a high level of interest in, anyway.
And isn’t that the reason you’re working online to begin with?
If you want to go to a job you hate every day, hey, they’re everywhere.
But online, you can be the master of your journey.
You can refuse to tolerate to live a life of push and pull, and instead, be in the flow of your purpose, your love, your passion.
Yeah, that’s why I work online.
That’s why I blog.
How about you?
So, find a topic you really like, make sure there are plenty of products and services within that micro-niche, and you’re in a sweet place 🙂
Take the next giant step forward.
Share Things Your Readers Want, ie., Don’t Sell… Share
Write about things that people in your micro-niche want to hear about.
If your micro-niche is healthy juicing, then think about what your audience wants to know about.
What are their problems?
What solutions can you offer?
For instance, if people want to increase their energy, what kind of juices will help them do that?
Maybe you can write an article about why ginger is such an important juicing ingredient.
And on and on.
Keep finding out what people want to know about within your micro-niche.
This is your audience, your readership.
Give them information they want.
Give them solutions to their problems.
The purpose of your blog is not to sell juicers, it’s to improve the lives of your readers.
That means, helping them find solutions to their problems.
When you blog with this objective clearly in mind at all times, people will want to read your blog.
They will start to think of you as an authority on your topic.
And when the time comes to buy a juicer, or a juicing course or recipe app or whatever… they will trust you enough to buy it from you.
Because you don’t spend all your time trying to “sell” them things.
You spend most of it trying to help them improve their lives, be healthier and happier and just enjoy life more.
Bottom line… people want to hang out with you.
Hey, you’re not a gumshoe, slickster sales person… you’re a rock star!
What Products and Services Would Be Helpful To Your Readers?
To monetize your micro-niche blog, you have to write compelling affiliate reviews.
That means you need to pick products and services to review.
So, how do you find them, how do you choose which ones to run with?
Well, really, this article is not about mining for top affiliate products, but I’ll give you some quick advice.
Find affiliate sites that have a nice range of products and services you can sell.
If your micro-niche is “infants”…
Find places that sell infant clothing, baby monitors and cribs for instance.
This gives you a wide range of price-points to work with.
You could promote very cheap clothing articles like socks or hats in the background of your blog.
The main focus, though, could be on more expensive items like high-end cribs or strollers.
This way, you have many opportunities to make a commission.
You could find these products as an affiliate almost anywhere.
Everyone thinks of Amazon first, and that’s a good one.
But don’t forget that most of the mega-retailers also have affiliate programs.
Places like Walmart or Target are good to check out.
If your focus is on information products/services, like “website themes” or “make money online” or “digital video production”… then check for places that carry digital products.
Clickbank is probably the one that comes to mind first, but there are many others.
Just grab your affiliate link and write a review of a digital information product or service you want to promote, and you’re in business.
How Do I Write An Affiliate Review Post?
So, now we get down to the meat and potatoes.
How do you actually write an affiliate review post that will convert your readers into buyers?
Here are some guidelines that will help keep you on track.
Write For Your Audience
Well, the biggest thing you need to do is make sure you are reviewing products and services that are the kinds of things your readers will be interested in.
That may sound obvious, but people fail all the time at this step.
Let’s say your blog is about the best ways for people to lose weight.
So, clearly, your audience is interested in losing weight.
Somewhere along the line you get interested in a video training course that shows people how to do marathon training.
Your intentions are good.
Knowing that one great way to lose weight is to exercise, you figure this is something your readers “should” be interested in.
Here’s the problem.
Training to run a marathon is not something that a high percentage of your audience will consider to be a great way to lose weight.
Now, you may make a great case for the fact that it is, and you could show them charts and facts and figures to prove your point.
But most of your audience will probably never get that far because they won’t even click on the article to begin with.
If they do, there’s probably only a slight chance that they’ll read it carefully enough to be convinced that marathon training is really something they ought to be doing.
Many people may not be in good enough condition to even consider this kind of rigorous training, many may be too old (or think they are) and yet others may just hate running (lots of them around).
You see, you may have a great idea and be really sincere, and the course you are affiliating may be the best one on the chopping block.
But any time you find yourself trying to convince people that they want or need something, it becomes a chore and a sales pitch instead.
Instead, stay as close as you can to what you know your audience wants.
I’m sure you’d get a lot more people to read a review of a training that shows easy exercises anyone can do while sitting at their desk or in their car.
So many more people can see themselves doing that, rather than marathon training.
You are likely to get even more people to be interested in reading about a video that shows them how to lose weight by following a fun 10-minute daily workout.
The closer you stay to exactly what your audience wants, the better your chances of earning the greatest commissions from your review articles.
The Best Reviews Are For Products You Use
When know your audience will love, then find a great product and try it out for yourself.
Go through the entire course and see if YOU benefit from it.
If not, ditch it.
Go on to another.
Once you’ve got a product that you love, sit down and write an article about your experience with it.
Don’t just tell folks you loved it, tell them why… and in great detail.
Believe me, people are far more interested in your experience with a product, than with some standard sales page copywriting points about it.
Tell Your Story
Always make it personal.
Tell people why you got this product, what you expected from it, what your results were and why you would or would not recommend it to your readers.
Make it read like a story, not a bunch of sales points.
The more personal your article is, the more commissions you’re going to earn from it.
It’s really just that simple.
Use photos of you using it, or a video of yourself talking about it or trying it out.
Whatever fits the situation, do it in person and make it fun 🙂
Do You Love Or Hate The Product?
Always tell people why you love a product, or course.
But tell them things you don’t like about it, too.
Believe me, people will trust your review far more when you tell them what really annoyed you about a product, even though you still love and recommend it overall.
Let’s be real.
Nobody loves everything about anything, you know what I mean?
How Has It Made Your Life a Little Bit Better?
People are reading your review because they want to improve their lives.
They’re not reading about a product or service out of idle curiosity.
They are considering whether or not the product you review is worth buying.
Well, it is if it improves their lives.
Well, you don’t really know because you can’t be sure what their situation is.
But you can let them know how it made your life a little better.
If that story resonates with them, if it reflects their personal situation, they’ll be that much closer to buying it.
Not only that, though.
They’ll also be more likely to buy it from your affiliate link since you’ve just built a closer relationship with them by sharing your personal story.
You see, people often shy away from buying something through an affiliate link.
So the more personal you are in your review, the more likely you are to break through that barrier.
This clears a big hurdle and helps you to earn affiliate marketing commissions.
Who Is It Perfect For?
Make sure your review post details who the product is for.
This is important because it addresses the exact concerns of your most highly targeted audience.
It tells them they’re in the right place, that they’re on the same page with you.
It confirms to them that you are the person to help them.
It confirms to you what your audience is most interested in.
Who Is It Wrong For?
As I’ve said before, it’s really important to detail who the product is not for.
This shows readers your transparency and genuine concern that only people who really need the product will buy it.
It also weeds out potential problems.
For instance, if you tell them the problem is not for people who already have a strong Facebook following, you won’t be getting refund requests based on complaints that “this is nothing new, I already have a Facebook following.”
Tell people “you don’t need this product if” …. then list those things.
What Are Some Of The Things You Don’t Like About It?
I’m repeating myself here.
But it bears repeating.
Always point out the shortcomings of a product you are recommending.
People need to know that you’re being real, here, not just pushing for a sales commission.
Are There Alternatives?
Now, this is a very interesting thing to add to your review posts.
Give your readers choices.
Tell them about alternatives to the product you are reviewing.
Because, first of all, people know there are competing products, and so let them find out about them from you.
Otherwise, they’ll start Google searching to find them and that takes them… guess where… away from your review post!
You want to keep them on your post until they make a decision to buy.
If you can show them all the best alternatives to your product, then you can control their decision making process.
It’s like a car dealer saying, “I know you came to see our cool MetroPoopo car (I hope there’s not really a car named that, heehee). I think it’s the best, but here’s some others that are similar.”
What you’re doing here is telling people that you know they want to know about the competitors so, hey, stay right here and I’ll help you with that.
Now, that will ensure your readers, again, that you’re looking out for them.
Sure, you want to earn affiliate marketing commissions.
But, first, you want to make sure to steer your readers, clients, prospects in the right direction.
It turns out that this can actually work for you in another way, too.
What if you review a product and then offer a comparison review of the 3 top alternatives that you pretty much know they’ve heard of and will want to look into before making a buying decision.
Let’s say you’re reviewing a WordPress theme.
You tell them all about WordPress theme “A,” the one you’re really trying to earn commission from.
But you also compare it to “B,” “C” and “D.”
Now, this can help you show them how “A” is their best choice, but…
It can also point to some of the features of B, C and D that they may prefer.
So, why not be an affiliate of all 4 WordPress themes?
That way, no matter what they choose, you will earn affiliate marketing commissions.
What Are Some Of The Better Ones?
So, yes, tell your readers about the choices they can make.
Even if you’re not an affiliate of all the alternative or competing products, you must be honest and let your readers know that they’re out there.
If you don’t, someone else will and you’ll end up on the short end of the trust & reliability stick.
What Are The Big Benefits People Get When They Buy Your Affiliate Product?
Now, when you write your review post, make sure to avoid writing all about the features of the product.
No, no, people don’t care about that.
Focus on the benefits that people will attain when they buy it.
I’m reviewing ABC Website Hosting Company.
I can tell you about their c-panel, how many servers they have and so forth and so on.
Some people might be mildly interested in that.
Those are features of the product.
But what I really want to focus on is the major benefit of getting private hosting for your domain, blog, website.
Here’s a couple of benefits…
“You can finally get your own website and start building an online business to replace that boring day job.”
“You don’t have to know anything technical at all. These guys at ABC Website Hosting Company will do it all for you, and they’ll even get on the phone anytime of any day to help you out.”
Nobody wants web hosting.
Everybody want to build an online business, get rid of the day job, and have somebody help them out with all the technical stuff.
Those are the real benefits.
Bloggers earn affiliate marketing commissions by focusing on those big time benefits, instead of dwelling on the boring deets of every little feature of the product or service.
Why Should They Buy It From You And Not Somebody Else?
Well, yea, you want them to buy it from you… don’t you?
But what’s to stop your readers from reading your review and then buying the product directly from the company that owns the product?
People do that.
I don’t know why exactly, but here’s the main thing… they trust the owner of the product far more than it’s representative or affiliate (you).
The very fact that you stand to earn an affiliate commission unnerves a lot of people who think, “he/she is just doing this to earn a commission.”
Sometimes, they mistakenly think that they’ll be paying your commission on top of the price of the product.
Or they think if they buy it from the company directly, they’ll get better customer support.
So how do you get them to buy it from your affiliate link?
If you’ve don’t a great job in your review, they’ll trust you more. When you interweave personal experiences and stories, they’ll like you more. Pointing out the alternative products they might prefer will earn you more trust.
When you blog consistently about the problems that this product will help solve… they might defer to your authority and expertise when making a buying decision.
If you write a killer review article
You can offer a bonus.
Yes, it can be another related product, usually an ebook of some sort.
But anybody can offer that.
Try to add a bonus that they can only get when they buy the product via your affiliate link.
For instance, when I offer an affiliate product, I typically offer to help people to use it properly in their business.
So, if I’m affiliating a Facebook ads training course, my buyers can contact me for advice on how to build good Facebook ad campaigns.
I’ll help them out.
Note, I don’t offer technical advice on how to use the product.
That’s up to the product owners, and they usually do a far better job of that than I do.
I’m not tech support or customer service… I’m an online business and blogging coach who will help you figure out how the product you just bought can help your business or blog.
What can you offer as a bonus that will make people want to buy from your affiliate link?
How Does Your Affiliate Review Post Improve Your Personal Brand And Authority In Your Niche?
I hope you have a better idea, now, of just how top pro bloggers earn affiliate marketing commissions.
But I’d like you to keep one more thing in mind.
That is… your reputation.
All good bloggers know that their most important asset is their “personal brand.”
Closely associated with this is their brand “authority.”
You see, earning the commission from your review post is not your most important goal.
It may feel like it is.
I don’t deny that most bloggers consider it to be.
But you don’t want to be like most bloggers.
You want to stand out in the crowd.
You want to be the rare blogger that can make a pitch in a way that actually improves their personal brand and authority.
How does that happen?
How is it that you can pitch a product and not look like you’re just trying to sell something (which you are)?
Here’s the thing.
If you have a crowd of people looking to you for leadership and direction, then you have an obligation to help them.
You have an obligation to be honest and straightforward.
And most of all, you have an obligation to do everything you can to improve their lives.
Improving lives includes selling things.
Let’s take a quick example.
If your niche is health and well-being, then you need to establish your authority to talk about that subject.
Your informational articles and videos are great for doing that.
But you can also write a review post for a great juicer that can help improve the lives of your readers, too.
That kind of article can be written in a way that will increase your authority.
After all, in the process of selling the juicer, you will be teaching people why it’s so important for them to be juicing… right?
As you do, you will be building a great reputation and personal brand as someone who really cares.
That’s one of the reasons you keep updating them with products and services that can improve their lives.
Don’t believe me? Think: Dr. Oz, just one of many, many examples I could use here.
And don’t think this is only for nice touchy-feely subjects like health and well-being.
No matter what your niche is, it is your job to help your audience achieve whatever is important to them.
If they want to know how to dig a dry well, teach them how then sell them the best shovel on the market.
You an apply this to ANY niche.
That’s because in any niche, your audience is comprised of human beings.
They have problems they need solved.
Your job is to help them solve those problems with both information and the best tools available.
When you do, you are improving their lives.
That’s one of the greatest benefits you will ever receive from your efforts.
Even when you write reviews to earn affiliate marketing commissions.
Now, I’d like to hear from you.
Are you one of those bloggers trying to build a business based largely on affiliate marketing commissions?
What advice in this article has helped steer you in the right direction?
What have you learned along the way that might add to this conversation?
Donna Merrill is a pro blogger at DonnaMerrillTribe.com. She blogs about blogging and building an online business. She has authored numerous digital information courses and trainings, is the founder of a blogging membership site, and does private coaching with bloggers and internet marketers.