Matt was super excited. He was finally cashing in! He’d been working on his blog for about two years, and he had written many reviews and many supporting pieces. It was making a nice steady income as an Amazon affiliate, and he was about to sell it for 20 times the monthly revenue for a nice fat payday.
This is a pretty common scenario if you know how to make it happen.
And the core of it is the long-form review of an Amazon product. You can use any other product as well, but if you want to resell your blog later then Amazon affiliate commissions are one of the best ways to monetize for resale because buyers love them.
Here are the exact steps to create a high quality review of just about any product. There's a lot of work to do, but when you do these types of posts you can bring in revenue month after month and provide a valuable service to your readers.
Why do review posts
Beyond the obvious reasons of monetization opportunities, a review post is a great service to your readers – especially when it's done right.
You'll be pulling together information about a specific product from all over the web as well as potentially ordering the product and doing a review of it yourself.
Having all this information – if you're listing the cons as well as the pros – in one place is a huge service to your readers. They will love you for it because it cuts through the clutter.
In a moment, I'm going to show you the different pieces of a solid review post. But before I do that I want to make sure that we have a few pieces of housekeeping cleaned up -- making sure you have your affiliate links and understanding the FTC rules.
Get your affiliate account
There are two ways to get your affiliate account so you can make commissions on your post. You can either open an affiliate account directly from Amazon, or you can go with a company like SkimLinks that allows you to use their third-party platform to gather Amazon commissions.
There are pros and the cons to each, but if you live in a place that doesn’t allow Amazon affiliates to sell directly or if you've ever had an Amazon affiliate account shutdown then SkimLinks is an excellent option. Either way works. Just make sure you have one or the other.
Understand the FTC rules
Since I live in the US, I can only speak to the American rules. If you live in another location make sure you check out your local rules.
The FTC is pretty serious about using affiliate links and reviews without telling your customers you are doing it. I'm not a lawyer, so I can't give you legal advice. But I can tell you that there are ways to be compliant with the FTC rules without scaring off your readers. Search a few blogs and you’ll see some great examples.
Here is a link to the FTC's website that goes over what the rules are and how they work. That way you can make your own determination about what to do.
Okay! Now let's get into the fun stuff. Building a review that can make you money.
Picking your product
This is a place that many people get hung up. Don't get too stressed out over this. Your product should have two major criteria.
First, it should be related to the theme of your blog. If you're writing a blog about astronomy, then you don't want to write about dog toys. You'll probably want to pick a telescope or other accessory used in astronomy.
Second, it should have good reviews and lots of them. This means that you're picking a quality product that people already like and is already selling. This gives you a huge advantage right out of the gate.
Once you find a product with these two major criteria, don't overthink it. It's not worth it and it won’t make you any more money.
Order your product
The first thing you want to do is order your product -- if you have the budget to do so. Having a product in hand that you can take pictures of while you’re unboxing it or making video demonstrations of it is very, very valuable. And really makes your review stand out.
If you don’t have the budget then don’t worry. You can go without ordering your product and add that piece in later.
Assemble the research for your post:
You're going to need the following:
- Product specs
- Quotes from reviews
- Any downsides to the product
- How it compares to other similar products on the market
- Why your product stands out
- Photos of the product
Most of this is information you can get directly from Amazon itself. But it’s also a good idea to search “forum + product”. That way you can find what other people are saying about it as well.
I find that the best way to compile this information is to open up a Google sheet and start copying and pasting it. You want to read the manufacturer's product description as well as all the reviews.
Make sure that you particularly pay attention to any language that contains strong emotions, because that is gold.
And don't worry, other than the quotes from the reviews you’ll this information strictly for research. You’re gathering it so that you can create a really robust review post.
Once you have these six pieces of your review post pulled together, then it's time start writing.
Assembling your review
Ideally your product review should be about 1500 to 2500 words long. This may sound like a lot but I'll show you how to put each piece together.
Start with your lead
Your lead should be an interesting story about why you chose this particular product.
You can say something about how you were looking for a particular solution for a problem or how you were searching for the best product in a certain category.
If you bought the product and have it in hand this is where you want to put your video review or photos of you opening the product.
It's also good if you put a personal impression of what you like about the product here.
If you haven't bought the product yet, then just skip the section and add it later when your review post is generating income.
Use the Left - Right Photo Technique
If you've bought the product, you’ll want to use some of your own photos. You can also use the manufacture spec photos.
When you're placing your photos, you want to wrap your text around them. This gives a more professional and polished image.
Your first photo should go on the left and then your next photo should go on the right further down the text. Keep repeating this pattern over and over until you get to the end of your text.
This makes your entire post flow more smoothly and be more visually interesting.
Pros and cons
After your lead and personal video or pictures you want to go into the pros and cons of the product.
It's very important to be really thorough here. Make sure that you include benefits as well as features. This is where you really want to make your product stand out from the competition.
Hopefully you picked a product with very good reviews as I suggested. But even products with the best reviews aren’t perfect. And in this section it's always a good idea to put in a small negative.
One of the best ways to frame this is to tell who your product is not for or if it needs an additional part, piece or other product to make it complete for some users. For example, if you're reviewing a toaster and it only comes in bright colors, then a negative may be that it won't match an all stainless kitchen very well.
This is a section that works great in reviews.
There are several ways to do comparisons. The way I like to do it the best is to start with the highest end product in the category, and then show a medium and lower range product that are similar but have slightly different features and benefits.
The top product will get the most clicks, but the other two will also generate income as well.
What people are saying
In this section you want to take excerpts from the quotes in the reviews.
It's good to have between 5 to 7 quotes to put in this section. It really works.
Simply summarize everything you said so far in one to two paragraphs in this section.
That’s it! That is the anatomy of a review post. Make sure you include your affiliate links and then start to link to the post with supporting content.
These posts can take a bit of time to pop, but once they do they can really make a nice steady income and should be part of every bloggers arsenal.