You probably saw and read my review of Blogging to the Bank 3.0 by Rob Benwell from just over a week ago. That post sparked quite a bit of discussion, with 106 comments so far as I type this.
Many of the comments were the usual, asking questions about the product or thanking me for the article, but there were also a few strongly worded criticisms of the book and the author, as well as some positive words about the book from Rob’s supporters and replies from the man himself.
I’ve been writing product reviews to this blog for a long time. In fact the very first ever attempt to make money from Entrepreneurs-Journey was selling an affiliate product back in 2005 with a review post that unfortunately didn’t do to well, although this blog didn’t really have a huge audience back then.
Over the years I’ve made thousands of dollars thanks to product reviews on this blog, with some help from my email newsletter to send traffic to the reviews. I’ve refined and expanded my review writing formula but one thing has always been clear to me – a review that is purely positive is not as effective as a review that points out good and bad points.
Let’s set one thing straight. When I write a review part of the motivation is to make money. I derive a good chunk of my income from affiliate sales and reviews are one of the ways I do so on this blog. That’s not my only intention with review writing, I want to provide value to my readers and help them make the right decision as well, but money as motivation is certainly a part of the process and factors into how you write a review.
This is also true of thousands of other bloggers and affiliates who sell Internet marketing products through reviews. Unfortunately though, most people seem to think that writing something glaringly positive, even full of sales copy level hype, will result in more sales. It won’t.
People are jaded enough when it comes to making a purchasing decision for a make money product. When they research product reviews they find an abundance of emotionally manipulative, over the top positive claims, and talk about the millions being made by other people, and offer no concrete feedback about the product itself.
As a result, it’s easy to stand out from the crowd when writing reviews about products, and this applies to other niches as well – just give an honest, both sides of the coin assessment of what you are reviewing and if it has faults, tell people about them.
I don’t have the space to go into my entire blog review writing formula here, but there is a lesson inside Blog Mastermind that breaks my process down in some depth. What I do want to focus on today is to explain how important it is – and it was in my Blogging to the Bank review – to say a product is not brilliant when it’s not.
All the reviews I write are of products that are not perfect. There really is no such thing as a perfect product, but some are certainly better than others. Blogging to the Bank 3.0 is a product that was easy to write something good and bad about because it’s far from perfect, yet it has a very compelling offer, which is why it sells so well.
Clearly based on the comments made to my review, there are mixed feelings regarding Rob’s projects, including his latest release book and some argue I damage my credibility by promoting him. You can read my comments in the review to see my stance on that matter, but I can say I certainly feel comfortable having that review on my blog because I know it helps people make a decision about the book and I feel there is value to be gained from reading it.
If the review wasn’t there, then the platform to provide feedback – whether good or bad – wouldn’t exist. What’s important as a blogger who writes affiliate product reviews is that you give people the platform by starting with your own assessment of the product, and then let your audience make the decision for themselves. Assuming the product has some merit, some will decide to purchase it and since your review was the introduction point, you receive the referral credit.
My reviews usually do well for several reasons –
There are a lot of ingredients there to get right, however assuming you go through the process of building a great blog, most of the elements you need will be in place, you just need to make sure you are careful with what you review, how you review it, how often you review products and – this is important – make sure your motivation isn’t always just about the money.
If all you care is about making the sale it will show in how you write the review. You have to act merely as the conduit for the decision making process and the platform for discussion.
If you consider what information you would want to know about something before buying it, then provide that feedback to your readers, you have a good review. Get inside the head of the person you are trying to help and you will do well – and yes, you will make money then too.
My review of Blogging to the Bank 3.0 was an interesting case study on many levels. As an affiliate, I’m happy with the results. As a business owner I’m also happy because I did some integration marketing with Rob so my coaching program was promoted to Rob’s customer base. Yet, based on feedback I know the review itself and the comments left, convinced some people not to buy the book, which is something I’m happy about too.
Review writing will never be a straight forward issue and as I’ve said so many times, you can’t please all of the people all of the time. I know with each new blog post I make, especially posts that include some component of promotion, like affiliate reviews, I lose readers, yet I also gain new readers too. They key is not to be overly sensitive to how people react to you on an individual basis, but be cautious of how your audience reacts as a whole.
If you want the best results when review writing, focus on the products closely related to your blog topic, write a review that talks about the good and the bad points, actually talk about the product and not just the hype surrounding it and then let your audience make the decision.