The review post is one of the most common and straight forward tactics used by affiliate marketers to make affiliate sales. Many affiliate marketers (present company included) have done very well with these types of pieces (blog and video content included).
However, in 2021, things are changing and what has worked isn't going to continue to work at the same level. The basic review post, isn't as effective as it once was and it's time that affiliate marketers like you and I adapt and change our approach.
This article will show you just that.
Why is the Review Post Dying
The review post is dying for a two reasons.
#1 They've Been Abused and Aren't Trusted as Much
Most reviews now are written by people wearing rose tinted glasses (metaphorical of course). Their reviews are little more than biased ads from affiliates like me and the public understands this. They aren't dumb.
Affiliate marketing as a system is to blame for this, but it is the nature of the beast.
This doesn't mean that all reviews are fake or that everyone doing them is shady. It just means that the public is less swayed by a post at the top of Google promising an honest review than it once was.
There is just too much incentive for people to hyperbolize for a buck. Ranking on page 1 for an affiliate product review search term usually means some commissions. It's hard to take up that valuable real estate just to give a poor review of the product and not sell anything.
For instance, I rank on page 1 on Google for many high value terms for a solo service called Udimi. I wish SOOOOOO badly that Udimi worked well and I could use them and refer them. They have a great affiliate program and I could have made bank. But alas, the service is bad and the concept of solo ads is fundamentally flawed.
If I didn't care about my reputation and the value of my brand, I could have easily spun this article to end up promoting Udimi in the end.
Oh, and don't get me started on the second abused post type that people don't buy anymore...the "Don't Buy (Lucrative Affiliate Product) Until You Watch This" post...so cheesy and overplayed.
Side Note: Many of you probably hate me right now. Slamming review posts, "don't buy" posts AND solo ads in the same article?!? Well, I wouldn't do it unless I had to...
#2 They're Boring
We're spoiled by click worthy headlines. We just like things to get our attention and make our decisions on what to click on easier.
Most of the affiliate products that I buy aren't a result of review posts anymore. They're from something like a review post, but more entertaining.
That brings me to the review post alternative that will work better.
Do This Instead
Instead of a straight forward review post, share your product experience in a different way. It doesn't have to be a formal review to have the same effect that review posts once did.
Here's a recent example that got me to buy a product called the Whoop band.
The article was written on Medium by someone who I had never heard of. Since the article told about his unique experience though, I didn't feel like I needed to know him to trust him.
The post didn't read like a salesy review, it read like a story. A real human experience.
It currently ranks on page 1 of Google for "Whoop," just below the brand itself. It gets an estimated 2,100 organic visits per month and many more via social.
Oh, the article also doesn't even include affiliate links...It could have and would have made a lot of sales.
I highly recommend you read the post to get some inspiration for your own products.
This type of post solved the two big issues regular reviews have.
- I didn't feel the need to trust him since it wasn't a straight review post.
- It wasn't boring at all. The headline had intrigue and made me want to click.
Which would you click?
I'm clicking on the first one all day every day.
Here's another example of an article ranking on page 1 for a huge search term "P90X".
Although this post didn't end up selling P90X, it could have and many people would have bought it.
Yes, even though the article is about why it didn't work, it could have easily been written to show who P90X would work for based on the writer's personal failure.
BeachBody affiliates would KILL for that page 1 real estate.
Headline Alternatives to Traditional "Review" Posts
I've brainstormed some headline alternatives to the traditional review headline. These have the same selling power as review posts but are less salesy and much more interesting.
- I didn't expect this to happen when I started using (product)
- Why is no one talking about this (product) feature
- Doing this one thing paid off my (product) subscription for (time)
- (#) Ways to Use (Product) for (Results)
- I almost gave up on (product) and then this happened
- (#) Reasons why I finally switched to (Product)
These headlines all include the product name for SEO purposes. You will still want to rank for the product name and will want that in the headline. For emails and social, you can completely remove the name to add to the intrigue.
For inspiration, pay attention to a lot of the social ads you see across Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.
This one for example..."6 Reasons People Are Switching to This Clean Deodorant."
If you added the brand name, "[Bravo Sierra] 6 Reasons People Are Switching to This Clean Deodorant," you've got yourself a nice blog headline!
Still Want to Do Reviews? Here's Some Tips...
Ok, you've made it this far, I can admit now that the headline was a little bit clickbaity.
No, review posts aren't going to completely die, they just aren't as effective as they once were and using some of the different techniques I mentioned above can help you make more sales.
If you're doing any sort of review post or review alternative post, doing these things will help you make more sales.
#1 Stop Reviewing Only the Things That Pay You
Again, our followers aren't dumb. Just because an article doesn't directly sell something doesn't mean it's a waste of time. Some reviews are just great for driving traffic and building goodwill with your readers.
Oh, and you can leverage the fact that you aren't an affiliate in the title, like this guy did with a post he ranks on page 1 on Google for the term "Clickfunnels Review."
That post is worth a ton, even without the affiliate commissions from Clickfunnels that that spot would draw in.
#2 Stop Giving Everything Rave Reviews
Personally, I have a hard time bashing people's products or services. Luckily, there are enough out there that really earn the bad reviews they get. See my post on Outride Social for an example.
Making a bad review is an opportunity for promoting a better alternative inside the post. This could be an affiliate product. Be careful though, you can look like a real jerk if you're unfairly burning your competitors to sell your own affiliate products.
If you're going to do reviews, you need to accept that some things won't be great and you have to be honest about that.
#3 Do Your Research and Share Examples
Kill the doubt people may have that your review is fake by sharing real world examples of how you're using the product or service you're promoting. Show your results. It's hard to argue with results.