Two ways to product blog and what to be careful of.

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So it seems like the days of people assuming that they can create banner farm and become an instant online millionaire are slowly fading into even lazier attempts with blogging.   When you ask these people how they plan on promoting you if you let them into your program, they say things like “I’ll put your banners up for people to shop through”.  Then I usually ask them “Well how will they find your site?”  They usually say “Because I have the best coupons and deals and stores available”.  The thing is that they still haven’t addressed or realized that they have worse offers and coupons than established coupon and shopping sites since they haven’t thought to request them yet.  More importantly though they haven’t realized that without actually Marketing their site, there is no way for people to find it to go shopping through their links and even worse that they haven’t figured out how to format banners and have distorted logos, etc… which helps to destroy your brand, the legitimacy of their own sites and doesn’t create the best visual experience for the shopper.

Although we have all seen a million of those from the Affiliate Management side and they get offended when you try to help them to let them know their strategy is flawed, there is a new breed of slacker out there.  These new get rich quick Affiliates put up a wordpress/blogger/blogspot/any other blogging platform, post a link, a banner, a prewritten review or description, etc… and expect to make a million dollars off of a Merchant’s description with no Marketing.

Although these people have at least gone one step further than the banner farm creator or free site person since the software usually pings Google and can index, while the static site banner farm Affiliate may take a lot longer to get indexed, they still haven’t realized that in reality they have to actually do some work and that for most of the successful Affiliates it was either dumb luck or years of hard work on their sites that made them successful.

Putting up a blog and not actually entering content into it that is interesting, unique, etc…  or at least targeted to a specific audience probably won’t result in a very successful site.  Aggregating news articles, etc,,, can work, but you also have the get the site out there so people can find it and also subscribe to it.  You also have to create some filters so that your news aggregator only pulls relevant news articles for your readers to keep them reading your blog.  If for some reason that still doesn’t sound like your style of blog, you may want to try my favorite type of blog to run as an Affiliate.  A product review blog.

There are a lot of different types of product blogs out there and ways to do them.  You can also make them more social media oriented and get your readers involved and participating or you can go after a direct sales pitch styled one.  The two that I like most though are Product Review and Content/Story product blogging.

Product Review Blogging.

Two ways to think about Product Review Blogging are to either buy and actually use the product to review it (perfect for Vlogging or Video Blogging) or to just read about the product and review it not from a first hand experience.

If you have actually used it and can shoot a video using the product, that can build a lot more trust with your readers.  If you don’t have the product but think it is cool, why not show the picture, list the benefits, ways you may or may not use it, show the negatives and always remember to write at least 300 or 400 words about it content wise.  You may also want to include a couple text links in the post instead of just the picture being linked.

If your product review ends up being fairly long, you may also want to recommend a couple of complimentary products (available at the same store so they don’t have to leave the store and spend more time at another one finding the complimentary product or shop at two places and have to pay for shipping twice), but make sure you relate them into the product you are reviewing and show how it can actually help to improve the experience of using that product.  You basically just have to show the added value of adding these products to the initial product you are reviewing to be able to successfully upsell it, increase the order value and also increase your commission.

You do also have to remember one thing.  Although the goal of the post is to bring people in for that particular product, you also need to be honest and review the products to the best of your ability because if you build good, honest and legit reviews of the product, you may also build an audience that trusts your reviews and visits you again when they are ready to shop again.  Those return readers become a gold mine if you get them to opt in to your newsletter and properly segment them.

The next type of product blogging I love to do is story telling.

One of my favorite ways to engage my readers when product blogging is to tell them why I am choosing this particular product.  I relate it to a story that happened to me, tie it into a memory, into something I have always wanted to do or tell them about an idea or create the story for them on how it could effect or help to improve their lives.  By painting a story or relating it to my readers, I have not only let them know I am a real person and have given them someone to relate to, but if it is interesting enough they may start to follow me and shop because they want to have the same experience.

I love trying to relate to my readers by sharing my own experiences with products and product blogging.  It is above and beyond one of my favorite things to do.  I not only get to have some memories and fun things to share with them, but I also get to document and create a fun memory book for myself.  Not to mention that it is an amazing stress relief for me.  The one thing to remember though is to be honest.

If the story is made up then let them know that it is an idea or something you would like to do.  If it is a dream or something that they could do, make it for them and tell the story so they could picture themselves living that particular story and using the product.  Even if the product doesn’t appear in the story, make it so it relates to the story and then offer the link before or after you get started.  Just remember to make sure to tie it in somehow so that they must have it and add in a sense of urgency to shop online for it right then and there.  Or if it is a big purchase, give them a reason to return to your post when they are ready to shop so they still go through your link and you still get credit for the sale.

The most important thing though is to be honest and explain why you are recommending the product, if you have or haven’t used it and why you think it would be the right one for you or for the problem you are trying to solve.  Gaining and keeping your readers trust is key and something you should never risk.  If you lose their trust then you lose your ability to recommend them new products.

Basically, if you decide to product blog, be honest, give as good a review as you can, don’t lie to get a higher commission and build loyalty.  Also, don’t forget to include an FTC Disclosure to remain within the legal requirements of the USA if you live here and are Marketing here.

These are only my thoughts and opinions.  If you have a different point of view or have something to add, please feel free to leave a comment.

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