Product reviews on their own are not a smart business strategy. The burst in revenue from the sponsorship is nice, free products are normally fun, and the easy commissions with affiliate links are very appealing. But you likely won’t survive in the long run if you always rely on doing reviews.
Once Google, YouTube, Pinterest, etc… wipe the review or reviews that drive your traffic, and they will, your business will sink because you only focused on these types of short term wins.
If you’re a current product reviewer or you are thinking about creating a review platform, here is how you can take a successful product review and turn it into a long term business strategy.
Here’s the process and then I go into more detail:
- Do keyword and topic research (this is the must read section)
- Create the review
- Make sure to optimize it and not just for the brand terms
- Create a follow up post that tries to display as recommended reading
- Bring the person to a place or platform you control
Do Keyword And Topic Research
If the product or brand you are reviewing has a lot of search volume, this is good news for you! But only if you rank for Product + Reviews on YouTube or Google. If the product or brand doesn’t have a ton of search volume, then you need to do keyword and topic research to help an audience find you.
Keyword and topic research are not the same thing!
- Keyword research is looking for specific phrases with an estimated monthly search volume on a platform like Google, YouTube and Pinterest.
- Topic research is finding the questions people are asking like if the product is compatible with another product, how much the product weighs, or if the product really works.
(Before we get into the meat of this post, some of the links below are affiliate links and I’ll earn a commission if you shop through them.)
Here’s a three step process to do keyword and topic research:
- Log into a keyword research tool and type the product name, brand name, and a couple of related keywords in to find the search volume.
- Here is Google’s which is free
- Now type the relevant phrase into a topic tool like Answer The Public. As a bonus, many of these phrases have featured snippets in Google and rich content which are easier to get than top ten rankings.
- Last type the keyword phrase into Google and write down the auto suggest results before you click enter. Now click to search and write down the questions inside the “people also ask” and “searches related” versions inside the search results.
Now you have the estimated search volumes and the questions people are asking to bring more people to your product reviews.
Create the Review
This is the easy part. You unbox the product, talk about the benefits and encourage the person to take an action like shopping for the product. I highly recommend doing a few things if you want to build trust and provide a good user experience.
- Time stamp the video to let people know what they’ll learn at each section of your review.
- Provide a list of the sections towards the top of your blog post or web page with anchor links to bring people to the relevant section.
- Make sure your featured images and thumbnails have proper labels including alt tags that matches the theme of your review.
Bonus Tip – With your email list sign up you can tag the product and review the person came from. This way you can market similar products, brands or products with the same audience demographics, and competing products to that list. Make sure to set up a subscribe list named “meat” or “coffee” or something so you know the niche the person is interested in.
Optimize the Review Not Just for Brand/Product + Review
If the brand or product does not have a search volume, at least right now, you’re not going to see any activity unless you already have an engaged audience. By using the topic research above you can optimize for the questions people are asking or that Google is recommending. This may also help you to show up as recommended content on YouTube, or for keyword mixes on other platforms.
If you use this strategy you’ll be attracting a new audience and you are building awareness for the brand. This awareness will likely get you on the brand’s radar that you aren’t just a reviewer. You are a content creator that provides solutions to an audience’s problems. This builds trust with the person using your content and presents you as a trusted solution provider. This type of trust is what you want for long term success.
As the person finds more of your videos and you help them over and over, they may subscribe and you can become their go to resource.
Create a Follow Up Content Piece
Now that you have a review done, why not create a content piece that is likely to optimize for “recommended reading”? This is another opportunity to become the recommended videos on YouTube or on Facebook after a person watches the first video. This content can also be the recommended post in content sites that offer similar topics like an aggregator. It’s a great way to piggyback off of someone who already has a lot of volume and viewership.
Bonus tip – You could also try doing a comparison post between two or three popular and competitive products. This provides even more solutions for your visitor and builds you as more knowledgeable and an authority if the person trusts it.
Bring Your Viewer to a Platform You Control
As I mentioned above, someone else will replace you in Google, YouTube or Pinterest as they create a newer review that meets the platform’s algorithm criteria better. When this happens your traffic dries up. That is why you ideally want a website but more importantly an email list.
With every review, make sure you tell the person to subscribe or follow you, but also encourage them to go to your website and join your newsletter. Your newsletter is your most reliable way to bring the person back to your new content and on your own terms. You can email to it, upload it to social media or Google, and make money from it across multiple channels.
Give the person a reason to sign up like telling them they’ll get a custom discount for a specific brand, unique content only available through the list, not to mention new product reviews as they go live. Think about what someone would want by signing up for your list and create the offer for them.
Monetizing is the ultimate goal. You have tons of options as a reviewer. Here are a few.
- Affiliate links in the review
- Ads showing on the page via CPM and CPC
- Lead generation (CPL and CPA)
- Sponsorship fees
- CPV video ads
If you’re looking to become a professional reviewer, this is what I recommend you keep in mind. There will always be someone else doing a review of the same product that will eventually replace you and get the traffic. If you cannot get the people that watch to subscribe while you have the top space and the traffic, you will not survive in the long run.