In the first part of this series, we discussed the elements that go into creating a good review,
- Name of the item
- The author or creator of the item, if known
- Details on where to buy the item if you are selling as an affiliate, that is, your link to the item
- The price, if you think your readers need to be warned about it because it is high, or because it is so low and the item is therefore of very good value
- A star rating, with 1 being lowest, 5 being the highest on most review sites.
- Purpose of the item, its features and benefits described briefly and clearly
- What it does well, the pros
- What it could do better, for the sake of honesty and balance in your review, the cons
- Who will benefit from it, that is, the intended audience
- Some background information to put the review into context. In other words, who are you, and what makes you qualified to judge the item in question.
Free Download: Checklist for Writing a Good Review as an Affiliate
We also began to dig deeper into the next to last item on this list, who is the intended audience who will benefit from it. We discussed various genres of fiction as good examples of niche marketing and gearing material for a specific audience, and how an author can become their own brand if they consistently work in the same area or niche. You might end up working in more than one niche depending on your skills, interests, and how long you are in business, so a different line or brand might help you to sell more rather than lumping everything all together.
We looked at fiction in the last part as an example of strong niche marketing, so now let us look at nonfiction niches.
In terms of nonfiction books to be sold in their respective niches, not everyone in a particular nonfiction niche will need product X. For instance, if we look at the dog training niche, training a new puppy will be of broad interest to many dog owners, especially new ones getting a pet for the first time, but agility training for adult dogs, and even particular breeds of dogs, will be a very specialized subniche, or subsubniche.
It will still have a large enough audience for a content and product creator to make a living in, but most likely not the same number of items available for purchase, and the price point might be higher because the level of expertise of the creator is going to be greater, with a higher level of skills taught, and so on.
Within the niche, there will also likely be levels, beginner, intermediate, and advanced, for example. Those just starting out with agility training will have different informational and product needs compared with an advanced user. Again, as you go up the ladder, and cater to the intermediate and advanced user, if you choose, their numbers might be fewer, but you can usually charge more for products and services in their niche if they offer real solutions to their particular issues because there are fewer products in this range and the expertise being offered is at a higher level.
Once you have established who the ideal audience is in the review you are writing, it is time to provide a context for your review, namely, who you are, and what qualifies you to offer an opinion about the product.
The first should be very easy, such as that you read about thirty thrillers a month and are a great fan of X, y and z authors. Or that you have been working in X niche or industry for Y years and consider yourself to be at Z level of expertise.
Note that in some, or indeed many cases, you personally might not be the actual intended audience for the item. You could have spotted it and thought it looked interesting, wanted to try it, or are an affiliate for it and would never dream of selling anything without first trying it and reviewing it for the benefit of your site visitors and subscribers. With Federal Trade Commission, FTC, regulations about disclosures of commercial interests, there is nothing wrong with saying the latter right up front in the interests of total transparency.
So, what follows are a some of examples of useful reviews, and later, some examples of very unhelpful and more than likely fake ones you will often find on Amazon.
“I have been a professional dog trainer for five years now, but am just starting to branch out into agility training for my clients. I found all the suggestions worked on every dog, and they loved every minute of it.”
“I have been working in the affiliate marketing niche for 15 years, and wish I had had a guide like this when I was just starting out as a beginner because it is so clear and detailed.”
“I have been working as a Search Engine Optimization specialist for ten years, but even I learned a lot from the writer ‘s in-depth approach and real case studies. I appreciated the action steps in each chapter of the guide, plus the free checklists they created for readers to download. The only negative thing I can say about the book is that I wished it was longer because it left me eager for more. 5 stars. Highly recommended.”
Now let us look at the last full sentence of that review for a moment. Your review should match the signals the product giving you. If the guide says on the description page at Amazon, for example, that it is only 50 pages long, it is clearly not going to be as detailed as a 150 page book, so the comment that you wish it was longer is fair in a 5 star review, but not a reason to give it a low star review.
Also look at length of book versus price. Some of the business and marketing publishers charge anywhere from $16.95 to $29.95, or even more, for business books, many of which are not that long, maybe 150 pages, with a lot of fluff. If the guide is only 99 cents to $2.99, 2 of the most common price points at Amazon, then it is clearly a bargain compared with many other books on the shelf IF it is full of useful information.
Above those basic price points, the book will be worth it if the author is clearly someone worth paying attention to. If they have 1 or 2 books in their back list, which you can see if you click on their name on their Amazon product page, or search for them on Google, they are a beginner writer, and so their prices should be lower. If they have more than 6 books to their credit, clearly they are someone we can expect to have a good deal of expertise in their niche or industry.
If they have more than 6 books, but the dates are really close together, such as cookbook publishers or supposed authors with 4 or 5 books all released on the same day or within a week or two of each other, steer clear. This usually means the work is produced by a content farm and all copied and pasted from free sites on the Internet. Even the best writer in the world cannot produce that many books in one day, and no real cookbook writer can test and write up that many recipes to make them foolproof.
Now that we have shown you a couple of examples of good reviews, let’s look in the next part of this series at a few examples of bad ones, from your own point of view as a review writer, and from the point of view of being a potential author and content producer.
Free Download: Checklist for Writing a Good Review as an Affiliate