Product reviews and recommendations have become the bread and butter of modern affiliate marketing. In the past, including affiliate links naturally — without arousing the suspicion of readers — have become one of the biggest challenges when creating your content. But with product reviews, you can always include those links naturally and encourage readers to check it out as well. However, the online audience are so used to marketing that they can smell it if your only intention is to make a quick buck – thanks to countless online reviews that are biased, incomplete and poorly written. It takes a strategic approach to produce effective product reviews that people will trust. You should focus on providing your target audience with a seamless experience that will set them in a buying mode. To get started, here are five things you should remember when writing product reviews. #1. Be Honest Upon reading a review, one of the first things that will go through the audience’s mind is doubt. Is the reviewer knowledgeable in this particular industry? Will this review cover all the relevant specifics? Is the reviewer being honest? As an affiliate marketer, it is your duty to eliminate all these doubts by providing authentic and useful information to your target audience. You should avoid sugarcoating your reviews for the sake of stimulating sales at all cost. It may work at first, but promoting a bad product will reflect negatively to your credibility. And once your reputation is stained, then you might as well start over from scratch. This is why you should always be thorough and present the product from both sides – the good and the bad. Be upfront with the cons while also recommending the audience to consider all the benefits. As the marketer, you should also convey certain incentives of checking out the product’s page to your audience. For example, take a look at this Bluehost review at Colorlib. While the review itself denotes that the service is far from stellar, it does highlight its strong points rather effectively. Furthermore, they offered coupon codes to invite readers into testing the product themselves. #2. Be In-Depth The second most important thing in effective product reviews is complete information. As a product reviewer, you need to give the impression that you know the product from the inside-out (unless if you’re giving a “first look” review, which are not at all convincing). Be thorough and provide as much relevant information as you can on how the product works and how well it performs. For example, one of the best approaches on being in-depth is to write case studies that focuses on your firsthand experience. This is a great way to show off the actual effectiveness of the product in solving your target audience’s problems. While you’re at it, you should also include valuable tips and strategies that will help users make the most out of the product. A great example would be the Long Tail Pro review at Buzz Nitrous. Finally, make sure that you have sufficient images or screenshots to supplement your review and retain the reader’s attention. If you want to provide a meaningful reader experience, you simply can’t afford to make your review draggy and boring, which leads to the next point. #3. Make it Easy for Readers to Process Your Review While it’s important to be thorough, it’s also important to make it easier for your audience to extract the key takeaways of your review. One of the most popular methods today is to incorporate visual content such as infographics, images, and short video clips. This can make it easier for your audience to obtain the specific information they need – thus, improving their overall experience and increasing their likelihood to convert. Another great strategy is to include a summary box so your audience can get the general idea right off the bat. An example is this Buzzstream review at Authority Hacker. Notice that the summary box is the first thing that’s visible in the review. It also includes all the information that a customer may look for before purchasing. Remember that there are no strict rules when it comes to providing your own summary box. You can follow your own style, use your own format, and do whatever works that your audience can appreciate. In the case of Authority Hacker’s review, they also utilized star ratings that made the summary box a little more visual. #4. Social Proof There is nothing wrong with piggybacking someone else’s credibility, especially if you haven’t built yours up just yet. Today, social proof is one of the strongest components of trust-driven content. It works by leveraging the influence of others to enforce the merit of your product review. One of the simplest ways to use social proof is to quote influencers as well as popular users of the product. Alternatively, you can have them co-write or contribute to your review in any way. This can increase the confidence of your prospective customers, especially if they already trust the particular influencer. Aside from this, you can also quote the company selling the product to make your review more authentic in the eyes of your audience. For example, Ninja Outreach’s review of Ramit Sethi’s Course: Earn 1k quotes an email conversation between the reviewer and the product’s seller. Notice the title “An Honest Review”. Considering the context of the review, this particular post is an exemplar of trust-driven content. Not to mention, the post includes the email thread that author Dave Schneider had with Ramit Sethi about the course. You should also integrate social media with your content strategy to naturally build social proof. This can be done by using a widget that displays the number of likes, shares, re-tweets, re-pins, and other social engagement indicators in your content. #5. Format Correctly Finally, an effective product review is polished in all respects. Aside from having accurate grammar and readable sentence structures, you should also consider the formatting of the entire review and make sure it is consistent all throughout. Make sure that each section of the review utilizes the proper subheadings, text formatting, and other aspects that affect the presentation of information. For example, practice using bulleted/numbered lists when presenting technical specifications or reiterating the pros and cons of the product. This will help your readers absorb these key information with ease – allowing them to take a quick glance for confirming the points made in the paragraphs. Speaking of formatting, it is also a good idea to opt for a highly readable font style and colour for your review. Also, adjust the line spacing and paragraph alignments to maximize readability. Conclusion Simply writing a positive review in the hopes of maximizing sales is a foolhardy plan that’s guaranteed to fail. Remember that you’re putting your credibility on the line whenever you publish a product review. It doesn’t matter if the product is put on the best light or not. The only thing that matters is being authentic and building trust between you and your audience. Images: ”Review Assessment Auditing Evaluate Concept / Shutterstock.com“ ____________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. Today, it is part of the Small Biz Trends stable of websites and receives over 300,000 unique views per month. Would you like to write for us? An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.