I want to get right to the point. A 2013 study conducted by Bright Local concluded that an astounding 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation from a friend. 61% of consumers search for online reviews prior to making a purchase.
Review sites equal big money in the online world. Unfortunately, the majority of them are going about it completely wrong. Below, I will provide an easy-to-follow model that when utilized correctly, can yield some big returns with very little work actually involved. I will also explain how one movie enthusiast helped influence the creation of this business model.
I wish I could have created this method myself, but I learned it from a fellow marketer by the name of Vishen Lakhiani who used it to generate over $800K within a year and a half of launching his review site.
Taking the First Step
Before you plunge deep into the world of affiliate marketing, you will need to do your market research. It’s important to find a niche that is profitable, but not yet saturated. Then find a domain name that fits your specific niche.
I don’t want to delve too deep into how to discover a lucrative niche / sub niche as it would probably take up an entire article or two alone.
Once the site is up, you will want to utilize what is known as the “Coming Soon” method. This entails creating an opt-in box promising some awesome new information that will be coming in the following months/year.
Once or twice a week, you should send a friendly email out to your list linking them to your most recent post, or to relevant content that you found informative within your niche. This will help keep you in contact with your list and will also build trust, which is absolutely essential later on in the process.
I will tie all of this together in the end…
An Interesting Take on Creating Your Reviews
The strategy that I am going to suggest is much more radical than what the large majority of other review sites employ, because at first, you will NOT monetize the site at all. Instead, you will focus on creating value for your audience before you concern yourself with your own needs (I will explain why shortly).
Rather than creating a site that strictly reviews products, which can be found by the hundreds, littered across the web, you will create reviews around content that is currently trending or was created by a key influencer within your niche. Your authority within your niche will also grow as people begin to view your site as a possible outlet for beneficial information and not just as a site that pushes products.
This will ensure that you provide material that is intriguing enough for your audience members to return to your site time and time again, by offering insightful posts within the niche that they are interested in. This will also allow you to continuously churn out new posts, instead of having to wait for brand new products to be released.
Most review sites are far too simplistic and merely post a quick review of a random product. This approach may work for a one time view when someone is actually searching for information on that specific product, but build little trust and rarely receives return visits. You want to obtain a following, where readers come back to your site to learn about their niche and not just view information about a product.
All you must do is locate relevant content and contact the author or whoever has retained rights to the work, and ask them if you can use a snippet of their work within a post on your review site. In return, you will link to their site and give the author full credit. In most cases, the author will gladly accept as it will help broaden their audience and provided an added SEO boost from the backlink as well.
You will only require only a small portion of their work (maybe a paragraph or two) as the rest of the content will be created by you or your team of writers.
Then, you will need to create an intro explaining the content that you have chosen to link to, and a short review explaining your thoughts on the material provided. Also, add in a closing that opens up dialogue AFTER the quote taken from the original work by asking for comments or social media shares in order to increase engagement.
I want to stress the importance of creating original content around the quotation or cited work. Google frowns upon sites that provide little value, but with ADDED content (enough to offset the small amount cited) Google should have absolutely no issue with it as the post now provides something of value that can’t be found anywhere else. If you are creating a post that cites 250 words, be on the safe side and add an additional 750 words of content in your own words so that the post is viewed as original.
Finally, It’s Time to Monetize
Up to this point, you’ve simply focused on creating content that provides value and builds an audience. By now, you should have also begun increasing the number of subscribers to your list through your opt-in.
Here is where you will reap the benefits of your work…
Begin by narrowing down the key influencers within your niche that have their own product, and contact them for an interview. Interviews can consist of text questions that you’ve emailed the influencer or an audio interview created through a podcast or some other recording platform.
Since your site has already built some authority through producing valuable content, has a list of subscribers, and is completely unbiased, most influencers will be more than happy to jump at the opportunity to spread their brand by indulging in an interview.
In order for all of this to work, you will need to provide a call to action throughout the interview by suggesting that your audience check out the influencer’s product, which you have conveniently posted an affiliate link to.
If all of the steps have been followed up to this point, you should have a strong audience to view your interviews that trust your opinion to click through your affiliate links and make a purchase. You will also be able to send out an email prompting your list to do the same as well, effectively supplying your bank account with a large sum of affiliate sales. They’ve been waiting for the “Coming Soon” information and now you are ready to deliver.
Once you’ve begun to see genuine results through this method, you can use this as leverage when contacting other influencers within your niche. After all, if you have proof that an interview with you has been shown to produce “x” amount of money for others, then they would be absolutely crazy to turn down your offer.
If you make enough waves, then every influencer within the niche will WANT to be interviewed, making you an absolute rockstar within your niche without ever having to provide any REAL information of your own.
In fact, influencers may even begin to seek YOU out, allowing you to pick and choose who you feature on your site.
Why This Works and How Roger Ebert Helped in the Development
For those of you that don’t know, Roger Ebert was a film critic that rose to fame from simply providing the masses with his opinion on recently released movies.
His reviews became so powerful, that they could influence the numbers at the box office, making him, in a sense, one of the most powerful men in Hollywood without ever starring, directing, or having any real association with the film industry other than voicing his opinion.
He became successful for one reason, and one reason only…people are lazy.
When searching for an item to purchase, whether it is a movie ticket, a blow dryer, or a digital product online, most people do not want to do the due diligence required to create their own informed opinion. Instead, they would rather put their trust into the hands of an unbiased third party to make their buying choices for them.
By following this method, you effectively become the “Roger Ebert” of your niche, dispensing the valuable critiques of the products and information that your target market is most interested in. You will become an authority by simply offering your opinion on pieces and interviewing others.
Through your content, you will have gained the trust of your audience. With that trust, you can influence their purchasing choices.
Every year, millions of people use review sites to influence their decisions when making a purchase. Follow this method to ensure that your review site tops them all within your niche.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the area below.