You should be familiar with the product. While you wont always own the product (and don't want to buy it), you can find enough information online at the search engines. When writing reviews, I use a set of questions to help create the article. These questions may look familiar:
- What are the problems faced by your visitor that this product ATTEMPTS to solve? Let your visitors know that you understand their problems.
Note that we have changed the wording slightly – "product attempts to solve" instead of "product solves". That is because, we are writing a review, and at this point, we have neither mentioned the product, nor given our verdict on how well it works.
- Describe what life can be like without the problems (mental picture again). You are trying to build a mental picture in your visitor's mind, to show them what life could be like if they were using a product (not necessarily this one) that solved the problem. If this product ultimately does not deliver the goods, you can point them to one that does, so the mental image is not wasted ;o)
- Introduce the product. Describe the product, and what it was created for.
- Advantages of the product using the feature list to guide you.
- Any disadvantages to this product. If you don't own the product, look at other people's reviews for anything that does not quite seem to meet the grade. Tell your visitors the truth, or it might just come back to bite you.
- How well does the product work. You have told them what it can and cannot do; now tell them how well it does what it does.
- Final summary and rating. I always like to give a rating for products I review, since this not only builds a more professional looking review, it also tells anyone who sees the site (including "thin-affiliate hunters") that you are actually creating useful content that helps guide your visitors in their buying decisions.
You can take this one step further by creating graphics for each score awarded (5/10, 6/10 etc), and even special "Recommended", or "Our Choice" graphics to award the very best products.
- Similar products? This is the opportunity to link to other reviews of similar products, or even include affiliate links to similar items. This is another good section to include to help avoid the "thin-affiliate" label, since you are providing genuinely useful content. It also gives you the opportunity to send your visitors to a recommended product, if the reviewed one is not up to scratch.
- Call to action – What do you want your visitor to do next? If you have reviewed the product favourably, you might ask them to buy it from your merchant. If you are not offering affiliate products, you could ask them to read another review that does, or get them to sign up to your newsletter, or to recommend your site to a friend. Whatever your personal goal is for the page, state it in the call to action (BTW, you cannot ask them to click an Adsense link as that is against Google's TOS).
This list of questions is just our original pre-sell blueprint questions with slight modifications. That should not come as too much of a surprise, since most reviews will be trying to pre-sell a product you like.
If you don't like a product, either don't write a review of it, or be brutally honest in the review. The former is usually easier, since the latter often gets angry emails from the product creator ;o(
Writing reviews is one of the very best ways to add unique, valuable content to your site. "Thin-affiliate hunters" would find it very difficult to label your site as thin, if it was built up of reviews you have written.