Picking the best possible products to include in your affiliate articles is one of the most underestimated factors that can make or break your affiliate site. A site with low quality products within their reviews will lead to a poor user experience, lower site trust and eventually this will lead to lower site revenue.
The issue for most site owners is that picking proper products is time consuming, especially if you have multiple sites all publishing content.
This guide will be focused on two things:
- How to properly research and pick products for your affiliate site content
- How to leverage VAs to help streamline the process
Let’s get started!
Framework for Selecting High Quality Products
Below are some high level aspects to consider when selecting products for your article. Understanding this framework will help guide each product selection and ensure that it aligns with the article topic and user needs.
Understand the Product
This is so basic but often overlooked, especially if you have a VA selecting products for a bunch of different articles.
Before doing any product research, make sure that whoever is doing the research fully understands what the product is and how it works. The last thing you want is an article with a bunch of incorrect products.
Understand The Users Needs
The goal of every affiliate article is to correctly match a product with a user that best aligns with their needs and wants. It’s as simple as that.
So understanding what those needs/wants are is very important to the product selection process. Put yourself in the shoes of the person that is searching for your topic and try to think about what sort of products that will best fit what they are looking for.
Know the Niche Brands
One of the easiest ways to make sure you are selecting top notch products is to have a solid understanding of who the top brands are within your niche and then trying to stick to the majority of your products being from these brands. This will go a long way in making sure the products are high quality and are what your visitors are looking for when they get to your site.
Are all products from these top brands good?
No, of course not.
But it at least gives you a starting point for your research and points you in the right direction.
Compile Niche Resources
Having a list of niche specific resources will be a huge help to whoever is doing product selection for you.
Before picking any products I would highly suggest gathering the following resources for your niche and putting them somewhere that can be referenced later:
- Niche forums
- Popular niche YouTube channels
- Niche specific retailers
These are not hard to find. A few google searches and you should be able to find resources for each of those categories. The more the better. We will use these within our process for selecting products.
Amazon Isn’t Everything
Depending on the niche, Amazon might not be the main shopping choice of your niche. A lot of times there will be niche retailers that specialize in your niche that will potentially provide much better product options.
Obviously as affiliate site owners, we would prefer to send traffic to retailers where we can earn a commission but don’t let that stop you from using these niche retailers as a source of product research and discovery. At the very least you can get a good idea for what the popular products are and then try to go find those on Amazon.
Using these niche retailers as a way to vet your products is also great. For example, reading through the product reviews can potentially provide more meaningful insights than the Amazon reviews.
How to Streamline Product Selection Using VAs
Now that you have a high level understanding of how to pick high quality products, we can now move into putting this into a system that can executed by a VA.
To help illustrate this process I will be using an example topic and walking through each step using this topic. My hope is that seeing this process in action will makes things crystal clear. The example topic I will use will be:
"best battery powered lawn mower"
This is the topic I will be referencing and using as an example as I walk through the process.
1. Understand The Product
This is simple, but can help you avoid picking irrelevant products.
Have your VA do a basic google search of the product that your article is based on and read through a few articles, watch a Youtube video or two and gather an understanding of the product.
For our example topic of “best battery powered lawn mower” a couple example searches could be:
- “battery powered lawn mower” – read through wikipedia articles and basic info content to understand the product
- “battery powered lawn mover vs” – adding the “vs” to the end of the search query will bring back articles that compare this product to other lawn mower types. Reading this can be helpful to decipher between the different types of lawn mowers and make sure you are only picking the correct type of products.
This stage shouldn’t take too long. 10 or so minutes of research should be enough time for the VA to become familiar with the product.
2. Understand the Article Topic and Your Users
The research you did in the first step should be enough to answer this question, but it is critical to understand before picking any products.
What are the main needs/wants of the user who is searching for “best battery powered lawn mower”?
Put yourself in the shoes of a user that would visit this article and try to keep this in the back of your mind when picking products.
3. Compile a List of Potential Products
Now we can get into actually sourcing products!
My biggest tip for this part of the process is to use as many different resources as possible to compile your list. Don’t just use Amazon!
Below are some good places to find these products:
Resource #1: Competing Articles
Searching for your topic and reading through the top articles and seeing what products they include in their articles is a great way to quickly find a bunch of relevant products to our list. Add each new product you find to your list for later research.
After reading through a couple of articles you will probably start to see a pattern emerge of the most popular products that are mentioned the most. Take note of these.
It’s worth mentioning that the products in these article should always be taken with a grain salt. We never know how these site owners picked these products and there is a chance they didn’t do their research before picking them. However, even with that being said this is still a good exercise to familiarize yourself with the common products mentioned in these articles.
Resource #2: Youtube Videos
This is a very underrated resource for finding products. Search for your topic in Youtube and watch videos to see what products they are mentioning. Once again jot down each new product that you come across.
Youtube is a great option because often times the people creating these videos are true niche experts and really know their stuff. This is especially true if they are doing hands on reviews of the products within the video.
Resource #3: Niche Forums
This is where our niche resources we compiled earlier come in handy.
What I like to do is search through these forums using our topic and/or related topics to find what the forums are suggesting as top products.
Using our example topic of “best battery powered lawn mower”, I was able to track down two niche relevant forums that we can use:
Once we have the forums we can do a google search that returns only results from these forums. This is very helpful to cut out the noise.
The google search you would want to use is: “site:FORUMURL + ARTICLE TOPIC”
So for our example this would look like: “site:lawnmowerforum.com + best battery powered lawn mower”
This brings back some interesting results we can dig deeper into:
We can now repeat this process using the other forum, so that would look like: “site:lawnsite.com + best battery powered lawn mower”
Another variation you could use is to just search for the head term of your topic and remove the “best” from it. This can often bring more results to look through, although they might be slightly less relevant.
As we have done previously, add each new product mention to your list.
Resource #4: Niche Retailers
Referencing the niche retailers we have found earlier, we can now find products that these retailers sell and add to our list of potential products.
For our example, I have found two niche relevant ecommerce stores:
Now to find relevant products the steps are going to differ depending on the site, but you can often times select a couple of filters on the store and bring back the exact products you are looking for.
For example, on Tractor Supply I can check the “battery” power source filter which will bring back the exact products we are looking for.
We can now go through this list and add products to our list.
For Mowers Direct store, I had to search for our product type but it brought back great results:
These niche retailers are a fantastic source of high quality products. The reason being that they usually have strict requirements for the products they sell and will rarely have terrible products.
Quick Tip: When browsing these niche retailers, one quick way to get an idea of the top brands is to see which brand has the most products for your topic. There is often a number next to the brand in the filters that show you how many products from that brand are on their site.
Resource #5: Amazon
I put this one last because I think it is potentially the worst way to source products. I still think it should play a role within the product gathering process, but should be done near the end to fill any potential gaps you missed from the previous resources.
The best way to use Amazon is to search for your head term “battery powered lawn mowers” and then start digging into the results.
A few tips to keep in mind:
- Try to stick to the popular brands
- Avoid poorly rated products (duh)
- Avoid products with a low amount of ratings
- Use the filters on the left hand side to get better results
Finishing The Product Gathering Process
After going through these resources to find products you should be left with a decent list of products that we can now dive deeper into and whittle down the list to the products we actually want to include in our article.
Let’s move into the next stage of the process which is vetting these products!
4. Vet and Pick Top Products
Now comes the time consuming part of this process.
We need to go through each product on our list and determine if it is worth including in our article. There are two factors to consider when determining what products to include in the article.
- Is it one of the best products? This is the most obvious criteria for selecting products
- Does it fit a sub niche within the article? This could be something like a product that is extremely cheap compared to the rest AND also high quality. Or it could be something like a product that fits a specific need such as lightweight, for a certain use case, etc
The Research Process
The process for vetting products can follow any number of potential paths. However, here are some of the best ways to do it:
Read Customer Reviews
Find the product on the niche retailer stores and Amazon and read through the customer reviews. Is it generally well liked? or is there a lot of issues? What’s the general consensus from these reviews? You can get a very good idea of the product quality from these reviews and should be a major factor when deciding on the best products.
Another factor to consider when doing this is the number of reviews the product has. A product with thousands of reviews and a average rating of 4.7 out of 5 is more than likely a better product than a product with only 3 reviews but all of them are 5 stars.
Watch Hands on Youtube Reviews
Search the product name + “review” into YouTube and see if you can find any hands on reviews. These reviews are often done by niche experts and their opinion on the quality of the product should be heavily considered.
Read Forum Reviews
Once again we are using forums to aide our research. This time we will use a very similar search query that we used in step 3, but exchange the product name for the topic name. So for our example, let’s say we wanted to find what the forums thought about a specific battery powered lawn mower, the “greenworks 80v”.
Our search would look like this:
There is a chance that there are now forum topics on that specific model, but it is worth checking because these forum topics are goldmines for understanding the overall quality of the product.
The Top Products Should be Clear
After rounding up all of the products from various places, there is a good chance that you kept seeing the same 2-5 products across each place. This is a very good indicator that these products should be included in your article. This doesn’t mean you don’t dive deeper into each one of these products, but it just means this is where you should start your research to confirm they are the best.
By the end of the research phase you should have high condifdence that you are going to review the top products for your article topic.
Decide on the Final Products
This is the last step in the entire process. Depending on the topic, settle on the top 5-10 products that cover the BEST products as well as the products that fit a specific need. This will give your article some variety and allow it to be relevant for all readers regardless of their specific need.
For example, this might mean that we select a battery powered lawn mower specifically due to how cheap it is which will provide an option to the cost sensitive readers who are looking for the best bang for their buck. Another angle for our topic might be “most powerful battery powered lawn mower” where we would include the lawn mower that has the most power.
5. Add Products to Article Outline
I won’t go into detail here, but once you have the products selected it is time to add them to the article outline and get it handed over to a writer.
One suggestion I wanted to add here is to give your writer the freedom to remove and add new products to your article if they come across info that was potentially missed in the initial research phase. Writers are often niche experts that can provide extremely valuable insight into what products should be included in the article.
Wrapping This Guide Up
This brings us to the end of the article.
You should know be able to take this guide and go out and build a system for yourself to accurately pick the best products for each article you create. Doing this correctly plays a large role in the overall success of your site.
The best part is after following this guide you should be able to pick better products AND do it at scale leveraging VAs and this system.