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need help for information gathering for writing articles

Posts: 1
Joined: 12 Mar 11

need help for information gathering for writing articles

I'm on week 2 for affilo blueprint and I'm having plenty of difficulty writing the articles. Before I get more into that, I was wondering how the merchant-affiliate relationship works; like how do you actually get on the merchant’s “payroll” (getting your commission), doesn’t the merchant have the final say as to whether or not he wants you advertising his product or not? The reason why I’m asking is because it wasn’t explained yet in the lessons, and I think something that important should be explained early, considering that even though you can spend weeks making the articles and doing research, if the merchant doesn’t want you on his payroll, all of that work was done in vain. That’s the first question; here’s the other question about having a difficult time writing the actual articles.

I decided to write my own articles because I want to save money and because I know that I can write a proper article instead of paying someone $30 to write an article in broken English. It seems that I have to spend hours of research just to write one article, which then takes a couple more hours to write. I was wondering if I am missing something here. To make my question a little more specific, I should ask this: if I am advertising this merchant’s product, shouldn’t the merchant give me a few more details on the specifics of his product, how does that work? I went onto the merchant’s official website for some insight, but as expected there was no information covering the specifics of the product. I say “as expected” because what kind of merchant would give away the secrets of his product for free and expect any kind of profit in return? So that leaves me in a kind of bad spot, I need specific information for an article about a specific aspect of this merchant’s product. I could do the research required to make the article, but that would take a staggering amount of time and effort, some thing I don’t quite have. I considered buying the merchant’s product to consult the source instead of spending hours upon hours of researching second hand information that may or may not be true. But there are some draw backs, namely the fact that I don’t have any actual need for the product, and therefore I’m a little hesitant to purchase the product. For example, one of the products I’m trying to advertise is a video game strategy guide, I don’t own the game (which costs about $60.00), nor do I own a computer capable of playing the game; hence my dilemma, is it even worth buying the product when I can’t even really use it, kind of like buying a lawn mower even though you don’t have a lawn. Another reason why I’m hesitant to buy is because the option to buy was never mentioned in the lessons, and I don’t want to waste any money chasing an answer when the solution is in the lesson and I just can’t see it.

So, as a recap, my first question is about how the merchant-affiliate relationship works. The second question is about how to properly research for an article. I would like to thank you for taking your time to look at my questions, I hope for a solution soon; God bless, and have a wonderful day.
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Posts: 107
Joined: 08 Jul 10
In most cases, you will need to apply for a merchant's affiliate program. When you are approved, as long as you follow the rules and guidelines set by the merchant with regards to how you promote the product, you should be fine. You do need to note though that different merchants have different payment plans and prerequisites. For example, Clickbank requires that you have sales paid for using 5 different credit cards before they release payment (this is in addition to the payment threshold).

Ultimately, the merchant has the right to withhold payment if they feel you have breached guidelines they have set. Of course, there are also merchants that don't pay (the shady sort) so do some background checks on them first before deciding to promote their products.

For your second question, you can request review copies of a product. Sometimes they make it available for affiliates. One sign of a good merchant is that they give good support for affiliates by providing materials like banners, email swipe copy, articles, etc. Test them out to see what their response is like. At the end of the day, you're doing the work promoting the product so if you don't feel like it's a product you can promote effectively then I think you should pick another merchant.

Hope that helps,
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Posts: 6369
Joined: 25 Feb 11
Some merchants go through networks like Clickbank to find afiliates who will promote their products. Applying as an affiliate through Clickbank entitles you to promote the products available in their marketplace. Purchase(when a customer buys the product) and payment (of commission) is done through Clickbank so you have a guarantee there that you will receive your commission.

Some merchants have their own affiliate system set up where commission is handed out through PayPal most of the time. For these types of merchants, you have to apply directly on their website so you can expect that they will let you know if you do not qualify or they can no longer accept affiliates.

As for writing articles, it is best to do it on your own especially if you are just starting out. This helps you learn the ropes much better. I recommend choosing a niche that you are familiar with or have interest in. This helps writing for that niche much easier since you either have knowledge on the subject or find researching about the topic interesting/exciting. You can find similar blogs, website or forums in the same niche to get inspiration. The article does not necessarily have to be about the product you are promoting but about the niche itself. An example is the weight-loss niche. Let's say I am promoting a fat-burning exercise eBook. I can write an article about the benefits of losing weight and then insert call to action links promoting the fat-burning exercise eBook.

If you are going to write a product review, then you can either collate all reviews on a product and base your own review from that or you can get in touch with the merchant and request for an affiliate copy of the product. Some merchants also provide discounts to affiliates so that they can purchase the product at a low price and try it out.

Hope that helps. Have a good day!
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Posts: 2
Joined: 13 Aug 10
Dear Godbless,

Everything comes with a price, if you don't want to spend money to hire writers, then you need to invest your time and effort to get your articles done. Writing is hard, especially for novice writers, I know because I used to spend almost a month to research and write a single article... but writing is a skill, and as with any skill, it will get easier overtime if you keep working on it.

As for researching content, I think the library is the best place to do it, it's much reliable than some random articles scattered around the 'net. Just spend a week or two there soaking every bit of information you can find regarding your niche, then write the articles. It's highly recommended that you choose a niche that you have at least an interest in at first, otherwise the research and writing process will be too much of a chore for you... and you end up procrastinating more instead of taking action.

Hope this helps,
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Posts: 3918
Joined: 19 Jun 09
Hey, GodBless,

I can understand your frustration, and there have been some good ansewers already. One thing that I would mention is the price you mentioned. If you are spending $30/article and getting crap you are being ripped off. most decent articles should cost you about $10-15/ article, which should be decent articles. If you are going through a site like Elance or Odesk, you should refuse to accept any article that doesn't meet your standards.

Also, if you are spending hours of research and writing for simple articles, you are probably over thinking the issue too much. Or else, you really don't know the niche well enough to be building a site in the niche.

You should be able to research each article in about an hour to an hour and a half. spending more time than that on it is usually because you don't know your topic well enough to be working in that niche anyway.

Video game niches are really tough. they constantly are changing, and if you aren't in the game, you probably shouldn't be trying to tell people that this guide is good for them.

Along with your example of buying a lawnmower without a lawn, If you don't have a lawn, how can you tell someone honestly that this is the best lawnmower for them? Why should anyone trust your advice if you don't ever USE a lawnmower? you can't, which means you are lying to people, which will lose trust with your readers. Trust once lost is hard (almost impossible) to get back.

if you don't play the game yourself, you really need to spend the money to hire a writer that does. I would find someone that you can build a long term relationship with, and that can help keep your content up to date with the latest changes in the game.

it will cost you more money to do that, but it will pay for itself with the sales you will get. People in the gaming niches are extremely observant, and most of the time, they can tell if you are blowing smoke, or if you really know the game.
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Posts: 186
Joined: 11 Jul 10
Most of the good products on Clickbank would have an affiliate area where they have a couple of articles related to the niche readied for you.. all you would need to do is to take out the ideas from there and then rewrite them if you really have no inspiration at all!
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This topic was started on Jul 10, 2011 and has been closed due to inactivity. If you want to discuss this topic further, please create a new forum topic.