What You Should Know About Editorial Recommendations
You’ve likely seen editorial recommendations without realizing what they are or what makes them different, especially if you spend a lot of time shopping on Amazon or browsing through magazines. On the surface, they might seem like the typical product review or buying guide. However, there is quite a bit about Editorial Recommendations that makes them stand out—and draws readers in. It’s why so many online platforms these days are beginning to make them a part of their business model, and why so many individuals are starting to take advantage of the benefits they offer.
There is money to be made in Editorial Recommendations for all parties involved. Meanwhile, the shoppers who read Editorial Recommendations can find many great products in a wide variety of categories, from pet products to DIY and maintenance tools to just about anything else you can think of. That’s why we’re going to take the time to break down just what Editorial Recommendations are, why they truly stand out above other ways of informing shoppers, and how you can begin taking advantage of the benefits of Editorial Recommendations if you have an interest in these articles.
What are Editorial Recommendations?
Though formally known as “Editorial Recommendations,” you are more likely to have heard these long-form reviews called by other names such as “Product Guides” or “Buying Guides.” Editorial Recommendations contain a short guide to the types of products that appear on the list, reasons the products were chosen to appear on the list, and a brief description of the products and their key features.
These guides use targeted titles and keywords, so the guides are more likely to show up in Google’s answer box. An example of a typical Editorial Recommendation may be “The Best Kitty Litter for First Time Cat Owners.”
Where Did Editorial Recommendations Originate?
Years ago, buyers would do their research for products in their favorite newspapers and magazines to see hot buys lists. Of course, when casually browsing through newspapers and magazines, what potential buyers saw was what the editorial team chose to present to them. These were carefully selected and curated lists based on factors such as the seasons and the latest trends, and because they were in print, potential shoppers didn’t get any input into what they were seeing.
There were plenty of things that writers could use to make decisions about what types of lists to put together—for example, the kind of publication they were writing for or the types of items that were big sellers of the day. But at the same time, there was no way to determine whether their potential readers would be interested in the Editorial Recommendations they would end up writing.
However, things are a bit different today. With the advent of the Internet, all shoppers have to do is head online to research the products they want to buy. The traditional model of pushing curated lists selected by editorial teams has been disrupted because now shoppers can choose what they want to seek out when it comes to their shopping research. This makes it important for those writing Editorial Recommendations for online platforms, such as Amazon, to have lists available in broad categories from pet supplies to parenting products. The plus side is you now have the ability, as someone writing Editorial Recommendations, to have curated lists available for your readers regardless of what it is they’re searching for, whether they’re interested in finding the best kitty litter, the best headphones, or the best foot massager on the market.
The category of publishers has broadened, from established print properties to bloggers and even those who have large enough Instagram followings to have their Editorial Recommendations in front of a large audience. In fact, if you are a blogger or an Instagrammer with a large presence online, writing Editorial Recommendations and putting them in front of your audience can be a great way to make a little extra money. This is because you get paid when people read your posts, click through, and purchase the items they read about.
Keep in mind that this also makes it imperative for you to do as much research as possible about the products you are recommending in your Editorial Recommendations. This ensures you present your information as accurately as possible so that you present your audience with products you yourself would want to purchase and that you yourself would feel comfortable buying, even if you don’t have any real-world experience with that product (which you may not when writing Editorial Recommendations.)
Why Not Just Utilize User Reviews?
User reviews are certainly handy as they (mostly) come from real people who have used the products. Having many available for a product can help give a product more legitimacy and make a person more confident about buying it. It is important to keep in mind that many people still have worries about fake reviews and for a good reason. There are many groups in place that trade discounts and even freebies for positive reviews, and though efforts have been made to help ensure that the reviews are accurate, there is no way to make sure this happens.
Additionally, today’s online shoppers are savvier than ever and aware of less-than-ethical practices when it comes to issues such as “review hijacking.” On websites, such as Amazon, users will often notice out-of-place reviews on products—for example, they may see a five-star review for laundry detergent listed under a pair of men’s shoes, something that has next to nothing to do with laundry detergent.
This practice is used by somewhat shady retailers trying to boost their presence in the online retail space. They are aware that having more reviews makes their product look more appealing to shoppers, and most shoppers do not read the reviews and will stop short, looking only at the number of reviews for the product. However, those that do look at the reviews will typically be put off when they see markers of a less-than-reliable seller, such as reviews that do not match the product. They will be especially put off by reviews pointing out that other four and five-star reviews have been purchased by the seller in exchange for freebies and discounts.
Another challenging prospect is getting people to purchase a product when it is new to the market or when the product only has a few reviews (even if those reviews are positive). Having the product listed in an Editorial Recommendation not only informs shoppers about the item but can give them more confidence about purchasing if they were on the fence before. Editorial Recommendations show that someone else provides the product their vote of confidence, so the shopper will be more willing to give it a try.
Onsite Vs. Offsite Editorial Recommendations
Among the most important things to note with Editorial Recommendations is the occurrence of onsite versus offsite recommendations. Sites like Amazon have their own programs such as Onsite Associates, where publishers approved by the platform can write Editorial Recommendations to be hosted directly on the website. In this case, when individuals input search terms such as “best oven cleaner” on the website, a single Editorial Recommendation will show up in the middle of the page. The user can choose whether to click on it, but if they do, they will be taken to the page and read the article. Amazon’s Onsite Associates program is available by invitation only, but those who manage to get an invitation can potentially make good money from the program.
Among the many things to note is that Amazon and other websites with similar Editorial Recommendations hosted directly on their websites have strict guidelines regarding these articles. These guidelines cover everything from the articles’ grammar to what can and cannot be said about the products. This is important because when Editorial Recommendations are written and posted offsite, these guidelines do not apply. Therefore, not only are they less strictly regulated in terms of grammar and tone, but they may also contain factual errors or make claims that could be potentially problematic—something that cannot be done in these types of Editorial Recommendations.
Perhaps most importantly, websites want to keep individuals from clicking off the website to read these Editorial Recommendations. Having the Editorial Recommendations hosted directly on the website ensures that shoppers are still right on the eCommerce website upon reading the information. If they are interested, they can simply plug in the information or click directly on a link to purchase the product or products they just read about.
If you are making money from buyers clicking on links and purchasing products upon reading Editorial Recommendations, it can be a good idea to enroll in programs such as Onsite Associates. Then your material is hosted directly on the site rather than away from the site such as on a blog. This will make it a lot easier to be sure your Editorial Recommendations will be seen by far more than the audience you already have on your blog or Instagram feed.
Additionally, not only your audience but the people who are directly searching for the type of content you are writing about will see your Editorial Recommendations —just as was the case back in the day, when you put out your own selected and curated content. Meanwhile, when you write for a program such as Online Associates, it is primarily the people who search for “best taco seasoning” who will see your Editorial Recommendations of “The Best Taco Seasonings on the Market.”
While they may seem like something new if you’ve just been introduced to them, Editorial Recommendations have long been a part of the publishing world. Today’s publishers and sellers have adapted in a big way from the Editorial Recommendations that existed in the past and will only continue to adapt as the eCommerce world continues to change.
Even if you think you may know quite a bit about the world of Editorial Recommendations already, it may take a little while to understand the way it functions in the eCommerce marketplace, especially if you are just getting started as somebody who is working on writing or researching Editorial Recommendations. Still, there is much to be said about the many benefits these articles offer to everyone, from online retailers and shoppers to those who write these articles.
Keeping all these benefits in mind, there is a lot that might make someone get started with Editorial Recommendations. They have a lot to offer, and there are many ways to join the many different programs now available for those interested in benefiting from them. There are still many methods available for participating in Editorial Recommendations from some of the biggest eCommerce websites to smaller publications. Take the time to research if you are interested so you can learn what working in the world of these articles can do for you, regardless of how you plan to work with them.