That way, if you decide to write a review to promote it or send the affiliate link for the product's sales page to your email list, etc., you will have first-hand knowledge of how it works. This will help you to decide it the product has real value pertaining to your niche. I, personally, won't sell anything I haven't tried myself to be sure they work as advertised. Selling just to make money with no real value is a sure way to lose customers and ultimately destroy your business. Bad reputations are hard to get rid of once you get one, especially when there's money involved. With that being said, I hope you all have a great holiday season.
I personally prefer to do it that way--you can create a more convincing review that's more likely to make sales. It's not always possible or practical, though; for example, would you break up with your significant other just to test a product for getting your ex back? ;-) In cases like that, or if the product is expensive, it's usually best just to use the vendor's affiliate resources instead.
Prior to that group, they had an online community for teachers looking for lesson plans. That probably sounds pretty random, but it's crazy the type of communities you can build and rally people around. If it's something that you're passionate about yourself and you want to connect with others that have that same passion, then an online community is something you should definitely consider.
If my piece of content is so unique and valuable around hiking backpack recommendations, that other reputable outdoor websites are willing to link to it and build the page’s authority, then I’d have a very real opportunity to rank high in organic search for these search terms (meaning, my page will come up first when someone searches for hiking backpacks).