Starting a blog in 2020 is easy, but running it is not.
It requires time, energy, inspiration, and dedication to do the right things and attract visitors.
But fortunately, we live in the Internet era. This means that your blog can be a passive source of income, to get rewarded for all the hard work you put into it.
One such way to keep writing quality content for your audience, and get rewarded at the same time, is affiliate marketing.
If you don’t exactly know what affiliate marketing is, it is the process of promoting other brands’ products and earn a commission based on that.
Basically, what you see most bloggers do on their websites or social media pages.
Sounds relatively easy, right? Well, not precisely, otherwise you would see each and every blogger make millions.
Affiliate marketing does have some sort of a recipe you need to follow if you want to deliver content that will both appeal to your readers, and generate sales for the brand you are promoting.
It relies a lot on your ability to genuinely convince people that a product, or service, is worth purchasing.
The following guide is meant to help you create high-quality affiliate content that will both engage customers and convert into sales.
Who is your audience?
The first step in creating affiliate content is knowing your audience.
If you don’t know who your visitors are, you won’t be able to select the right products to promote.
If you have a travel blog, for example, promoting brands that sell baby products wouldn’t necessarily be the right choice.
At the same time, if you write mostly tech posts, you can’t go around promoting camping products, except if they are some sort of gadgets helping campers out.
Knowing your audience will not limit your advertising potential. But rather help you find connections between the products and your niche, which is one of the qualities a good affiliate must-have.
Being able to find a way to link the products you are promoting to your audience requires creativity and in-depth knowledge about the community.
This is why you need to focus on knowing everything you can about them, starting with how they spend Sunday morning and all the way to what their favorite TV show is.
To do so, you need to constantly find ways to engage visitors.
Ask questions that they can answer to in the comments, launch discussions, answer to their questions, and watch how they engage with the type of content you create.
Then, make sure only to choose products they will be interested in, to not lose their trust, and keep recommendations as genuine as possible.
Get to know the product
Just as important as knowing your audience, you need to understand the type of product you are promoting.
Otherwise, visitors will quickly spot you are only doing it for the money, and they really don’t like that.
Sure, everybody knows that bloggers often promote products, and people are OK with that, as long as they don’t feel they are reading advertisements after advertisements.
They need to at least see that you believe in the product.
Simply writing a thousand words about the specs of a certain product is not going to be enough.
Photos or videos of you using it, relatable stories about how the product helped you, or genuine reasons why you consider they should invest in it are far more likely to generate sales.
When a brand contacts you to become an affiliate, ask detailed information about the product and determine if your audience would be interested in it.
Otherwise, you not only risk doing work for little to no money but also losing your audience’s trust.
Use the product at least a few times before promoting it, to understand how it works and be able to write a genuine, compelling text about it.
Then, see if it really does what it is advertised to be doing, or if you notice some other benefits, as well as disadvantages.
And never, but absolutely never promote products that don’t follow your principles.
If, for example, you have a cooking blog that generally promotes natural or vegan products, then stick to becoming an affiliate for brands that follow the same rules.
If not, you risk losing a significant number of visitors.
Keywords, keywords, keywords…
In online marketing, keywords are…well…key to getting more traffic to your website.
Not only for affiliate marketing but for helping your blog get ranked high in search engines.
Sure, you have a number of loyal visitors, but you can’t rely solely on them.
Again, knowing your audience very well is the very first step in the keyword research process.
If you know who they are, you will be able to determine what they usually search for online, and how to tailor your keywords to appeal to them.
Do some research on relevant keywords for the topic of your article, or product you are promoting.
Sandra Webber, head of marketing at Best Essay Education explains:
…but don’t forget to add a personal touch
Keyword research is important, but it should never limit your creativity.
People tend to feel when an article is too promotional, and even though they may not always understand why they feel that way, they will tend to keep away from people who try to pitch an idea too aggressive.
Don’t alter your style to please the brand that wants to collaborate with you, because your audience will sense that and won’t be too content.
They come to your blog to read your personal opinion on things because they value and trust it, so make sure you stay true to your principles.
If you find your own writing style when it comes to affiliate posts, one that you enjoy writing and that your audience reacts positively towards, try to stick to it as much as possible.
Make sure you insert valuable information, real-life examples, and keep away from making it a sales page.
Remember that brands come and go, but it’s your audience that you want to keep, so they are the ones you should try to appeal to.
Without them, there would be no blog to write on and not future partnerships to generate income.
People respect those who don’t compromise and keep their integrity no matter what, and good bloggers should always aim to do so.
Content formats for affiliate marketing
Creating original content is essential, but there are some content formats that will help you deliver faster much better results.
This does not mean you can’t twist it and make it feel unique, but by sticking to the type of content people are used to, you increase your chances of getting conversions.
Sometimes, people look for reviews specifically, to compare products and decide which to buy, so they won’t want to read an entire story, to reach the part where you talk about the product.
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Some of the most powerful types of content for affiliate marketing are:
The most popular affiliate post, and those that brands usually ask for and product reviews.
Basically, you try the product and talk about all their characteristics, along with the benefits and honest opinion about how they work.
If you find some disadvantages, don’t keep them from your audience, but instead, find a way to show that they are not that big of a deal, in comparison to the advantages.
Some people are more interested in how a product works and what they can do with it, so a tutorial may be a better idea, especially if you are used to doing this type of content on your website.
If you have a cooking blog, try to incorporate the product in a recipe that your visitors can recreate at home.
Make sure to ask them to share their results as a way to engage your audience even more.
If you don’t want an in-your-face way to promote something, lists are always a good idea.
Just try not to list competitor products, as your clients may not be too happy about it.
Instead, try to compose a list of products that have similar uses.
For example, a "Top 5 make-up products that should never miss from your luggage" when promoting beauty products and you have a travel blog.
Case studies are extremely well received by audiences, but they do require more time to do.
It is basically an extended review, where you use a particular product for a specific amount of time and talk about the end result and how the product helped you.
This is typically done with skincare products, such as acne treatments, that do take a while to show results.
Becoming an affiliate can be of great benefit, as you can start earning money from doing what you like – blog posting.
But the road to doing high-quality affiliate content is not easy and does require some work to get it right.
The main thing you need to remember is to always be aware of who your audience is and what type of content appeals to them.
This way, you will be able to write content that will convert into sales, but also give your audience some valuable advice that will help you build trust.
I hope you found this guide on affiliate marketing found useful.
Feel free to post your queries and feedback in the comments section below.