We bloggers are a curious lot. We provide value to our audiences with a touch of quirky humor and even a dash of sarcasm. To think that we can scrape a living doing so with an affiliate marketing blog is a glowing testament to the times we live in.
But you wanna do more than “scrape,” don’t you? Have you checked the label on those TV dinners you’ve been eating?
It’s time to talk monetizing, affiliate style.
I’m not saying you have to write a blog about affiliate marketing like I do to profit from this model. You can absolutely incorporate affiliate marketing into your blog, regardless of the topic.
Make sense? Ok, great. Good luck.
You know I wouldn’t do you like that 🙂 Let’s get into it!
First and foremost, if you know me at all, you know I’m all about that affiliate marketing life. If you’re a blogger stumbling across this post, then please allow me the pleasure of explaining how affiliate marketing can hugely benefit your brand!
Alright, so you’ve got a blog. Hopefully, it has been a fruitful and fulfilling venture so far. If you want this enterprise of yours to churn out more than a few bucks a month, you’re going to need to monetize with more than just banner ads (unless you’ve got five million unique visitors a month, stud).
Monetizing your blog with affiliate marketing is definitely a step-wise process.
Niche-Relevant For Affiliate Marketing Blog
Here’s the gist: Affiliate marketing is a marketing model in which an affiliate (that’s you) drives traffic to a vendor (who sells the products) by promoting products within blog content, landing pages, video descriptions and much more.
As an affiliate, you have the frickin’ life – trust me. You don’t have to hold inventory, fulfill orders, ship and return stuff, or even handle customer service. All you have to do is send the customer to the vendor.
If you want your referred traffic to do anything more than scratch their heads and/or curse your name, however, you will want to make sure the products you’re promoting match your content.
Think about it: If your blog is about fitness, and you shove an affiliate offer for a web hosting subscription in the middle of a workout plan, your audience is going to feel sold to. It’s greasy, it’s unattractive, and it’s irrelevant.
Find an amazing fitness-related product that you believe in, however, that will solve your audience’s problems, and you’ve got yourself a monetized blog. It doesn’t matter what your content is, there’s a vendor out there. Fitness, parenting, teeth-grinding, whatever.
By the way, if you’re in the parenting niche, could you do me the huge favor of guiding me to your blog? My one- and four-year-old boys are kicking my rear.
Alright, back on topic. Let’s say you are in the dog-training niche. If this is you, you’ve surely written about all kinds of training collars. *Ahem,* I said, TRAINING COLLARS. Ding ding ding! An opportunity presents itself.
I’ve mentioned before that Amazon Associates is one of the best affiliate programs out there, but it’s especially great for bloggers because, at this point, what product does Amazon not sell? They pretty much have it all. More on that later.
Anyway, back to the issue of incorporating affiliate marketing into your blog content. Remember: relevance is king. Trust and authority are strongly tied to it, so make sure you find an offer that fits your content without reaching.
I realize this sounds like a no-brainer, and it really is, but some bloggers still don’t utilize affiliate marketing. It yields way, way more profit than Adsense, even if you aren’t having a stellar campaign. Find something relevant and throw it in there. Step one complete.
Side note for you…
I’ve learned from SEO expert Bobby Bernstein that, when linking to an affiliate offer in your content, it’s highly advised that you use anchor text links. No need to be frightened by the name – it’s just a link:
<a href=www.whateverwebsiteyourelinkingto.com>Here is the link text</a>. See? Piece of cake.
Sticking with the dog obedience niche, then, whenever you want to recommend a dog collar, don’t simply say, “I would recommend the xyz brand collar that you can get on Amazon.” If you don’t link, you’ll have fewer sales, less ability to track clicks and a crummy bottom line.
Also, you want the actual link text to hold relevance to the product, ideally containing part of or the entire brand name. Linking with the words “click here,” for example, won’t help your SEO as much as “dog collar.”
When I promote ClickFunnels in the content I’ve dedicated to creating and utilizing landing pages and sales funnels, I directly link on the word ClickFunnels, not “click here.”
You shouldn’t necessarily spam the brand name in the link text every single time, because that can eventually lead to penalties. You can, however, use “latent semantic indexing.” This is a really uppity term for words that are closely related to the target keyword and/or brand name.
In this case, then, LSI words would include “dog training, leash, dog obedience” and so on.
Alright, so now that you know how to link correctly, where can you source great affiliate offers besides Amazon? I’ve written plenty about the best affiliate networks, most of which are free to join. My list alone will give you access to literally tens of thousands of physical and digital products in every niche.
Sure, there are some transaction fees depending on the platform, and in the case of JVZoo, you won’t always be paid right away, but joining is generally a cinch.
You will be asked a number of questions about which products you intend to promote, how much traffic you drive monthly, how many digital properties you own and what they’re about, how you advertise, and much more.
Basically, the affiliate network will vet you to make sure you’re not a weirdo who is going to taint their brand with dark-web nonsense. Just answer honestly, and, assuming you’re not a weirdo, you’ll be fine.
If you want to sell digital info products, meaning that your content readily lends itself to training and course material (woodworking or art classes, for example), then ClickBank is a very profitable option.
Each network has something to offer, and at least one of them is perfect for your content and your preferences as an entrepreneur, so don’t settle! It’s absolutely okay to shop around here.
Finding Merchants Who Have Affiliate Programs
In some cases, you don’t even have to join the actual network. Some products, like SEMRush, can be linked to without being in a network. I’ve actually done it, and it’s an amazing tool to link to.
If a canine training company wants affiliates, and they’re happy contracting you directly, then why not? Join up with them and help them sell, but above all, stay in your niche. No financial independence courses or weight-loss programs!
Your mentality should be to provide a seamless transition between content and affiliate offers. The reader shouldn’t feel like they’ve read their way into a commercial. It should still sound like you talking.
How To Promote An Affiliate Marketing Blog
Speaking of plugging, there are many ways to go. A really, really natural way to do it is with product reviews. Everyone who clicks on a product review is mentally trained to read about a product. They’re already primed.
Product reviews are so perfect for affiliate marketing blogs and that it seems weird when there aren’t affiliate links in them. You don’t have to stuff your site full of product reviews, but they’re an awesome tool to have in the rotation.
You could also do comparisons, either between two competing brands or a huge list. People love to comparison shop online, something that prodigious blogger Leanee Regalla highly recommends you include in your content.
More traditionally, you could focus your content on a particular concept, like separation anxiety management for working dog owners, and then naturally plug an offer.
“We found that (x product) helped old Yeller to at least stop scratching at the doors while we were gone…” and then move on.
You’re not promoting for promotion’s sake. Priority one is to provide helpful information. The offer should be important, but an unobtrusive component of that.
Your tone should not be, “Hey, buy this thing,” because consumers are already numb to this commercial-y approach. You’re the cool neighbor who gives it to them straight. “This one kinda sucks… I like this one better, but it’s got issues XYZ…” and so on.
Be transparent. That’s what people want. They want a real conversation that isn’t set to some soul-sucking corporate jingle.
It’s not that you should blatantly bash a company and/or product, but you could absolutely voice your opinion when it comes to superior/inferior products. You could also breakdown the difference between a shock collar and a pinch collar, linking one or both.
A little criticism adds to the realness of it, but be careful not to go overboard, because you might be driving a wedge between you and audience members who like the product you’re harping on.
Be informative, be real, and give the readers options.
That about sums it up as far as the general framework of an affiliate marketing blog, but there are still some specific rules you have to follow, no matter what kind of approach you take to the content.
Other rules to follow:
• Disclose your links! Specifically, those in the US must follow the FTC law that requires a disclaimer at the bottom of your articles. No greasy tactics here, folks – legible font and plain speak.
• Each product owner will have their own set of rules, so make sure you become familiar with them before you start driving traffic. For example, Amazon has strict compliance/link disclosure guidelines.
• Do not, I repeat, do not plaster your blog with too many links. Yes, you’ve probably got mouths to feed – as I do – but don’t become so commission-focused that your content goes from helpful to annoying.
• Make sure that you know the product, and that you believe in it. If you would use it yourself, it’s that much easier to promote it earnestly and effectively. This alone can determine your success or failure as an affiliate.
Phew, that was a lot! Let’s recap. If you’re a blogger looking to monetize with an affiliate marketing blog, here’s what you need to know:
- You’re awesome for considering this option because it will greatly increase your revenue
- You need to find a reputable vendor of highly relevant affiliate products
- You should link to affiliate products using direct anchor text or LSI keywords
- Use trusted content formats, like the review/comparison post, to naturally work in your affiliate links
- Whatever you do, make sure you’re authentic, fair, and not too pushy.
If you do this right, you’ll essentially get paid double, triple or even more what you already are without starting five more blogs and going insane. Good luck!