Most bloggers try to make some money from their blog. And a lot of them use affiliate marketing to achieve that. If you’re one of them, you might have put banners for affiliate products in your sidebar, or listed affiliate links as "Recommendations". Or maybe you’ve written product reviews, or outright endorsed products in blog posts (or in your mailing list). If you want to make money from your blog at all, chances are good you’ve tried these or similar methods. And chances are equally good that the results haven’t been as good as you’d hoped for. Why is that often the case?
Do you make these common mistakes make in your affiliate marketing?
To check your blog for a couple of common mistakes, put yourself in the shoes of your readers: If you choose products which aren’t a good fit for your audiences’ interests, they will be much less likely to buy them. And if the quality of your recommendations doesn’t live up to their expectations, your readers will quickly realize that… And then they’ll be more hesitant to trust your next recommendations. Both mistakes are costing you sales and thus commissions. And even worse, they are costing you reputation. But there are two other components of successful affiliate promotions on your blog. Two components which are crucial, but often overlooked. Again, look at it from a visitor’s point of view… If you come to a blog, whose recommendation are you more likely to trust: some unknown blogger? Or somebody who you feel is an expert in his or her field? Just like you, your audience will most likely choose the expert over the "newbie" (or worse yet, over the anonymous entity). And, again as a blog visitor: Imagine you clicked on an affiliate link on a blog. Now you’re reading the salespage of the product. Are you more likely to buy from "just somebody", or from a person whom you know and trust to be an expert in the field? Again, just like you, your audience will be more likely to buy from an expert. But how can you capitalize on those two human tendencies?
This one simple strategy can help you…
There is a simple, but rarely-used strategy which will help you establish both yourself and the vendors you promote as trustworthy experts. And as a side-effect, this strategy has two other advantages: First, it helps you add more quality content to your blog, thus improving important things like visitor loyalty, stickiness, and trust. And secondly, it’s absolutely simple and easy. In fact, simpler than sweating over a "product review". You don’t even have to write a blog post yourself… It works like this: You choose a product to promote on your blog. (I’m assuming you’ve chosen a quality product which fits your audiences’ interests, btw. If you haven’t, the best strategy will not improve your sales by much…) To promote the product as affiliate on your blog, you publish a guest article by the vendor, and include your affiliate link in it. (Note that I’m talking about an article, not about a promotional text. I.e. you publish quality content which your audience is interested in, and will enjoy reading.) I know that this strategy sounds so simple that it’s easy to dismiss at first… But when you publish the article as guest post with your affiliate link, two things happen:
- You establish the vendor as expert. By publishing his informative, non-promotional article, you show your audience that the vendor is an expert who knows his field.
- You establish yourself as an expert. Again, from the point of view of your audience: The experts (i.e. the vendors) write for your blog. I.e. you’re the go-to girl or guy for the experts in your field. The person on whose blog they publish guest articles. That alone gives you an expert status just by itself.
It’s easy to see why this will help you get more out of your affiliate marketing. But it does even more…
Get more out of your affiliate marketing AND your blog
You’ve probably noticed a few things about this strategy:
- It only works if you pick good articles which your audience enjoys. It doesn’t work with luke-warm product reviews. And the less promotion in the articles themselves, the better.
- A nice side-effect of this is that you get to publish more quality content on your blog, without having to write more yourself. More content, more interesting topics, more informative reads, … Just the things which make blog readers come back to your blog for more…
- This strategy is not only powerful, but at the same time it’s simple and easy. You’re just the publisher. You don’t have to write anything yourself. You just choose the right products and articles, and put them up as guest posts on your blog, with your affiliate link included.
- If your audience likes the guest post, they’re already pre-sold. They want to read more by the "vendor expert". They’re more likely to click on your affiliate link in the article or in the byline. And you’ve established some level of trust towards the vendor. This makes your readers much more likely to buy the product once they’ve clicked through to the salespage.
There’s one other thing which you’ve probably also noticed, something I haven’t explained yet: How do you get suitable articles from the vendors?
Where to get ready-made content
Since this powerful strategy isn’t well known among affiliates, most vendors don’t offer ready-made guest articles for their affiliates. So one way to get such articles is to contact suitable vendors, and ask if they have anything on their hard drive which would fit your purpose, and which you can publish with your affiliate link inside. Since you don’t need "unique" content for this strategy (it’s about quality, about expert status and ultimately about more sales – not about SEO), the vendor doesn’t have to write a new article for you. That makes it much easier for them to send you suitable guest posts. But of course, the simpler, the better, right? To support the community of bloggers and affiliates who use this strategy, I’ve set up a free service called Syndicated Partners.
On Syndicated Partners, I hand-pick vendors with great products, and ask them to send me suitable articles: informative, helpful and entertaining pieces of content. In short: stuff that makes great guest posts. Then I make the articles available to you on Syndicated Partners. You just need to swing by, pick an article, and insert your affiliate link for the vendor’s product. Then publish it on your blog or newsletter. That’s it: It’s as easy as it comes. I’d love to see you on Syndicated Partners, and I’d love to see you using this powerful affiliate marketing strategy on your blog. If you do, why don’t you drop me a note to let me know about your experiences?
Regine Becher is a JV broker and affiliate manager. To help affiliates and bloggers get more out of their affiliate promotions, Regine runs a service called Syndicated Partners, where affiliates can download quality articles and publish them as guest posts on their own blogs, with their affiliate link inside.
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