Affiliate marketing is an easy and effective way for content creators to diversify their revenue sources. Unlike ads or subscription-based models, affiliate marketing is simple to understand, easy to implement, and every publisher has the opportunity to succeed.
Not to mention, the affiliate marketing industry is growing fast. Statista estimates the affiliate market is worth nearly $8 billion in the US alone, up from $5.4 billion in 2017.
Even as new online strategies emerge, content is still king. Commerce-driven content is the most common form of affiliate marketing, accounting for about 40% of affiliate revenue in the US. You’ve probably seen many great examples of this from publishers like Digital Trends and BuzzFeed, which seamlessly weave buying opportunities into their written content.
So what kinds of content work best for affiliate marketing? Here are a few of our favorites.
- Buyers’ guides
Buyers’ guides, product roundups, and “listicles” are an easy way to get started with commerce-driven content. They provide an SEO-friendly way to create topical content and let your readers know where to buy the products they want.
As you develop your content calendar, look for opportunities to align your content with annual shopping events like summer vacation, back-to-school, or holidays and other gift-giving occasions. You can also tie content to your unique area of expertise. For example, if you run a cooking website, you could create a writeup of the year’s best new cooking gadget.
- Reviews and recommendations
These days the majority of purchases start with online research, which often includes product reviews. Long-form reviews are great for driving organic search traffic to your site, while showcasing merchants that sell the products your audience wants. A great example of this is Digital Trends, which will often include links to buy the products that they’ve reviewed online (for example, headphones).
A good product review takes the work out of online shopping for your readers. You may even highlight multiple stores that sell the featured product, to allow for comparison shopping. You might even consider updating popular reviews regularly, to account for new releases and ensure they continue to rank well in search engines.
- Deals and event features
Once you’ve built a solid library of evergreen content, timely guides to sales and other events can be a great supplement. (For example, “The Best Black Friday Deals on Home Electronics.”) By digging into your analytics, you’ll be able to see which products drive the best response and which merchants your readers like to shop with. Publishing coupons for those products and merchants demonstrates to your audience that you’re in touch with their interests.
Most merchants offer deals and other events throughout the year (think Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale). Using a tool like the deal and coupon feed from Sovrn — which is updated hourly — you’ll be able to identify the best opportunities to pique your readers’ interest.
Quality content is the key to building trust
No matter which approach you take, high quality content is the key to gaining more readers and driving more sales through commerce-driven content. Whether you’re a fitness blogger, an electronics reviewer, or a travel influencer, you need to understand your audience, recognize their needs and interests, and build targeted content they can rely on. Authority and authenticity are critical to building trust among your readers, which will ultimately help to drive more sales.
A word about product images
You may be wondering how to get good product images for use in your affiliate marketing content. The truth is, merchants rarely take issue with publishers using images from their websites. Outlets like BuzzFeed and HuffPo regularly borrow images from merchant sites for their articles and buying guides. The important thing is to be transparent about the fact that you’ll earn a commission on any purchase.
Ready to start earning with affiliate marketing?
While affiliate marketing is simple and accessible, getting started can be daunting. And even if you’re already making money through affiliate marketing, you may be looking for new ideas and ways to enhance your strategy.
In the weeks to come, we’ll dig into more ways you can capitalize on affiliate marketing and monetize your high-quality content, including:
- Sharing affiliate links on social media
- Affiliate marketing for search engines
- Shopping discovery through apps
- Offering curated shopping experiences
We’ll also share some important tips for building your affiliate marketing strategy and optimizing your earnings.
If you just can’t wait that long, download our free ebook, 5 Ways to Make Affiliate Marketing Work for You in 2021. You can also visit our website to learn more about Sovrn Commerce, the fastest and easiest way to start earning through affiliate marketing.