As a commerce-focused publisher, affiliate links are the workhorse of your affiliate program, operating behind the scenes to keep everything running smoothly. But content is the star of the show — drawing your audience in, keeping them engaged, and bringing them back for more.
When you’re first starting out, it’s easy enough to add some affiliate links to your regular editorial content and call it a day. But evolving your content into a reliable source of revenue is no small task.
As you place more emphasis on producing content and scaling up your commerce content operations, two questions will inevitably arise:
- What are the best content types to drive revenue?
- Who’s going to create all the commerce content I need?
7 ideas for commerce content
It can seem daunting to build a commerce content machine and keep it “fed” over the long term. The good news is, your options for creating content are practically unlimited — and leveraging a wide variety of content formats and channels will keep your strategy feeling fresh.
Of course, not every type of content is a good fit for every publisher. It’s important to consider your audience, your subject matter, your goals, and the resources you have available.
Following are some ideas you may want to include in your commerce content strategy:
- Buying guides. One of the easiest ways to build commerce content is through BuzzFeed-style listicles. (Think “25 Travel Products You Can’t Live Without.”) These articles provide an SEO-friendly way to create topical content and help your readers find the products they want.
- Product reviews. These days, the majority of purchases start with online research. Long-form reviews are great for driving organic search traffic to your site, showcasing products that appeal to your audience, and helping them to view you as a trusted source for product recommendations. Just be sure to follow Google’s recent guidance on high-quality product reviews.
- Deal and event features. Timely guides to holiday shopping, sales, and other events can be a reliable source of commerce revenue. (For example, “The Best Black Friday Deals on Home Electronics.”) Use a tool like our deal and coupon feed to help you identify the best opportunities to pique your readers’ interest.
- Social media. Social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are becoming a go-to source for online shopping, as many users find them invaluable for researching products and services. You can use your social presence to drive traffic to commerce content on your site or incorporate affiliate links directly in your social posts, stories, and bios.
- Video content. Video platforms like YouTube are wildly popular, which makes them a great source for shoppable product reviews, product launch videos, and more. By including affiliate links in the video description, you can easily monetize your high-quality video content.
- Email newsletters. Email may not be a groundbreaking channel, but it can be instrumental in building audience trust and driving engagement with your most valuable content. It’s even possible to create stand-alone monetization opportunities through sponsorships and premium, subscriber-only content.
- Ebooks. Long-form assets like ebooks and whitepapers are a great way to showcase your best content, and they can generate revenue in a variety of ways. Many publishers sell ebooks as standalone assets or offer them as exclusive content for paid subscribers.
4 options for content production
Finding the right solution to create all this great commerce content is a significant challenge for many publishers. There are several approaches to consider as you build and scale your commerce content engine.
- Hire dedicated commerce staff. For most publishers, the ideal is to hire one or more dedicated commerce editors who operate independently of the editorial or advertising teams. Commerce editors focus solely on the creation, curation, and optimization of commerce content to build audience affinity and drive affiliate revenue. Keep in mind this option does require recruiting a specialized skill set — and paying a full-time salary and benefits.
- Work with an agency or freelancers. This can be a great option for creating commerce content at a high volume, as it’s possible to find agencies and freelance writers with highly specialized expertise. However, this approach can be expensive and requires a lot of operational oversight to be effective. It also won’t build out a commerce content internal skill set.
- Leverage your editorial staff. As publishers shift toward commerce, the first step is often to tap current editorial staff to create commerce content — or to simply monetize their editorial content after the fact. This may seem like the simplest solution, but it isn’t scalable in the long term and may create tension between commerce and editorial functions.
- Consider third-party options. There are numerous turnkey solutions available for curating commerce content. However, they seldom deliver the custom brand experience needed to create a true connection with your audience. Sovrn provides best-in-class commerce content for our publisher partners to syndicate from experienced commerce editors and writers, to help them jumpstart, supplement, and diversify their own commerce library.
Of course, even the best commerce content won’t drive revenue if it’s never seen. In the next part of this blog series, we’ll explore the ins and outs driving traffic to your content.