tl;dr – Bloggers can use these tips to integrate affiliate offers into their sites.
As a 2014 study by Skimlinks and ShopDirect (skimlinks.com/smartattribution) found, content sites, such as blogs, that participate in affiliate marketing can provide online retailers with high volumes of new customers. You also help to raise brand and product awareness.
Here are some tips to help you as a blogger make the best use of affiliate offers on your blog.
The majority of affiliate programs are handled by third party affiliate networks, such as CJ Affiliate by Conversant, LinkShare or ShareASale. These affiliate networks are the best way to find good affiliate programs for your blog.
Take a look at your existing content and search for affiliate offers from the merchants or products that you have written about already. Find merchants you trust.
Are you writing about do-it-yourself projects to spruce up the home? Look for merchants who sell tools, hardware, furniture and décor for the home. What about the article you wrote last year about holiday gift-giving? Look for merchants who sell a wide range of products at discounted prices.
When you’re looking for affiliate offers to build more content for your site, think about what matters most to your audience. Free shipping is compelling to any audience, and most people want to feel they’re getting a deal.
Think about why many people come to blogs in the first place: for detailed product information. It’s nice to include details (color and size options for clothing, as an example) and reviews or testimonials.
Once you’ve identified affiliate offers that are a great fit for your blog content, reach out to the affiliate manager or merchants involved. Ask about best-selling products and seasonal considerations, so that you can feature the right offers (and the right products) at the right times.
Find the right products and brands and tailor your content to highlight them within the context of your blog content.
Content and context matter, but you must also make sure you’re using affiliate links correctly. The way to effectively use affiliate offers is to find a way to embed text links into the body of your content.
Go beyond adding affiliate offers to your existing content. Write original content, including product reviews or make a recommendation and link to the products involved. Remember when writing that your audience comes to your blog because they identify with you and your point of view.
If you want your readers to click on your affiliate links, they have to trust you. The more they trust you, the more likely they will click on the offer and buy it.
Speaking of trust, as a blogger you also need to be aware that the Federal Trade Commission has established guidelines (feedfront.com/ftc) that require you, as a blogger, to disclose affiliate links. You should do your homework to make sure you are in compliance with these disclosure guidelines.
Julie Ávila is Director of Affiliate Management at Schaaf-PartnerCentric, an affiliate program management agency.
This article appeared in issue 26 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in April 2014. http://issuu.com/affiliatesummit/docs/feedfront-26