Partner with bloggers and influencers
There was a time that publishers alone could drive traffic, but today, it’s bloggers and social media stars. Unless you can afford to miss out on swaths of potential customers through blog recommendations and social media, form partnerships with the brightest stars covering your niche.
One of the best ways to get publicity and generate buzz is to get other bloggers to write about you. The more blogs and influencers that mention your website, your reviews or however you are driving traffic to your affiliate links, the better. Often, this comes in the form of a hyperlink back to your site. This is the text that’s highlighted for people to click on for further information, like the one below. Any such link back to your site is known as an inbound link, and they are really good for SEO.
If you’ve got a blog, absolutely push for sales this way. This section is focused on how you can earn lucrative partnerships to give your affiliate endeavor that much needed added push.
What can bloggers do for me?
Blogs and bloggers play an influential role at every step along the marketing and sales funnel. Similarly, social media stars are driving startling metrics. Both of these crafts are sought after in the affiliate industry. This isn’t surprising; these online personalities can have a large, loyal audience with targeted and unique content.
A positive nod from an influencer that aligns with your niche can serve as a powerful way to convince potential customers to head over to your website, and buy the product or services you’re promoting. Popular alliances include reviewing your website, recommending your blog, or even offering giveaways to their followers (such as your ebook) – think about it, any mention of your site helps with promotion.
The who’s who
Influencers are people who have amassed a large audience base across social channels like Facebook and Instagram. Social media has become increasingly shopper-friendly, and this isn’t lost on people referred to as influencers. Implementing a strategy that cultivates leads from social leaders in your niche can inspire conversions from their followers.
Bloggers are also known to influence purchase decisions. In fact, bloggers can be considered the original influencers. Recent stats on what a blog can do for businesses may astound you. According to statistics compiled by BlogHer, a publishing network of female bloggers, 87 percent of consumers have made a purchase based on a recommendation from a blog. More than eight out of ten people value blog posts and reviews when making purchase decisions.
How to land a partnership
In an ideal world, bloggers would be more than happy to give you, a relative stranger a positive mention on their blogs, social media posts and all the rest. That’s not how it plays out. Bloggers have an audience that looks to them as thought leaders, and they’ll want to make sure that they maintain that status. So, how do you earn these partnerships?
Ramp up your social activity
Create some buzz about your website across social media. When a blogger checks out your credentials, everything from the look of your website, the quality of your content and the breadth of your social interactions will shape their opinion on whether you’re credible enough to work with.
Create content that gets your community excited and passionate, and use this momentum. -Only the best content gets shared, and, certain emotions are shared more frequently. For example, your readers are more likely to share a piece that inspires awe. When was the last time you hit the share button on a piece that was boring, or negative?
Another way to push for shares is to communicate with your followers. It’s common practice in online marketing to ask things of your readership such as whether they enjoyed your latest Xbox game review. If so, ask them to share your post and spread the word.
Don’t stop at commenting on your own posts. Reach out to bloggers through their social media channels. Follow them, comment on their best work, and let them know when you have something you think meets their criterion.
Don’t be afraid of long-form pieces
Some people are concerned that readers will lose interest if a post is too long, so they stick to smaller blog-style posts. It might come as a surprise that longer content--between 6,000 and 10,000 words--is becoming the new standard. People are getting more sophisticated when it comes to the content they expect to see and starting to consume more words on the page, especially if they are given clear navigation.
With long-form content, you’ve got more room to go into greater depth to address a problem fully. There isn’t a clear-cut answer for everything when each readers situation is different, and longer form content provides solutions that can satisfy the most. Providing in-depth and actionable information from one place saves people’s time compared to reading multiple short articles designed with brevity in mind.
Perhaps you’ve written a longer piece that expands on a blog published by someone big in your niche. Check their readers' engagement. If this is the type of content their readers would drink in, approach the blogger. They might include a backlink on the original blog (“for a more detailed explanation of XYZ, head over to (link to your blog). Or, you could suggest publishing a guest blog post that includes a backlink to your main site.
Customize your content
It can be tempting to use tools to repost your latest content to your social channels. These tools grab bits of your post such as the title and meta description. Automating parts of website management has its benefits but, auto-generated content falls flat. Customized posts get better reactions and more shares. What’s more, bloggers will check how your social is faring in their decision to partner with you. What good’s a backlink from a site with no social media traction?
With this in mind, put some thought into making titles exciting, and adapt post descriptions to the platform’s audience. Aside from Twitter, most platforms allow posts with embedded video or a featured image. Where possible, use eye-catching visuals to draw people to your posts.
It’s not just social media posts that benefit from visuals. Humans drink in exciting images. Your website visuals bring your content to life and help people understand what they are reading. Has your website got enough going on looks-wise? Relevant images placed on a web page make written content more appealing and more interesting.
How to screen bloggers
The blogger you choose will naturally be dictated by the types of products you’re promoting. Are you looking for a tech expert or would a mommy blogger fit the bill? Whatever the niche you’re working in, you’re going to need to build a blogger outreach list. You might have already searched Google for potential bloggers in your field, but how do you go about determining which one to recruit? Check for the following:
Relevance - The most important thing is that they are targeting a similar audience you want to attract. Create a list of writers that have influence in your community and check their most recent posts to ensure that their topics are relevant. For example, if you are promoting “underwater headphones,” a search will most likely include general audio reviewer and blogger sites. In this case, the most relevant blog will be one that focuses on swimming culture or sports. Search engines might also return blogs about music accessories and sports equipment.
Date of most recent post - Make sure their blog is still active. Ideally, their most recent post should be within the past few days.
Frequency of blog posts - Check their post frequency. Ideally, you’ll see about 3 - 4 posts each week. If they post less, there might be a valid reason. Some bloggers favor a bigger weekly post that goes in-depth about their chosen field.
Audience engagement - Evaluate their blog traffic and social media reach. We’re talking about blog comments and social media conversations. Are posts receiving multiple comments? Have they included social media sharing options? If so, how many times has it been shared on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc.?
Contacting bloggers should be fairly straightforward considering they are naturally social creatures. With a little research such as scanning their social network pages, you should find a contact form, Twitter handle. or email address.
When you’re satisfied with your lineup of potential candidates, it’s time to make contact. To save everyone’s time, avoid confusion, and start building a rapport, there are some things you should include in your reach out email.
Build rapport - Just mentioning the latest post isn't good enough to form a link building relationship. Bloggers are pretty used to strangers cold emailing with a courtesy comment and asking for links. Refer to recent pieces they’ve published and let them know you’re favorite. Likewise, if you have anything nice to say about their site design, writing, audience, etc. It never hurts to share a compliment. This way, you can warm up your relationship instead of going straight to business
Convince - Why should they work with you? Working with bloggers comes down to forging relationships. It’s great for you if they feature your Home decor website, but they’ve got a lot to lose if their audience isn’t into it. Begin with what sets you apart from the competition and why exactly their followers will fall over themselves for your reviews/ blog, product landing page, etc.
Offer something - If you expect them to include a link or recommend your review site in their content, how can you help them out? When you reach out to a blogger, offer something in return. Start by asking yourself “what’s in it for them”? A backlink is a good place to start or a free copy of any resources you have that might convince them. How about a guest blog post? (more on this later).
Alternatively, suggest something that’s interesting and adds values to both parties involved. For example, run a competition that integrates their blog, by offering their readership a special offer, or exclusive information like your latest e-book before it officially drops.
Suggest a plan - Work together to ensure the proposed post meets both of your needs--and tastes. If your website reviews e-bikes, a city living blogger could write a blog about ‘making the most out of the daily commute,' or ‘5 ways to cut short your commuting time,' for example.
Help a blogger out - It’s one thing to convince someone to work with you; it’s another to encourage them to write about your website. Offer the resources they need to deliver a successful post. This can include things like:
Any media attention you’ve had or press pieces that mention your website. Have you already made a splash online? Perhaps your blog got a mention in a local news outlet.
Let your website, social profile, landing page, whatever drives your affiliate marketing, do the talking. Provide a link to back up any claims made in your email.
We touched on guest blogging further up the page. Guest blogging refers to the process of writing blog posts that are posted on a third-party blog. This is a common practice among online marketers looking to build visibility for their content by exposing themselves to a wider audience. If you’ve got the knack for writing content, how about writing a post for someone else’s blog? The benefits of guest blogging are twofold:
It can help establish yourself as an industry expert, one legitimate enough to earn the trust of influencers in your niche
It’s also a way to gain backlinks from other sources. When you write a guest blog post, you can negotiate things like including links back to your own site or include one of your affiliate links. Offer a link in your content and everyone wins.
First up, ask whether this is something your potential blogger would be interested. Then it’s time to discuss the topics that fit their readership.
Finding guest post topics
While big-time blogs will have a guest blog guidelines on the topics you can cover, smaller bloggers and influencers will appreciate you taking the time to think through your guest blog topic. Your first port of call is their blog’s most popular posts or an influencer’s most-watched YouTube video themes. You can also use a tool like Ahrefs to get a list of a blog’s best-performing articles.
Now we’ve got some impression of what’s working for their readers. To avoid stepping on their exact expertise, or covering the same ground, use this information to find an angle. Maybe they've not covered a certain aspect. Stick closely to a popular theme, while shedding light on something new. With this tactic, the post you suggest is highly likely to generate traffic and comments.
Some bloggers will respond better to paid placement opportunities known as sponsored posts. Sponsored posts serve as a less labor-intensive way to work with bloggers and influencers.
When reaching out to discuss paying a blogger to publish on your behalf, ask for a media kit. This should include everything a potential collaborator needs to know about their blog, including their fee for a paid placement. These vary depending on the blogger.
You can also suggest a flat fee or a paid placement based on revenue sharing. You can track resulting traffic and sales through affiliate tracking tools. Based on these numbers, you’ll make a final payment, in this case.
If you’re prepared to invest in content marketing, so-called ‘sponsored content’ is another way to go about it. Sponsored content is another form of content marketing. Typically, it is created by the publisher that distributes it and paid for by the advertiser (you), to promote whatever it is you are targeting. Publishers take a fee to create effective pieces of content that engage their readers while delivering on your objectives.
It is often referred to as native advertising because it looks like other native content on the site. There is no single form for Sponsored content, pay for articles, infographics, video, to entire microsites. Time Magazine displays their sponsored content at the bottom of a related article as depicted below.
Facebook and Linkedin display sponsored links on the users wall.
If sponsored content sounds like something that could work for you, you’re going to need. This article from Search Engine Journal covers the benefits of and how to use sponsored posts, in far greater detail.
Be active on social media
Building relationships with bloggers and influencers is a great way to increase traffic to your site. It’s essential to stay active on your own social media channels, as well as message boards and in social groups.
Promote your blog post(s) and any other content assets such as those you’ve negotiated with a third party, across your social media channels to help your followers head back to your site. In addition to sharing content on social media, get involved in the comments section, Start conversations, answer questions, or even simply show your gratitude in the comments section of your posts.
Small business can look to recognized brands to help come up with a social strategy. For example, Poptarts is doing everything right with their Twitter account. Their social media manager use a tone that speaks to their audience. Using a sarcastic tone, their tweets and posts caters for a younger, more Twitter savvy demographic.