This week Ian and Ben are joined by friend of the show Doug to discuss affiliate advertising. But first Ian brings us this week’s headlines.
KFC Trying Out COOKIE COFFEE CUPS?! Taco Bell’s latest: Deep-fried Cap’n Crunch stuffed with frosting. MythBuster Adam Savage builds intricate ‘Shining’ maze diorama. Fund this: Pigeon is the digital photo frame for grandparents. These 3D-printed snacks grow their own fillings. New Aliens movie coming from District 9, Elysium director Neill Blomkamp. Harrison Ford will star in the sequel to “Blade Runner”. Leonard Nimoy, Spock of ‘Star Trek,’ Dies at 83.
The main topic this week is affiliate advertising. Ben starts out by introducing us to the idea. When you have products and companies you use and recommend to others, you can form mutually beneficial relationships with them. You can display banners and links encouraging people to use their services and then those services agree to help you financially. The specifics of what they agree to do is detailed in the individual affiliate program you sign up for.
How to Use Affiliate Programs
Consider your site and the message you’re sending with it. For example, the NoRights Blog talks about making art and animation so we’ve sought out affiliations with Smith Micro, the people who sell Manga Studio 5, Anime Studio Pro, and Poser 10 in the US. We’ve also teamed up with Toon Boom Animation, the folks who make Toon Boom Animate Pro and Toon Boom Storyboard Pro. And since we love comedy and movies, we joined up with RiffTrax LLC, the Mystery Science Theater 3000 alums who make joke commentary tracks you can sync over movies.
These relationships should be made based on your site and your voice. If your blog is all about vegan dining it wouldn’t make sense to promote pure Angus Beef on it. It should reinforce the message and identity of your site, not contradict it. You should also consider their placement in relation to your layout. Never let your advertising get in the way of consuming your content. Banner ads shouldn’t obscure parts of the page and users shouldn’t be confused on whether text is actual articles or ad copy.
Where to Find Affiliate Programs
We’ve started using Affiliate by Conversant and Rakuten Affiliate Network. They let you fill out a site profile, search out advertisers by categories, apply to their programs, and easily copy their ad links to paste into your blog. We’re also using the WordPress plugins Advertising Manager and Wp-Insert to place the ads in different sections of our site based on format.
Say you really like a product and recommend it to your audience but there’s no affiliate program available for it. Amazon has one where you can link to the product through their store. Not only will they give you a percentage of any sales you bring in on the product you link, you’ll get something back on anything your people buy through Amazon within a certain amount of time after going through your site. It doesn’t cost your users anything more but it helps you out. If you post reviews on YouTube you should also become a YouTube Partner so you can monetize them. If you’re an artist selling your work, Society6 has a curator program for helping promote other artists. Look at the services you’re already using and see if they have systems set up for you to see a return on using them.
A Word of Caution
As we’ve stated before, these relationships should form organically and benefit you, your audience, and the companies you promote. Don’t just sign up for programs without thinking about their impact. Poorly chosen ads can hurt your credibility with readers and ones from questionable sources could bring malware concerns. Decide on what works best for your site and don’t do things you’re not comfortable with just because you think you’ll make more money.
Finally, all 3 hosts hunker down for a round of Guinness World Records trivia. Who will emerge victorious this week? Tune in to find out!
Also, don’t forget you can watch the video version of this week’s episode here: