Today at Affiliate Summit, an affiliate marketing conference, I heard Jim Kukral talk about how advertisers can reach bloggers. He made a distinction between bloggers who blog for money or who are businesses and bloggers not motivated by money. His point: make it easier and more appealing for the average (hobby) blogger to utilize affiliate marketing.
He emphasized the vanity of bloggers a few times. We want to feel special, we want attention, and we are looking for unique or fun content. Money is not usually a motivator. One idea I liked is trade. Merchants can offer affiliates product points to spend on their products rather than payouts. (game credits for game affiliates, free flowers for 1-800 Flowers affiliates, etc). There are tax and brand building benefits there too.
How can you interest bloggers in becoming an affiliate for your affiliate program?
- make it easier for bloggers to sign up and get affiliate links onto their blogs – this is a challenge for the networks like Commission Junction, Linkshare, or ShareASale. Right now it’s too complicated for the average blogger.
- bloggers aren’t usually marketers and are turned off by “buy now!” “click here” messages. Instead go for text ads that say something more akin to, “I recommend _________ (product name) because _________” or “Help Support My Blog, Check Out [This Sponsor]” and other ways of introducing a product or service more conversationally.
- Make ads that fit in the sidebar and around blog posts (not in them but perhaps after the post and before the comments section. Use subtle not obvious advertising. Lots of white space. No rotating or flashy banners, lots of text.
- Suggest bloggers make their own videos reviewing top converting products/services and embed an affiliate link in them using Blubbleply.
He mentioned Rovion, which lets you put a streaming video of you or someone else talking on a blog (I hope it only works the first time you visit a site unless it’s a landing page). He recommended the book: Marketing Outrageously as a good idea-generating book. It can help you think of ways to creatively reach bloggers as your new affiliates. Who knows, some of them may end up being super affiliates, but really it’s about getting exposure of your brand in the blogosphere. It’s about creative ways to reach out to individual bloggers in mass and provide them with something of real value.