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Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Summit Day 2: Focus on SEO




The theme of day 2 at Affiliate Summit was SEO. All sessions all day. And despite dancing the night away and getting 3 hours of sleep, I never got bored.

Meeting My SEO Heroes

When I went to the bloggers lounge I saw a laptop in front of me with a screensaver that said, “Bruce Clay, Inc” Ah, an SEO legend. So I asked the obvious, “are you Bruce Clay?” And he was. So I got to interview him about local search (blog post coming later). I’m trying not to show my braces, despite comments that they make me look younger and sexier (I have tweeted how I paid for them by doing blogger outreach for my orthodontist).

I also got to meet Wil Reynolds who’s been a favorite from past Affiliate Summits. He looked at my name tag and recognized my name because I blogged about his presentation in 2006. I thanked him for sharing his expertise by giving him some killer anchor text (search engine optimization). Four years later he thanked me back. Apparently, he remembers and appreciated the link. He told me it really helped him out. Despite the earned reputation that SEOs don’t shave (the men or the women!), have poor social skills, and love to work in the dark, it’s not all true. SEOs can be classy!

DO NOT Stick Out

Besides the growing prominence of local search results, the other theme was how when it comes to SEO, you want to be like the crowd. You do not want to be unique. You do not want to stand out. Instead, you want to blend in with everyone else who’s ranking well in your industry. Otherwise you could be flagged for having an unnatural link profile.

How do you know if you have an unnatural link profile? Wil says Google Webmaster Tools can help. They have a new alert that will tell you if Google thinks your links profile look suspect.

It’s normal for your brand name and domain name to rank highest. It’s NOT natural if most of your links have the exact same anchor text. So your links are for you or your company name that’s normal (for me “Newspapergrl”) But if most of my links say “online pr” it looks like you gamed the system (and you probably did). It’s unnatural and you’ll lose ranking. I better check mine!

Quality Over Quantity (Sorry SEO Companies!)

Rather than building a large quantity of low quality links, focus on getting a link from an authority site. This can be a problem for SEO companies who focus on building directory links and low quality article marketing that will never get shared or published elsewhere. I could argue that for local business SEO it may work only because you’re so niched that there isn’t as much competition. Or, less local businesses do SEO.

What I’m saying is if you get on the home page of USAToday or a huge blog in your industry, that can be better than hundreds of junk links. And it won’t matter what the anchor text they use to link to you. You’ll get trust. And once you have trust everything you write will have more value. Then you can add keyword (aka anchor text) links.

Next I’ll write about SEO content creation to help you land some quality links.

Lessons for Speakers at Affiliate Summit

I’m at Affiliate Summit in Las Vegas. It’s at the Wynn, one of my favorite hotels. Even the beverage service is artistically presented and the food is always good.


Here is my day one feedback.

Panels = Mediocrity

I do not like panels. I don’t like being on them or listening to them. There is an exception to this – that is that every single person on that panel is both very passionate about the topic and are experts. Like the SEO panel with Rae Hoffman-Dolan, Michael Gray I plan to attend.

In general panels are boring and the questions are bad. The panelists often talk to each other too much. Some even compete with each other. Even having Chris Brogan as the moderator can’t always save it.

Speak to your audience, not about YOU

I like hearing personal stories to illustrate a point, but if the entire presentation is about your life and business it gets old. It’s tough to avoid sounding vain. I’d much rather hear tips and then have one story that shows how you applied and benefitted from the tip. In other words, I don’t want it to be about you, I want you to apply what you know to help me.

The Hype Better Deliver

If you’re going to hype your presentation like mad, you get my hopes up. Then you market to me and you come across as sleasy. I’m going to name names on this one, Brian Williams who spoke about mobile marketing.

I texted Brian my email address to get his slides and I got on his marketing list plus a marketing call the same day. I didn’t see the slides. The content was so thin it was see-through. It was a marketing ploy.

When I commented about this to someone sitting next to me, he said, have you ever been to Affiliate Summit before? [I LAUGH]. I know Affiliate Summit is as much about the industry & networking as it is the sessions. You get all types.

We Don’t Know Your Industry’s Buzz Words

If you’re at an industry conference you can use that industry’s buzzwords and acronyms. So if you’re at an affiliate marketing conference you can assume we know the diffeence between a  publisher and a network. If you’re in a related indstry we might not know what exacly you’re talking about.
In one session on infomercials I kept trying to figure out all the buzzwords. It detracted from the presentation.

Today I’m hitting a lot of SEO sessions with people I’ve heard before and know it will be good.

Note: I do not hold myself up as a stellar example of speaking. I may know a lot but it’s not the same as giving a good presentation the audience will get value from. Even very good speakers can’t connect well with all audiences every time. Even the big names can be mediocre.

Looking forward to day 2 of Affiliate Summit tomorrow!

Affiliate Summit West: Mr. BigFoot Has a Big Heart

I love Affiliate Summit and here’s why: it’s immensely popular but it remains unpretentious. Is that because its founder Shawn Collins is that way? I’m not sure, but I’ve finally got around to posting about last year’s Affiliate Summit.

The big names – people like Sugarrae, Shoemoney, John Chow, Graywolf, Peter Shankman and others – are totally approachable. You are in the company of millionaires a lot of times but you’d never know they were (except when you hear them talk & behold the talent & brains). There are also many first time affiliates. This is what keeps Affiliate Summit relevant after all these years.

Mr. Big Heart
I was in heels this time (dumb idea) and there’s a lot of walking to do at a conference. By the end of day 2 my feet were so sore. I carried way too much already but after visiting the exhibit hall and picking up swag it was even worse. I had a bag on each shoulder and one in my hand. All heavy. I was running late to catch a cab back to the Trump.

I was at the wrong door trying to find my way to the cab line when I noticed someone trying to help by getting the door for me. He noticed that I was in pain and asked if he could help carry my bags. I saw his Affiliate Summit badge and figured I could trust him. He took the heaviest bag from my shoulder and walked with me to the exit where the cabs were. The line was very long and I would miss my show if I waited. So I decided to walk to the next hotel over to save time and improve my odds.

I wish I’d taken a picture and that I remembered his name but I was focused on the goal. I’m hoping someone will read this and recognize the affiliate with big feet who started his site to sell shoes to people who had a tough time finding shoes that fit. I want to give him an anchor text link!

To my surprise he offered to walk to the next hotel over with me. He waited until I got a taxi and was on my way. He told me he has big feet. What I remember is that he has a big heart.

Update!
A savvy Bryan Goodman who goes by Mr. Bigfoot (hey, I was close) had a Google alert set for “Mr. BigFoot.” He saw this post the same day I wrote it and sent me a kind email. The reason I remembered to post this is because Peter Shankman DMed me on Twitter about a post he wrote about conferences. It reminded me of meeting him and this story. I’d saved this post as a draft hoping to remember Bryan’s name (which didn’t happen.) Hearing back from him made my day – again.

p.s.
Now I wear my stylish but comfortable Fit Flops everywhere in Vegas – especially to conferences.

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Jonathan Volk Should Warn Newbies about PPV Affiliate Marketing

I recently wrote about Jonathan Volk’s new ebook about affiliate marketers. I found out that I’m in a contest to see who can send the most people to download the free affiliate ebook. I wrote my review before I knew that.

Then I found out that I’m in the running – along with some big names in the industry. I’m the only woman on the list. That sort of lit my fire. Women are way-underrepresented in the space.

I still pretty much have no chance though. There’s nothing like seeing other marketers to realize how much more you could do. My big omission is I don’t have an email list. I’m not ready to maintain another thing. But I digress…

So I asked some friends to push the book and help me out. One got back to me with a concern, hence this post. In one of the chapters it goes over PPV (pay per view). This is adware marketing and it’s frowned on in the industry (see this podcast from Shawn Collins about the subject of PPV).

Jonathan does well to disclose that his ebook has affiliate links in it. I have no problem with getting paid on the back end rather than charging up front. The issue is I think he should educate newbies about this practice. That it’s looked on as black hat. Not even CPA networks will accept them (and CPA networks already full of issues as a part of affiliate marketing).

I still find enough value in the book as far as social media ad buys and media buys and affiliate marketing generally that I will continue to promote it. I want to hear your feedback though – look at the part about PPV and tell me what you think of the practice.

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Free Affiliate Marketing Ebook from Super Affiliate Jonathan Volk

I found out about this free affiliate ebook from a Sponsored Tweet. Which is why I love Sponsored Tweets because if they are relevant they keep me in the know. Plus I get paid to send them and then you’re in the know too.

Super Affiliate Jonathan Volk
Image via CrunchBase

The author is super affiliate Jonathan Volk – that’s him on the right – he has made over $4 million as an affiliate marketer. He’s got a huge following on Twitter and you may have seen his posts on Shoemoney.

On page 15 it talks about media buys – which is something I haven’t read in other affiliate marketing ebooks. I’m also impressed that he covers social media marketing including marketing with Facebook Ads. He walks the talk too.

As you’ll see Jonathan covers a lot of topics – and they’re useful for any kind of online marketing – not just for affiliate marketing. The best part is this is absolutely digestable and streamline. It’s not too complex and long. There are a few valuable links in each chapter to resources. Places to go to get help implementing the suggestions on your own web sites or if you just want more information.

Affiliate Marketing 101

Affiliate Marketing 101

Outline of sections in the ebook

Section 1. Introduction

Section 2. What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Section 3. What Is An Affiliate Network?

Section 4. Recommended Affiliate Networks

Section 5. How Does All This Come Together?

Section 6. The “Pregame”

Section 7. The “Pregame” Pt. 2 – Know Your Demographics

Section 8. The “Pregame” Pt. 3 – Setting Up Hosting / Domain Name

Section 9. Setting Up A Simple PHP Redirect

Section 10. The Landing Page

Section 11. Affiliate Marketing Methods (Basic Overview)

Section 12. Social Media Affiliate Marketing Guide

Section 13. Pay Per View Affiliate Marketing Guide

Section 14. Pay Per Click Affiliate Marketing Guide

Section 15. Media Buying Affiliate Marketing Guide

Section 16. After Your Campaigns Are Ready To Launch

Section 17. Conclusion

I see a lot of value in this guide because it’s so current and has very practical advice. I’ve already learned about new resources that I can use on my affiliate sites right now.

Download the free affiliate marketing ebook here.

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Newspapergrl Interviews the Mystic Affiliate Marketer

snakecharmerThis is an interview I did with an Indian mystic who is an incredibly successful affiliate marketer. A superstar who has made billions around the Internet. I call him the mystic affiliate marketer (just in time for Valentine’s Day – I hope you feel the love) or MAM for short. I would make him a her but then this interview wouldn’t be as believable. I hope it inspires you to dream a dream and accomplish the inevitable.

Newspapergrl: Hello MAM

MAM: [laughs]

There’s no difference between building web sites and pushing products. It’s like the waves of the ocean, though the forms are different, they are one.

Newspapergrl: I see. So you see opportunities to market and make money everywhere you look?

MAM: No matter what web sites it is that I build, money always comes. It is the same. It’s like fire – no matter where you go in the world it is the same – it gives off heat.

Newspapergrl: I see.

So what makes you build successful web sites?

MAM: [laughs]

It’s like asking a river why it flows or the sun why it gives light. It’s my nature to make cash.

He tells me the same potential is within all of us.

Indeed it is.

Newspapergrl: Thank you LA for your wisdom today. People from all over the Internet look to you for inspiration and calm in a troubling, competitive and uncertain world. You bring us hope.

MAM: [laughs] then hugs me.

[cut to the sound of mystic waves crashing  to the shore]

I feel so enlightened after this interview. Thanks Nightline for a good laugh!! Here’s the video, enjoy:

YouTube Marketing for Affiliates

Rosalind Gardner and Jeremy Palmer presented at Affiliate Summit today about YouTube Marketing. The big revelation of the day is that they both tried to do an infomercial to teach affiliate marketing & both weren’t accepted. I think affiliate marketing is a bit tough for a mass market to do.

Jeremy talked about people running search ads to their YouTube Channel which then links to their other social sites. YouTube is an authority site so it helps lift your other sites (make sure to link to Facebook, Twitter, your blog, etc).

YouTube Stats
Video is a huge opportunity for any marketers. People watch an average of 5 videos a day. YouTube is responsible for 25% of the traffic of all Google properties. Rosalind says that other than direct traffic, YouTube sends her the most traffic. That is saying a lot because she’s been marketing online for 12+ years.

Go to Google and type in learn affiliate marketing and you’ll see Joel Comm’s video in the top 5. Rosalind has 2 related videos off Joel Comm’s site.

Tips for Optimization a Video on YouTube

  1. Put keywords in the title of your video. Also in your description and in the tags.
  2. Choose the right category for your video (search your competition & see what they do, leave a comment, network, etc).
  3. Choose your thumbnail – supposedly you can choose 3 options of what shows up about your video after you upload it.
  4. Allow ratings, comments, voting, embedding, syndication
  5. Link to your web site in the description

Google Ranks Videos with:

  • strong title, descriptions + tags
  • get a lot of views, comments, votes (send it to your list & otherwise promote it to get views right away).
  • ratings + # of views

In your videos you can ask people to rate and comment on your video.

Tools:

  • Tubemongul (free) to promote your video on various sites
  • TrafficGeyser (paid) to promote your video
  • Look at YouTube Insights to see when people drop off (usually 2.5 mins max)
  • Cameras: Flip (but doesn’t have firewire or audio plugin) MiniDV (will fill in rest later)
  • Tripod $50 or less
  • Studio  – keep it clean to eliminate distractions
  • Software: Movie Maker (PC) iMovie (Mac)
  • Screencasting Jing (free) Camtasion (this is what I use)
  • Microphone (don’t just use the internal mic – it will pick up background noise)
  • Green scree
  • JW Player – www.screencast.com, longtailvideo.com
  • Amazon S3 for hosting video
  • Pay a designer to make a custom background

MommyBloggers as Affiliate Marketers

I just attended a session at Affiliate Summit with a great group of mommybloggers. If you want to reach mommybloggers, read on…

Wendy Limauge, Sweeties Swag – she teaches people to win sweepstakes (www.sweetiessweeps.com) & teaches mom bloggers how to monetize their blogs (www.mommybloggersguide.com). She says blogs can be ugly & often make more money than pretty blogs. She also recommends using Blogspot (surprising).

Carrie Rocha, Pocket Your Dollars

Kim Rowley, Key Internet Marketing – I got to talk to Kim and she’s going to feature my online PR tshirt on her t-shirt Friday feature.

Heather Sokol, Inexpensively and Just Heather

Moderator Deborah Carney, Team Loxly

Here are some tips to working with mommybloggers:

  • Get more interactivity with readers – ask for feedback about the products you review – adjust accordingly. If your readers are positive, talk about it more. If not, don’t review that product or promote it.
  • Mommybloggers want it to be simple. Simple for them and for their audience (not highly technical, short forms, etc). They’re less likely to want a lot of technical options.
  • Reach out to them – offer a product to review. Set guidelines about what type of sites you’ll send to. Look at their PageRank, # of visitors (use Compete.com). Look for a good fit.
  • Product reviews are great for market research or test for affiliate managers. Give mommybloggers samples and have them ask their readers what they think. Get great feedback.
  • Traditional affiliate marketers start with SEO and traffic. Most are 1-off sales. Mommybloggers usually start with a community, then learn to monetize after. It’s community-based marketing.
  • For mommybloggers – ask questions: What recipe would you try if you win this product? (send to affiliate site)
  • Many merchants skip affiliate programs and go directly to mommybloggers to promote their products (Example: Old Navy wants mommybloggers to promotes their sales – the problem is they want them to do it for free. Many have started to charge for this service because it takes time to write post, get products to winners, make sure they are happy, etc)
  • Unlike traditional affiliate marketers – mom bloggers promote each other & share information. They talk to each other (which is why you should avoid pissing them off) and help each other out.

How do you find mommybloggers if you’re an affiliate network or merchant? Find one, look who they are following on Twitter, and you’ll find the rest of them. You have a few at the top of this post.

There’s also:
Southernsavers.com
freebies4mom.com
moneysavingmom.com
dealsavingmom.com

I sat next to Mia @miavallo and she wrote a related post: MommyBloggers: Changing the Face of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Summit 2010 – Vegas Here I Come

affiliatesummitbestlogo-smI’m off to Affiliate Summit West 2010 this weekend. It’s in Las Vegas, Nevada January 17-19, 2009 at the Rio. I’m going as press which means I’m bringing the video camera. I hope to catch some of the high rollers while I’m there.

Look for updates on the Affiliate Summit blog or on Twitter #asw10. I’ll also have some t-shirts on hand that I got just in time for the conference. If you see me, be sure to ask for one. Notice the newspaper that somehow got into the photo. See www.OnlinePRBook.om

publicityonlineAffiliate Summit is one of the longest running affiliate conferences – it started in 2003. This is my 4th time going and I always love it. I wrote about how affiliate managers can reach bloggers and at my first Affiliate Summit I met Jeremy Palmer & interviewed him for this story. The magazine has since gone under but this story got a lot of buzz. Just last week someone asked me about setting up an affiliate program and I’m working with Jeremy Palmer in a training program. I want to ramp up my affiliate income (don’t we all!).

I’ll be blogging live from the conference – hope you’ll follow. Also find me on Twitter @Newspapergrl or @OnlinePRBook


Free Conference for Affiliates this December in LA

I’d never heard of this until this year but if you’re interested in affiliate marketing, you should check out the Affiliate Convention. It’s in Los Angeles California on December 3 – 4, 2009 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza hotel. Cost? NOTHING.

You know how I started as an affiliate marketer? I heard someone in a class I was in talk about how he won tickets to Affiliate Summit. I got tickets and went and it really helped me. Up until then I didn’t know any other affiliate marketers and didn’t really know where to start. I met super affiliate and friend Jeremy Palmer, interviewed him  for a story in a magazine and later started my own affiliate web sites.

So if you have any interest in affiliate marketing this is a great chance to learn more and to meet other affiliates. The convention is FREE for affiliates to attend. Their last convention had more than 1200 attendees with 87% of them being affiliates. Speakers include, the Marriott, The New York Times, Oprah.com, Danny Sullivan, etc.

Even though it’s free, you still have to get there and find a place to stay. So they’re running some fun promotions, including a video contest where one lucky winner may attend the conference All expenses-paid/VIP-style. Also, stay tuned and I’ll have hotel discount codes for you.

Affiliate marketing is perhaps the best way to make money online that there is. You refer people to other web sites and make money doing it. I love it. It’s a great way to make a residual income.

I want to go!!

Affiliate Marketing Convention