In response to Allan Gardyne's newsletter item about blogging and affiliate marketing (Are You Wasting Time Blogging?) I felt I had to chime in and offer my experiences.
I blog at Entrepreneurs-Journey.com and I make about $2000 USD a month via affiliate products. Here's my advice if you choose to use a blog as part of your affiliate marketing arsenal.
1. Build relationships
The key difference between a blog and a normal website is the type of relationship you form with readers.
My dedicated readers know me and have come to trust my expertise and experience based on the content I publish to my blog. As a result, when I recommend they buy something that recommendation comes with an extra boost of credibility, almost as if a friend was making the recommendation. Obviously this helps sales and I believe it's the key differential that makes blogs so powerful – it's a very compelling communication medium.
2. Write multiple articles about the same product
Whenever I buy something to help grow my business and there is an affiliate program available for that product I usually blog about the purchase, at least twice, often many times over and over again.
I write about it when I initially make the purchase, explaining why I bought it, what I hope to learn and how I will implement it into my business. This often brings in some affiliate sales immediately, as many of my readers are in similar situations to my own and face similar problems, thus need the same products I do.
After I have bought the product and used it for while, I write a review and post it to my blog. As is well known, reviews are great affiliate sales generators because people search for reviews before deciding what to buy. If a person reads your review and then makes a purchase, there is a very good chance they will click your affiliate link when they do so, crediting you with the commission.
3. Provide REAL value
Make sure whenever you write reviews or mention a product that you focus more on providing value and less on making the sale. If you attempt to “hype up” a product or merely replicate the sales pitch already available from the site selling the product, you won't do very well.
You need to wrap your story around the affiliate link. This is especially critical when using a blog to sell because your readers are extra sensitive to how you help them. If all they ever see from you are sales pitches, do not expect to build a very large loyal blog following.
4. Search engine rankings
Once your blog “grows up” and it develops search engine authority, your articles will rank very high for niche phrases.
It's relatively easy to attract links with blogs, definitely easier than a normal website because of the nature of the blogosphere. Link building is a huge topic, so I won't go into it here, but rest assured that blogging is one of the easiest ways to build a high ranking website.
In my case whenever I write a review of a product in almost all cases that review will show up on the first page of Google results for a search for the product name. For example I reviewed the email autoresponder service AWeber and if you Google for “Aweber Review” or even just “AWeber” you will see my blog on the first page of results.
5. Compound effects
If you write regular VALUABLE articles, build an audience, establish search engine authority and write reviews whenever you learn about a new product, compounding will start to occur.
Compounding is the combined results of all your previous work. All the articles you publish to your blog keep working to bring in traffic and make affiliate sales long after you first published them.
With great search engine rankings and built up credibility, you have the tools for successful affiliate marketing. Blogging puts all the pieces of the puzzle together for you in one easy to manage package.
6. Build a list
If you have affiliate marketed for a while you know how important it is to build a list. With a blog you can leverage your traffic twice – first to make affiliate income sales directly, and secondly to build a list of target prospects, which you can sell to via email marketing.
A blog combined with an email list is the foundation for a thriving affiliate business, and that's exactly what I do with my blog.
7. Get started today
If you don't have a blog yet my advice to you is to pick an area you know a lot about and have a deep interest in and start writing articles that will entertain and help other people who share your interests.
In general, blogs do not grow quickly, but over time if you are consistent they become one of the most effective affiliate marketing tools you have – and a real long-term asset.
To see Yaro's blog in action, visit Entrepreneurs-Journey.com