A common concern we frequently hear from clients is how do the affiliate and blogger outreach/PR teams work together? Given their overlapping goals, initiatives, and relationships with bloggers, companies worry about duplication of efforts, delineating responsibilities, and potential turf wars over which team ‘gets credit’ for the results.
Our experience has shown that with open communication and clear goals both teams are able to drive better results by working together. How do they do it?
- Connect the Teams – Start by introducing the blogger and PR teams with the affiliate team and schedule monthly check-in calls. Ask the teams to share their goals, challenges, and processes. We have found that while the overall goal is typically the same—driving revenue—the strategies and tactics are different. Blogger and PR teams are generally more focused on new product introductions for review and other full-price, branding plays while affiliate teams more often push sales and other high-volume opportunities that directly generate sales.
- Separate Targets – Blogger and PR teams manage the top one hundred or so blogger relationships that drive the largest volumes of influence. The affiliate team manages the other 95 percent of relationships, which can be thousands of bloggers of varying traffic levels. When bloggers don’t meet the required criteria for the blogger team to directly work with them, inviting them to join the affiliate program is a perfect solution. Conversely, when the affiliate team finds an opportunity for a blogger who would be a good fit for the PR team, they can make that introduction. It’s a good idea to put metrics around which types of bloggers the blogger and PR teams are seeking using Google page rank, Alexa rankings, or other quantifiable metrics, clarifying which bloggers should be working with which team.
- Centralize Tracking – Ask any blogger or PR team their biggest challenge and, inevitably, operationally scaling their programs will come up. Blogger and PR teams benefit from using the affiliate network for more accurate and efficient tracking of their programs’ results and costs. All affiliate networks have the ability to group publishers, so the teams can easily pull reports for individual blogger results as well as entire campaigns. Using the affiliate network also simplifies payments as networks offer easy and fast payment methods. They even handle tax documentation for bloggers come tax time. All of these functions are major operational drains on blogger and PR teams and can be eliminated by using the affiliate networks.
- Share Resources – Blogger outreach campaigns can be expensive, from list buys and creative development to marketing of the programs and more. Costs can be reduced by sharing resources and repurposing materials for both programs, which also means twice the reach for materials produced.
- Provide Bloggers with More Opportunities – When the blogger and affiliate programs are working together, bloggers are given more options for promoting the company. Most blogger programs run campaigns with bloggers on a monthly or even less frequent basis. Those bloggers would happily post about the brands more often, but there isn’t an opportunity for them to do so and still get paid. By inviting top bloggers to join the affiliate program, brands make their best brand advocates even more productive by giving them the chance to promote the company as much as they’d like while being compensated for their work through the affiliate program. This continuous engagement means higher revenue numbers for both the blogger and affiliate programs.
By shifting managers’ perspectives from one that’s potentially adversarial to realizing that working together benefits everyone involved—the PR team, the affiliate team, and the bloggers themselves—affiliate programs provide the opportunity to scale blogger outreach programs and give every type of blogger the ability to work with the brands they love. Managed effectively, affiliate and blogger outreach programs complement one another and enable both teams to reach higher outcomes than possible when working on their own.