A common concern we frequently hear from clients is how do the affiliate marketing and influencer/PR teams work together? Given their overlapping goals, initiatives, and relationships with content creators, 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 influencer/PR team to 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. 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 – PR teams manage the top one hundred or so influencer 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 influencers don’t meet the required criteria for the PR 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 an influencer 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 influencers the PR team is seeking using Google page rank, Alexa rankings, or other quantifiable metrics, clarifying which bloggers should be working with which team.
- Centralize Tracking – Ask any PR team member their biggest challenge and, inevitably, operationally scaling their programs will come up. PR teams benefit from using the affiliate channel for more accurate and efficient tracking of their programs’ results and costs. All affiliate networks or affiliate SaaS platforms 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 technology also simplifies payments. They even handle tax documentation for content creator come tax time. All of these functions are major operational drains on PR teams and can be eliminated by using the affiliate model.
- Share Resources – Influencer 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 Influencers with More Opportunities – When the influencer/PR team and the affiliate marketing team work together, content creators are given more options for promoting the company. Most influencer programs run campaigns with on a monthly or even less frequent basis. Those influencers 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 content creators 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 PR and the affiliate marketing team.
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.
To learn more about teams within your comapny that can add significant value to your affiliate marketing program, give this Outperform podcast episode a listen.