Content and influencer marketing is now at the forefront of most of the conversations we’re having with clients regarding the growth and expansion for their affiliate program in 2017.
Historically, it was difficult for brands to find content partners who were interested in working with them through the affiliate model. In recent years, however, as influencers learned how to grow and build their own brands and followers by leveraging social media, they’ve begun looking for ways to monetize their presence on these channels.
As a result, a whole new generation of content marketers and influencers are seeking great brands to promote. In the process, they’re discovering that affiliate marketing not only connects them with the best brands, it also treats them as valued partners as opposed to a transaction.
So, how do you connect with and engage these content-focused affiliates and influencers? In addition to understanding what they want and need to be successful in your program, here are five strategies to employ:
1. Use a personal touch
Content affiliates and influencers are regularly contacted by numerous brands. To catch their attention, you need to stand out from all the other generic inquiries they receive and demonstrate why you believe they’d be a good fit for your brand. This requires you or your affiliate management team to do some research. Read their “About Me” section of their site; look at their recent content and search for posts that are relevant to your brand. In your initial outreach, communicate why you think they are a good fit and highlight the content that caught your eye. From there, make your offer clear and concise, outlining exactly what you are looking for and how you envision the partnership adding value to them.
2. Offer fair compensation for their time and reach
This may likely include a flat fee and a higher than standard commission rate for all sales or leads referred from their site. It takes time for the content affiliate to create unique, meaningful content for your brand and they expect to be compensated differently from standard coupon or loyalty affiliates. With this type of influencer, it’s important to be clear on what you are looking to achieve through the partnership and how you’re envisioning compensating them.
Tip: Before agreeing to partner, be sure to finalize the compensation details upfront.
3. Provide exclusive promotions and giveaways
The exclusive offers you provide content affiliates and influencers should not be found in other channels or on your company’s website. These exclusive offers should only be made available for specific affiliate(s) to promote. Certain content affiliates also love to be able to offer “giveaways” (product or gift cards) to their readers as it boosts engagement with their followers and drives excitement. Exclusive offers also highlight the strong partnership that the content affiliate has with your brand. Followers of an influencer or content affiliate appreciate those kind of relationships because it means they’ll have access to unique offers they can’t find anywhere else.
Tip: Outline the expected social shares (number and networks) ahead of time.
4. Give them products to review
Giving your influencers and content partners free products to review is a great way to drive brand awareness and build consumer confidence. In some cases, providing your content affiliates with free product can reduce or eliminate the flat fee that they might typically require for writing and posting their review. Free products also offer affiliates a more personal experience with your brand and usually inspires them to share that first-hand experience with their readers. Consumers are constantly looking for recommendations and reviews — and they often respond best to recommendations from trusted bloggers.
Tip: For every post, adhere to FTC disclosure requirements by reminding your content partners that they need to disclose that they are receiving compensation for their endorsement or review.
5. Allow for enough lead time
As mentioned above, it takes time for content partners to draft meaningful content for your brand. They likely have a marketing calendar for their blog and/or social channels and need to find the right timing for the post. Providing as much time as possible (a month is ideal) will allow the affiliate to receive your product (if applicable), draft their post, and ask any questions prior to publishing it.
Tip: Ask your content affiliates and influencers to take custom photos of themselves, their kids, pets, etc. using/wearing your product.
Working with content partners through the affiliate model can produce strong brand awareness and a new potential revenue vertical for your brand. Just remember, the more value you offer them, the more value your company will see in return.
To learn more tips and strategies for working effectively with content affiliates, reach out to our affiliate program management team.