Updated: May 22
You've probably watched countless Youtube videos and done research on affiliated marketing already. All the successful cases and amount of passive income people show are so desirable. They tell you where to find the links and how to select the products you want to market as an affiliate for but then abruptly end with, "all you need to do is to include the links in your blog, social media posts, and other content!"
The point is you don't have any content creation experience. You can't find any playbook to help you figure out what content you should produce and how to slip an affiliate marketing link in the middle of it.
In this blog, I will run you through different ideas for creating content for affiliate marketing, how you should tackle it, and the options you can consider:
1. The overarching mentality
Different from creating branded content for a company or personal content for an individual, creating content for affiliate marketing is a magic mix of both. Yet, your audiences are not consuming your content to learn about a company or you. They are here to see how a problem can be solved, with you as the person who has tried it and the affiliate marketing link as the thing that can potentially help them.
Simply put, you're like a food taster for kings. Your audiences are bystanders who gain confidence in trying the food by seeing you try it first. As you can tell, capturing the process of trying the food as content is highly important because that's what prompts your audience to take action.
Companies don't need you to sell their products; they're doing that by themselves. They don't need you to demonstrate how to use the product; their FAQ and manuals already do that. What they need from affiliate marketers is to provide the audience with a unique point of view that feels authentic to them. That's what companies can't do by themselves.
To start on your affiliate marketing journey, you must:
- Use the product you're trying to sell
Discover the problems the product can solve. Find a unique way to use it. No one believes in photos of a celebrity holding a product and saying taglines anymore, so why would they believe in you?
- Find your voice
Are you highly skeptical? Or are you someone who loves to try new things and is unafraid, to be honest about the experience? People don't need to hear from another salesperson; they want an individual who gives them real comments.
- Tell a story
Audiences can smell a sales pitch miles away. You want to turn your personal experience into a story, spend most of the time talking about that, and only inject the affiliate link mention where it is highly appropriate.
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2. Affiliate marketing on Facebook
It's not that a simple text, static visual, or video post won't do, but you're not here to learn about obvious formats. Apart from telling your personal story with words, putting the affiliate link in the footer or as a CTA in the image; here is another way you can consider telling your story with your voice and express the problem the product can solve on Facebook:
- Photo albums
Rarely considered, photo albums are a great tool to tell stories on Facebook. It automatically creates a split screen layout on the feed, and you can continuously update the album to generate accumulated reach and engagement. Use your story and the affiliate marketing link in the photo album description, so each time you add new images to the album, Facebook treats it as a new post with the album description text on top.
By attracting audiences with your images, you can take them on a storytelling journey as they click through the order. Here's an amazing example to showcase what it can look like with just 4 images:
3. Affiliate marketing on Instagram
If you have a large or highly engaged following on Instagram, you could get away by just telling people about the product and CTA to the affiliate link. However, most of us are likely starting from scratch, and putting an affiliate marketing post among the usual feed can stand out like a sore thumb. Since Instagram post does not allow direct URL click-throughs, it's not helpful to try and drive traffic from posts. Instead, my suggestion is the following.
- IG Stories
IG Stories are great for telling stories. Best of all, if you can split your story into simple, digestible text. That way, you don't even need superb visuals to get the story across.
I have used IG stories on my account to share random mundane moments in my life with only text, and they are my best performing IG stories. Use tools such as polls and the slider bar to create a far more engaging storytelling experience.
When you create your series of stories, start with something highly personal. Exclaim how you are either frustrated/ disappointed/ ecstatic about something to catch people's attention. Then, move on to the body of the story with two to three slides to outline what has happened. Tell people what you have tried to do and how it has not worked. Then, bust out your experience with the product on your affiliate marketing program! All it takes is for you to line up the progression of your story, so it ends with the affiliate link on the link tool as the solution and CTA on the last story.
4. Affiliate marketing on TikTok
The goal of any TikTok video is to pack a punch in seconds. The best Tiktok videos are easy to understand, highly entertaining, and not bound by any language barriers because of how strong the visual is. It is difficult to tell a longer story that requires an explanation. Therefore, it is best to showcase a selected moment from your story on TikTok.
- Showcase the moment of revelation
Anything that showcases a dramatic change is perfect. It can take shape as before and afters, unexpected outcomes, shortened processes, dramatic expressions, or ultimate makeovers. Videos that deliver an "oomph" factor and have a relevant hook is best. Tagging on trending audio can be optional, as long as your moment of revelation is strong. That's why his content has done so well.
However, do be reminded that as of June 2022, "TikTok does not allow users to add affiliate links to your videos. However, you can promote brands and products on your TikTok. To do this, you can upgrade to a business account, add a link to your profile, and create a landing page to share your links and redirect traffic." (influencemarketinghub.com)
5. Affiliate marketing on Youtube
For those experienced with shooting videos, Youtube is a no-brainer for them to use to drive affiliate marketing. However, what about those new to the game and who have just started? My suggestion is to shoot a video to the best of your ability to get the ball rolling but focus on acing your video description.
Are you a one-man band who has no clue how to shoot a video on your own?
- Focus on writing a spectacular video description
Video description is where people go to find out more information. If the description is easy to read and has all of the relevant affiliate links there, you can still drive awareness and traffic despite the quality (how professional it looks, not the quality of the content itself) of your video. It also does not hurt to plug in an affiliate link mention for a change of pace halfway in the video. But again, do not sell it. It should just sound like you're offering a solution to the problem you've been mentioning throughout your content, and the audience can choose to find out more or not.
I, for a starter, did a random AI writing assistant assessment video one day, and one of my clients said he watched it and bought one of the services. I don't have an affiliate link for that but imagine if I did?
6. Affiliate marketing on Reddit
Firstly, if you're not on Reddit, you should. Secondly, you need to be aware of the relevant communities there. They can give you so many insights into the problems people have. Everyone there is asking questions, hoping to receive peer feedback. That can help you understand how you can better pitch the product you're selling through affiliate marketing.
- Make conversations
But Reddit users like myself hate sales. We're not there to buy stuff, so we dismiss threads that sound like a pitch. Also, according to supermetrics, "Reddit does not allow the placement of direct affiliate links. Placing direct affiliate links on Reddit can result in an account ban. That doesn't mean you cannot execute an affiliate marketing strategy on Reddit. It just means you need a more creative approach to direct traffic from Reddit to your affiliate offers."
Therefore, the right way to do it is to go in and share your experience and ask questions. Provide value and make conversation. And when people seem interested, direct them to a separate landing that mentions the affiliate link instead. Of course, if you manage to attract people to your DMs, you can tell them about your affiliate link. But Reddit is about community first. I've done some short videos answering Reddit questions and they've performed pretty well.
7. Affiliate marketing on Pinterest
While Google prompts searchers to click by having the website's meta description in SERP, Pinterest does that with visuals. And it does it so well. But while TikTok is great at capturing audience attention with an enticing moment of impact, Pinterest audiences are looking for inspiration.
- Show them something they'd want
I'm a fan of infographics, but if I see them on Pinterest, I wouldn't click to find out more. Because what I need is already there. Instead, if I see something that is picture-perfect and presents something I'd wish to attain myself, I'll click to see if the link tells me how I can get it.
Therefore, showcasing the perfect result your affiliate marketing product can bring is very powerful on Pinterest. Instead of giving audiences everything in a single pin, inspire them and make them curious to click to learn how they can achieve what's in the visual. affilimate's blog here does a great job explaining all of the nuances to drive affiliate marketing on Pinterest.
8. Affiliate marketing with Blogs
Many say starting a blog is the easiest way to drive affiliate marketing - I disagree. Many readers skim-read and immediately exit when the article fails to interest them. Adding an affiliate link only seems to speed up their desire to leave. I think the best way is to create a resourceful list for bottom-funnel audiences instead.
Don't consider yourself a writer?
Here is how you can find other types of effective content fitting for you to create!
- Create lists
By bottom-funnel audiences, I mean those who already have intent and are looking to take action to purchase. But they're wondering if there are better options or a way to get freebies and discounts. So instead of telling them your personal story and what problems the product solves, cut to the chase and tell them what amazing things they'll get if they purchased it from your link.
For example, tell them your testimonial of the product. Show how you use the unique product. Describe how this product fits into your lifestyle or workflow. Transform your experiences as reasons for them to try because they want to implement the ways you have suggested. Don't just talk about one product but compare it with others. Hit two birds with one stone if you have affiliate marketing links for both of them.
9. Affiliate marketing with Downloadables
I've downloaded countless downloadables that give me a bunch of information in the beginning and then end with "enjoy x discount by trying out the service with this link". I never click on them. There's no reason for me to. However, there is a much smarter way to drive affiliate marketing links in a downloadable.
- Show them the usual way and then the shortened way with the product
I downloaded a free downloadable by Sharon Tseung from Digital Nomad Quest, and that's exactly how she does it. She teaches you how to calculate your net worth by yourself and then tells you where you can do it much quicker with her affiliate marketing link.
Source: Digital Nomad Quest
Instead of feeling sold to, it feels like she is offering an alternative option for you to consider. She makes it very clear in her document that she may receive a commission when you click on her affiliate marketing links. Such transparency adds to her character and makes the reader feel highly informed.
10. Affiliate marketing with Landing pages
Building a landing page will take the most time but reward you with the most insightful data. A specific landing for an affiliate link means you can start to drive traffic to your owned channel with organic and paid efforts. The reach can be exponential, and you will reach people with intent easier (given that your SEO is properly in place). But it has its own risk as well.
- Carving out a niche
For a landing page to work, you need to be hyper-focused. Talk about one product only and laser focus on why people should consider it. It should include all of the storytelling elements mentioned earlier in the blog, covering not just the problem it solves but your personal experience, testimonial, impacts, and how it compares to others.
Confused as to how a website is different from a landing page?
You can learn about the differences here.
It's not a project I'd recommend complete beginners to start with, but a goal. Once your landing page drive clicks, you can replicate the framework for other affiliate marketing links to expand your revenue. Here are some landing pages our team has built for your reference.
Looking to do affiliate marketing on platforms I haven't mentioned here, such as Twitter and Linkedin? Get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more!
All in all, affiliate marketing is a lot of hard work. And it doesn't necessarily get easier if you have a lot of followers or engagement. It's really about telling the right story that is authentic and specific to the product you are trying to sell.
“Many people who get into affiliate marketing do so with the same mindset: making money first, and thinking of their audience second (if they think of them at all!). That’s a recipe for disaster—or at least lousy results.”
– Pat Flynn, CEO of Flynndustries LLC
Even as a content marketer myself, I'm not ready to dive into affiliate marketing at this point, though I am interested in its potential. For me to consider starting, I would have to find that product I would recommend to others anyways and ensure I can drive engagement to it with strong personal stories. Time is also a major factor. A lot of work needs to be done to drive such passive income.
I have, however, mentored an individual looking to get into affiliate marketing. By establishing her personal branding, we identified her voice and the unique angle she can provide to help drive traction to the product she is trying to sell. It has made her affiliate marketing journey much smoother, and now all she has to do is to churn out the appropriate content and wait for leads to come it.
If you're also interested in starting, consider this!