Partnering with Bloggers for a Successful Program
More and more shoppers are looking to blogs for reviews & product recommendations with six out of ten buyers reportedly seeing the value of blog posts at the start of their purchase journey. This makes bloggers a great publisher type to incorporate into your affiliate mix, especially in preparation for the holiday season and the new year.
Type of Partner
One thing to note about Bloggers as affiliates is that they are top of funnel partners, so they are great for brand awareness and increasing traffic; however, it can take some time (usually 6-18 months) before you start to see large revenue contributions. They can also take longer to start promoting if they are not familiar with your brand or an affiliate model. Therefore, bloggers perform best when they are an extension of your team and receive consistent communication.
To speed up the process of recruiting and partnering with bloggers, look within the network of your affiliate program for blog partners. This ensures they are already familiar with the affiliate model and with pulling links from the network. If you have flexibility with your commission or a budget for bonuses it can be helpful to offer an incentive like a one-time bonus through the network for a certain number of sales or a sales amount. This can help motivate blog partners to begin sharing content about your brands sooner. Many networks also have the ability to send automated messages when these types of events are triggered; make use of these to celebrate with your affiliates when they produce their first sale or reach another benchmark.
Setting Bloggers Up for Success
While communication is a huge part of managing any affiliate type, as mentioned, it is even more important with bloggers. I recommend sending all new affiliates a quick start guide to help familiarize them with where to find creatives in the network, along with a couple of tips to help them get promoting quicker (don’t forget to leave an email to reach out to if they have any questions). Sending regular newsletters to communicate deals, special events, or program changes is also very effective. At AIM, we go a step further and provide “Ready to Post” content for our blogger affiliates that gives them inspiration for a post about our brands. Making their job much easier and thus making it far more likely they will post about us on a regular basis.
Placements are another aspect to calculate for with your blog partners. Many bloggers will post a review or include your brand in a gift guide in exchange for free product and or a paid fee. These usually perform best if you’re able to create a unique code for the bloggers to offer a deal to their audience. This is a great way to gain extra exposure, especially around key shopping dates in your vertical. You’ll want to note that it’s always best if you can work out a content calendar with your affiliates early on as space fills up quickly.
Rewarding Bloggers Appropriately
Another consideration when partnering with bloggers is attribution, because they are top of funnel, they often are not credited appropriately with most programs running on last-click attribution. Luckily, there are some networks that allow you to leapfrog or change your attribution to better benefit bloggers specifically. If this is not a possibility for your program giving the blogger a unique code can help track their sales more accurately. Having this discussion with partners early on will help build a strong relationship where they feel valued.
According to an Awin Report, content and blogs generate almost 40% of affiliate publisher commissions in the U.S. It’s a big trend in the industry, but many programs have seen success with a more diversified affiliate mix. Therefore, with consistent communication and direction, blogger affiliates can be a great asset to your brand and contribute to the success of your program.