The world of blogging can be quite an enjoyable field where you get to write about what you want when you want on a publication you own. This does then raise the question, how do bloggers sustain themselves? With no boss or discernable products and services, it can seem confusing. More often than not, blogs earn revenue through something called affiliate marketing. What is affiliate marketing, and how do bloggers use it to earn money? Here’s all you need to know:
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Whenever you read something and question to yourself how someone can sustain a business without selling you anything, you’ve probably come across affiliate marketing. Essentially it boils down to a mutually beneficial relationship between a blogger and a business hoping to get more eyeballs on their brand.
A company will look for an online personality, often a blog, that fits with their style. The company then pays the personality to bring attention to a product, service, or brand. This can occur in different ways depending on the degree of relationship that the blog has with what they’re promoting.
This level of affiliate marketing is the least connected to the employed personality. This means that the blog might not have much to do with the sort of product they’re promoting. This also puts less burden on the affiliate as they have more distance from the product and therefore aren’t an authority to endorse it, which absolves them of any necessity to recommend it outright.
The next degree of removal finds the affiliate closer to the brand than at the unattached level. This is the stage where you can discern a clear through line between the blog and the product, think a golf blog mentioning a new club. The relationship between the affiliate and their niche is employed more heavily at this level, and it’s this relationship that builds trust for the affiliate as an authority on the product they’re promoting. The audience that the blog has cultivated is more likely related to the brand being mentioned and therefore is more likely to flow traffic toward it.
As the name implies, this is the most connected an affiliate would find themselves to a product. This is more often than not a direct endorsement, which needs support from personal experience with the brand. This tethers the affiliate with the product, and any positive or negative attributes of each party will be related together. The personal connection to the brand will serve as a complete authority of, and support towards, the product. This is the most impactful form of affiliate marketing, but blogs could receive backlash from negative customer experiences with the promotion.
How is it Monetizable?
In most cases, and especially for bloggers, the money isn’t simply a payment for mentions. Rather, companies will pay the affiliate based on actual delivered sales. This is often tracked through affiliate links. Affiliate links are specific hyperlinks located somewhere in the blog’s promotion, no matter the degree of relation. These links will take you to a landing page for the promoted brand, often directly to the products mentioned. Affiliates will then get a portion of profits from the company they’re promoting. Sometimes it’s based on the number of people who clicked the affiliate link to the landing page, but more often it’s based on the amount of sales made from people who navigated there from the link.
The return on these can often be higher than you might think. How big the slice an affiliate receives will vary depending on your deal, but it will often be anywhere between 20-50% of the profits, with some reporting as high as 70% commission. It’s important to remember that only sales made directly from the links apply to these numbers.
This number can get so high because the value the affiliate brings to the company is directly trackable. The business will know how many people came to their landing page as a result of the blog. This also incentivizes bloggers to create better promotions for the company to receive more commission. It’s a win-win.
One of the best details about deals like these is that the affiliate link will do most of the work for you after posting. This can turn into a lucrative a potentially lucrative source of passive income for any blog. However, in some cases, deals will have a date at which the cookies that track purchases made after clicking the affiliate will expire. This could make your link more time sensitive to maximize profits in the short term. This method is most often reserved for seasonal or limited-time promotion, but it’s important to check the fine print either way.
Affiliate marketing is a great source of revenue for any existing or future blog endeavors. Affiliate links offer a results-based, trackable way to determine the value of blog promotion. The potential to make money through blogs can be quite high depending on your audience and traffic, but in most cases, this is one of the most mutually beneficial ways to make money for both the blogger and the company that hires them.