This article is aimed at freelance and/or content writers, who are producing articles for affiliate marketing purposes. This could be for a company business blog, your own affiliate marketing blog site or as an outsourced writer for someone else’s site.
This article explores a number of issues that are relevant to content writers.
- What is Affiliate Marketing?
- What is the Purpose of the Article You Are Writing?
- Where Does My Article Fit With Other Articles on the Site?
- Content Marketing
- Using SEO
- Using Social Media
There is a specific approach that writers for affiliate marketing articles take, that is different to the direct sales pitch that sales department or advertising writers might use.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a marketing approach that doesn’t require the seller to physically own the products they are selling. Instead they act as a salesperson for other companies and then receive a commission for each sale they make. Affiliate links are used to track which website clients have arrived from so that commissions can be assigned to the correct person.
Affiliate marketing can be achieved through a number of different ways,
- landing pages – sometimes website owners use a landing or squeeze page to encourage potential customers to sign up for an e-mail or purchase a product directly.
- product reviews – these articles describe and often compare a product to leading products in the market and then offer affiliate links directly to the product site.
- blog articles -these can be informative pieces or updates on events happening in the industry. They may not have any sales attached to them but aim to engage an audience and encourage them to keep revisiting the website.
- Social Media – is often used to disseminate the articles and blogs to a potentially wider audience.
All of these approaches require different styles of writing because the end requirement for each piece is something different. Therefore the first point to consider when writing for marketing is..
What is the Purpose of The Article You Are Writing?
Although all articles are written for the same purpose i.e. to sell something, they are not actually written to perform the same function within that sale. In other words like the different types of articles mentioned above, there are different functions that an article might need to achieve.
For example a review is a direct sales article – the writing is specific about a product. However this review might be a post or page that other articles lead to. The following list of articles might explain this better.
- The product – this is your review page, and as an example lets suppose the product is a juicing machine.
- Article 1 – this is about the benefits of juicing, it contains some nutritional information and effects that a diet involving juicing has been proven to have. At the end of the article there is a link to the product page – a juicer.
- Article 2 – this is about improving your diet and trying to lose weight. It contains examples of dieting as well as a suggestion to try juicing. There is a link to the review article in this section, there might also be a link to article 1 that is specifically about juicing.
- Article 3 – this is about developing an exercise regime and improving diet to enhance vitamin intake. It contains a section on juicing and links to all of the above articles including the review.
As you can see from the layout above, the review article might be the main sales page, but the other articles are used to drive traffic towards it, from a number of angles. It is possible that someone will read all three articles, which may be published over a number of weeks, before finally deciding to visit the sales page of the juicer.
However by the time they do visit they will be fully informed and know that they are interested in buying a juicer, and they will know all the benefits that juicing can bring for them.
Where Does My Article Fit With Other Articles on the Site?
In order to understand the purpose of the article you are writing you need to know where it fits in relation to other work on the site.
One of the challenges for outsourced writing is that articles are commissioned in isolation from the rest of the site. You could receive a contract to write Article 2 in the list above, or even within a large company someone else might be writing the review article.
In order to work effectively to achieve the best possible results (i.e. a sale or engagement by potential customers) there needs to be some form of linking occurring across the entire business team.
At the very least contracted writers need to know where their piece of work is going to fit, and if it is to link to a review page or product then they need to have read that page.
This approach to marketing is known as content marketing.
Content marketing is about selling through content, but the writing is not necessarily a sales pitch. It is about any or all of the following topics.
- informing readers about the topic,
- informing about the product,
- introducing the company that sells the product,
- highlighting facts and figures relevant to the industry
- offering information from relevant research in the area.
The assumption is largely that readers are able to make up their own mind as to whether they want to buy or not. Content marketing is about providing all the information that they need to make the decision.
Introducing the Company
If the blog site belongs to a company then these articles can be the start of engaging potential clients and introducing them to the ethos of the company and the products that they sell. If the company emphases the quality of its products and commitment to providing the highest standard of products, then this message should be reflected in the blog articles whenever possible.
Providing information about the company, such as whether it is a family run industry or has been established for a long time, are all factors that help customers to understand what exactly it is that they are buying.
In affiliate marketing, where there isn’t a loyalty to a particular brand, some marketeers will offer buyers multiple choices. For example the top three juicers which may be from different companies. Affiliate links are provided for all the products and information about each one. The writer makes a commission regardless of where the sale occurs, but the purchaser gets more choice.
Using SEO or Search Engine Optimisation Techniques
One of the main ways that companies want their products to be found is through search engine results. These will be potential new customers visiting the website for the first time and therefore important to impress.
SEO techniques are often used to try and get the article ranked as high up in the Google search results as possible. One of the main techniques is to focus on a specific keyword that you think potential customers will be using, whenever they search Google looking for information on this type of product.
Articles are usually written with a certain keyword (or phrase) in mind that can be used by the search engine, whenever a searcher types that phrase into the search bar.
If the main word or title of your article is a very popular one, then it is unlikely that your new article will rank very highly. Specific keyword tools such as Jaaxy can be used to determine which are the low competition phrases that will still bring traffic into your site.
By doing this level of research you can be sure that the article will meet the needs of your clients and still appear fairly high in the search results. This is important if the website is to be seen by potential clients because according to an recent article on Moz (Sep 2015,) most people do not look beyond the first 2 pages of Google.
One of the main reasons for having a business blog is to show that your business or website is an authority on the subject matter. Different posts and articles should all be establishing a similar message, which is linked to the main source of work or expertise of the company.
For example a website on computer software technology will be providing blog articles related to this topic. It shouldn’t be writing about gardening or cooking or other unrelated material. The purpose for the blog is not just to provide entertaining reading but it is to build trust and confidence with potential clients, and to convince them that your business knows what it is talking about.
Authority improves ranking
Another advantage of writing on one theme or topic is that Google recognises the site as being an authority on this subject as well, and will improve the page ranking. The more posts or articles on a topic with related keywords, the greater the ranking and authority recognition.
This is one of the reasons that niche marketing has become so popular because it enables marketeers to become recognised as an authority relatively quickly, since all the posts are related and interlinked.
Using Social Media
Search engines are not the only source of traffic to websites, social media is a strong source of influence especially for buyers. Many people (67%) are influenced by online reviews, whether on websites or from other’s experiences in social media, and are also more likely to buy from a company that they are following on social media.
Distributing blog articles and reviews through social media channels is another option to reach out to clients. It is also a good way to maintain contact with previous customers who already have established a link to the company.
One of the main opportunities that writing blogs and sharing them on social media can provide, is that it enables the company or business to interact with customers and potential clients.
Many clients ask questions about the product or the company and can provide material for future blog posts. If one client is asking this question then often many others will be thinking it. Answering blog and social media comments is an important part of engaging with customers and this interaction is also being witnessed by other possible clients since the media channels are usually open to the public to see.
Writing for Affiliate Marketing …Next Steps
This article has hopefully provided you with some insight into the world of content writing for affiliate businesses. The important point to remember is that it is not about a direct sales pitch.
The material you produce is to inform readers about a product or company, or even to expand their knowledge so that they know why they need this product in the first place.
Unlike advertising, blog posts can last for years and remain relevant, whilst continuing to send traffic onto the main sales page or other pages on the company or business website. It is a relatively cheap investment with a long term potential return, and for that reason it is worth doing the job well.
If you are interested in learning more about affiliate marketing and/or digital marketing strategies, then here are some other articles that you may find of interest on this site.
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I hope you found this article useful and if so please do share it on social media and feel free to add your thoughts and experiences on the topic in the comments section below, thanks – Marie