Okay, so last week we broke down the basics of affiliate network marketing. Many of you left very thoughtful, well-written and interesting comments. Opinions are certainly divided on the pros and cons of this kind of monetization, but we feel like it's most important for IFB to provide you with as much information as we can, and it's up to you individually to decide if it's right for you!
One of the keys to having success with affiliate links is to make sure that they're seamlessly (or nearly so) integrated with your usual content. Links and images should serve to bolster your content and dually benefit you and your readers by connecting them to your favorite products.
Here are some tips for the easiest and most genuine ways to use affiliate links on your blog:
Outfit posts that are shopped out with links & images:
This has to be the most obvious way to use affiliate links on your blog, but it's worth explaining. Followers who want to emulate your style or who love a particular piece you are wearing would love to have an easy way to find that piece online and purchase it for themselves. Below the first photo of your full look, list each item you're wearing (brand included). Search your affiliate network's site for those items (or something similar) and add the hyperlink to your text. (Just be sure to indicate if your link isn't for the exact item.)
Why this works: Before I started using affiliate links on my personal blog, I would provide links to items I was wearing that lead directly to their respective e-commerce sites. Did my readers click on them and make purchases? I have no idea. But I wanted to make sure that if they liked something, I could provide a helpful link. Using an affiliate link is essentially doing the same thing, except that if one of my readers purchases a pair of shoes or a dress I'm wearing, I get a commission. Without an affiliate network, these links were essentially free advertising. Does this guarantee that people will start clicking like crazy and purchasing everything you wear, making you thousands of dollars? Of course not. But you might as well give yourself the ability to earn some money through links.
Make shopping stories around colors, trends, events, travel:
Another easy way to embed affiliate links and images into your usual blog posts is through shopping stories. We all use these kinds of posts to talk about trends, suggest looks for events, or create haul lists to show what we've purchased lately. These kinds of posts can inspire purchases from your readers in the same way an outfit post can.
Honest & thoughtful placements:
What's important to remember is that content is king, always! Don't try to force yourself to place links or images that don't feel right, that don't work with your aesthetic, or anything you wouldn't purchase yourself. I'm guessing you started your blog because you wanted to share your unique take on fashion, not whatever vision would make you a bunch of money. When you find the happy meeting of your genuine taste and an affiliate link – that's where you'll find the most opportunity to monetize.
Twitter & Facebook:
Social media is another quick and easy way to share affiliate links. Perhaps you saw something while browsing online but don't have the time to create an entire post that includes it, you can easily post it in a tweet or status update from your Facebook fan page. Because space and characters are limited in these mediums, it can be tempting to slap-dash something together, but try your best to maintain a genuine voice.