Clients want them. Affiliate managers seek them. The coveted blogger affiliate brings tremendous value to merchants’ brand and affiliate revenue. However, approaching a blogger requires a different strategy then a standard affiliate recruitment.
Blogger affiliate recruitment obstacles include saturation of affiliate opportunities, competition with flat sponsorship proposals, lack of blogger affiliate marketing knowledge, and previously low performing experience. Below are tips on overcoming these challenges to expand this essential niche in your affiliate program.

1) Be Relevant. What’s the best way to ensure your blogger outreach emails are ignored? Easy, pitch them a product that has nothing to do with, or is only slightly relevant to, their site. Irrelevant product placements perform poorly. Bloggers spend significant amounts of time and energy building a solid, loyal following and creating valuable content. Those are the reasons you want to work them in the first place, right? Do not ask them to jeopardize their integrity by promoting a product or brand that doesn’t have synergies with their site. By asking them to do so is proof you have not read through their blog and don’t truly value developing a further relationship.

“The product or service has to be something that I could write about in a genuine way. I don’t want my readers to see a sponsored post and think ‘she would never use that product’ or ‘last week she was schilling something completely different’. Most of the brands that reach out to me don’t even bother to do their research and see whether there’s a fit between my brand and theirs.” – Tamara Grand; http://www.fitknitchick.com

2) Be Personal. Most irrelevant emails reach Inboxes due to recruiters rushing through the research part of the recruitment. Take your time! Read beyond the landing page of the blog post to determine if a mutual beneficial partnership can exist.

  • Make sure the values portrayed are consistent with your merchant’s brand. This step matters for both you and the blogger.
  • Send short but personal emails. Explain why you think the merchant is a good fit with supporting detailed information. Concise emails, 5-6 sentences, prove to be the best converters for my programs. Get the conversation started versus a monologue.

“As a lifestyle blogger, I am never out of material. In fact, my editorial calendar is too full for me to handle as it is. Besides that, I get pitched by PR firms and affiliate managers about 6 to 10 times a day, sometimes more. For me to read through an email message pitch, it should be immediately apparent:

  • What’s the product (include an image and link to the site)
  • Why it’s a good fit for my blog and my audience (because you have read my blog)
  • What would you like me to do (if it’s for a review, please don’t make me ask you for a sample so that I can talk about it firsthand)
  • What are you offering me?

Because I have so many other options to create content (many of them paid posts), affiliate managers need to make easy and appealing offers for me to consider it. Bullets points. The shorter the message, the better.” – Anne Marie Kovacs; http://www.succulentwife.com

 

3) Educate. Seasoned bloggers know and understand what affiliate marketing is. However,this knowledge isn’t always advantageous. Below are items I cover with affiliates who are new to affiliate marketing.

  • Affiliate marketing tips specific to their site and why these tools produce results.
  • Description of how links track consumers.
  • The use of No Follow links to maintain SEO page rankings.
  • The long term relationship and earning potential with affiliate marketing versus a sponsored post.Protect. Bloggers invest time and faith into the affiliate marketing relationship. Explain how their sales are protected.

4) Protect. Bloggers invest time and faith into the affiliate marketing relationship. Explain how their sales are protected.

“Online shopping by nature gives people the ability to comparison shop. That’s just what people do. There are sites designed to aggregate coupons and rebates. Some hide the code until the shopper clicks through. The biggest issue with these types of sites is that it has the potential to strip a blogger of the affiliate click-thru. (That’s one of the reasons I limit the amount of affiliate work I do.) When you approach a blogger, be prepared to provide trusted reasons why they should work with you. “We offer great rates” is not going to work with many bloggers. You can offer 99% affiliate percentage but if the sale is skimmed by another company or site then that blogger will get zero. We create engaging stories that may spur a shopper to purchase something but if they utilize another site to find a coupon or sale, I’ll get zilch – despite the fact that I may have been what tipped the scale toward them making the purchase. It happens a lot.” – Nicole Brady, http://www.SAHMReviews.com
Below are ways to protect your blogger’s commissions

  • Create an exclusive code with guaranteed commission on that code. You must monitor coupon sites carefully to ensure the code is not taken.
  • Create a custom commission that prevents other affiliates to enter into the sales cycle without providing value.
  • Create a custom commission rule that provides a percentage of commission to all affiliates serving as influencers in the transaction.

5) Compensate. It takes much longer for a blogger to create a relevant product review or recommendation than to place up a coupon code. Make sure you are compensating fairly for the additional time. Options include:

  • Provide a ‘Go Live’ bonus. Industry standard bonuses range from $50-$200.
  • Create a bonus structure that rewards after a certain amount of revenue or orders.
  • Present additional commission from your standard offering.

While blogger recruitment presents challenges, the incorporation of these 5 tips will reward your efforts. With a long-term relationship in mind, bloggers can rise as top affiliates for your brand while providing additional value and new customers.
Interested in maximizing your affiliate program with blogger recruitment? Contact me to discuss further.