Sponsored Post Versus Affiliate Marketing

Influencers are quickly learning and maximizing their earning potential with a variety of revenue channels. Successful influencers diversify with monetization models that include a mix of sponsored posts, advertising, speaking engagements and affiliate marketing. As an affiliate manager, I have been pleasantly surprised to see influencers who have large followings embracing affiliate marketing as a valid revenue source.

However, many influencers struggle as they transition from a flat fee branding initiative to a pay-for- performance model. When a blog post is not initially composed with affiliate marketing in mind, the end result is often less revenue than if affiliate techniques had been considered from the outset. I created this post for influencers to create successful affiliate posts and how these posts differ from a sponsored post model.

It’s All About You

As an influencer, you know the value and importance of your personal brand. In affiliate marketing, this same value is your greatest key to success. Don’t simply copy and paste the details provided by the product or brand’s marketing team, share specific details about how the product/brand fits into your and your families’ lifestyle. You have taken time to build trust with your followers; they will be more apt to buy when your experience is authentic.

Speaking of it being all about you, it is also all about your affiliate traffic, so don’t be too quick give it away. Sending your followers to the brand’s social media properties, rather than to the merchant’s store or to the specific product page, is the fastest way to lose a potential sale. Linking back to the brand’s assets makes sense with sponsored posts but it quickly reduces the success of an affiliate post.

Choose Wisely

Often I see influencers choose to write about products s/he really wants to own versus what will sell or resonate best with their followers. Don’t fall into this trap. Here are three questions influencers should ask themselves before choosing a product to work with:

  1. Does this product fit my niche?
  2. Is this product useful for my audience who may or may not be as familiar with the brand as I am?
  3. Does the right price point align with other products I’ve previously showcased? (if not, can I create a compelling story as to why the price is worth the investment?)

Make Affiliate Links Obvious

As influencers, online engagement is second nature. However, this is not always the case with your audience. They may not understand the marketing language of the web or know how to identify paid media. Remove barriers to purchase with specific language that makes clear what you want your followers to do. Below are three examples successful affiliates use to create clear calls to action:

  • Using words such as ‘click here to buy’
  • Click on the link below to take advantage of this sale
  • Use my coupon code at checkout

To be FTC complaint, marketers need to disclose their both their affiliate relationships and that links on their site may be used to generate revenue. Use the opportunity to explain to followers that clicking on links and/or making a purchase is a means to continuing to provide great content.

Make It Easy

A clear call to action makes it easy for your audience to purchase the product(s) you showcase. Don’t merely link to the brand’s home page. Instead, create custom links  that go directly to your specific affiliate product.

The Beauty of Passive Income In Affiliate Marketing

Promoting trending products can create a sense of urgency for your followers and get them to move more quickly through their purchasing decisions. But, what do you do with that content after the item is no longer ‘hot’?

Convert successful affiliate posts into evergreen content by removing short-term or date specific affiliate links and replacing with an auto-generating link or product specific pages. For my programs, I offer my affiliates code that automatically updates to ensure their links are click through using the most current promotion. If the complete code is used within the post, the influencer will always have a great call to action.

Marketers have other options to create passive income outside of sponsored blog posts. Building a My Favorites or Shop page for your followers to access throughout the year is a great way to keep affiliate links evergreen. So are dedicated affiliate posts. Below are great examples of influencers using stores and posts in their affiliate marketing.

Online Shops With Affiliate Links

Amanda, Lauren, Molly and Sophie are bloggers I have worked with in the past. They were kind enough to let me showcase the online directories they created using affiliate links. All three women did a wonderful job incorporating affiliate links on their site in a way that is true to her brand.

Amanda, The Organic Bunny – http://www.theorganicbunny.com/shop/

Lauren, Empowered Sustenance – http://empoweredsustenance.com/what-i-use/

Molly, Still Being Molly – http://www.stillbeingmolly.com/fair-trade-ethical-usa-made-brand-list-directory/

Sophie Uliano – http://sophieuliano.com/category/sophies-reviews/

Affiliate Post Examples

Amanda from The Organic Bunny has a strong following due to her passion for all natural products.  In this example, she is showcasing 100% Pure’s Blueberry Moon mascara.


Why Amanda’s Post Works

  • Original and unique photography
  • She will only promote products she uses herself
  • She is not exclusive to one brand which gives her the autonomy to be authentic with her followers
  • She promotes a sale with a timeline which gives a reason to buy now versus later
  • She has a clear action item. A simple click ‘here’ link as well as a Shop link. It is obvious what the followers needs to do to get the promotion
  • Follows FTC guidelines


The Om and the City Blog

Jules from Om and the City showcases the 100% Pure product line.


Why Jules’ Post Works

  • Amazing and unique photography
  • Photography showing how the product looks on the influencer
  • Clear call to action
  • Follows FTC guidelines

I hope this guide has been useful in explaining the different uses of affiliate marketing. If you are a blogger and have more questions on how to increase your revenue with affiliate marketing, please ask questions in the Comments section below. I am happy to help in any way I can.

Best of luck on your affiliate marketing endeavors!

Share This