Want to satisfy your audience while scratching someone else’s back? Try a content affiliate program.
As shoppers move through web sites looking for products, they’re looking for information to help them select and use products that deliver the greatest value. That’s one of the biggest benefits web marketers have over traditional marketers – the ability to deliver more information than bricks and mortar retailers and most catalogers can provide.
After investing in talented writers to create informative articles for your web site, the next question is how to put those articles in front of the greatest number of people. Ordinarily, these articles will only be seen by the people coming to your web site through banner ads, search engines, or traditional marketing.
One way to increase exposure to your content – and create additional revenue opportunities – is to expand a traditional affiliate program into a content affiliate program where other sites generate traffic to your library of articles.
Several web sites are providing syndicated content that publishers can use to add material to their sites. For instance, Newsweek.com includes articles from the Washington Post within its site, and several sites link to co-branded pages of corporate information served by Hoovers. Although news sites provide most syndicated web content, the same technique can work for product marketers.
When you have educational or informative articles that help prospective customers learn about selecting and purchasing your products, then you have material that affiliated sites are interested in using as well. This doesn’t mean you need long white papers, but rather, short informative articles that are quick to read and leave your visitors knowing more than before. For an e-commerce site such as Garden.com, linking from informative articles to product pages is a great way to lead customers through the purchasing process.
The affiliate model of linking to a commerce site has propelled a number of companies into leading positions. Many others have had limited success with affiliate programs for a number of reasons, such as trying to pull people away from one site with sales-oriented banner ads linking to another site.
One way to integrate sites through an affiliate program and meet the audience’s desire for information is to create a content affiliate program that adds shared or co-branded content to the affiliate site. By co-branding your content with your affiliate’s logo, you provide an extra incentive for that affiliate to give you greater visibility on their site.
This means the affiliate can provide headline and summary information about “its” content with the link. By creating a visually appealing page of content co-branded with both logos, visitors can easily slide from the initial web site to your content and commerce pages.
There are several benefits to providing affiliates with co-branded content, such as additional traffic and higher revenue; but there are other marketing benefits as well.
The traffic generated by each content affiliate can provide insights into the interests of each site’s audience that may have been difficult for either site to obtain otherwise. In addition, comparing the overall traffic of each article across all affiliate sites can help you monitor changing interests and trends, since your content is exposed to a much wider range of people than just those who come to your web site.
Providing affiliate content can be as easy as having affiliates link to a page on your site, which inserts their logo for co-branding. Or you can go “high-tech” and serve headlines that are inserted into the body of pages on your affiliate’s site.
The technique of serving headlines and links is similar to that already used to serve HTML ads, except the material is inserted into the body of affiliate pages.
The steps to implementing a content affiliate program are:
- Provide your affiliate for content partner with a unique way to tag each person coming to your site.
- Store the affiliate ID in each visitor’s profile or cookie.
- Include your affiliate partner’s logo and other material on your content pages when the people from that affiliate visit your site.
In addition to generating more traffic, this is a great way to build loyalty with affiliates who are reaching your target audience. Web visitors are hungry for information about the topics and products that interest them. So, take advantage of that natural desire and help your affiliates at the same time by providing valuable content to their site with a content affiliate program.