once you have your blog up and running you’ll probably begin to wonder about ways to commercialise it. in blunt terms, you want to make some money! and why shouldn’t you? you promote products every day on your blog, and once you have a decent traffic level you are a people influencer. one simple way to start driving revenue through your blog is to join an affiliate network.
note the comment above; decent traffic level. its a harsh truth in blogging but quite frankly it is a numbers game. if you don’t have the numbers to show your blogging worth, brands won’t be interested. don’t be disheartened, your time will come. we understand that you probably do most of your blogging alone or perhaps with one friend. finding out when your traffic is of good enough quality is tricky, so here is a rough guide:
- 5,000 unique users p/m – small independent brands or emerging names may be interested in working with you
- 10,000 unique users p/m – high street brands will in general be interested in hearing about your blog
- 25,000 unique users p/m – start to get very excited, the super-brands will most likely come knocking soon
most people use Google Analytics as their software, and this is what they’ll expect your figures to be taken from. never, ever fake your figures. for a start you can get found out immediately and you’ll damage future relationships. sites such as Alexa instantly give an indication to anyone about your monthly traffic. once you have joined an affiliate network all of the brands signed up with them will be able to have full access to your numbers too.
with that in mind, choosing the right time to starting approaching brands and joining affiliate networks is crucial. we would recommend that you have at least 5,000 unique users before you sign up to avoid disappointment. it is also worth knowing that someone networks (Linkshare as an example) can permanently decline your application to join a program. eg: if you apply to Michael Kors when you have 7,000 hits you are going to be rejected. Unfortunately this means when you have 50,000 you can’t apply. annoying, huh?
so, we’ve got past the difficult bit and in order for you to be reading this bit I am guessing you have reached the traffic required. well done. not enough praise is given to bloggers to get to this point – it is the hardest part. once you start partnering with larger brands, earning revenue and attending company events this start to get exciting. and all of these can be achieved through affiliate networks.
its important to distinguish between an affiliate network and a PR firm. affiliate networks are purely responsible for driving traffic to a website. they may occasionally run offline events, but with the end goal that these events will promoted via online channels (your blog or your twitter page). the easiest way to distinguish between the two is to think that PRs are responsible for promotion, whereas affiliates are responsible for driving sales.
the largest affiliate networks are:
- Affiliate Window – programs include: Selfridges, The White Company, Liberty, Aldo Shoes, Jack Wills, All Saints and John Lewis.
- Linkshare – programs include: Net A Porter, Oasis, Stylist Pick, French Connection, The Body Shop, Whistles, Reiss, Dorothy Perkins, Clarins and Benefit Cosmetics.
both have similar overall clients, although Affiliate Window has a wider client base that may better suit a lifestyle blogger. you don’t not have to choose one over the other, but it is worth picking one to start with so that you can get your head around one rather than doing both at the same time.
to make life easier, I am going to do separate tutorials for Linkshare and Affiliate Window. Click on the links to follow through.