Tell us about your blog and your passion for writing.
I started blogging in 2005 to document what I was learning about online marketing. My blog has given me a chance to write and share my opinions, which is something I wouldn’t have been able to do with my planned career as a reporter. Blogging has improved my writing and brought clients and consulting opportunities. Most of all, I’ve made friends with other bloggers and we’ve learned from each other. Bloggers are very open and often share what they’ve learned. We help each other out. Besides that, my blog is the single best thing I’ve ever done for my career.
How did you get started in affiliate marketing? How long have you been in the industry?
It started in affiliate marketing when I attended Affiliate Summit in 2010 after hearing about it in a marketing class. While I was there I met a super affiliate, Jeremy Palmer. I’d only just heard about affiliate marketing and really had no idea how it worked. I interviewed Jeremy for an article in a business magazine and loved affiliate marketing ever since.
Congratulations on the recent success battling affiliate nexus legislation in Utah. You spent many days working with other affiliates to help legislators understand the potential impact of the bill. Can you share your thoughts on the experience and perhaps offer recommendations to others facing that same challenge?
Thank you, it was an incredible experience. It took some time to grasp the issues and learn our roles. I learned that I could best contribute by contacting the media, keeping other bloggers informed and publicizing the issue. I used Facebook ads to direct people to my blog post about the issue and frequently tweeted, even contacting legislators on social media. I also used media lists to contact reporters directly, especially with dramatic and compelling blogger stories in order to capture their attention.
The bill was expected to pass, we had very little chance of blocking it. In fact, it had the votes to pass unanimously. There are some deep pockets behind these bills and it can feel like you have no chance of winning. When the bill’s sponsor refused to take a vote, effectively killing the bill, there was a stunned silence in the room. We could not believe it didn’t pass. I’ll never forget that and the feeling we had that we had made a difference.
Perhaps the most important thing to do in a situation like this is establish a relationship with the bill’s sponsor and inform them on how the bill will affect your business. In many cases, legislators haven’t heard from bloggers before, and don’t realize the impact a nexus bill would have on us. It was important to let them know the potential impact of this bill, and how it has already played out in other states where affiliates were terminated from affiliate programs by Amazon and other online retailers, almost immediately.
Talking to legislators in person is particularly important, especially if you have a compelling story to tell. It’s your job to help them see the impact of the law and how in this case, it would most likely not result in any money collected for the state.
We love your feature on Awin. What was your reason for writing it? Do you feel that bloggers require more education on the channel, networks or tools?
I hadn’t heard of Awin before, so I wanted to let fellow bloggers know about the network. Many of the bloggers I work with want to join the Etsy affiliate program, but there’s a lot more to explore. Bloggers typically need education on all of it: the affiliate marketing channel, how networks work, and the tools they provide. That’s why I host conferences and write informational posts. Many bloggers come more than once because it’s a lot to learn. I’m always learning too.
Awin’s Convert-A-Link plugin that turns regular links into affiliate links is a favorite of mine that I’m pretty sure most bloggers don’t know about. I wish every network had that!
What are the most frequently asked questions fellow bloggers ask about Awin and affiliate marketing in general?
Bloggers want to know on a basic level how to join a network, join an affiliate program, and how to get links and banners. They especially need to learn how to direct link to products and what programs would be a good fit for their blog. In general, they want to know the rules, if you can link on social media, how to do that, disclosure, how cookies work and more. Additionally, I get asked how to increase your income as an affiliate.
Is there anything a network can offer to make your life easier or maximize your earning opportunity?
I always appreciate emails from affiliate managers for programs I’m joined to. I think for me it’s learning how to use the tools that you have. I want to know what products or programs are performing well and get recommendations. If there’s a holiday coming up or something is trending big, I’d love to know about it. Additional information, tips and opportunities on particular programs are always welcome.
How do you decide what brands you are going to promote? Is there a process you follow for successful partnership with brands?
I often browse categories that fit what I blog about. Other than that, I review performance stats & terms of the programs to get an idea of conversion rates, payouts and cookies.
Can you recommend any other blogs or resources for bloggers looking to incorporate affiliate marketing?
Facebook groups are the best places to learn and keep up with the industry. Conferences help you learn and discover opportunities and create relationships, but Facebook groups help you stay up to date on changes. Many affiliate managers have started private Facebook groups to keep bloggers up to date on their programs. For lifestyle bloggers, recommend Tasha Agruso’se ebook, Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers which has been very helpful, along with her Facebook group.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to aspiring bloggers in the affiliate industry?
Don’t give up! I frequently hear about bloggers who say affiliate marketing doesn’t work for them, but when I look over their blog I find missed opportunities in existing posts and ideas for new ones. You have to keep trying and testing to find what works.
Think outside of the normal blog too, for instance place links on YouTube and on social media platforms such as Instagram or Facebook.
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