If you’re a blogger who has invested countless hours building a community of people who come to your website because what you say chimes with them in some way, you’ve probably started thinking about how you can make some money from your labor of love.
PROMOTE A PRODUCT
Blogs are credible because of their independence. If you’re a film reviewer, you can be as brutally honest as you want about the latest blockbuster because, well, who’s going to stop you? People can relate to this honesty and trust it, just think about how important user reviews have become on ecommerce websites. We want to know what real people think.
If your blog talks about products, whether just mentioned in a video tutorial or fully road-tested in an in-depth review, the best way to make money is to give your community a way of purchasing that product, assuming you’re being positive about it of course! Your credibility on whatever subject you talk about is bound to influence the buying decisions of your community, so if you recommend a product, give them a way to take the natural next step and get hold of it.
PROMOTE A MERCHANT
However, if you’re a blogger whose content isn’t focused on individual products, this isn’t an option that’s available to you. Never fear though, rather than giving your community a way to get hold of specific items, why not connect them with a reputable merchant in a similar sector to that of your blog?
For instance, you might be a mom or dad who runs a blog giving advice and tips on the trials and tribulations of parenthood, along with all those funny anecdotes about your little terrors! Why not direct your audience to a merchant that sells childcare products, clothing and accessories? The connection is still relevant, and you can choose to only promote a company whose values you believe in.
PROMOTE A BRAND WITH SHARED VALUES
So what happens when you can’t find a way to promote a relevant product, and you can’t think of a merchant or company you want to promote more generally? It’s a difficult one, because the more general you get with your connections to places outside of your blog, the higher the risk there is that your community thinks you’re just trying to make money out of them.
There is another solution though, you can promote a brand that has shared values with you. Let’s use the example of a music blogger who devotes hours to buying new music and reviewing it for her audience. She can’t find an affiliate link for a particular album, but also doesn’t want to be seen to be promoting one record label over another on the back of liking one artist on their roster. However, she’s a keen surfer and most of the music she reviews has come out of the surf scene, so it might make sense to connect her community to a brand with similar cultural values to the music she reviews, like a surf brand.
BEFORE YOU GO TO BED
Connecting your blog posts with a particular product, merchant or brand and earning commission on each sale you contribute to is the basis of what’s known as affiliate marketing. ProBlogger has a great article on 10 popular affiliate programs for small and medium-sized blogs for you to check out.
Whatever service you use to make money from your blog, promoting something that’s relevant to your content and your community is key to picking up a cheque and sleeping soundly at night. It might be a bit more work than installing banners or Google AdWords, but it’ll be worth it.