Why Affiliate Marketing is the Way to Go for Writers

Last Updated on 4 months by Christopher Jan Benitez

You’re probably familiar with the term affiliate marketing, but how does it really work, and should you be doing it? We look at why freelance writers, bloggers, and website owners should include affiliate marketing in their strategy for 2021.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is when you share a link to a company’s product, and if someone clicks on that link and makes a purchase, you earn a commission. It effectively means you are marketing someone else’s products to your audience and receiving payment if someone buys them using your link.

The affiliate marketing link that you share is completely unique so that the company can track where customers came from and attribute that purchase to you.

Why should you consider affiliate marketing in 2021?

There are several key reasons you should consider affiliate marketing as part of your strategy for 2021. Here are four of the best:

Monetize your writing

The most obvious reason to consider affiliate marketing is that it’s one of the best and easiest ways to monetize a blog. Whether you’re writing with the intention of making a living out of your blog, or it’s just a way to showcase your skills for freelance writing opportunities, if you’re writing, publishing, and people are reading your content — why not make some money from it?

It doesn’t require any investment on your part. And if you are continuing to build your audience and add links that are going to apply to them, then over time it’s possible to establish a steady income from affiliate marketing.

For a great example of how to build a business out of a blog and affiliate marketing, take a look at Minimalist Baker.

minimalist baker

Image: Minimalist Baker

Started in 2012 as a hobby to share recipes, it has grown a vast community with millions of visitors to the site and millions of followers on social media. They’ve incorporated subtle product recommendations and affiliate links throughout the recipes, and there’s also a shop section with cooking equipment, which are Amazon affiliate links.

Provide more value to your audience

People often have an idea that affiliate marketing means linking to anything and everything — the more links, the more potential sales and commission. But affiliate marketing can actually be a way to provide more value to your audience and build trust with them.

Heading into 2021, with the impact of COVID still affecting many people’s finances, consumers are going to be more cautious about how and where they spend their money. Recommendations from the people they follow online such as influencers and bloggers are likely to be more convincing and persuasive than other advertisements and marketing.

This means that more companies and brands are going to be using affiliate marketing, which gives you more choice and opportunity to share products that are of genuine value to your audience.

Make sure you only talk about and promote products that are highly relevant to your website’s niche and are going to be genuinely useful to your audience. Focus on affiliate marketing with companies and brands that you actually use and would recommend, anyway.

To see an outstanding example of affiliate marketing being used in a way that provides value to the readers visit Learning Revolution.

learning revolution

Image: Learning Revolution

As a website that provides online course creators with all the information and resources they need to set up their own courses, Learning Revolution recommends various tools and platforms to help.

They have a range of different guides and reviews that cover everything a user would need to create a course, and they include affiliate links to software and products that are going to be useful to their audience. They provide solutions and recommendations to their readers and build trust by only recommending things that are actually going to be valuable.

It’s straightforward

If you don’t have a lot of time on your hands, maybe you’re running your website or blog on the side of a full-time job, then affiliate marketing is a fairly low maintenance way to get some additional income.

In most cases, it’s straightforward to set up and get started — each company will have a slightly unique process, but essentially you just have to add the link and focus on writing great content around it. You can add relevant links to the content you would have written anyway or incorporate product guides and reviews into your content calendar. As you are consistently creating new content and increasing traffic to your blog or website, you’ll see your affiliate sales increase as well.

Affiliate marketing tracking has improved

There’s going to be a lot of times when someone reads your content, clicks your affiliate link but doesn’t buy the product. They might go back again another time and end up making the purchase. Although they didn’t use your affiliate link, you made them aware of the product.

Affiliate marketing tracking has improved

Image: Pexels

Affiliate marketing tracking has improved so that sales can still be attributed to you for commission, even if a shopper doesn’t buy that first time they visit the product. This means there’s less pressure to drive traffic that’s ready to buy to your affiliate links (though obviously, this is still the primary goal). But sometimes being pushy about product links or overtly sales-focused could put your readers off.

You can share the link as a recommendation and encourage people to visit for more information, without demanding them to buy through your link there and then.

Things to consider about affiliate marketing

While affiliate marketing is a great way for many people to make some income from their website or blogging, there are some key things you should know:

You won’t start earning overnight 

Affiliate marketing is straightforward enough, but it’s not a quick way to earn lots of money. It takes time to build up an audience and establish your brand, and the amount of commission you get from a sale is often quite small. So you need thousands of visitors and hundreds of sales through your affiliate links to see real income.

Consider pay and volume

The amount of commission that you get from a sale isn’t the only thing you need to think about. You need to look at the size of the target market for that product as well.

For example, some affiliate programs offer a higher payout, but that’s because their product is very niche and there’s a very small number of people who will be interested in it. It’s harder to find the volume of people to send to the affiliate link, but there’s also going to be competition from other affiliate marketers.

Be careful about what you recommend

Sending your readers to products that you’ve never tried or aren’t worthwhile buying is a good way to break their trust and lose your audience.

You need to keep up to date

Once you’ve recommended or reviewed something, you need to monitor any changes. There may be a newer version, additional features, or the product might be discontinued, so it’s important to regularly update your content.

Overall, affiliate marketing is a good way to monetize your writing skill. You can’t expect to earn a lot straight away, but it’s worthwhile including it in your strategy so you can gradually build up some additional income and provide readers with useful recommendations.