In today’s digital landscape, running a blog or social media presence can become a full-time venture. Most bloggers dream of generating revenue streams by being scouted by high profile brands and offered up a lifetime’s worth of products and experiences to review. However, in reality it’s a lot more difficult than that — even if you have established a successful platform, cultivating lucrative relationships with brands doesn’t happen overnight. 

This is why many bloggers begin their journey to monetisation through affiliate marketing. With the right strategy, it’s possible to turn a site or video streaming channel into an income-generating platform while still providing value and guidance to audiences. If you’re thinking about becoming an affiliate, this post will walk you through everything you need to know to get started. 

Affiliate or Influencer: What’s the Difference? 

Although being an affiliate and being an influencer share some similarities, the two are not the same. 

As an influencer, the focus is on building a strong personal brand, establishing credibility and engaging with a dedicated audience that is in the target demographic of an industry or company. Becoming an affiliate, meanwhile, is a strategic choice in which individuals can earn commission by honestly promoting products and services. While both roles involve content creation, affiliates aim to drive traffic and sales to a merchant’s site by generating conversations and direct linking. Influencers use, well, their influence to endorse products and services to followers, often through sponsored content, brand partnerships, and endorsements. 

Many successful bloggers and influencers first began with affiliate marketing and some continue to include it in their revenue streams. But, being an influencer encompasses a broader scope of content creation and audience engagement, while being an affiliate is possible for anyone with an audience and a platform. 

Getting Started

Although it’s a concept that predates the internet — according to legend, the first instance dates back all the way to 1750 B.C — affiliate marketing has grown exponentially over the past few decades. Approximately 81% of brands and 84% of publishers utilise affiliate marketing programs, while, in 2022, the total annual spend on affiliate activities exceeded $8 billion. 

So, what do you need to know to get started?

  • Choose a Niche

First up, you need to choose a niche that aligns with the content of your blog and the interest of your audience. By focusing on one specific niche, you can better target your audience and increase engagement and conversion rates. Consider things like your area of expertise (everyone has at least one!), your passions and interests and the interests of your audience. 

For example, if your platform is devoted to gaming then there’s a whole host of brands and activities that you could become an affiliate for. Video game retailers like GameStop or Amazon offer potentially-lucrative affiliate programs, while Twitch and YouTube enable streamers to become affiliates and earn through subscriptions, donations and merchandise sales. 

Gaming subscription services like Xbox GamePass and PlayStation Plus offer well-known programmes and you’ll even find opportunities in more diverse sectors like the online casino sector. Many leading platforms that provide digital versions of classic table games like roulette offer comprehensive affiliate programmes to enthusiasts of such games. Even top gaming hardware manufacturers such as Razer provide community programmes for streamers to generate affiliate revenues. 

  • Create Quality Content

We all know that old marketing adage of content being king, and when it comes to affiliate marketing it’s never been truer. Quality content is the backbone of successful affiliate marketing ventures, so you should think about focusing on producing valuable, informative content that seamlessly integrates your affiliate links. 

Avoid being overly promotional here, instead only review those products or services that are genuinely beneficial and interesting to your audience. If you’ve been able to build up a large audience, it’s highly likely that you’re already creating engaging content that is valuable to your readers, so just keep doing what you have been doing. 

  • Disclose Your Affiliate Relationships

It goes without saying that if you are creating content with affiliate links you need to be transparent with your audience. Always, always disclose your affiliate relationships to build trust and credibility with your readers and the brands you’re partnering with, too. 

Clearly indicate when you are using affiliate links in your content and explain how they work. This level of transparency will also ensure you comply with any legal regulations and establish you as an honest and principled blogger, which could help you on your way to reaching influencer level work.

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