Author Blogging 101: Creating Income by Recommending Resources

by Joel Friedlander on March 25, 2013 · 2 comments

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This post is an example of the value of affiliate marketing.

At its most basic, affiliate marketing means that you promote someone else’s product or service simply by sending traffic to another site. The producer gives you a special code, which you pass along to your readers, to use when they make their purchase, and you earn a commission. The producer delivers and supports the product, all you do is promotion.

Done properly, being an affiliate for other people can be a win-win-win proposition:

  • Readers win because they get curated, experienced, and balanced recommendations on products and services they need, saving time and frustration and reducing risk, without paying any premium.
  • Bloggers win because they fulfill their mission to help their readers and make passive income at the same time. Recommending resources not only gives them subjects to blog about that their readers are going to be interested in, it also creates a perfect environment for content marketing, where their writing is what leads to interest in the affiliate product or service.
  • Producers win because they can put a large, committed and educated sales force—their affiliates—in the field to market for them. By supporting the affiliates, they magnify their marketing by an order of magnitude over what they could do by themselves. And for producers with more products and services, affiliates supply a constant flow of new, qualified prospects.

Commissions to affiliates range from a low of 4% (from Amazon’s program) to 30%, 50%, or 100% of the retail price of the product or service. Most programs I run into range between 30% and 50%. People offering 100% have more—and usually more expensive—offerings that justify gathering prospects and forgoing immediate income.

This beautiful picture is not the way a lot of affiliate sales go on, of course, and we’ve probably all seen examples of the other kind. I’ve personally had people stealing articles from my blog and re-posting them for the sole reason of selling someone else’s affilate product from their site. That’s nasty, but they didn’t get away with it for long.

There’s a secret to affiliate marketing, the one rule you need to follow to make this whole picture come to life for you:

Only recommend products, services, and people that you have used, or whom you know personally, or that you have vetted, and that you wouldn’t hesitate to pay for yourself.

Follow this rule and both you and your readers will profit from your promotions.

Best Copy Approach for Affiliate Sales

I think the kind of copy that works best for affiliate recommendations combines these four elements:

  1. Personal story—Tell people the kinds of experiences you’ve had, or the results you’ve gotten with the product or service. This is much more powerful and believable than just clipping copy from a website or reciting a long list of features.
  2. Reason why“—Of course, every communication you have with readers should have a “reason why” and this is even more true with affiliate products. Is there a reason people need this product or service? That’s a good “reason why.”
  3. Call to action—Every affiliate promotion has to have an action at the end of it. Click to find out more, add to cart, buy now, see if this fits you—if the reader never takes an action, there’s no benefit for you or anyone else.
  4. Affiliate statement—Although this is mandatory, how you handle it can make all the difference. Restating the value in your offer can help readers make a decision.

You can see how this plays out in the recommendation below. See if you can find each of these four elements in the copy.

Email provider: AWeber.com

When I first got started blogging people kept telling me to start an email list. Here’s why:

  • email lists give you more chance for interaction with people
  • you can speak in a more personal way to people who sign up
  • the feedback you’ll get from people on your list is invaluable
  • it’s a great way to stay in touch about news that your readers want to know about
  • and a lot of other things, too.

One name came up over and over: AWeber. But I didn’t know anything about the company or what they did.

Instead I signed up with Constant Contact, because I kept getting mail from people who used them.

It turns out that that wasn’t a very good decision. It was okay, but I soon realized it would be very expensive, and I started to think they didn’t have the features I was looking for.

The whole email list business seemed to becoming more and more important to the way I wanted to build a community online.

Eventually I got my nerve up and went over to AWeber’s site.

They made it super easy to sign up, and actually offer a free test drive if you want to try it out.

I learned from their easy to follow video tutorials how to set up the little box where people put their email address to sign up.

The templates they provided gave me a way to experiment with a newsletter, they are pretty popular.

Not only that, as I got to know it better I realized you could have lots of lists if you wanted, and you could even use AWeber to send your blog posts out to subscribers, too.

Still, sometimes I would get pretty confused about something I was trying to set up, and I called into their support line several times.

Each time I’ve talked to someone who was friendly and helped me solve the thing I couldn’t figure out.

Not only that, but their prices are quite reasonable.

So I’ve stayed with AWeber as I’ve grown my email list, building more lists and gradually learning about how to maximize this valuable asset.

I use AWeber and rely on their service to run the whole back-end of my business.

And that’s why I recommend them to you, if you need an email provider.

Since they offer a free test drive, there’s no risk to check it out.

Here’s the sign-up just below. Go with the best, try AWeber today.

This is an affiliate promotion. If you sign up with AWeber, I will receive a small monetary compensation. I never recommend products or services I haven’t used, and only recommend those that will help you reach your goals. Email marketing is vitally important if you want to build a sustainable business, and AWeber is simply the best.

Using Affiliate Promotions

This promotional copy stacks up pretty well. It tells a personal story, explains why you might want to use the service to achieve your own goals, contains a call to action, and uses the affiliate statement to reinforce key points in the article.

Affiliate sales are a basic way you can generate income from your blog once you start to build traffic. As long as you continue to produce content that delivers real value, readers will be open to your personal recommendations of products and services.

Keep in mind that you can use affiliate promotions like this one in several ways:

  • You can create a blog post to promote the affiliate product or service.
  • Or you can email the promotion to your email list, or include it in a email newsletter.
  • And you can also set up permanent pages on your blog for recommended products and services. See my AWeber page for a sample.

Having a permanent page for resource recommendations might work the best long-term. You can always link back to them from appropriate articles, and browsers will have an easier time finding them.

An Affiliate Opportunity

Tracy and I are busy finishing the nonfiction templates for our BookDesignTemplates.com site. We provide authors who want to use Microsoft Word for their books with templates that will help them create beautiful, industry-standard books quickly.

Book Design TemplatesWe’re now opening our site to affiliates. We’ve already sold hundreds of our templates and more authors are discovering them every day. When the nonfiction templates are ready to go on sale, we’ll be doing a major promotion to let people know.

If you’d like to be an affiliate for a solid product that delivers real value to your readers, take a look at our Affiliate Information Package and join us today.

Photo: bigstockphoto.com

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    { 1 comment… read it below or add one }

    Tony Panama March 26, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    Thanks for the tip on template sites for authors. I’ve recently been struggling on how to turn a wordpress theme , into something I’d like for my book site.

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