Having a company blog is standard these days and for good reason. Not only can a blog showcase your expertise and inspire a sense of trust & professionalism, but it can also be an essential tool for gaining real estate within the Google ‘search engine results pages’ (SERPs).
Why Have a Company Blog?
There are several reasons that blogging can help you rank higher on Google, for example:
– Google loves fresh content & regularly updated websites
– Blogging creates ‘long tail’ search terms that you may rank for
– You will keep people on your website longer (a Google ranking factor)
– You are more likely to earn links from other sites (a Google ranking factor)
In addition to gaining and improving rankings on Google SERPs, blogging can also help feed your social media marketing. Using images, quotes and other snippets, you can reformat your posts and publish links to them on your social media channel.
People don’t want to be sold to constantly on social media, the more useful and helpful the content and information that you share, the more likely you are to gain followers and engagement. It’s also another great way to reach people by showcasing your industry expertise.
In the bestselling social media marketing book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” by Gary Vaynerchuk, he talks about using the ‘jab’ to engage and trigger audience interaction and set up the “right hook”, which is the sale. Without a blog to call upon, many companies use social media at best to share their latest company news (yawn) and at worst, to constantly self promote; which gets tedious very quickly.
What people want from a company blog and from social media, is useful information and/or entertaining content. For example, a car mechanic would ideally be posting content with tips about how to choose your next car and how to maintain a car. This may seem counterintuitive to a certain extent, because you don’t want people to do it for themselves, but the vast majority will look at a blog post or social media publication and then ask a professional to do it for them anyway.
Getting Started as an Affiliate
Affiliate marketing is not a good fit for every company blog. If you are a ‘supercar’ dealer, for example, you probably don’t want to be promoting specific types of car products just to earn an extra (insignificant) bit of cash. If however, you are a freelance designer with a fantastic blog, it might be a good idea to diversify your income with an affiliate scheme or two promoting graphic design products, software and/or courses.
Because you have a company website, not a personal blog, you will need to tread carefully as you don’t want to damage the user experience with annoying popups and adverts asking for clicks or email addresses.
If you are happy that affiliate marketing definitely won’t damage your company brand, then the first thing to do is make sure that you have a fair amount of engagement on social media and a good amount of engaged traffic on your website. Quality is better than quantity in terms of your traffic, if 90% visitors come to your blog and leave within 10 seconds, then your traffic probably isn’t relevant or they’re experiencing a major user experience issue – probably related to site speed.
You can get an indication of your site quality by installing Google Analytics on your blog and looking at the Time on Site and Bounce Rate metrics.
Find Products/Services to Sell
There are three ways of approaching this
1. Check if products or services that you use, have an affiliate scheme
2. Check to see which products or services in your industry have the best affiliate commission
3. See which of your high-traffic blog posts could be repurposed as an affiliate review/post
From answering services to office rentals – make a list of services and products that your business uses and then check to see if these have an affiliate scheme. The easiest way to check to see if they have an affiliate scheme is to simply email them, or search their website.
To see what search terms and which pages of your blog and website rank on Google, you can sign up to Google’s Search Console. You can also use Google Analytics to check which pages on your website get the most traffic.
Going back to our freelance graphic designer example, if he/she has a blog post about ‘Splitting Text in Adobe Illustrator’ that gets lots of traffic, this page could be repurposed to promote a graphic design course or a new piece of software.
To check which products have an affiliate scheme and to check what the commission rate/percentage is, you should visit affiliate network websites such as Clickbank and Refersion.
The most popular place to find affiliate products is, not surprisingly – Amazon. Sign up to the affiliate scheme at the Amazon Associates website – be aware however that if you don’t sell a set number of products within the first 3 months, your account gets revoked. Also, the commission rate tends to be lower than those found on other affiliate networks.
Once you are signed up to an affiliate program, make a note of your unique ‘affiliate link’ as you will need to add this to your blog post and social media channels.
Whichever approach you use, you should always disclose that you are using affiliate links in your post. It is also favourable to own the product that you are going to promote!
Option 1 – Write Your Review of the Product
If you do have the product that you want to promote – then great. Create your review and make a video. Post the video on Youtube and make sure that you put your affiliate link in the description. Embed the video on your blog post/review and add several high-quality images too – remember to compress and resize the images before you upload them as large images can damage your site’s speed and load-time.
If you don’t have your hands on a product, it can prove difficult to give a review that will come across as genuine. The best approach is to look at all the reviews and articles that you can find about the product and create your review based on these. Remember that your content has to be unique however, all Google will remove your blog post from its index.
If you don’t make your own video about a product, it can be a good idea to enhance your review with videos from others.
For example, in this product review, the blogger has used screenshots from celebrity testimonials as well as embedding a number of ‘influencer-videos’ touting the product’s benefits. The blogger has even included a thread from a Reddit.com discussion, to give the post extra credibility.
Videos and quotes from well-known industry figures, plus a screenshot from a Reddit discussion, provide a high level of social-proofing that greatly increases the likelihood of a purchase.
You don’t necessarily have to create a blog post that is directly about the product you want to promote. A car mechanic, for example, could add specific products to a blog post about “5 Things to Check on Your Car This Winter” – touting the products a little more indirectly.
Option 2 – Use Banner Ads across your Blog
You can also use banner ads and other imagery across your whole blog to promote the product. This can look terrible however and again, whether or not this is a good idea will depend on your company and your brand.
Option 3 – Create a ‘Recommended Products’ Page
This can fit well on most company blogs and websites. Having a ‘Recommended Tools’ or ‘Recommended Products’ page can provide valuable information for your visitors and can to a certain extent, showcase your expertise as long as you explain why each product is recommended.
Affiliate Marketing Requires Effort – To Begin With
Although affiliate schemes can provide passive income once they are up and running, it can take a long time to research products and services and create content that gets traffic.
In addition, you do need to consider whether or not affiliate marketing is a good fit for your brand and your website.
Done correctly, however, affiliate marketing can diversify your income and provide a reliable way to make money whilst you sleep!