Affiliate marketing is a critical component of any brand’s overall business growth. However, when PR comes into the mix, the power of affiliate marketing campaigns is immense.
Exactly what is affiliate marketing? It’s a type of performance-based marketing in which a brand rewards a publisher for driving a sale directly on the company’s website. Without the need for extensive financial investment or new technology, it’s a valuable way for affiliate publishers, influencers and partners to make money. In PR, an affiliate marketer often is a publisher or influencer.
Affiliate marketing takes focus and commitment, which is why PR is an imperative complement to any affiliate marketing program. It’s a must-have tool in any PR professional’s toolbox.
Building and maintaining relationships with shopping or commerce editors and writers leads to coverage in top-tier outlets. Driven by data and quantifiable results, this leads to long-term relationships with some of the largest media outlets and most successful e-commerce retailers.
Some examples of some affiliate publishers are Forbes, People, Business Insider, BuzzFeed, CNN, the New York Times, the New York Post, US Weekly, USA Today, Thrillist, Today, Good Morning America, and more.
Today, consumers are shopping online more than ever before, and many brands have had to pivot to e-commerce. This is what makes affiliate marketing so successful. The following are answers to some key questions about affiliate marketing:
Why do businesses use affiliate marketing?
They use this type of marketing simply to drive growth and revenue. The premise of affiliate marketing is building relationships ― and that’s exactly what PR professionals do. They build and then maintain relationships. They create buzz and maximize results with affiliate marketing campaign.
How has affiliate marketing changed the way we do PR?
Affiliate marketing is a supplement to PR, not an alternative to it. Earned media (PR) is still integral when working with the media. However, with the added revenue that affiliate merchants drive to digital media outlets and the continued rise of influencer marketing, affiliate marketing campaign plays an equal role in the game.
Also, with existing relationships, editors and writers know to come to PR agencies when they are seeking content for their stories, whether it’s product recommendations or sources for a feature story.
Why is the relationship between PR and affiliate marketing more important than ever before?
In PR, the hustle is real ― in other words, coverage is never a guarantee, even with solid editorial relationships and the best story lines. PR professionals go above and beyond to get successful media coverage in top-tier media outlets.
PR pros identify affiliate publishers that align with a brand, as well as key shopping and commerce editors and writers ― and create press assets and develop story ideas to attract them. They monitor affiliate programs, strengthen relationships with best-performing affiliate partners, continue new media outreach and more.
With affiliate marketing now in the mix, a well-rounded strategy includes building out ideas to shape future campaigns, understanding editorial calendars, identifying specific holidays to pitch media and optimizing press collateral to be used in stories.
For instance, during the holiday season, brands should strive to be included in popular publishers’ gift guides. The most effective way to do this is to have a traditional PR approach coupled with affiliate marketing outreach. In fact, according to a Walnut and Retail Week survey (paywall), 65% of consumers plan to do the bulk of their holiday shopping online in 2020 ― up 15% from the previous year.
To add to that, the editorial world moves fast. PR professionals have the expertise and resources that allow them to understand the ever-changing editorial landscape.
Which industries are ideal candidates for affiliate marketing as a supplement to PR?
There are many industries that can achieve great success with affiliate marketing, but when PR is incorporated, some can reap the benefits of more than others. In my experience, these include consumer packaged goods, cannabis/CBD, beauty products and wellness products.
PR and affiliate marketing campaign is a collaboration that pays — and pays and pays.
With the expertise of a knowledgeable and experienced PR firm, this powerful e-commerce tool has the ability to keep a brand at the forefront, increasing brand awareness, driving revenue and gaining customers ― one click at a time.