In tonight’s live feed we do our usual Q&A session and talk a bit about drop shipping vs affiliate marketing, a bit about WooZone (and there are lots of questions about WooZone!) and then we talk a little bit about content ideas for affiliate websites, and that’s what I want to expand on a little here.
We all know how important content is now, especially if you are an Amazon affiliate. Gone are the days of just sucking in Amazon products, reviews and prices. Or price comparisons. It is getting harder and harder to be accepted onto the programme, so you need to be using original, unique content to demonstrate your commitment to the user experience.
If you’re not a natural born writer and don’t have the budget to pay for a copywriter, it can be a mammoth task to come up with content ideas and start writing. So, we’ve come up with a list of 10 content ideas for affiliate marketers as a starting point…
- PRODUCT REVIEWS
This is an obvious one if you are selling products on your site! Savvy shoppers often start with product reviews, so your reviews need to be enticing, authentic, honest, practical and even entertaining. We do recognise that this is sometimes tricky to do, particularly if you can’t actually buy and try the product you are reviewing. We would always recommend buying/holding/using/smelling/touching the product that you are reviewing but know that it’s not always possible.
If you can’t afford to buy and try all the products you need to write reviews for, try contacting the manufacturer to ask if you can borrow a product for a review. Or buy the product and then either send it back or sell it on. If none of that is possible, look at other reviews of the product in question. Take other opinions and TRY to write an unbiased review in your own voice and style.
- BUYERS’ GUIDES
A buyer’s guide focuses on how to buy a product and what you should consider when looking to invest in a product. It might start with a search query like “the best lawnmower for getting stripes in your lawn”. You would be looking for both professional advice and customer reviews. A buyer’s guide will simplify this and give the customer everything they need to make an informed decision.
Your buyer’s guide should be written with authority, entertaining and easy to read. You need to anticipate the questions that your target audience need answered. And you need to know who you are writing it for. If your customers are newcomers, you might want to be more general and call it ‘How to Buy a Lawnmower’. If your users are enthusiasts or more expert, you might want to write a more specific guide, like ‘The Best Lawnmowers for Bahia grass’.
This is something we’re really familiar with here at WP Eagle. There is untold value in teaching someone how to do something, where they walk away with a valuable new skill. At WP Eagle we make a bit of commission on things like web hosting, themes and plugins. But we only ever recommend products that we use and think add value. An example of this is our ‘How to Build an Amazon Affiliate Website' video. It’s a step by step guide to how to build a WordPress site from scratch. And throughout the video we use a specific hosting service and theme, which we recommend.
Let’s go back to the lawnmower example. You might film or write a ‘how to get those beautiful stripes in your lawn’ tutorial. So that in itself have real value for your user. You then might go on to recommend the best lawnmowers to achieve the look on your lawn. So, you’re teaching a valuable skill and then encouraging sales of the products you sell.
- PRODUCT COMPARISONS
Similar to the buyer’s guide, product comparison makes it easy for your users to compare products without having to do all the hard work themselves. Amazon doesn’t look favourable on price comparisons and long gone are the days where you could just stick a price comparison table on your site, so your product comparison has to go further than technical spec and price.
Pitch two popular products (or services) against each other [Product A] vs [Product B]. You’ll need to know a fair bit about the products or services you are comparing so do your research. Do a nice intro to your product comparison piece and then make the comparison piece itself interesting, informative, well-structured and easy to read. Summarise your comparison with a closing paragraph, use images and bullet points, and don’t forget to include a call to action.
- BUDGET-RELATED REVIEWS
Think ‘Best Lawnmower for Under £250’. This arguable falls under the product comparison category but it’s just another way to package your content. Budget is pretty important to customers so Include the pros and cons of the products you are writing about and what they get for their money. Again, make it compelling because at the end of the day, you want to have convinced them so much that they are ready to buy, there and then.
- TOP 5/10/100 LISTS
This is always a good one. Could be your ‘Top 7 Favourite WordPress Themes of All Time’ or ‘The Top 5 Best Lawnmowers on the Market Right Now’ or ’Top 10 Essentials for Winter’ or whatever. You get the drift. Everyone loves a list. Posts with ‘Top 10’ (or 5 or 7 or 20 or 100 or whatever number you like!) in the title, consistently get clicks. They are easy to skim read, can make complicated topics easier to break down and understand, and as a format, it is really flexible and could be good as written, video or even infographic content.
The hardest bit is coming up with the topic so think about what your customers might be looking for. What are the questions and problems that keep them awake at night? This is a more light-hearted way to present information so don’t make it too long and heavy, and organise it in a way that flows well, with your best tips first.
- INTERVIEW AN EXPERT
Now, this does require a little more effort on your part, but it can be a great way to generate more traffic to your website or blog. It’s a process of identifying the more influential people in your niche and then getting in touch with them to ask them if you could chat to them for a piece you are writing. Explain who you are and why you think they are interesting and why you want to interview them.
Interviewing someone sounds easier than it is. You have to prepare for an interview. Do your research and don’t waste your opportunity. Find out as much background information as you can and then develop a list of questions. Think about ways the expert can help you. Make it clear you want to use the interview on your website or blog. Would they be prepared to promote the piece to their followers and customers? Can you link their answers and recommendations to the products you sell on your site? Build a relationship and maybe one day, they will be interviewing you back!
- RESOURCES LISTS
This one is a bit easier. It’s basically a list of resources that you need to be able to do something. For WP Eagle, we’re working on a resources list that covers things like essential plugins, free tools to make life easier, design programmes, top theme developers, hosting providers etc, etc. This is a good example of evergreen content, where the recommendation will be relevant for some time to come and can be updated and repurposed periodically.
- TOP TIPS
Not to be confused with the top 10-style lists, this is more of a ‘how to’ list, where the user learns something new and useful. It’s perhaps not as easy to link this directly to products and sales but it’s valuable to your customer so improves your credibility in their eyes, strengthening your relationship with them. It could be something like ‘My Top 10 Tips on How to Make Money Online’ or ‘Top 10 Dog Training Techniques’ or ‘Top Tips to Get Your Lawn Looking Green’. Just make sure that the user walks away feeling like they have gained value from the article.
- INFLUENCER LIST
This is an interesting one, and maybe even a bit controversial. Because sometimes, the top influencers in your niche could also be seen as your competitors. But times have changed and we’re not guarding trade secrets. Transparency and collaboration are the name of the game now and by sharing a list of other people your customers may find interesting, you are inadvertently marketing yourself too.
By recommending other like-minded people in your field, you are improving your own credibility. The influencers you share with your tribe might notice that you’ve linked to their site, so they link back to yours. They might get in touch and suggest a joint project. They might let you do a guest blog post on their site and vice versa. So, you are adding value for your users and building relationships that could benefit you in the future. Everyone’s a winner.
Hopefully that gives you a few ideas for your affiliate content strategy. It’s always a good idea to create a list of content ideas and a schedule of posts. Think about it strategically. Often, we don’t have time to create content, but it really is the way that affiliate marketing is going. You have to be a content creator, or at least get some content created for you, to stay ahead of the game.