Let me guess. You hear of people like Pat Flynn and Michelle Schroeder-Gardner earning tens — no, hundreds — of thousands of dollars per month through affiliate marketing. But when you try your hand at this affiliate thing, your success starts and stops with like one sale. So when you open your affiliate dashboard and see numbers like this:
You almost feel as if these affiliate marketing gurus are lying. But here’s the truth: They’re not lying.
They have made massive amounts of money through affiliate marketing. But the difference between them and you?
They know exactly what content to create to drive a shocking amount of affiliate sales. And you? You do not. Until now. In this guide I’ll go over the 6 types of content you can create that drives the most affiliate sales for the most well-known affiliate marketing websites in the world. Will you go from $0 to $100,000 after publishing just a few of these articles? Nope. But you can start to slowly scale your affiliate income so you can start making the closest thing to passive income as possible in your business. Speaking of your business…
How to Earn Affiliate Income Through Content in (Nearly) Any Niche
Some people think you can only make money with affiliate marketing if you are in a super-niched down industry (i.e. like “best blenders” rather than a food blog) or that you have to write about making money online to succeed with affiliate marketing. Not the case. There are tons of sites that succeed in affiliate marketing in niches like:
- Personal Finance (like Young and Thrifty):
- Food (Like Pinch of Yum):
- Parenting (like Adventure Baby, our new project!):
The main thing to keep in mind is that affiliate content has to be good. Doesn’t matter if you’re doing a roundup post of the top products in your industry, it still needs to be the best damn roundup post available on the internet on that topic. Why would anybody use your affiliate links if the content sucks? Everyone wants a slice of the affiliate pie. So they start sites, populate with content, and try to get affiliate sales. Since your readers have so much to choose from, you must make it a no-brainer to buy from your affiliate link. Beyond just good content marketing, this also encourages people to link to you (why would they link to the crap content your competitors are creating when they could just link to the top content?). Links = higher search engine rankings = more traffic = more affiliate sales for you. Got it? Okay, there are 6 types of affiliate content you can create to start earning affiliate commissions. Content #1: Ultimate Guides Content #2: Roundup GuidesContent #3: InterviewsContent #4: Tutorials Content #5: Case StudiesContent #6: Product Reviews Let me explain…
Content #1: Ultimate Guides
Ultimate guide-style posts can be rich with affiliate link opportunities. If you’re teaching how to stock your kitchen, for example, you can link to your Amazon affiliate link for all the products you mention. Check out how Frugalwoods included affiliate links in their guide How To: Cheap Homemade Seltzer with a Modified Sodastream:
If you create an ultimate guide, it can convert like crazy. But here’s the problem with most “ultimate guides”: they’re not actually ultimate. Bloggers write a 1,000 word blog post and slap the “ultimate guide” title on it to get clicks and traffic. Ultimately (pun intended) all they end up doing is pissing off their readers. A true ultimate guide is the best guide on the topic on the internet. There can only be one “ultimate”.
If you blog about marketing, you’re gonna have a tough time creating an ultimate guide on most topics. Competition is fierce and marketers know the power of these types of guides. But in any other niche, you can and should create the best content on that topic. Protip: Very few industries do content properly. So it’s not difficult to create the best content. To create the ultimate guide to sell affiliate products, you have to know what’s out there. So go to BuzzSumo, type in your topic, and open the top shared content on that topic. Write something better than all of those. Will it take you awhile? Sure. But if you really end up creating the ultimate guide, that guide can end up generating thousands of dollars worth of revenue.
Content #2: Roundup Guides
Roundup guides are another type of content that is notoriously successful for affiliate content. Roundup guides are when you feature the top products in your niche. These guides target keywords that are rich in potential because they typically have low competition and high keyword volume.
For example, take a look at how this top camping chair roundup guide:
The author lists the top 10 camping chairs available, sending readers to Amazon affiliate links for all of the options. The keyword has very low competition (you’d only need backlinks from about 6 sites to rank in the top 10) and decent volume (1.3k).
You could do this with one specific product and round up the options, round up the top in the industry (i.e. top travel products to make your trip easier). A recent Reddit AMA covered this (admittedly very popular) method of creating affiliate content, and one of the most common questions was about competition. Should you even bother with this, considering so many blogs are doing this and there’s a lot of competition? Competition means there’s a market for the information you’re giving. As the AMA author said:
“I’d rather have a small slice of a huge pie than a big slice of a tiny pie”
Content #3: Interviews
This type of affiliate content won’t work in every niche, but it works well if you’re an affiliate for information based digital products, and it’s one type of content that requires the least amount of work. Interview people who have used the product you’re an affiliate for with success, and link to the product in the interview. Michelle from Making Sense of Cents has earned thousands of dollars from this interview alone:
Example: if you’re an affiliate for a fitness course or nutrition program, either:
- Interview the creator of the program or
- Ask them what their favourite customer success story is and interview them.
Don’t just interview them and ask them the same stupid questions everybody asks. Ask unique questions that lead them to give a sort of sneak peak into their product. This content is easy to create because you just have to come up with (good, creative) questions and format them into an article.
Content #4: Tutorials
Tutorials are some of the best converting content for affiliate income. My tutorial to help readers set up a website has earned me thousands of dollars worth of affiliate income. You can create two types of tutorials:
- Product specific tutorials: If you’re promoting an affiliate product, show readers how to use it. Ie If you have a photography blog and are promoting a certain camera, show readers exactly how to use it.
- Process specific tutorials: You can also give a tutorial on how to do something within your topic for which products you’re an affiliate for is necessary. For example, if you’re doing a tutorial on how to refinish an antique table, you can promote your affiliate link for the products you use in that tutorial.
These tutorials have to be good. Use a multi-media approach and include video if possible, screenshots/pictures at the bare minimum. Usually the process specific tutorials will allow you to include more than one product link in them, because a lot of equipment is needed.
Content #5: Case Studies
Case studies are some of the most powerful sales tools in content marketing. I wrote a case study for Sumo case about growing a website from 0-10,000 visitors and it was the one piece of content that drove the most sales in 2016:
Case studies work. They work for selling your own product, and they work for selling affiliate products. Let’s say you were an affiliate for a fitness program that had proven results. You could create a case study around one of the success stories. Case studies don’t have to be people you know. You can do analyze another person’s success with the product you’re an affiliate for.
Content #6: Product Reviews
One piece of content you can create for affiliate income is a product review. You choose a product that you use in your niche and write a honest, detailed review on it, like this site did with the Vitamix:
Note how I said honest . Don’t lie. That’s shady, and you don’t want to become another one of those shady affiliate marketers. People are Googling “
Protip: Most of your audience won’t care about these product reviews, so they’re not for your existing audience. They’re for people searching on Google for “XYZ brand tent review”. Hide these reviews from your homepage or your blog page so those who land on your site organically or for other purposes don’t have to weed past your product reviews for products they don’t want.
Stop Letting Money Go Down The Drain
If you already have an established blog, and don’t know where to start with creating affiliate content, start with tutorials. Choose 2-3 products you love that you want to promote, and create as many tutorials as you can surrounding those products. Then, while they’re being indexed by Google and you’re building links to the tutorials, you can start focusing on the other types of content.