Here’s a truth all affiliate marketers should know:
Affiliate marketing isn’t all about throwing links out there and watching the sales roll in.
That’s simplistic and selfish. (Plus, nobody will ever buy from you if that’s all you do.)
What affiliate marketing really is?
Not to sound cheesy, but that’s 100% true.
It’s just like that time you ate at the new fried chicken restaurant down the block. The first time you ate there, you were awestruck with their crispy skin and tender, tasty meat.
Your natural response?
Tell all your friends to try it, of course!
Affiliate marketing is like that.
Before you can recommend great stuff for people to try, you first need to earn their trust and respect. (Turn them into your friends, in other words.)
And in the fast-paced digital world we live in today, there’s one great way to do that:
Writing for affiliate marketing.
(The right way, of course, which is honest, entertaining, trust-building, and unique.)
In this lesson, I’ll teach you how to do it.
I’ll show you the secrets, tips, and tricks to write badass affiliate marketing content that:
- Builds trust
- Entertains, educates, and amuses
- Has people salivating and waiting for more
- Skyrockets your affiliate sales
Ready to rock?
Why You Shouldn’t Miss Out on Writing Awesome Content for Affiliate Marketing
Before we start, I’m going to warn you about something.
Writing awesome content for affiliate marketing won’t be easy.
It won’t be click-and-go, and it won’t be a get-rich-overnight kind of scheme.
You can’t publish a few blogs and expect to wake up the next day with sales rolling in nonstop.
Nope, none of that.
It’s going to take work, dedication, and persistence. (Just like building a lasting friendship does.)
Now, I’m not telling you this to discourage you.
I’m telling you so you can buckle down and get ready for the ride.
Because the truth is, even though writing magnetizing content for affiliate marketing isn’t a walk in the park…
…it’s 100% worth it.
Think of it like building a friendship with someone.
You can’t just pop up to a stranger and expect they’ll trust you, right?
You’ll need to start with a conversation. You make them laugh. You invite them over for drinks on a Saturday afternoon. You help them solve a nagging problem. You’re a guest at their wedding. You put an arm around them at the funeral of their loved one.
All this leads to trust.
Now, if you told them about that chicken restaurant down the block that you loved…
…don’t you think they’d be out the door running to get a table there as soon as you end your sentence?
The same is true when you write fantastic content for affiliate marketing.
Great content leads to trust and a strong, lasting relationship with your readers.
It’s the sure way towards a steady stream of income from affiliate marketing.
Sure, it takes time and effort.
But it’s always worth it. 💯
How to Write for Affiliate Marketing: 5 Steps that Lead to Building Trust, Growing Your Audience, and Enjoying a Steady Stream of Sales through Magnetizing Content
Ready to learn how to write for affiliate marketing?
If you’re asking, “What’s there to learn? I’m already a great writer”…
…this is for you.
The truth is, being a great writer doesn’t mean you’ll rock at writing for affiliate marketing.
Sure, maybe you have a degree in creative fiction. Maybe your college professor was wowed with your essays.
I’m not saying that’s bad.
I’m just saying that to succeed at writing for affiliate marketing, there’s a specific formula you have to follow at all times.
There are tricks, techniques, and hacks that make your writing work every time.
Miss them, and all your efforts will be washed down the drain.
Here are five to stick closely to.
How to Write for Affiliate Marketing Tip #1: Don’t Hard Sell
Ever walk into a store and feel hounded by a sleazy salesperson?
You know the story.
A cute antique shop catches your eye.
You decide to go in and browse leisurely through their display.
But the moment you step inside, a brightly grinning salesperson in a garish colored shirt walks up to you.
You tell him you’re only here to browse.
But he won’t go away.
He keeps hounding you, standing at your elbow, suggesting items for you to buy and selling you on discounts.
What do you do?
Leave of course.
The same is true online.
When visitors land on your blogs and all you can do is yell in their ear that they’ll be losing their 2% discount if they don’t buy in the next 3 seconds…
…they’ll hit the “back” button like it’ll save their lives.
Now, here’s the tricky part.
What seems natural to you might actually feel like a hard sell to your audience.
For instance, if you repeatedly talk about your affiliate products and why they should buy, they’ll eventually feel like you’re ramming them down a sales funnel.
Here’s an example of what hard sell looks like.
Now, don’t get me wrong.
There’s a place for hard selling. (Sales pages, for instance, like the one above.)
It’s just not in your affiliate marketing blog.
So, what should you write instead of hard sell sales pages?
Here are three types of content your audience will love.
- Info/Education Articles
These types of content have one single focus: to help your audience accomplish a goal.
That goal can be as huge as quitting their nine to five job and making a living as a freelancer…
…or as small as finding the best type of backyard pool for their new puppy.
Here’s an example of an awesome education-based blog.
Now, here’s the cool part.
This guide by Jon Morrow actually does have affiliate links in it.
However, its main goal isn’t to sell.
It’s to help his audience build their own blog from scratch.
See the difference?
- “Best of” Content
This type of content is closer to selling, without being salesy.
In it, you give your honest review of certain products and help your audience decide which brand to buy.
For instance, let’s say they’re looking for the best food for their fish.
Here’s the type of content you could write to fulfil that need.
- Product Reviews and Comparisons
These types of content are the closest you can get to sales.
That’s because people who read blogs like these are primed to buy, needing only one last trigger before they push the button.
For instance, a person who goes online and types “Mac vs. PC” into her Google search field has decided to buy a computer, and only needs facts on which brand is better for her. (Unless she’s searching this keyword to get specs to steam an enemy on a Reddit thread. 🙄)
Remember, a product review is a blog post dedicated to a single product.
A product comparison is pitting two products against each other.
Pro tip: When reviewing or comparing products, never be afraid to talk about their negative traits. Being completely honest helps you build trust with your audience in the long run.
However, don’t be too negative. Equally balancing pros and cons while putting all the facts straight in front of your audience helps them decide more easily, which is great for both them and you.
How to Write for Affiliate Marketing Step 2: Use a Personal Tone When Possible
If you want to recommend that new fried chicken restaurant down the block to a friend, do you sit down at your desk, pull out your fountain pen, and write a perfectly punctuated formal letter to him?
You know, something like:
On January 25, 2003, Mr. Rodriguez and his partner Mr. Gonzales cut the ribbon on their brand-new diner. The diner caught the attention of local people in the area, and during the first day of their soft opening, they attracted a large crowd from the surrounding district.
John would probably laugh or think you’d gone crazy.
(He also probably wouldn’t go to the restaurant.)
But imagine if you walked over to him and told him personally about the restaurant along the lines of, “Hey, John! Want to know about this awesome diner I went to last Saturday?”
Now, the point isn’t to sound unprofessional or skip proper punctuation.
And you can’t always talk to your audience like they’re your BFFs.
However, as much as you can, skip the formality and use a personal tone.
Here’s an example of personal tone:
Of course, it’s all about balance and your own style.
If you’re a formal person, a fun, joking tone probably won’t work for you.
The key is to read everything you write aloud, and ask yourself, “Do I talk like this in real life?”
If you can say yes, you’ve nailed your personal tone.
How to Write for Affiliate Marketing Tip 3: Double Down on SEO
I talk about SEO in other lessons in this course, but I’ll briefly mention it again here.
That’s because without SEO, your affiliate marketing efforts will fail. (Unless you have thousands of dollars to spend on ads, or millions of years to build yourself up as a social media influencer. Just kidding. 10 years is enough.)
Here are three things you can do to boost your ranking on the SERPs and get found by more people.
- Use the Right Keywords
For a complete step-by-step guide on choosing the right keywords for affiliate marketing, go to this lesson.
In it, I teach you how to pick profitable keywords that you have a fighting chance of ranking for on Google, and how to avoid keywords you have zero hope of ranking for.
Yup! You can subscribe to a data-backed keyword research tool for as low as $29/month.
- Place Keywords Strategically in Your Blog
OK, first things first.
Avoid keyword stuffing at all costs.
Don’t do this:
That being said, you need to use the right keywords in your blog if you want to rank.
To balance between keyword stuffing and cringing in fear at the term “keyword,” here are five keyword placement rules to follow:
- Use your keyword in the headline (H1) of your blog.
- Use your keyword as many times in your subheaders (H2s) as you can, keeping in mind that they should feel natural, not forced.
- Use your keyword at least once in your introduction.
- Use your keyword at least once in your conclusion.
- Use your keyword in your meta title and description.
- Include Links to High-Ranking Sites
Google’s web crawlers are like spiders. (Which is why they’re called crawlers in the first place.)
And links are like spiderwebs, helping the spiders jump from one location to another.
So when you embed a link to a high-quality site in your blog, Google follows the link and discovers your page, which it can index and use as a ranking result.
Quick rule on deciding which sites to link to in your content.
Visit Alexa and head over to their free “website traffic statistics” tool.
Paste the website’s URL into the search field.
You’ll get something like this.
What you’re looking for is the website’s ranking on Google.
You can find that in the lower right corner.
If the site ranks 100,000 or below, it’s a high-quality site you should link to.
If it ranks above 100,000, stay away from it for now.
In the example above, Moz ranks #2,057 in the search results, meaning it’s an awesome site to link to.
(In fact, I linked to it right there. ☝️)
How to Write for Affiliate Marketing Tip #4: Stick to the Basic Principles of Quality Blog Posts
Scary fact: 7 million blog posts are published per day.
This means your blog has only a tiny chance to stand out.
Stick to these five basic principles of quality blog posts, and you will stand out. (Hint: most blog posts are awful.)
- Craft a Mouthwatering Headline
Trust me, getting your headline wrong is like painting your whole house with skunk juice.
No one will ever come near you.
Because the truth is, your headline is your first interaction with a reader.
To make them want to click on your blog, it has to have the right amount of mystery, desirability, and promise.
Here are five tricks you can use when writing your headline:
- Make a promise to your reader (How to Become a Copywriter and Earn Six Figures)
- Make your reader curious (On Dying, Mothers, and Fighting for Your Ideas)
- Add a freebie (How to Create an SEO Strategy for 2021 [Template Included])
- Use the “How To” formula (How to Start a Blog: Easy, Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners)
- Use the listicle formula (36 Underrated Ways to Find PAID Freelance Writing Jobs in 2021)
Stick to these formulas, and you’ll attract a legion of readers to your blog.
- Tell Stories
Humans have always loved stories.
From ancient days when hunters gathered around fires to recount their adventures, to modern times when Joe tells Sam about his latest weekend escapade…
…stories have had the power to involve and move us.
Take advantage of this.
Tell stories in your blogs. Entertain your readers. Make them feel something.
- Don’t Overwhelm Readers with Heavy Text
Here’s a fun fact about people who go online to find information:
They’re not there to read.
If they wanted to read, they’d buy a copy of David Copperfield, put their feet up on an ottoman, and spend hours traipsing around with David across an ancient, colorful British backdrop.
They go online to solve a problem, and solve it fast.
Reading is just the necessary evil they must go through to get there.
Knowing that, your goal is to make their journey as painless and enjoyable as possible.
So when they land on your blog, don’t slap them with this.
Don’t force them to wade through an unending wall of text.
Instead, give them something easy on the eyes and digestible.
Include a ton of white space.
One sentence per paragraph?
Here’s a quick rule to remember whenever you write for your online readers.
Always write like you speak.
So don’t write, “Unaware of the predetermined statutes of the premises, the bewildered new janitor committed many errors.”
Instead, write, “The new janitor made mistakes because he was unaware of the rules.”
You’re not writing an essay for your professor to grade.
You’re helping your audience solve their problem as quickly as they can.
Now, here’s a tip you can use to keep your tone natural.
Before you publish any blog, read it aloud first.
If it sounds strange and clunky, it needs work.
- Break Up the Tedium with Images
This ties in with an earlier point.
Your audience will run for the hills if you hit them with a huge wall of endless text.
And sure, you can keep paragraphs super short and include a lot of white space.
But your audience will still balk when they see unbroken pages filled with nothing but words.
The best part is, you don’t need to sign up for an account on Shutterstock and pay for stock photos.
And you don’t need to get out there with your DSLR and take your own pictures.
All you need to do is use the handy tool our computers all have: the screenshot.
I bet you’ve already noticed a handful of screenshots in this blog.
You can take screenshots of:
- Writing on other websites
- Charts and graphs
- Social media posts
Of course, you shouldn’t just randomly inject screenshots to “decorate” your blog.
Use them creatively to illustrate what you said or point out an example.
- Cut Out Filler Words
As Rudolph Flesch said, “Say what you have to say. And then stop.”
This is so true, especially in your blog.
If you take forever to get to your point, your audience will roll their eyes and bail.
Don’t go on and on forever in your introduction. Don’t spam them with unrelated stories. Don’t travel too far from your main points.
Say what you have to say. And then stop.
Check out this excellent example from Brian Dean’s post, How to Promote Your Blog.
- Pack Your Blog with Proof and Data
Even if your audience grows to trust you, they’ll want to see proof that your claims are data-backed.
So instead of telling them, “There are so many blogs published every single day.”
Tell them the real number. “There are 7 million blog posts published every single day.”
To make things even more trustworthy, link your statistic to the source you found it in.
How to Write for Affiliate Marketing Step 5: Spy on Successful Affiliate Marketers
If you’re a newbie at online writing, you can memorize all the rules of magnetizing your audience and keeping them reading.
But it won’t be enough unless you feel the flow in yourself.
Sounds mystical and cheesy, but it’s not.
Flow is real, and it’s easy to learn.
All you have to do is keep reading.
That’s right! Visit the websites of other successful affiliate marketers. Read their content. Absorb the rhythm and flow of their words.
Then, go on to other popular websites and read their content.
In time, you’ll know how to spot good and bad content from a mile away.
How to Write for Affiliate Marketing: The Quick Road to Success
Here’s something to take with you at the end of this lesson.
Writing for affiliate marketing is great fun.
It’s like helping a ton of people and making money at the same time.
But always remember to keep it that way.
Think of it as a relationship with friends.
Keep their best interest in mind. Entertain them. Help them.
Make your content the best it can be.
This is a fail-proof way to grow an audience, make them love you, and rock at affiliate marketing.
All screenshots taken by the author, July 2021.