In the conversation of evolving brand elevation tactics, you’ve probably come across or heard about affiliate marketing or affiliate PR. You may even have an account set up on an affiliate platform already. But by utilizing this vital tool to build relationships with publishers and marrying earned media efforts and an affiliate program, these efforts will form a powerful duo.
Affiliate marketing must now be a dominant brand strategy for brands and products to remain competitive. The key lies in a PR firm that already has expertise in this strategy, making a separate affiliate team unnecessary, and possesses the knowledge, relationships, and experience analyzing the data and platforms to leverage this expertise into unparalleled value – and additional revenue – for your brand.
How Did the Need for Affiliate Programs Arise?
COVID-19 impacted industries across the globe when it struck in 2020, and the media industry was no exception. Around this time we started to see well-known print publications discontinue their circulation or scale back. Couple this with a world at home in quarantine, and online shopping soared. E-commerce became the go-to for everything: clothing, beauty and skincare, prescriptions, even groceries. Adapting to a newly defined online world critical – and businesses small and large sought out affiliate programs as a way to create a promising new revenue stream.
\What is Affiliate Marketing or Affiliate PR?
The use of automated links in an editorial setting – whether that be large publishers, bloggers, review sites or influencer content – that drives revenue back to a shoppable page and the companies themselves – allowing for both the publisher and small businesses to thrive. When you see a “shop” link or hyperlinks in a roundup or review article, chances are they’re attached to an affiliate program. This is why you’ll also see many articles now with transparent disclaimers at the top, letting readers know they may earn a commission from purchases through these links. On the flipside, brands can track where the revenue is originating – thereby allowing them to strategically put more effort and incentives towards these partners.
Several well-known companies and sites are transparent about their affiliate efforts. The New York Times’ Wirecutter, USA Today’s Reviewed.com, and CNN’s CNN Underscored were all rolled out as affiliate arms for these companies. Dotdash started out as the affiliate arm for Meredith, overseeing the affiliate marketing across its well-known and -loved titles – before combining to form the country’s largest digital and print publisher.
In 2023, affiliate programs have gone from experimental tools to vital ones. At Pace PR, we offer a complete package of end-to-end services. From walking brands new to affiliate through the process, recommending a platform that fits your company goals and overseeing the onboarding process to day-to-day platform management, tiered-commission recommendations, strategic partnering and negotiations and placements that drive revenue…we do it all. It’s end-to-end – that’s how important it is. Many of our product clients that have chosen to have us manage their affiliate platform as well as their PR efforts have seen this become a major revenue stream.
\Why PR + Affiliate Programs Make a Powerhouse Pair
Hesitancy towards affiliate PR often comes from the thought that it’s no longer earned media – the cornerstone of public relations. But that’s not the case: in order to land a successful affiliate placement, you must have an editor relationship and editor on board with the right angles and storytelling. This is where PR professionals shine – bringing to the table valuable relationships and connections.
Affiliate is a way for the trusted media we know and have loved for decades to reinvigorate themselves, thrive, and profit – while providing the same service to their readers as they always have. It hasn’t usurped traditional media, but rather helped it to necessarily evolve.
Yes, your affiliate team can negotiate attractive deals – but without the PR side of the strategy and the two working together, your affiliate program simply can’t be fully optimized and bring in its highest potential revenue.
There are two largely growing teams at publishers behind the affiliate strategy: commerce editors on the editorial side, and commerce managers on the marketing side. A hybrid PR + affiliate approach is able to connect with these teams seamlessly. There isn’t an affiliate team needing to know how to pitch compellingly or a PR team without the necessary understanding of affiliate rates and commissions.
A one-stop-shop has the expertise of both sides:
- The ability to choose the right partners that will drive revenue to your brand and that are worth a higher commission rate, how to negotiate those rates, and providing the data and proof points to commerce managers that show your product can drive clicks + engagement
- Knowledge of what the editorial team will be covering and the editorial reasons the reader will want to hear about your brand, and the ability to communicate this with commerce editors
You Can Have It All
All of these considerations informed our decision to expand Pace PR and offer affiliate PR services as part of our Lifestyle vertical. With an entirely trained team as well as affiliate specialists that have years of experience and proven results in driving revenue for dozens of brands, we now have the ability to go beyond PR’s traditional scope of building brand awareness + credibility, and can now drive sales and deliver revenue based on our efforts – clients can have it all.
We’ve always looked at promoting clients in a variety of strategic and creative ways – promoting the company, the product, and the person. Now, we can build on delivering the awareness and credibility and also deliver the revenue.
The main takeaway we want to convey is that however your brand may be operating, you should consider affiliate marketing as a strong revenue stream. If you’re not on an affiliate program, we can educate and onboard you. For the full run-down of our affiliate capabilities, you can reach out to Lindsay@pacepublicrelations.com