This post is from freelance writer Echezona Enemuo who writes articles and blogs for various companies.
Every day, thousands of writers emerge online as bloggers or copywriters who desire to make passive income through their books or freelance gigs on different freelance platforms. Most times, articles by self-acclaimed online millionaires overwhelm you with claims of making millions while asleep. Many bloggers make money passively, but it does not come easy as they paint it. Just like the act of writing itself, it requires consistency and patience.
As a writer, you can earn passive income through affiliate marketing. A report by Statista revealed that the U.S. affiliate marketing spending is due to increase to 8.2 billion U.S. dollars by 2022, up from 5.4 billion recorded in 2017. As long as your blog or website runs 24/7, you’re open for business, and your affiliate links make money for you. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s dive in right away into the meaning of affiliate marketing and why you need to get involved as a writer.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is an arrangement where you are paid a commission for promoting the products and services of another person or company. Three key parties are involved in affiliate marketing. They are the merchant or advertiser (the product or service owners), the affiliate or the publisher (you, the writer), and the buyer or consumer. The merchant pays you commission resulting from bringing a customer their way to make a purchase.
The question for you as a writer is, where do I fall in this fold? Let start with the writer as an affiliate.
The writer as an affiliate
Affiliates or publishers are bloggers, webmasters, vloggers, social media influencers, and guest writers. An affiliate attracts potential consumers to the merchants’ products through various means and gains a commission when a customer makes a purchase. An affiliate may promote one product, but the more products an affiliate promotes, the higher the earning. As a writer, you can promote products or services through various means such as blog posts, social media advertising, an entire website, podcasts, webinars, or email marketing.
How to start in affiliate marketing?
Writers benefit from affiliate marketing through their blogs or website content. Start by employing these steps:
Identify a niche that resonates with you
You don’t just write randomly on any product or service. Choose a niche. It must be a niche that resonates with you. The best practice is to search for products on-demand or search trending keywords on your choice’s affiliate marketplaces. Google Trends is another tool that helps. It is necessary because you wouldn’t want your book or product review to be lost in a large pool of saturated products or niche, especially if you’re not familiar with SEO. Also, be warned that promoting a product you’re not familiar with can spell doom. So, promote products you have used and can recommend with confidence.
Build your mailing list
You will find it difficult to make a decent income from affiliate marketing without having great traffic to your blog or website. If your website receives less than a certain number of visitors per month, you may not be admitted into some affiliate marketing programs. To achieve this, you must strive to build a mail list from your site visitors. You can use any WordPress sign up forms such as Optin Monster, WP Forms, or Ninja Forms to capture your visitors’ email addresses and communicate with them directly.
Choose mailing services such as Mailchimp, Mailerlite, Getresponse, and as a beginner, I suggest you try Sendfox; they have cheaper packages than other established mailing services like Mailchimp. Through your campaigns on any of these mailing service providers, it becomes easier to connect with your audience. With this, you don’t have to wait for organic search engine results to sell your content to your audience. Populate your blogs with useful and interesting SEO content to educate your audience about the product you’re promoting. Most of the buyers are looking for reasons to buy. Convince them with your articles. Use command verbs in your call to action (CTA) that prompts your visitors to buy whatever you’re selling.
Affiliate marketing platforms
There are many affiliate market places for publishers, especially writers and bloggers, but I will discuss two, which I believe are every bloggers’ gold mine. They are Amazon Associates and Google AdSense. I must confess that other great platforms exist, which I will mention later, but these two are my favorite. Here is why.
Amazon Associates is one of the largest online affiliate programs with over 900,000 members because pretty much everything is sold on Amazon. Amazon Associates covers a wide range of products that allows affiliates to select from.
Why choose Amazon associates as a writer? Amazon offers a 24-hour window period where you promote any product purchased by a customer who landed on the website through your Amazon affiliate link. Great, isn’t it?
While your book will earn you a few cents on book sales, the customer may buy an electronics or the products with higher commission. So, you earn more writing an engaging and helpful article on your blog.
All you need to do is sign up for free using the Join button and choose the U.S. program. You can choose other programs depending on the country you live in. Follow the steps to set up your Amazon Stripe (Site stripe) and get an affiliate link.
Google Adsense has about 2 million users, and it offers one of the highest paying ads. Google AdSense pays publishers about 68% of the money obtained from advertisers. When your blog is approved for displaying ads by Google Adsense as a blogger, you can begin the program. With Google AdSense, you’re paid on cost per click (CPC). That is, Google pays you each time visitors click on the ads on your blog. You earn about $.10 to $2, depending on your niche and your location. Clicks from the U.S. are paid higher than clicks from Europe or Africa.
Before Google Adsense gives you approval, your content must be original. Google frowns at spun or scrapped contents. To increase your chances of ranking high on Google search results, you must write consistent, unique content, which places you as an authority in your niche. Simply put, Google rewards unique content.
Other affiliate programs
As a writer, you can promote popular products ranging from physical products to software. Products such as books — audio, digital or printed (your books or books of famous authors), writing and editing software such as Scrivener, Hemingway app, Smart Edit, Grammarly, ProWriting Aid or Autocrit, Online Courses like Coursera (45% commission, 30-day cookie), Udemy (15%, 90-day cookie), Teachable (30% commission, with a 90-day cookie), Edureka (15% commission, with a 30-day cookie), Edx (10% commission, with a 60-day cookie), Skillshare ($10 for every new customer referral 30-day cookie) and LinkedIn ($10 per online sign-up 30-day cookie).
There are other affiliate programs where you can earn decent income depending on your hard work and consistency. They are Clickbank, ShareASale, eBay Partner Network, Commission Junction Affiliate popular known as CJ Affiliates, TravelPayout, Skyscanner, Agoda, booking.com, Airbnb, Siteground, WPengine and the rest.
The writer as a merchant
The merchant is the brand, owner, creator, and in this case, you (the author or writer). The merchant owns the services or products to be promoted or advertised. Writers promote their books. You pay affiliates commission to promote your book(s) to their audience on their websites or blogs through an affiliate link you create for them. You set up an affiliate program widget on your website where affiliates subscribe to become your affiliate. If this is perfectly done, you don’t have to hustle for traffic to your book site or creating an audience. You simply leverage an affiliates’ audience. The affiliates do the work for you while you earn more from your book(s), and they receive a commission for their job.
To make a decent income through this means, you must have a well-planned out strategy. First, you must locate affiliates within your niche whose audience is your target audience. Very important! You probably can’t sell romance novels to sci-fi lovers. Then, make sure you are a part of top affiliate marketplaces like Amazon Associates, Clickbank, ShareASale, Ratuken, or CJ Affiliates. It is easier for affiliates to find your books on these marketplaces and request to become your affiliate.
Secondly, you must provide your affiliates with various promotional materials and communicate regularly to support them. You may send copies of your books to them, and encourage them to take photos and show their audience. Also, make the percentage of your commission attractive to draw affiliates. A commission of 50% – 75% is attractive, depending on the price of your book. Please endeavor to read the rules and policies of any marketplace you intend to use.
To end this part, you must always be on the lookout for new partners. The larger your network of affiliate marketers, the higher you earn.
Furthermore, as a merchant, you can also create personal affiliate links to your books when you write as a ghost or guest writer on other people’s blogs or websites. You can do this by naturally referring to your book in your article on such authority websites. It gives authority to you as a writer and helps your book website rank higher in a Google search.
In conclusion, affiliate marketing is a great means of earning passive income, no matter your niche as a writer. To succeed with affiliate marketing, consistency, patience, and hard work should be your priority. The income may be small as a beginner, but in the long run, you can adjust your strategy to earn a higher income. Adopt a strong marketing and content strategy to produce engaging and quality content. When you write quality content, Google rewards you with the top ranking, which draws traffic to your website. In turn, as your visitors convert to buyers, then you earn.
Disclaimer: This article contains certain products and links to these products. I believe in web transparency. My sole goal for this article is to help educate you on the possibilities that exist for a writer to earn through affiliate marketing.
Please note that I have not received any free products or services from these companies in exchange for mentioning them in this article. I earned nothing or commission for any of the links or products mentioned in this article therefore, I will not be held responsible for any decision or action you take after reading this article.
See the links below for further information on FTC guidelines and other disclosure guidelines.
Echezona Enemuo is a fan of Social Media Marketing. He does freelance copywriting, blogpost writing, email copies, Facebook ad copies, and short video ads for businesses. Outside content marketing, Echezona enjoys teaching Literature, learning new skills, and watching soccer matches. You can connect with him on Upwork.com.