One emerging trend that has been dominating conversations amongst communications specialists is the rise and significance of affiliate links and the role they play in PR campaigns.

Affiliate links are a marketing tool that allow media and creators to monetise their content in return for increasing traffic and/or sales for a brand. Much like an advertisement that is paid for by a business to promote their product, collaborating with an affiliate program means the publication or influencer that promotes a business, will receive a payment in return.

And while content that includes affiliate links may read like any other editorial piece, for example an interview with a spokesperson or a product review, it has been written following specific guidelines – SEO-optimised words are included, backlinks are mandatory and, monetisation tactics that work for both the publication and brand have been implemented. It is the same formula for influencer content and it’s a win-win for all involved.

The approach, which has grown rapidly, has meant that in our fast-moving media environment, the industry has had to adapt. Specific roles have been created for journalists who are dedicated to writing stories that include affiliate links and influencers are suggesting the option more frequently during negotiations. This means it is imperative that we understand how best to use the marketing program to support PR efforts and, we consider it in our PR strategies.

Since the rise of affiliate marketing, the Polkadot Communications team has been implementing the strategy with several clients to ensure they stay top of mind for both media and influencers as they are developing content. This ensures that we achieve continued success not only when proactively pitching stories but also when media are writing additional articles or influencers are sharing organic posts and stories.

Offering a new approach to getting products in front of consumers that benefits everyone involved, there’s no denying that affiliate links are here to stay. So, with that in mind, here are three tips for adopting affiliate links in your PR strategy.

#1: Understand the content opportunities available to your client and discuss these from the outset.

When you’re first speaking with a client during the briefing/proposal stage, discuss their knowledge, experience, and willingness to use affiliate links. It is always best to know if these are already established and can be incorporated into your strategy – it could even be what makes you stand out from others pitching for the business. Alternatively, if a client isn’t already using affiliate links, this provides an opportunity to educate them on the possibilities and how you can support them during the setup process.

#2: Consider how to implement affiliate links into your overall media strategy. 

Once the client is on-board and you’re developing your 6-12 month plan, think outside of traditional media pitching and influencer engagement. Make sure you develop angles that lend themselves to affiliate partners and allocate time to influencers who can capitalise on monetising their content by using these links. Also consider if there are key months when affiliate links would spike interest in purchases, for example, Mother’s Day and Christmas.

#3: Do your research. 

Just like you would develop a media/influencer list for traditional pitching and engagement, when you start working with a client and, throughout your tenure with them, ensure you’re up-to-date with which journalists and influencers work with affiliate links and establish relationships with these individuals. While affiliate links lead to sponsored content, journalists writing these articles are still selective of which brands/products they promote and therefore, you want to ensure they have a positive experience with your client and can become genuine advocates for the brand.

If you’d like to discuss how affiliate links can improve or affect your PR strategy, please get in touch with [email protected]

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