If you’re a content writer looking to pocket a little extra money, affiliate blog posts could be the missing piece that your income portfolio needs. But writing one doesn’t have to be a nightmare.
Throughout this guide, you will learn the fundamentals that will make your writing stand out as well as the hidden details that, when put together, will make a world of difference when it comes to making money via affiliate links.
Whether you're new to blogging, or a seasoned veteran, this comprehensive guide will add precious value and ultimately lead to attaining passive income by doing what you love the most: writing.
Blogging isn't dead. One prime example of that is affiliate marketing via blog posts. An affiliate blog post is just like your standard blog article. The only difference is that these posts include an affiliate link to a product or service from a specific platform or merchant.
Affiliate blog posts consist of a written content piece linked to a product or service in the text. If a visitor clicks on it and purchases through your hyperlink, you will pocket a commission.
One thing to note is that affiliate blog posts aren't necessarily reviews of a product or service. This type of content can be a regular post, and the affiliate link can be included as a solution to a pain point discussed in the blog.
In the modern online marketplace, affiliate blogging is one of the best ways to earn money through writing. These blog posts are the perfect combination of producing content about something you are interested in, like a product or service, and making money while doing it.
Especially in social media, nowadays, we're force-fed content that teaches the benefits of having a side hustle and creating multiple sources of income. While it might sound repetitive and cliché, the fact is that it couldn't be more accurate. Diversifying your income portfolio is the best way to ensure financial security and a foolproof job structure that will guarantee sustained growth over time.
Affiliate blog posts are one safe way to earn extra passive income in the current digital environment. By earning commissions from your articles, affiliate blogging is a steady source of revenue that you can easily scale up and adapt to your lifestyle.
Another reason that will compel you to write affiliate blogs is that building a relationship with the target readers will help take your website or blog to the next level. When you’re transparent about your content containing affiliate links, you'll build consumer trust, and your entire website will benefit from it. You'll notice a rise in the number of clicks on affiliate links because of that. Readers don't hate affiliate content; they just like knowing that’s what they’re reading.
The number one reason why you should give affiliate blogging a try is that, simply put, it is one of the most fulfilling ways you can monetize your content creation. If you're into blogging and writing content in general, what could be better than profiting from it by simply including links to quality products or services from a third party?
If you're looking to monetize your extra time and energy, affiliate blog posts should be a priority.
We've touched on the basics. You know what affiliate blog posts are and why you should create them. But how exactly do you make money with this type of content post?
The beauty of affiliate blogging is that all you need is to place external links to the product you're writing about in your body of text. Then, if your writing is compelling enough, a potential buyer clicks on the link, the purchase goes through, and you'll receive a commission.
The earning potential is massive, but the money you make will directly depend on your writing. You must employ the right strategies to broaden your audience, as well, to make sure more people read your blog. You increase the number of people using your affiliate links to view your suggested products when you do this.
While the number one factor affecting how much passive income you can make is the quality of the writing, the affiliate program you join will also influence it. Depending on the affiliate program you've joined, every lead that converts to a sale will get you a different fee. Some programs will pay you a flat amount per sale, while others may pay you a certain percentage per sale. Some programs will not only give you a percentage per sale, but they may give you a percentage of that particular customer’s purchases forever!
No matter the intended purpose, writing has to be a free flow of words that blend beautifully enough to be easy to read to every audience. You might go online and research the best ways to produce an affiliate blog post, but the truth is, it all starts with quality writing. If the reader has a hard time reading your text, they’re not likely to click on your link and purchase anything.
A blog post that focuses on selling a product or service needs to add value. Researching and putting pen to paper about a topic that readers will care about is half the struggle. As a content creator, you should write on a subject that people are interested in and include an affiliate link that makes sense. When you do that, your blog's chances of success will skyrocket.
However, these two factors alone won't cut it if your goal is to translate good writing into passive income. You'll need to join an affiliate program.
Many affiliate programs are available online to turn your content into a passive income machine. These programs provide the tracking links, so you’ll be sure to receive credit for sales that come from your content. The great thing about it is that your only job is doing what you do best: writing.
Writing an affiliate blog post is identical to producing content with any other intent in mind. Quality writing is quality writing, whatever its purpose. The one specific thing about affiliate blog posts is that you're advertising a product from a third party while getting paid for sales from leads.
The added benefit you get from this passive income source is that all the intricate details that go into sales, including manufacturing, product/service research, shipping, and customer support, are all the external party's responsibility. You can make the income of an e-commerce site without running one.
The keyword research phase is critical in every content writer's creative process. Before getting into the writing itself, it is vital to understand the best way to deliver an article concerning a specific topic. Keywords are essential in the sense that including these words in your headlines and throughout the article will maximize your returns because more visitors will get to read your content.
Developing a keyword strategy and an SEO plan (more on that later) is fundamental in every blog post. After all, the goal of writing a blog post is for people to read and obtain value from it. The more people that get to read it, the better, and relevant keywords help you accomplish just that. With affiliate blog posts, the importance of keyword research and placement is even more critical than in regular posts.
The fact that the number of people reading your post and consequently clicking on your affiliate links directly influences your income adds a layer of significance to keyword research.
Including keywords relevant to the niche or the product/service you're promoting is of the utmost importance. To achieve that, you must do proper and thorough keyword research.
While there are great paid tools you can use for this, the Google Search Console and Google Trends are two free assets that will yield similar results without taking a cut of your funds.
Beginning with a hot headline is just as important as what comes afterward. The big letters at the top of the screen capture the reader's attention and hopefully pique their interest enough to make them scroll down and keep reading what you have to say.
A good headline needs to be captivating. Again, quality is the name of the game. Sure, there is an ideal length (no longer than six words), and keywords matter too, but what makes a headline stand out is how compelling it sounds.
When writing a headline, keep in mind three fundamentals: headlines should be specific, easy to understand and paint a picture of what the post contains.
People will only want to click on your blog post if they believe the content is relatable. You might feel inclined to come up with a clickbaity/mysterious title in hopes that that will force readers to click on your link, but the ultimate goal is to get people to read your whole article, not just the beginning.
While it may sound obvious, how often have you come across titles that you need to read twice? Putting together a headline that is easy for everyone to read and quickly comprehend is often an afterthought to up-and-coming writers. Still, it is a vital skill to develop for success.
The worst thing to read is a blog post with conflicting writing styles. Imagine you come across a clever, playful headline and feel compelled to read, but you click on the link only to find out the article's tone is entirely different. Maintaining a coherent style throughout the whole piece is essential.
To captivate readers, you can also take advantage of some proven headline formats, which will guarantee a click and hopefully a thorough read.
This headline format is great if you want to write an article that involves learning something or a skill. “How to” headlines are great at highlighting why a post might help them achieve what they need.
Example: “How to write headlines people want to click on”
The question format is a great format for the headline of affiliate blog posts. It's a way to lead into a post that answers questions about a product or service advertised within the text. If a consumer is interested in a product that solves the problem in the headline, the chances of converting the potential buyer are high.
Example: “Affiliate blog posts - should you believe the hype?”
The "why" headline will often lead to an article that is easy to skim and read. It can also be a great way to include an affiliate link at the bottom of the post as a takeaway.
Example: “Why is affiliate marketing so profitable?”
This ranking-type headline fits well if you want to highlight your product or service over the competition. Highlighting your product's strengths is the best way to convince a potential buyer to click on an affiliate link and ultimately purchase it.
Example: "The three best ways to make your blog stand out"
While we touched on what to do when writing a headline, it is essential to know what to avoid when doing it. Headlines that are vague, overly complicated, and don't highlight possible reader benefits are a no-go. Keep your headlines sharp, to the point, and extra engaging to ensure your visitors will click and read.
While writing an affiliate blog post, some writers get caught up trying to sell the product or service, which tires the reader. Being truthful and honest about your thoughts on a product can't be faked. When you push the product too hard, readers will know you’re biased.
One way to come through as honest is by telling your story as one that most readers will relate to based on keyword intent. If someone is reading your article, the chances are high that they are already inclined to buy what you're writing about. Being salesy should not be your number one priority because this can backfire. Engaging the reader with a real-life situation where the product in question provided a benefit is the best trigger to put money in your pocket via your affiliate link.
Discussing a real-life event where the product or service was a lifesaver is one of the most effective ways to advertise a product, as long as it sounds natural and fits seamlessly into the post. If you're writing about a physical product, including photos or videos to complement the text is another way to increase engagement and raise the chances of a reader buying the product.
Perhaps one of the most significant shortcomings of aspiring content and copywriters is not knowing how to lift up the product. As a writer putting together an affiliate blog post, you want to focus on benefits instead of features.
To write better copy, you must know the difference between these two things.
Features are important, but they are only facts about the product or service. By highlighting features, you're only focusing on what the product/service has or is, and ultimately, facts about what you are selling will not entice the reader into making a purchase.
Benefits, however, can capture the reader's attention and prove why a particular product or service is ideal for solving the problem they're currently facing. When potential buyers search for the perfect product online, they will feel compelled by content that details precisely how a specific product will help them attain their goals. Put yourself in the reader's shoes and ask: what's in it for me?
A quick example: telling the reader that your product is low on calories is focusing on a feature. If you want to convert that into a benefit, appealing to their emotions by stating that your product will help them achieve their dream body for summer would do the trick.
Filling your post with benefits instead of features is a crucial aspect of affiliate blog writing that will significantly increase sales.
Choose Your Affiliate Content Format
In the digital marketing world it’s long been said that “content is king” and it’s true. Content is like complex machinery with many moving parts. It’s malleable, and when written in the correct format, you can turn a story, journey, or life experience into cash. You can sell products, services, ideas, information, experiences, education, and much more.
You can make incredible amounts of money by helping others improve their lives.
Below are five basic content formats for affiliate bloggers.
Case studies are perfect for service businesses or just someone who recently installed a floor heating system and decided to document their results. Another great idea would be someone who shared how they learned digital photography by posting before and after pictures of their newly acquired photography skills.
Share the story from beginning to end, or as the great Gary Vaynerchuck states, "don't create, document," because that's all a case study is. Both examples mentioned above have a lot of products, software, parts, and much more that could be monetized, and all you are doing is sharing your experience with proper affiliate links embedded.
These types of posts are simple as long as you know what you are doing. You teach the reader with words, pics, and videos about how to complete a task in a step-by-step manner. The content could be about installing a new entry door or using fantastic software to accomplish a specific task. Just think of how many things you do in a day. You have a lot more to offer than most would think.
Comparison posts are incredible at turning a visitor into a sale. If you make the comparison correctly and utilize proper SEO, searchers who have already decided between 1 and 3 products or services will be your visitors. The visitor has already decided to purchase something; the only decision left is which product or service they will buy. This type of visitor is known as a “bottom-of-funnel visitor”.
If you write reviews correctly and have good images, you can build a consistent income stream with them, but they must be kept fresh and updated. Software and online services (SaaS) update their software regularly. These reviews would need to be updated at least every 90 days to make sure they cover the newest features and the benefits that follow. You should edit posts about physical products at least once a year or as newer models come out.
Pro Tip For Review Posts: You will never find a perfect product or service, so make sure to point out the shortcomings of each product you review. Never forget the negative. If there are no downsides, then you're writing an ad, and people don't like ads. You lose trust when you mislead by omission, and it will cause you to lose sales. Tell people the bad stuff, then, where possible, tell them how to overcome it or why it didn't apply to your situation.
These are the posts you write when someone is looking for a list. The title examples below provide a good view of the options available to you.
Here are a few examples:
The 8 Best Vacuum Cleaners For Pet Hair
The Top 20 Birthday Gifts For Engineers
The 11 Highest Quality Vitamin C Supplements
20 Examples of Bottom Of Funnel Content
The possibilities are endless with list posts, and they tend to be shared more than any other affiliate format on a variety of social media platforms.
Where to position the link that will lead to a purchase is an art. It’s fundamental to make sure that the flow of your piece won’t be compromised by poor link placement. Again, your number one priority should be on the overall quality of your post, and if you cram a link in the wrong spot, you won't be doing yourself or your readers any favors.
You also need to account for the number of links throughout the text. Stuffing your blog post with numerous affiliate links hoping that someone will click one will decrease the chance of clicks turning into commissions. It compromises the article's readability and hurts your chances of securing an affiliate purchase.
Finally, using the correct anchor text is a crucial aspect of affiliate linking. A never-ending URL in the middle of the text is an immediate red flag. A seasoned writer knows that choosing the right words to serve as a hyperlink to the website selling a product or service is critical.
Creating well-crafted anchor text should not be overlooked as it will promote readability, transpire professionalism, and prompt readers to click on your affiliate links. How can the anchor text prompt a reader to click on a link?
Text is mysterious by its nature. No two people think of the same text description the same way. If someone talks to you about a red sports car, it’s almost guaranteed you're not thinking of the same red sports car that they are. It likely won’t be the same make or model, and it's may not be the same shade of red. But, if they spell out precisely what they’re thinking, it takes your imagination out of it.
When you craft anchor text, your reader shouldn't be sure what's on the other side of it until they click. You need to be descriptive enough that they know what to expect to a certain degree but still leave them wondering if they're correct. They're clicking the link and hoping that what is on the other side will match what they're imagining.
This technique works because people think in images. Everyone develops preconceived notions based on their life experience or what they've heard. We thought of a 1988 Ferrari GT Roadster in the red car example. What were you thinking of and why?
Calls to action are an essential part of any blog post, but they’re vital for affiliate content. Most copywriters choose to include a call to action as a sequence to the conclusion section of a blog post, and rightfully so. Ending your article in a way that tells your reader what their next action will be remains a surefire method of getting clicks. Potential customers want guidance, and including clear CTAs in your blog posts or landing pages tells them what they should do next.
While everyone understands the concept and benefits of using a CTA, putting thought into action is a whole different ball game. Not every CTA will compel a reader to complete a purchase, and combining the right words, colors, and images is somewhat of an afterthought when it should be a significant focus. As we said before, starting with a killer headline is essential, but tying things together with an appealing CTA is just as crucial.
Blog aesthetics are important but often overlooked. Because of this, most readers will look at your headline and then quickly scan the rest of the article. The secret to getting a visitor to read the entire piece is putting together a post that looks good as they skim the article.
Making your article easy to read is mostly about the writing itself, but experienced copywriters know the value of making the piece visually appealing.
A few of the must-haves your affiliate blog post needs to possess to look good include:
Complementing your text with relevant pictures makes the post easy on the eyes. Breaking up paragraphs with images will significantly contribute to your affiliate blog post's visual appeal. Images make the post look more lively than stereotypical "plain text".
Maintaining a coherent structure throughout the article and spacing out paragraphs and sections increases readability. A cohesive structure will guarantee that the readers won't get lost trying to capture the ideas present in the article. The post types can also play a major role in the success of any blog post. Understanding what to write in a travel blog would be completely different than a blog written about psychology.
Also linked to the previous point, breaking your body of text up with headings and subheadings is key to promoting easy access to the information present in the article.
Bullet point lists are great for variety. It's easier to digest a blog post with different types of text when compared to a blog post with nothing but hefty paragraphs. Correctly used bullet point lists are a great way to condense information that otherwise could be difficult to comprehend.
If your blog post is well written and you do an excellent job managing the elements above, you have already taken the first step in the right direction.
There is arguably nothing more important than social media regarding advertising and visibility in the current digital world. Now more than ever, brands are using social media to sell their products by pursuing partnerships with influencers and other brands. Information has never been so easy to share, and this makes good content flow at blazing speeds through our messaging apps.
If your affiliate blog post doesn't include intuitive buttons to make it easy to share, you're missing out on an excellent opportunity to expand your audience. When you add social media share buttons at the beginning and the bottom of your article, you're increasing the chances of readers sharing your content with someone who might benefit from the product or service you're advertising.
You should be taking advantage of Pinterest and adding it to your arsenal. Your engagement will rise when you make it easy for readers to pin your images on that platform. As a bonus, if you link your social media profiles on the article page, the chances of you raising your affiliate purchases will skyrocket.
Before we get to the three examples of affiliate partnerships, we need to address SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it's basically how well your article will rank in search engines like Google or Bing when a potential buyer types something related to your target keywords in the search bar.
Writers and businesses focus on SEO to increase traffic to their websites and articles, ultimately leading to sales. Even though good SEO practice changes often, there are a few essential checkboxes your blog post must fill to rank well for a Google search:
One thing to note is that including affiliate links in your blog post won't benefit your SEO rankings. GoogleBot targets affiliate links, and because of this, they will hinder your site’s SEO performance. It might sound contradicting since we're discussing ways to boost SEO in an affiliate blog post, but that's precisely why employing the best SEO practices in an affiliate blog post is so vital.
In the early days of Search Engine Optimization it was recommended to "fool" Google and its competitors by adding more keywords than those needed, search engines have since evolved past that strategy. Stuffing your blog post with keywords won't help it rank higher in Google searches anymore. On the contrary, search engines penalize such tactics and promote more naturally worded content today. Keyword stuffing and the idea of keyword density as a whole are both officially dead due to NLP (natural language processing). That was introduced into Google's algorithm several years back.
Today's best SEO is based on keyword placement and strategically placing internal and authority links throughout your text. Still, your most effective SEO investment is a well-crafted content writing piece that reads well.
Smart Passive Income/ConvertKit is our first example of an affiliate partnership.
Smart Passive Income puts up a ConvertKit review telling readers what it is, how it works, how ConvertKit could benefit them, and gives them a glimpse of the downsides to the service, which is a crucial aspect to sounding honest to the potential customer.
Smart Passive Income pockets money by directing readers to ConvertKit's website, and every purchase made through the affiliate link earns the original website a percentage of the transaction.
Even the New York Times takes advantage of affiliate marketing. Wirecutter is a product review website owned by the news giant that provides reviews of pretty much every item you can think of.
Wirecutter's breakdowns are as thorough as they can get, and every reader can see how transparent every review is. Each product is fully tested and each post they write comes across as authentic. Because of this, they are one of the most famous review websites in the world.
With Wirecutter, the New York Times earns a fee for every purchase made through affiliate links present in the reviews.
If you're looking for the ultimate affiliate website for finance-related articles, look no further than NerdWallet. They cover everything from credit cards to traveling and even taxes.
In this particular example, NerdWallet pockets a fee for every reader that gets approved for a new credit card via their affiliate link.
Affiliate marketing is a great tool to explore if you want to diversify your income sources. Learning how contemporary businesses work is a step in the right direction. Writing affiliate blog posts is among the most profitable activities you can do with your time when done the right way.
If you're looking for a quick fix to your salary woes and think that affiliate marketing is a get-rich-quick scheme, don't get too excited; this side hustle takes work and commitment. You will need to invest your time and learn the craft before you can rake in a considerable amount of income. The key is to be patient and to learn as you go.
Don't forget that a well-written article is the foundation of everything. Write a blog post that relates to the product you're promoting, and you'll notice how that significantly helps drive your click rates up.
Focus on crafting a great piece of work, making it appealing to the eye, employing the right techniques to scale its visibility, and you'll be set up for success.
We have covered every nook and cranny of what makes a great affiliate blog post with this extensive guide. Every tip will help you in different ways. When they're combined, it will translate to a blog post that is easy to read, provides value, and eventually earns you affiliate income from buyers who made purchases through your website.
Need to write other types of blog posts? Check out our articles on:
How to write a blog post
How to write a food blog
How to do a listicle
How to write a blog post about an event
How to turn an interview into a blog post
How to travel blog
How to write a comparison blog post
How to write a B2B case study
Write 10x faster, engage your audience, & never struggle with the blank page again.