Influence plays a big role when customers choose where to shop. A hearty recommendation from a close friend someone is worth millions of banner ads all over the internet. Influencers can be anyone: family members, friends, and online users with established reputations. Loyal customers themselves, they can help brands acquire a strong customer base that is more than halfway through the buyer’s journey.
Setting the family members aside, online influencers’ identities can range from individual bloggers to affiliate websites to coupon collectives. While the variety of possible partnerships may seem promising, brands shouldn’t pick just any affiliate to promote their products. Here are some things to look out for when choosing affiliate publishers for your campaigns.
1. Niche and Relevancy
When looking through publisher’s profiles, it’s important to pick only the ones in your niche. Makeup brands partner up with beauty bloggers, clothing stores – with fashion bloggers, tech – with tech. The closer the niche of the blogger, the more authority and knowledge they have to discuss and recommend your brand.
2. Quality of Content
Think of affiliates and influencers as public speakers who have to talk about your brand. You probably wouldn’t ask someone with debatable grammar and a monotone voice to sell your idea to potential investors. Similarly, you can select influencers based on the quality of their content for other publishers, the visible amount of effort they put into taking photos and writing a consistent, error-free copy. While you can always set your requirements for a sponsored post, it’s not guaranteed that it will turn out perfect. To minimize the risks, select publishers who make the effort.
3. Potential for long term relationship
Every digital partnership takes its roots in a strong relationship between the brand and a publisher. In a successful relationship, affiliate managers and influencers communicate regularly to meet each other’s demands. Trust is another important aspect – neither party should charge or get paid for the work that hasn’t been done. Lastly, brands should be open to giving influencers the freedom to create novel and interesting content for their readers.
4. No fraudulent activity
Cookie stuffing, incentivized and fake traffic, and using adware to make money are just several types of scams out there. Make sure to check the legitimacy of an influencer’s follower base – Mediarails can help you with that – and how engaged their readers are in the comments. Additionally, the FTC law requires that affiliate publishers and influencers disclose the fact that their endorsements were paid ads, and many celebrities have gotten in trouble for that.
Much like in the workplace, theoretical knowledge compliments, but doesn’t substitute hands-on experience. Experienced influencers know their audience, are consistent in their writing, and are confident in their efforts in promoting brands. A strong media kit and straightforward communication are good first indicators of experience. Also add to this list: their space has some sort of branding, they publish content regularly, use SEO tactics, and their links, pages and images are current.