How to Effectively Reach & Engage Bloggers from #AMDays

It’s Day 2 of the new Affiliate Management Days conference and I’m stepping into a session called How to Effectively Reach & Engage Bloggers presented by Jenny Williams of Skimlinks.

Here are my major takeaways from this session:

  • Skimlinks has over 20,000 publishers that use the Skimlinks technology to help monetize their blogs and content sites leveraging “skim words”.
  • Who is a blogger? There are hundreds of thousands of blogs about every topic you can imagine (entrepreneurial bloggers, marketing bloggers, community bloggers, etc)
  • Bloggers are valuable because they create a huge long tail of influencers who can account for a large portion of your affiliate sales.
  • You can use google analytics, Alexa, google alerts, competitor back links to find potential blogging partners
  • You can engage bloggers by matching your brands and target demographics, speaking to them like “people” vs a company
  • “Don’t just get in touch with us when you want something. Talk to us on Twitter, engage with us. Be kind to us. Have manners. Thats all we want”
  • The #1 influencer of a blogger is other blogs they read followed by conversation with their friends followed by the media.
  • 81% of bloggers use Facebook to promote their blog
  • Help amplify your bloggers by reposting articles that your bloggers have written about you. It helps you both.
  • Go beyond written content – Video blogs are becoming more and more popular. (ie: @HannahRoseKeys)
  • Feel bloggers with opportunities (ie: competitions, samples, unique codes, increased commission rates, tools such as widgets and store fronts, videos, high res jpegs, attractive banners, etc)
  • Not a lot of bloggers are tech savvy, so working with Skimlinks is a great solution for them to monetize their links
Bottom line I took from this session: there is a huge incremental sales opportunity working with bloggers, but be sure to give them tools, ammunition and a relationship if you hope to work with them successfully and really leverage their audience and skill sets.

Skimlinks an Affiliate or Affiliate Network?

Recent Update (several months after original post) : there are several merchants and outsourced program managers who are complaining about Skimlinks being a sub-network and the types of affiliates they are allowing into their network. The original post which made it sound like a positive solution and one to accept into your programs may no longer be accurate. The bottom line is Skimlinks IS in fact a sub-network and there are pros and cons to this. I encourage you to do your own research and make a decision for yourself as to whether you will allow sub-networks into your program or not. There are many who are for it and many who are against it. It will ultimately be up to you.

— ORIGINAL POST —

There have been a few questions lately about what Skimlinks is and how it fits into the affiliate marketing world. Some question whether it is an affiliate, a network or something in between.

Skimlinks is actually a great affiliate tool that allows an affiliate to easily and seamlessly earn money from text links on their site (perfect for bloggers!) where as Skimlinks puts in an affiliate link to a related product or service for you. Then if a sale is made, both Skimlinks and the affiliate earn money from the sale (25%/75% split respectively).

I signed up to see what it was about myself and here are the instructions I got emailed to me once approved:

“To install Skimlinks on your site, you first need to login to your account using your username (which is the email address you registered with: sarah (at) allinclusivemarketing.com) and set your password here:

http://skimlinks.me/uNPdWJ

Once logged in, you’ll be guided through the process of installing Skimlinks on your site. Installation is really straightforward: copy and paste the Skimlinks Javascript into your site’s footer. If you are using one of the following platforms, we have a dedicated installation guide which can be found under the Installation tab in your Account Interface: WordPress, vBulletin, Blogger, Typepad, Tumblr and Glam. If you don’t want to add the code yourself, we’ll show you how to send all the relevant details to your tech team.

Your Skimlinks account also allows you to:

  • Monetize content keywords with our SkimWords product
  • Run detailed revenue and activity reports
  • Check your balance
  • Search for suitable merchants
  • Apply to use Skimlinks on additional sites
  • Add new users to your Account
  • Access our extensive suite of publisher tools, specifically designed to help you get the most out of your content

To get most out of our service, we recommend adding product links and references to any content that is relevant. SkimLinks will turn these merchant links into their equivalent affiliate link, and SkimWords will turn product references into unobtrusive shopping links. Both services are automatically enabled on your site when you add our code. You can downgrade or deactivate any feature at anytime on the Installation page of the Publisher Interface.

If you have questions on any of the above, please visit the Support pages once you’ve logged into your account.

Thank you for choosing Skimlinks to help you earn more money from your content!”

Here’s what it looks like live:

Note to Merchants: Skimlinks gets to approve the affiliates, which means you don’t. However they have very strict rules about who is eligible and you can stop using their service at any time as well as request particular affiliates be removed from their service (though it’s up to them whether they remove them or not).

Skimlinks was nominated in 2010 as affiliate tool of the year in 2010 on AbestWeb by Wade Tonkin, Affiliate Manager of Footfall Fanatics. It is also used by many reputable affiliates including some of the founders of Affiliate Summit.

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