How Pleasure Brands Can Bank on the Blurred Lines Between Affiliate Marketing, PR

When onboarding a new client, or speaking to someone who needs PR assistance, the first and arguably most important question is: “Do you offer an affiliate marketing scheme?” Affiliate marketing is important for a brand’s overall ecommerce growth, and it can be the key to securing online earned coverage in top-tier publications too.

What exactly is affiliate marketing?

It is reward-based marketing by which brands compensate publishers that drive traffic from their site to the brand’s site by offering a commission on generated sales. Many big online publishers, like Buzzfeed, Vice and Good Housekeeping, are now relying on affiliate marketing to fill the gap left behind when advertising budgets began to dry up.

Affiliate marketing is a valuable way for publishers, publications, influencers, bloggers and other partners to make money without the need for extensive financial investment. Brands only give money to the affiliate if they make a sale; therefore, no one makes any money unless sales are generated.

Why is affiliate marketing important for PR?

“Listicles” that rate and promote products, including in large online media publications such as Cosmo, Women’s Health and Bustle, will link to a brand’s or retailer’s website via an affiliate link using platforms such as Awin, Shareasale and Skimlinks. This link tracks any traffic that goes from the publication to the brand, and if a sale occurs over a certain period, typically 30 days, then the publisher is credited with the sale and earns a commission, paid by the brand or retailer.

Online magazines now have editors dedicated purely to writing about products, and one of their biggest goals is to generate as much affiliate commission as possible.

Why is affiliate marketing important in sexual wellness?

The lines between PR and affiliate marketing are becoming ever more blurred and it is important for these functions to work in tandem. This applies to all types of direct-to-consumer brands, but it’s even more important in the sexual wellness world. We face many unique challenges because of the nature of our products: suspended Google Ads accounts, social media shadow- banning and posts being removed, to name a few. Sexual wellness may have moved into the mainstream, but we are still heavily restricted and affiliate marketing offers a risk-free way to drive qualified traffic to a brand’s website. If a publisher notices good conversions with a certain brand, then they are more likely to include more links in future articles and push those articles across other channels like their social channels or newsletters.

Why is top-tier media coverage important?

Top-tier media coverage, like Vice and Cosmopolitan, can get your brand in front of a lot of people — plus, consumers tend to trust the opinions of these outlets.

But there is another layer behind this.

“Listicles” are what we call evergreen content. They can bring you back traffic over a long period of time. When a consumer wants to purchase a sex toy, they can’t try it on for size, but they do a lot of research online and the more your brand pops up in these listicles — “Top 10 Best Sex Toys for Couples,” “Best Sex Toys of 2022” — the more likely a consumer is to trust your brand and make a purchase. They help a consumer make an educated decision to purchase. Top-tier media coverage can also have a direct impact on ecommerce websites’ performance. It not only increases referral traffic, but it can also boost SEO thanks to the backlinks from these high-domain authority websites, and it can help with conversion rates as the incoming traffic is qualified.

As the sex toy market is becoming more crowded, it’s important for brands to secure these types of coverage, and without a solid affiliate program, it is difficult.

Do smaller publishers use affiliate programs too?

The interesting thing about affiliate marketing is also that while mainstream publications are a big player in the game, they haven’t monopolized the market. Smaller publications, influencers, bloggers and product reviewers all can sign up and benefit. The good thing for brands here is that each avenue offers a different, varied audience, each one as potentially valuable as the next.

Since affiliate marketing is a network of people and publications spreading the word about your business or brand, it essentially provides you with a team of brand ambassadors. Companies can build relationships with influential bloggers, social media influencers and media contacts to help drive organic traffic to their sites.

As we’re entering into the Christmas and Valentine’s Day period, if you want to see your brand featured across online media, give your PR teams a chance and make sure you are signed up with an affiliate program, ideally one that offers inclusion on Skimlinks — and don’t skimp on the commission rates you offer, either!

How Pleasure Brands Can Bank on the Blurred Lines Between Affiliate Marketing, PR by Kathryn originally appeared in XBIZ

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