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As more and more established brands integrate digital content creators into their influencer marketing strategies, top lifestyle bloggers are being vetted by brands for major blog sponsorships and affiliate advertising opportunities. We assess how both sponsored blog posts and blog affiliate advertising work, and how they benefit brands and bloggers.
Many brands create affiliate marketing programs or initiatives as a way to cursorily expand their advertising scope by leveraging an affiliate applicants’ existing blog audience. Top affiliate marketplaces such as Commission Junction (CJ), ShopStyle, Reward Style, and others have tens of thousands of publishers and affiliates to help brands drive sales. Brands can provide affiliate links, banners, or ads for publishers to include on their sites or blogs. In most cases, brands pay bloggers a preset percentage of sales that originated from each bloggers’ affiliate link. This can range from 5% up to 20-30% of the sale.
With blog sponsorships, brands collaborate with top lifestyle, fashion, home, design and fitness bloggers to create custom branded or sponsored content (i.e. integrated or dedicated blog post). Often bloggers will prominently feature the brand or product and utilize their own voice to integrate the brand messaging into the content of their blog. Brands have the ability to handpick their blogger ensuring the absolute best fit for both brand messaging, and blogger audience engagement. Throughout the branded content creation process, brands collaborate alongside the lifestyle blogger(s) to craft custom, organic brand integration into the sponsored blog post. Brands can also run giveaways to drive additional engagement, site registrations, and/or email collections. These controllable aspects of brand messaging, links, and images can make blog sponsorships more alluring, and drive augmented engagement and brand awareness.
Although affiliate marketing initiatives may seem autonomous, and fairly easy to implement with the right affiliate software and coding prowess, affiliate advertising programs often sacrifice “turkey” simplicity for lack of control in both ad placement, proper brand messaging, and bounteous audience exposure. Without a punctilious (and therefore time/resource-consuming) affiliate applicant screening processes, affiliate advertising initiatives quickly become unregulated and haphazard. As a result, blog affiliate advertising fails to achieve their original objective: to leverage and generate targeted audience exposure resulting in both quality leads and sales conversions. Affiliate advertising can be a lower cost option for brands as there tends to not be as much management/brand involvement.
The right blog sponsorships can be extremely effective at creating branded content that resonates deeply with a brand’s ideal consumer audience base, gets shared with like-minded fans, friends, followers, and in turn, generates an ongoing funnel of quality sales leads. Online sales and the path to purchase are oftentimes heavily influenced and directly impacted by the success of a brand’s social engagement. The best blog sponsorships offer dedicated advertising opportunities for innovative brands seeking to align brands, further their brand, or co-brand (cross market, cross promote) with a similarly branded top lifestyle blogger. Done properly, a top lifestyle blogger’s massive online audience network can quickly become a thriving, ongoing, and socially engaged wellspring of sales for the sponsoring brand.