Recently, we’ve seen huge growth in the field of commerce content. An increasing number of publishers are turning to affiliate monetization to diversify their revenue streams, and those who have already seen success are increasing the volume of content they produce.
We hosted a webinar to help publishers better understand the opportunity for their business. The webinar covered tips for creating powerful commerce content (whether you’re just starting out or you’re expanding your current offering) and also provided strategies for using paid content distribution channels to turn those efforts into a scalable revenue stream.
The session was super informative, with tips on the entire process from the best content formats and copywriting formulas to the most valuable products to write about, content distribution budgeting, and how to start planning for Q4, but if you learn only two things, these should be the two:
1. Launch an active commerce content strategy
Many publishers getting started with commerce content simply insert affiliate links into existing content. This is a great way to make passive revenue but isn’t a great way to optimize for results. Instead, we suggest publishers take a more active approach, thinking about commerce content as a part of their overall strategy.
This can take many forms. For the publishers most serious about the revenue stream, it can often mean a dedicated team with a dedicated commerce site (like The Strategist for New York Magazine, The Inventory for Gizmodo, or CNN Underscored for CNN). But there are other models that have been extremely successful as well, including embedded commerce editors within editorial teams, or having the traditional editorial team actively engaged in the affiliate process.
The key thing is to have a process in place for creating new commerce content and understanding that you can not rely on SEO alone to distribute it. As with editorial content, commerce content deserves to be distributed to audiences, wherever they’re reading (email, social, in-app, etc.) On top of creating new content, your team should keep an eye out for any articles that underperform, links that break and pieces that begin to do exceptionally well. If they can be distilled into micro-content pieces that will get an even higher ROI, it could be a relatively low-hanging fruit.
2. Distribute with revenue in mind
While there are many ways to optimize your content distribution campaigns, the key to successful paid efforts is optimizing around revenue. In the world of paid distribution, you may be tempted to look at the ads with the highest CTRs or the lowest CPCs, however, with commerce content, those metrics can often be misleading.
For products that are relevant to most people, like t-shirts, phone chargers, or headphones, a low CPC strategy can be effective because your audience is very wide and most people are equally likely to make a purchase. This means that low CPCs will translate to low cost per purchase.
However, with niche products like baby clothing, hiking boots, or wine fridges, it will make more sense to target a smaller audience with more intent. This will cost more on a per-click basis, but the conversion rates on your site will be much higher, ultimately leading to more revenue.
The most important question is “am I making more from this article than I’m spending?” So be sure to regularly monitor your distribution spend and affiliate revenue and adjust your bids as needed. We highly recommend separating your low-value articles and high-value articles into different campaigns to ensure optimal budget allocation.
Ultimately, separating the articles by value could allow you to more easily see if a specific article is outperforming the rest. If it does, keep digging to see if most conversions come from any particular item. Break any listicle into pieces of micro-content that can be promoted separately to capitalize on conversion surges.
To watch the full webinar, and learn more in-depth tips about commerce content creation and distribution, fill out the form below.
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