In 2010 I started my first blog, I Heart Photoshop, to teach Photoshop tutorials and how-to’s to the basic hobby user.
A year later, I had jumped ship on that blog and put on my mommy blogger hat. In those early days of blogging, I was like a kid in a candy store when I would receive even $5 from an affiliate link or relationship and I would have NEVER believed that I would ever get to the point where I could generate over $1,000+/month from affiliates.
In 2016 I began, very sporadically, incorporating YouTube into my already-spastic blogging schedule for my business, Hey Jessica. This simple, and imperfect, change allowed me to reach more people in different corners of the Internet with my teachings and my affiliate links.
In late-2017, that spastic, not-so-planned out content strategy of publishing a YouTube video with my blog posts became more streamlined and systemized and, most importantly, strategic, causing affiliate income to climb even higher than ever before.
Here’s a sneak peek of reports for the month of February 2018 from each of the different areas that I receive affiliate income from.
In addition to the actual funds I receive each month from my YouTube channel and blog, I also receive several services for free and have large credits at certain online shopping sites due to affiliate credits.
“Ok, but how can I replicate that?!?”
Don’t worry, I’ll tell you!
Before I really get into the meat and potatoes of this subject, I want to remind you that my YouTube channel is business-focused and I have a business outside of the YouTube channel and affiliates so I have to tread a fine line between promoting affiliates and promoting my own products and/or services. If you’re reading this and you have a blog or a YouTube channel and you’re considering the possibility of making affiliate income your main source of income, you can absolutely do this on a higher level.
Oh and if you have not yet started a YouTube channel or you have a channel that’s less-than-awesome, be sure to grab my FREE guide to Get Yo’ Biz on YouTube today.
How to start Youtube affiliate marketing
First and foremost, I want you to think of your YouTube channel as an extension of you, an extension of your brand, and always remember to make affiliate conversations natural – you don’t want it to feel forced.
When jumping into Youtube affiliate marketing, you need to consider who your audience is and what would make the most sense for you to rave about to them.
My audience is entrepreneurs, people who own their own business and want to use video to better market that business. It would make ZERO sense for me to randomly speak about a kitchen organizer and link an affiliate link to that on my channel – but – it would make #allthesense for me to include a small testimonial for a new app I’m loving for business and include an affiliate link.
Establish affiliate relationships with companies and brands you already love
Once you’ve nailed down who your audience is, it will be very natural to start promoting a product or service that YOU love that your audience will love as well.
Do an inventory of all of the programs (or products) that you already use and love and do a quick search on their website and Google for an affiliate program within that program, product, or service.
If the company you’re courting already has an established affiliate program, apply and hang tight while they realize how awesome you are and get you all setup.
If you want to promote something that does NOT have an affiliate program, reach out and ask them if there’s an affiliate program you’re not aware of and do a little bragging about how much you love their product or service.
I have reached out to partners before who don’t currently have affiliate programs in place but, because of my email, they have gotten something setup quickly so I could begin promoting.
I want you to remember too that affiliates don’t have to only be products or digital goods, they can also be courses and services from people you respect and want to promote. If you’re like me and your ideal clients are business owners, maybe you’ve worked with a web designer that simply knocked your socks off, reach out and establish an affiliate relationship if one is not already setup.
Give real-life examples and use proof worked into your videos
Have you ever heard someone say that something felt sleezy or inauthentic? Well, that’s how your affiliate promotion will feel if you spout it out without giving real-life examples on how you’re using it or a client or customer has used it in the past.
When promoting affiliates on your YouTube channel, create a video that highlights the affiliate by giving the viewer real-life use cases for how they could use it without making the entire video about the thing you’re promoting.
Let’s say you’re promoting ConvertKit as an affiliate of their system. Instead of doing a video where you’re constantly saying “buy ConvertKit through my link”, you may do a video titled, “How to Use Email Marketing to Double Your Revenue”. Then as an asset and tool in that video and process, you mention ConvertKit and that the viewer can get their first 30 days free by using the link in the comments.
You’ve now shown them how you’ve been successful doing something they were obviously interested in learning about and that you used Convertkit as the tool to do that by pitching your affiliate link in a natural, non-intrusive way.
Optimize your YouTube video so it’s found by more potential lovers of the product(s) you’re promoting
Gone are the days when we can simply put out a video (or blog post, or anything really) and expect the right people to find it by luck. We have to do the work to get these things seen by the right people and unfortunately, sharing it on your personal profile on Facebook to your Mom and Grandma may not be the most effective way to do this.
What is crazy effective though is to optimize your YouTube videos so that the right people find them and then WANT to use your affiliate link to whatever you’re promoting.
In the example above of the video on how to use email marketing to double your income, you have to think about what people are searching for most.
Yes, you’re talking about ConvertKit
Yes, YOU know that ConvertKit is THE tool that helped you double your income
But if you compare the amount of people searching for, “How to use email marketing to increase income” and the people searching for, “How to use ConvertKit to increase income”, the first will have tremendously more search results per month because those searchers just do not know yet that they need ConvertKit in their lives.
When you do the work to optimize the video in a way where the right people are finding it, you’ll find hits on your affiliate link without ever feeling like you were intrusive.
Write a keyword-heavy blog post to accompany your video
This is the magic sauce, y’all! I can get all kinds of nerdy about the SEO magic behind writing a blog post to accompany your video, but I’ll keep this short and sweet.
Google owns YouTube and they pinky-fluffy-heart-love when you use both of their platforms. So if you’re releasing a video using the keywords, “How to shine shoes”, and you also create a well-optimized, keyword-heavy blog post with those same keywords and you embed that YouTube video, it will do wonders for your ranking on Google search results.
Take the keywords, “How to create digital products” for example:
In this video and blog post, I talk about how to create and sell digital products and I’m promoting SEVERAL affiliates that I believe in and love.
Due to my work with optimizing the YouTube video and the blog post, I’m now found as the #1, #4 & #6 results on Google for those key terms meaning WAY more than my existing audience will find that video or post and purchase through my affiliates.
Include affiliate links in the description of your videos where they make sense
You will find that when you start creating and publishing YouTube videos about things you’re passionate about that viewers will have a lot of the same questions, “How did you do that?”, “What program do you use to do x,y,z?”, “What kind of equipment do you use?”
This gives you an amazing opportunity to preemptively address their questions by placing affiliate links to those commonly asked things in the description of any videos that make sense.
For me, as a video and YouTube strategist, my most common question is, “What kind of camera did you use to film this?!” So, on nearly every video, I have links to the equipment I used in that video that lead straight to my Amazon affiliate links.
Even though I’m not specifically chatting about camera equipment, I may still make an affiliate sale because someone had that question and I answered it for them in the description.
Obviously this is a non-obvious tip for placing affiliate links in your description, but there’s also the obvious way to do this.
Anytime you specifically mention an affiliate you love in a video, you should always have a direct, clickable link to that in the description of the video.
Bonus tip: Create a “favorite things” page
Banking off of that last note about including relevant things in your descriptions for your videos, I’d also encourage you to create a “favorite things” page on your website that you can constantly add to and update.
No matter what industry you’re in, no matter who your audience is, when people see you as an expert, they WANT to know what you love and use.
By creating a favorite things page, you can direct interested parties from all of your social platforms to this page when they ask about anything you love or use. AND you can include that link in your YouTube description knowing that it can continually be updated and improved so present and future viewers of your videos will be able to see the updated version at all times.
Find a new service you love? Put it on the favorite things page.
Buy a new piece of equipment that your audience simply HAS to know about? Put it on the favorite things page.
You get the point.
Ready to start Youtube affiliate marketing?
Does this all sound crazy amazing to you and you’re ready to get your biz booty on YouTube so you can execute everything you’ve learned in this video? CLICK HERE to get my FREE Get Yo’ Biz on YouTube Guide today. This guide will help you setup your channel (the right way), organize your ideas, and optimize your content.