If you use your website for affiliate marketing, you’d probably agree that content is your golden goose. But content can just as easily poison your site and brand identity if it lacks a certain ingredient: authentic content.
This is in part because consumers are more interested in content that appeals to the individual than the one-size-fits-all treatment. For instance, if you look at the most engaging marketing campaigns, such as in this HubSpot article by Lindsay Kolowich, it’s clear that “we don’t want to know what brands are selling, we want to know what’s in it for us.”
Plus, advertising can carry huge baggage for many of us. We don’t like being pressured into buying something. And yet, somehow, advertising works. In his article about why advertising works, Nigel Hollis, global analyst for Millward Brown, explains that ads are effective not because they persuade you to buy right now, but rather because of “the ideas, impressions and positive feelings about the brand.”
People want the real Slim Shady. Or at least, they want a human interaction–not a sales pitch. That’s why it’s SO important for affiliate content to be authentic. And, by following the two rules featured in this post, you’ll avoid the common mistake of marketing for the sake of the sale instead of the consumer. We reached out to some of the top performing AvantLink affiliates and asked them to show us how and why authentic content works for them. Here are the results.

People want the real Slim Shady. Or at least, they want a human interaction—not a sales pitch.Click To Tweet

Be One With Your Audience

Authentic content strategy always begins with your audience. For Matt Wiley from A Better Ski, knowing his audience is about “really understanding what skiers want to see in content.” Matt is “a skier first and a writer second.”
A Better Ski’s reviews include videos of actual skiers testing out the gear, and visual guides to performance on the slopes. The content is made by skiers for skiers.

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A ski specs and performance chart from ABetterSki.com

“It really helps to be passionate about what you’re doing. I love to ski, so it’s easy to write about skiing.” If you’re like Matt, your site is your passion. The content comes easy because you know the products well, and you already have a personal connection with your audience.

Don’t Sell, Educate

Okay, so you’ve found your audience. To deepen the connection, you also need to become a trusted resource, not merely a sales engine.
Natalie Martins of Two Wheeling Tots agrees: “I’ve always been turned off by the slimy sales person personality who will do or say anything just to make a buck off of you. I want my readers to feel like they are being educated and helped in their decision process, not simply being used. Authenticity is vital to me.”
And her content reflects that. For example, the totally unbiased buying guides on Two Wheeling Tots analyze every parameter you’d want to consider in a purchase, and enable readers to make an informed decision for themselves.

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An example of Two Wheeling Tot’s honest comparisons.

On top of that, Natalie tailors the education to her readers interests, first: “If the product I’m reviewing won’t work for them, I’ll tell them. If a product that I cannot make any affiliate commission from would be better suited, I’ll let them know.” It doesn’t get more authentic than that–putting the quality of content before the quantity of products promoted. This makes Two Wheeling Tots trustworthy, and will pay off in the long run with a collection of loyal readers and consumers.

The takeaway


Be real. Like the best food in the world, effective affiliate marketing is not achieved with fancy packaging, but rather through passion and authenticity.
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  • This is very insightful. totally agree on authenticity. thanks for the share!

  • Good work my friend.