The Price is Right: Setting Rates for Sponsored Content in Affiliate
Apr 4, 2019
We know that every content creator’s dream is to get paid to craft creative and meaningful partnerships with brands. Fortunately, affiliate marketing offers tremendous volume in terms of brand access—and CJ’s Content Certified Program makes it even easier.
You may be wondering how to go from being just another publisher joined to an affiliate program to a deeper partnership with an advertiser.
The first step? Perfecting your pitch—which includes setting rates.
That said, it can be difficult to decide what that number should be as there are no real guidelines around how to set pricing. While we can't tell you what you're worth, we CAN give you some advice and a list of things to consider when evaluating your pricing structure.
Sponsored Content via the Affiliate Channel
Affiliate is a pay-for-performance marketing channel, so you'll find that brands will be a bit more careful when paying outright for sponsored content or even sending free products. This is because their number one priority is usually return on investment (ROI). When you book sponsored content through the affiliate channel, keep in mind that brands will pay you a commission through your links in addition to the rate you set and they're able to see performance to judge the success of your post and their investment.
Because of this, you should boost content that contains affiliate links. If your content performs well with your readers, you'll earn additional income through the links in your post (possibly for a very long time). In theory, the more traffic and engagement your post receives, the better your post will perform, resulting in more commissions earned. This also means the advertiser generated more sales/leads, which makes them much more likely to invest in you again. A win-win for everyone involved.
Blog Following and Engagement
Your unique monthly visitors play a huge part in how much you should charge. There is such a thing, however, as being small but mighty. An engaged readership can take you far. Do you receive tons of comments on your posts? Do your readers take your recommendations seriously? Does your audience click every link? The number of eyeballs reading your content means less without actual engagement.
Social Following and Engagement Rate
Your social following might be larger than your blog readership. This can be a great value add if social is included in your sponsored post package. Just like with blog engagement, the number of followers you have on your social platforms is more valuable if they're engaged followers—followers who comment, like, share, pin, etc. There is a ton of information online that you can leverage to help you calculate your engagement rate for each of your social channels. Some, like Phlanx (for Instagram) will even pull this number automatically for you.
Quality and Type of Content
Advertisers love the idea of working with influencers and content creators because they feel like they're getting something special. You (and/or your team) are stellar writers, designers, photographers (or all three!) You write to inspire, inform, and educate and the content you create has a major impact on brand awareness and drives your readers to purchase what you recommend. The type and quality of content you create for a brand should influence your pricing scale. Here are some things to consider as you build out your menu of opportunities:
Do you put together custom photography or creative? Or are you pulling product images from the brand site (or both?)
Will the post be a dedicated post about the brand or product? Or will they be showcased in a comparison review, gift guide, or product round-up alongside other brands or competitors?
Will you write extensively about the brand or product? Or will you simply showcase a coupon or sale?
Where will the content be located on your site? If it’s at the top of your homepage, for how long?
Where will the content “live” on your site? Do you plan to link out to it in future content?
Are you okay if the brand shares your content on their social channels or cross promotes it on their site? Great content begs to be shared and brands love to share what you have to say about them.
Quantity of Content
How much content you provide in a given package should affect pricing. This could include the number of posts, number of social shares, newsletter inclusion, etc. Other value adds: linking to the post in future content, featuring the post in your blog sidebar, deal round-up posts, a Friday link round-up, etc.
Consider a Flexible Approach to Pricing
Affiliate tends to have a smaller budget for what we sometimes call "flat rate placements" where you'll be paid for a sponsored post rather than commission. You might find you have more success pitching brands through affiliate if you're flexible and open to a hybrid form of payment. This could be something like a discount to your normal rate + product/service + a commission increase. Don’t sell yourself short, but it might be worth getting creative in some instances in order to jump-start a relationship.
Interested in connecting with brands that are serious about content?
Join our exclusive Content Certified Program and get approved for your favorite affiliate programs immediately plus additional support from a team that truly gets content.