Six affiliate publisher types: Selecting the right content partner

23 Feb, 2017
Written by CJ

Partnering with the right content publishers can ensure the success of an affiliate programme, so understanding these six affiliate publisher types is paramount.
Content publishers are often the sites that consumers look to for advice and guidance when making decisions on products. These sites influence their visitors, having earned their trust by publishing useful, high quality content. As such, understanding which affiliate publisher types to target for an affiliate programme, and how to partner with these influencers is very important for affiliate advertisers.
Filmed at CJU, CJ Affiliate's affiliate marketing event, in this video Publisher Development Manager Zoe Pedziwiatr discusses the how to recognise the six main affiliate content publisher types, and then approach them for partnerships.

The six main affiliate content publisher types

Magazine editorial sites

Affiliate publisher type characteristics:
  • Strong brand recognition
  • Large editorial staff
  • Less focussed on custom photography and content
  • 1M+ unique monthly visits
Magazine editorial sites are big sites with great brand recognition. They usually have a large editorial staff, covering a variety of topics, and produce a great deal of content that people love to read.
As affiliate publishers, these sites can be very successful thanks to their size and scale. Content goes up on their sites, on social media, and out via email newsletters, amongst other channels, gathering a large amount of views.

Commerce content

Affiliate publisher type characteristics:
  • Often a separate section on a content site
  • Focus on new and/or unique products
  • Best of web promotions
Sometimes a separate section of a magazine site, but can also be separate sites too. These publishers are really focussed on talking about products, unique products that fit their audience and ‘best of web’ deals and promotions.
These publishers talk about products as their main focus, so are open to discussion on commissions, and are often happy working on commission alone.

High level influencer

Affiliate publisher type characteristics:
  • Individual tastemaker
  • Small staff
  • High engagement
  • 300K - 1M unique monthly visits
Individual bloggers who are really talking about their lives and what interests them. These bloggers take beautiful photos, they take your products and they integrate them into their lives, telling a story.
These are the bloggers that have seen a lot of success, and have now been able to start blogging full time - it’s their full-time job. Usually they also have contributors and other people who write for them.
Some high level influencers will have people who manage their partnerships, so if you’re reaching out to them you will need to keep this in mind. Also bear in mind that if you want guaranteed placement, often you will often have to ‘pay to play’ with sponsored posts.

Power middle

Affiliate publisher type characteristics:
  • Individual bloggers
  • Usually have great content and photos
  • Highly engaged readership
  • 50K+ unique monthly visits
A little bit lower in traffic than the high level influencers, but they are also individual bloggers. The power middle are usually very passionate about what they cover and enjoy talking to an audience about what they love.
They are not necessarily thinking about monetisation, and blogging is not usually the primary focus in their life - maybe they’re a parent, or have a full time job and blog in their spare time.
Often, it’s hard to tell that these are smaller scale bloggers - the content is beautiful, engaging and enjoyable with great stories and photography.
Even though audiences are smaller than the high level influencers, their audience tend to be very engaged - posting comments and asking questions about products for example.

Emerging talent

Affiliate publisher type characteristics:
  • Individual bloggers
  • Growing their audience
  • Usually have great content and photos
  • Under 50K unique monthly visits
Emerging talent are the smaller, individual bloggers with smaller traffic numbers. While traffic is smaller, it’s prime-time for advertisers to make lasting connections with them before the become bigger. Emerging talent are usually very excited to start working with brands and form partnerships, which often results in them going above and beyond what is required, framing your story and bringing it to life.
Again, it’s hard to tell that these sites are emerging talent just by looking at them - the appearance is usually very good, and hard to differentiate between blogs with larger audiences.

Niche sites

Affiliate publisher type characteristics:
  • Focussed audience
  • Targeted partnerships
  • Higher conversion
As the name suggests, niche sites are sites that have a very specific subject matter, and as such boast very focussed audiences and partnerships. Because of this, they have higher conversion rates.
People usually visit these niche sites to specifically research one thing, and therefore are more likely to purchase. Visitors see these niches sites and their writers as experts.

How do you identify content models?

Often, unless you have a thorough content marketing strategy or plan in place, distinguishing between the above affiliate publisher types can be tough. Use the below categories to help you identify which one is which, and then you can properly ascertain how best to approach and partner with new publishers.

  • Site traffic (third party tools such as SimilarWeb  or Alexa can be useful for this, and both have free-to-access options)
  • Look at the site itself
  • Information in the header, footer and sidebar
  • An ‘about us’ page or team page
  • Advertise or ‘Work with Me’ page
  • Social media pages and their following
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