Whether you are recruiting for your affiliate program, influencer campaign, or just in search of content partners, it is important to create lasting relationships through your first outreach to your goal completion. 

There are many different types of partners to look for during a recruitment push, from sites that provide cashback to sites that are willing to perform a review of your product, and each recruitment email may require different communication styles, but have the same end goal – a  lasting partnership.

It is important to not limit opportunities in your recruitment efforts. For example, if you are recruiting content sites to add to your affiliate program, don’t send them the same email that you may send to your traditional affiliates. Keep your email open to all opportunities and simple. Content partners like blog owners or social media influencers spend a long time creating the content for the brands they work with, so they may not be immediately receptive to working off of a performance model and may require some sort of flat fee. These types of partners are important assets to your digital strategy and require different recruitment styles than traditional partners. 

Finding Relevant Content Sites

When looking for content sites you would like to work with, it is best to compile a list of high value keywords and perform a search for these keywords on your preferred search engine. You can even take a list of your highest performing broad keywords within your paid ads for this step. The content sites that come up organically are great to start your recruiting efforts with. It is possible you can curate content with these partners that can rank organically on the SERP and gain your brand extra exposure in an authentic way. You can use many search tools to curate a list with sites that have similar demographics, volume, and topics. Once you have your list compiled, it is time to start reaching out to these sites. 

Recruiting Content Sites

When reaching out to content sites, it is essential to create personalized and unique emails for each site. For example, if a site organically ranks for the search term “wellness product” and you find the article onsite really fits with your brand, your initial recruitment email could include how you came across the site and the article you discovered that would be a good fit for your brand. This shows that you have thoroughly looked through their site and put thought into the partnership before sending the initial email. 

Your email should include a brief introduction to your brand, your product, and mention how the partner’s content and demographics align with your target market. By opening your email with one specific way you’d like to work with this partner, you risk missing out on other opportunities that may exist. Additionally, you chance lower response rates from your recruitment efforts as if that partner is not interested in working the way you proposed, they may not respond at all. Keeping your first recruitment email open ended, allows for partners to brainstorm ways they think your brand will be most successful on their site. For example, if you are recruiting content sites for an affiliate program, and only send information about joining the program, you may miss out an onsite giveaway that would’ve been a perfect fit for your brand. 

Be Open

By using this type of recruitment method, you may not get the desired response, but this is just the first step of negotiating the best way to partner together. Sites that produce content put a lot of work into their posts whether that be an image, a video, or a review, so often times they work off a flat fee basis. For example, if you are recruiting for an affiliate program and a site responds to your email stating they are excited to work together and send over a media kit with flat-fee pricing,  it is okay to notify them that you traditionally work off of a performance model for payment. From there, you can discuss the best form of payment and partnership. 

Affiliate Programs and Content Partners

For affiliate programs specifically, it is very important to be open when recruiting content partners. Most blogs and influencers do not work off of performance model, meaning they prefer a flat fee for content versus using affiliate links and only receiving credit when a customer converts. This is due to the fact that these sites put a lot of effort into creating content and want to ensure they are receiving payment for the content they produce, which is why a variable payment model doesn’t always fit for these partners. It is possible to create a hybrid model of payment where both sides are satisfied. For example, a lowered flat fee paired with a high commission payout and an exclusive code is a great way to work with these types of partners. When proposing this method, it is important to provide the program’s AOV, conversion rate, and average commission for similar sites in the program. This way you can prove to the partner that they will receive the desired compensation from participating in the affiliate program based off of how similar partners perform.

Exclusive Codes

Exclusive codes are a great tool to utilize when working with content partners. This way partners do not have to worry about appending links with desired UTM appends or pulling an affiliate link for tracking purposes. Exclusive codes can also be shared via word of mouth which is perfect for sharing within video content. Additionally, using exclusive codes allows for easy tracking. With all of the browser updates, most third-party and first-party cookies are being blocked and tracking isn’t always completely accurate, but with an exclusive code you can easily track redemptions. 

Some affiliate networks have clickless tracking capabilities with the use of exclusive codes. Meaning that anytime the code is used, the partner that the exclusive is assigned to will always receive credit for the sale regardless of which affiliate converted the sale. This is extra incentive for content partners to work through your affiliate program, as they will always receive credit for the sale and will not lose sales to lower funnel partners such as loyalty or deal sites. 

Building Partnerships For Your Brand

The end goal with this type of recruitment is to build lasting relationships for your brand. Even if the type of partnership or price isn’t what you had in mind, it is still useful to pass these opportunities on internally as another team member could make use of the opportunities that come from your recruitment push. On the agency side, it is always important to pass on opportunities that will benefit the brand, even if it does not directly affect the channel you manage.

Content partners are great asset for your digital marketing strategy to build brand awareness as well as build authentic content for the brand to use, thus using this method for recruitment purposes will help build content for your product and strong relationships with partners who align with you brand. 

Do you have any tips on creating lasting affiliate partnerships? We’d love to hear from you on Twitter @eAccountable