11 of the best ways to attract publishers to your affiliate program

Affiliate Marketing

Imagine choosing a substitute to take your place at a client meeting. You wouldn’t pick a fresh new hire or colleague with ostensibly different values, right?

Brand representation is crucial for any business, especially when it comes to affiliate marketing.

Whether you’re a luxury men’s wear eCommerce owner or an accounting SaaS software brand, one thing remains certain:

You take extra care to decide who represents your brand.

That also goes for sales managers, marketing specialists, and customer support. Naturally, you’ll transfer some of those criteria to your affiliates as well. After all, they’ll have creative reign to represent your brand to thousands of potential readers, followers, or subscribers.
But how do you attract quality digital publishers who:

  • Communicate with your target audience
  • Create valuable content
  • Become a source of revenue
  • Represent your brand values
  • Accept affiliate commissions in line with your marketing budget

Here’s the thing: many publishing sources won’t be the right match for your business.

Finding publishers (relevant sites) that match your needs and vision is an investment of time and resources. But you’ll find that investment is well worth it once your affiliate network starts bringing you leads, traffic, and revenue.

Ready to attract publishers with high revenue potential to your affiliate marketing program? We’ll help you curate a solid base of publishers with various tactics.

What is a publisher?

A publisher is someone who creates content and shares it with their audiences. If they include affiliate links and coupon codes for specific brands? That publisher is also an affiliate.

Publishers can produce content on any platform, from news and review to influencer social media profiles.

Some examples of online publishers include:

  • Bloggers
  • Podcast owners
  • Digital video content creators (social media and YouTube), including those on streaming platforms (twitch)
  • Influencers on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, etc.

Of course, not all publishers are digital publishers. Some offline publishers include:

  • Print publishers like newspapers and magazines
  • Speakers

There’s no best type of publisher for every affiliate marketing program.

The right publisher for your business depends mainly on your target audience. Do they hang out on YouTube? Social media? Or do they subscribe to industry magazines and prefer in-person events?

You might gather data from your existing affiliates. If you have a few social media influencers in your network who perform better than other publishers, you might explore their content and platform to find more potential publishers.

But finding publishers is only half of the battle. Your next step is getting them to sign up for your affiliate program. Here’s how:

How can you attract publishers to your affiliate program?

Image source: DEGIRO

1. Optimize your affiliate program landing page & show off your benefits

So, you have an awesome, competitive affiliate program. Maybe your customers tend to have high order values. Or, you’ve tailored your commissions to be tiered, flexible, and competitive.

But just because YOU know your value to a publisher doesn’t mean THEY do.
Premium media sites screen potential advertisers. That’s why you must clearly outline your selling points on your website, specifically your affiliate landing page.

Do you offer special benefits for niche publishers, i.e., American publishers or bloggers with an Arabic audience? Address them directly, and invite them to sign up on your landing page.

Does your affiliate program boast significantly higher commission rates than competitors? That’s a serious pro you want to advertise!

2. Highlight clear benefits

You know your affiliate marketing program is hot — but nobody else will unless you tell them why! Here’s what you should include on your landing page:

Cookie length: This is the amount of time a potential customer has to make a purchase and be linked to the affiliate who led them to your site. Do your competitors offer a measly 24 hours for cookie lengths? Here’s a great time to promote your attractive, 7-day cookie length.

Content creation: Does your affiliate have to create all content to promote your affiliate program?

They might not mind, but let’s not ignore all the work involved. If you offer different types of content for them to simply share, they’ll check off a box for convenience.

For example, Tapfiliate lets you create custom, easily shareable social media assets for influencer affiliates to publish instantly.

Average order value: Do you sell pricy SaaS subscriptions? Luxury jewelry? Chances are, these high-ticket items will generate higher order values, meaning more commission payouts for affiliates.

Make sure you advertise these on your landing page. And if you sell more average-priced items, consider promoting flexible commissions or bonuses to entice affiliates (more on that later).

Commission payout: Do you have a no-payment threshold? Custom commission structures? Milestone-tiered payouts? Whatever your unique commission structure, share it with potential affiliates.

Brand values: What does your business represent? You’ll want to attract affiliates with similar values, so you’ll need to highlight yours on your landing page.

For example, a business that regularly donates a portion of profits to homelessness initiatives values equitable social policy. A brand that uses biodegradable packaging values the environment.

Potential publishers will consider all the above when weighing your affiliate program against your competitors. But let’s backtrack a second.

How do publishers get to your affiliate signup page in the first place?
Most brands include a link in their business website footer.

Your affiliate landing page should be easily accessible. Plus, making your affiliate program public boosts your credibility and increases the chance of publishers signing on with you.

Clear affiliate landing page link on your website? Check.

Clear benefits to stand out for your competitors? Check. Now, it’s time to…

3. Encourage action and sign-ups

Enacourage action signups
Image source: Rainforest Bowls

Three words: organic search engine optimization. You include CTAs and keywords for your organic content, right? That’s how you get rankings and source daily traffic and conversions.

But guess what: your affiliate sign-up page is thirsty for search engine optimization, too. Remember to address:

  • Clear CTAs (“Fill out this sign-up form;” “Join now;” “Become a partner.”)
  • Streamlined submission form
  • Keyword research to promote visibility
  • Clean user experience

Psssst. Tapfiliate offers a branded, white-labeled sign-up page you can share with potential new publishers. Affiliates can use it to sign up for your program and measure performance once onboarded. A nice perk? Flawless branding, customizable to every brand!

Want to start tracking sales from publishers in your affiliate program? Sign up for your ?free 14-day trial here

4. Attend conferences and events

Do you ever attend industry conferences and niche galas to network? Well, so do publishers.

Now’s the time to wear a sharp outfit and get your mingle on. But socializing might not be enough. Plus, what if you’re more of a wallflower at parties? Here are some tips for meeting quality publishers at events:

Ask for introductions: Conduct some research and find out if your ideal publishers are attending an industry event. Then, go to your professional network. Does a past client or colleague have a connection to them? Ask, and you shall receive… an introduction.

Promote your affiliate program: Are you a keynote speaker at an event? Consider adding a bullet about your affiliate program in a reference slide. Interested publishers might notice and inquire — plus, your presentation might be posted or emailed to attendees.

Have an open mind for location: Your brand might not cross industries, but it certainly crosses borders. Start with local events, then conduct research to find national or even international events to attend. You’ll open your affiliate network to international audiences and tap into a new market.

Focus on connections, not sign-ups: Public relations leader John Weiss describes networking events as a place to learn and connect with people, not a place for selling.

Aim to create a connection so you can follow up on your affiliate program later.

5. Reach out to publishers you want to work with and personalize your pitch

You can’t wait for the grass to grow when it comes to your affiliate program. While embellished landing pages and SEO are great starts to finding suitable publishers, these tactics work best in tandem with outreach and personalization.

Of course, you don’t want to mass-email every publisher on the block. Your goal is to target high-value affiliates through personalized pitches. Perhaps you’ll use an email automation platform like MailChimp or Hubspot.

But digital marketer Alexandra Tachalova prefers to send outreach communications manually. Why?

For pre-outreach, I prefer to do it manually. This allows me to double-check that I am sending it to the right person and add a little personalization to each email.

What does personalization look like when sourcing potential publishers? For starters, address the contact by name. Consider pointing out:

A post they recently published: Did you find a recent post useful? Now’s the time to pay a compliment — just make sure it’s genuine.

An award: Was the publisher recently recognized in their field? Congratulate them. This scratches their back with compliments while demonstrating your awareness of industry news.

How you can support their initiatives: What’s this publisher up to? Notice any initiatives in their news releases that you could support them with? Mention how you could be useful in your outreach.

A mutual connection: Do you share a client or audience? Describe the connection in your email to build credibility and highlight shared interests.

6. Promote your affiliate program on social platforms

Viator social ad on Reddit

Image source: Reddit/Viator

Do you have bustling social media profiles for your brand? Boast your values and followers to potential publishers with a call-out. You might consider tagging them in a post highlighting your affiliate program.

Paid advertising can also help, as long as you have the marketing budget.
Another tactic is to build a relationship with them by regularly liking, commenting, and sharing their social media posts.

7. If you use Tapfiliate, connect to the Admitad Partner Network

Still with us? We know — sourcing premium publishers isn’t easy.
Why not lighten the load with Tapfiliate’s Admitad Partner Network? Tapfiliate users can access over 100,000 publishers interested in promoting their brands.

The process is seamless. All you need to do is apply. Once Admitad accepts your brand, the rest is easy. Affiliates will flock to you and start promoting your brand.

Here are some relevant brand categories in Admitad’s Partner Network:

Online services, like B2B businesses, CMS, marketing and promotion, online education, streamlining, VPN, and more.

eCommerce shops, including footwear, apparel, games, gifts, sports & outdoor, furniture & homeware, household appliances, luxury goods, pets, and toys.

Travel, including rentals, flights, hotels, packages, cruises, and tours.

SaaS in entertainment, finance, healthcare, logistics, marketing, legal, and education industries.

Finance, like insurance, loans, payments, taxation, etc.

Loyalty/Cashback solutions.

8. Transparency is king

Publishers expect transparency from their partners.

For example, a common red flag is a brand without reviews or a website. Another is zero data sharing.

Of course, data isn’t always intentionally hidden. Some brands don’t have streamlined data collection processes or access to analytics right away.
That’s where affiliate tracking software comes in.

For example, Tapfiliate’s intuitive, personalized dashboards display results unique to each affiliate’s performance.

Publishers can view their performance and feel satisfied that their commission payouts match results.

9. Allow publishers to be creative

Publishers didn’t build their business and success by following another brand’s guidelines.

They’ve spent years carefully curating their voice and content to reflect their values and appease their audiences. Meaning? They’re not interested in a micromanager brand telling them how to post every piece of content.

Of course, offering pre-made content shows your willingness to ease the process. But that should be an option, not a requirement.

Give publishers creative reign to promote your campaigns the way they see fit. They know their audience between than anyone, so they should have a strong say in how they deliver content.

10. Incentivize publishers

A publisher won’t scratch your back unless you scratch theirs. You’re not paying affiliate publishers for every post — you’re paying them for traffic and conversions, which depend on their efforts and enthusiasm.

A little incentive goes a long way. Here are some proven ways to incentivize publishers:

  • Commission increases: If a publisher brings a certain amount of traffic or reaches a certain revenue value — why not reward them with an increase? You’d do the same for a high-performing staff member.
  • Time-limited commission increase: Don’t have the marketing budget for commission increases? One workaround is time-limited increases, where brands offer increases during set sales periods.

For example, the holidays are a popular time. This helps you balance extra affiliate spending with increased sales during certain peak periods.

  • Performance bonuses: Once your publisher reaches a certain milestone, you might consider offering a performance bonus.

Share these guidelines with affiliates to promote extra effort. Another tactic is to present bonuses unexpectedly.

Why? Because everyone likes to know they’re appreciated. Send a personalized note with a bonus to high-performing affiliates — let them know you value their hard work.

  • Merch: No publisher will promote your brand if they have to purchase your products at full price. Talk about tacky!

While discounts might work if your affiliate program is particularly attractive, the majority of publishers expect free products.

Pro tip: Send two of the same product — one for your publisher and one for a giveaway. This helps them promote traffic and engagement for their channels and expand your brand awareness. Win-win!

Affiliate newsletter: Email newsletters are great engagement tools for publishers. Call out high-performing partners with exclusive interviews and tips for success.

11. Be open to all sorts of different publishers and include local publishers in the mix

You might drool at the international, 1-mill-follower influencer that oozes appeal to your target audience.

But you might not have the juice to secure a sign-up from them. They might only work with brands that have X commissions or X order values.

In fact, you might even lose money in your unrequited efforts to recruit them.

All the while, a local publisher regularly posts content to a smaller, niche audience that could benefit from your services. We’re not saying ignore the big-fish publishers — we just encourage you to diversify.

Imagine if you relied on one publisher or publisher type, and an algorithm update hides their content. Or, what if a market event disperses your target to other brands?

Your affiliate program might lose significant revenue.

Protect your brand and affiliate program by considering more than one publisher type.

Buzzfeed Shopping
Image source: Buzzfeed Shopping

Start attracting more publishers to your affiliate program today

It’s time to attract quality publishers that drive sales, traffic, and revenue to match your ambitious plans. Make your outreach intentional, and you’ll find aligned affiliates in no time.

But your first step is to find a solid affiliate tracking solution. One that attracts a quality base of publishers with transparent data, rich reporting, user-friendly collaboration, and outstanding customer support.

Tapfiliate fits the bill, but don’t take our word for it. Sign up for our 14-day free trial to get started.

Chrissy Kapralos

Chrissy Kapralos

Chrissy Kapralos runs a Toronto-based writing agency called No Worries Writing Co. She’s passionate about helping businesses communicate and share their stories. When she isn’t writing about the latest tech and marketing content, you’ll find her traveling, cooking, or watching horror movies.

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