A quick disclaimer: affiliate revenue isn’t going to make you rich.
Sure, the idea of passive income is wonderful; you put a bunch of effort in at the start and then sit back as the money trickles in each day without you lifting a finger.
But ‘trickle’ is the keyword here. Unless you’re running a large media publication that enjoys millions of hits each week, affiliate revenue is going to be a stocking filler for your YouTube business.
A nice stocking filler, don’t get me wrong, but a stocking filler nonetheless.
It’s therefore important not to spend too much time on affiliate revenue generation if you’re a YouTuber. Instead, just follow my simple advice below.
Sign up to Amazon Affiliates
There are a tonne of affiliate platforms out there, but it’s best to walk before you run.
Amazon Affiliates is, arguably, the most popular for creators. This is for two reasons: firstly, anyone can sign up as an affiliate, for free, and, secondly, Amazon itself remains one of the world’s most trusted(ish) online retailers.
Your viewers probably buy a shed load of stuff on Amazon already, so why not grab a piece of that pie?
I’m always amazed by how generous Amazon Affiliates is. When you recommend a product and provide an affiliate link to its listing on Amazon, the user doesn’t have to buy that particular product for you to earn a commission; you earn a commission on anything they buy during that shopping trip.
I’ve made a few dollars here and there for Amazon purchases that have nothing to do with the products I’ve reviewed and recommended. The consumer is none the wiser, and it makes zero difference to their shopping experience. So, everyone’s a winner.
Add affiliate links to your video descriptions
If you take a look at any of my video descriptions, you’ll spot a bunch of Amazon Affiliate links.
This is where the majority of my affiliate revenue comes from. Trust me – people will read your video description if you tell a good enough story during the video.
It doesn’t really matter where you put them, either. For instance, if you want to link immediately to the laptop you’re reviewing – go for it. Or, if you’d rather just list all of the pieces of kit in your studio at the bottom of the description, those who are interested enough will go looking for it.
It’s a good idea to keep a little template for affiliate links that are relevant for all of your videos. For example, in my video descriptions, I usually include a section that’s headed ‘GEAR IN THIS VIDEO’, which lists the stuff people will inevitably spot during b-roll footage.
Just remember to include a disclaimer at the bottom: ‘this description includes affiliate links, from which I may earn a commission if you click’, should do it.
Remain consistent with your content
This is YouTube 101, but it’s so important if you want to start generating a meaningful amount of affiliate revenue.
In order for people to scour your video descriptions looking for product links, they need to know, like, and trust you. And that kind of relationship will only develop if you’re consistent.
Consistency is the single most important thing on YouTube. Be consistent with your approach; be consistent with the type of content you publish; be consistent with your upload times; be consistent with how much content you publish.
Most importantly, be consistent with your drive to continually improve.
Do all of the above, and your views and subscriber count will increase exponentially. In turn, the people who grow to like and trust you will click those affiliate links.
Reach out directly to brands you like
Amazon Affiliates is just the start. As noted earlier, there are plenty of other places from which you can earn affiliate revenue.
When you feel like your channel has gained some momentum, it’s a good idea to reach out to brands you like. If you’ve already reviewed their products or want to in future, shoot them an email (look for the press or media contact details on their website) and gush a bit about how wonderful they are.
Ask straight up if they have an affiliate program you can join. If you hear back from them (be persistent – don’t give up after that first email), you’ll almost certainly find that they’ll use a service such as ShareASale or ClickBank.
These affiliate platforms require you to sign up for free and apply to be an affiliate marketer for specific brands. You can usually do so without speaking to the brands first, but your likelihood of being accepted is increased astronomically if you make the time to get in touch with the brand in question.
Commissions via these platforms are generally higher than what you’ll find on Amazon Affiliates, too.
Create a blog
Don’t put all of your eggs into the YouTube basket.
The most important element of my YouTube business is this blog. You’ll be reading this post on either my own website or Medium, and they are two platforms that I also use for affiliate marketing. It just so happens that they feed my YouTube content engine with loads of video ideas, too.
You don’t need to be William Shakespeare, either. If you can write as passionately about your chosen subject as you speak of it on camera, you’ll find an audience for your blog.
A video review of a product or how-to guide should also have a place in written form on your blog. Sprinkle in your affiliate links, and it’s yet another potential channel for passive revenue.
Have fun with affiliate revenue. Experiment and see what works best. But remember – consistency with your content is the only way you’ll ever forge a path towards passive income.
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