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As the marriage between affiliate marketing and PR continues to evolve, Apogee Agency is offering more and more opportunities for sponsored campaigns from our top-tier brands. This article will explain all of the details, suggestions, and expectations of a sponsored + affiliate campaign with Apogee.
What is a Sponsored + Affiliate Post?
Sponsored + Affiliate posts are paid, dedicated, original content posts including affiliate links to a content creator’s personal online assets including but not limited to a blog, Facebook Page, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Each campaign varies in requirements but generally includes a permanent blog post plus social promotion.
Sponsored posts should be no less than 500 words about the product or service that is in your own words – not copied and pasted from the brand website. Often the campaign will include a theme – such as back-to-school or holiday gifting – but if the theme is not stated in the contract, you should choose a theme that you think will resonate best with your audience as that will help the success of the campaign and your potential affiliate earnings.
The sponsored post as well as all of your social shares must include your affiliate link, the assigned campaign hashtag, FTC disclosure, a strong call to action for your audience to click your links to purchase the product or service you are promoting, and any other assets provided by Apogee.
If you have received products in conjunction with the sponsored campaign, it is expected that you photograph the products in use in your own home with your own style. If you have not received products, you have permission to use images from the brand’s website or social media with proper credit, or from the Banners library in your affiliate dashboard.
Related Article: Apogee Sponsored Campaigns Overview
How do Sponsored Posts work with the affiliate program?
One of the great benefits of sponsored posts with Apogee is the affiliate component – meaning your earnings are truly unlimited. Every sponsored post campaign is run through the brand’s associated affiliate tracking platform and often includes an enhanced commission for the content partners involved in the campaign.
This means that in addition to the sponsored post payment, you will also earn on every sale tracked through your affiliate link. By creating great content that solves a problem, highlighting the features and benefits of the brand, and continuing to share the content with your audience over and over, you can continue to earn from a sponsored affiliate campaign for years to come.
We also encourage you to share your content over and above the contractually required deliverables as this will help increase your affiliate earnings. It is said that a potential customer must be exposed to a brand up to eleven times before making the choice to buy. This is often the missing piece of an affiliate marketing strategy.
The goal or KPI for any campaign is measured in three ways – exposure (tracked by a hashtag), clicks, and sales (tracked by the affiliate platform). Success in all three of these KPIs may lead to future collaborations with the brand and with Apogee.
Do I have to join the affiliate program?
Yes. All current Apogee-managed sponsored campaigns require you to be approved in the affiliate program because that is where tracking and payments are issued. If you are not already registered with the tracking platform (ShareASale, Impact, etc) our team will help get you approved quickly.
The affiliate program platform will be where you find the links you are required to use in your sponsored post along with any promotions or coupon codes related to the campaign. And, as mentioned before, the affiliate program is how you can continue to earn on the content long after the close of the campaign.
Please note that due to the campaign being paid out through the affiliate platform that you will receive your payment based on the payout schedule for the platform.
What is Apogee looking for when choosing Content Partners for sponsored campaigns?
At Apogee we do our best to choose a wide variety of content partners with each campaign, so please keep applying to each one that you think would be a great fit for your audience. Often times we have to sort through more than 100 applications to choose ten partners.
Here are a few of the things we look for as well as suggestions for how to improve.
For every campaign, we send out either a Google form or a MAVRCK application to fill out to apply. Please make sure you fill this form out in its entirety with the correct information. Far too often applications have to be declined because an email address is put instead of a mailing address. Also please double-check check your email address is correct as we have also had the acceptance emails come back as non-deliverable, forcing us to choose another applicant.
The application will have the details of the campaign including the list of deliverables, the (firm) payment offer, and the due dates. Please make sure you can fulfill these obligations at the agreed-upon payment before applying to the campaign. These are firm requirements approved by the brand and are not negotiable.
If you are chosen for the campaign you will be emailed an acceptance email followed by a contract. Do not create content prior to receiving this email.
During the campaign communication is key. Should any problems arise with the timeline or if you have any questions or concerns during the campaign, simply reach out to your affiliate manager.
The first thing we review on your application is your blog homepage. The homepage is the first impression we have of you to determine if you will be a good fit for this campaign. The things we look for are:
- Content related to the product – This is the most important thing we look for when choosing campaign participants. If you have applied to a campaign that is about pet food, you need to have content already existing on your blog and social media that includes your pet. We want these products to fit naturally into your content so that your audience will see it as organic as possible.
- Frequency of posting – While it is true that you can hide the metadata that says exactly when your last posts were published, we still look around to make sure you publish frequently. If we are reviewing your blog in March, and you are still displaying Christmas content, it will appear you are not posting frequently enough for the campaigns.
- Ratio of Sponsored Content – In addition, we are looking for content creators who have a good mix of sponsored and non-sponsored content. Your blog should not be just a commercial reel – but share great content for a well-rounded audience.
- Quality Content – We are looking for content creators to create thorough, informative, entertaining content to spread the word about our brands. We will review several posts on your site to see your writing style, the average length of posts, and the overall quality of the content you provide.
- Header image – The size of your header image is important – Is there content above the fold? This is important real estate for your blog and should not be covered with an oversized header image. The size of this image can also affect page loading time, which can affect how you are ranked in Google. While this is certainly not a dealbreaker by any means, it is one of the first things we notice on every site we view.
- About the Author – it is important to have a bit about the author on the front page – typically in the sidebar or in a section on the homepage. Bonus if there is a photo of you! This can be a short 1-2 sentence bio with a link to read more on your About Page.
- About Page – In addition to a small snippet on the homepage about you, it is also best practice to have an About page on your site that tells your audience who you are and what they can expect from your site. This is also a place to include photos of you, your family (if you share about them) accolades, top-performing posts, a contact form, and other pertinent information you would want your audience to know about you. Use this as a place to toot your own horn, show off what you do best, and connect with your audience in a personal, professional way. Tip: In addition to a contact form, please also write out your full email address to make it easy for PR to reach out to you.
- Social Media Icons – Your website should have social media icons clearly displayed either in your sidebar, menu, or footer. Make sure they are large enough to be easily seen on mobile and that they link properly. Additionally, make sure you appear “active” on all of the platforms you have linked. For instance, if you never use Twitter, do not link it. It is better to not link it at all than to show you are not active on that platform.
Your Social Media Accounts
Each campaign has a bit of a different emphasis on different social platforms. For instance, one brand may be wanting a heavier focus on Instagram while another may want more on Facebook. This should be clearly stated in the application process, but here are the things we look for when reviewing social media accounts:
- ENGAGEMENT – This is the biggest factor we look for. A large following does not matter if there is no engagement. We would MUCH rather choose an affiliate with a small, engaged audience than a large dormant audience. Our affiliate managers will randomly choose recent posts from your social media platform to gauge the average engagement of your audience.
- Posting frequency – We know social media can be wildly time-consuming, but we also know that the algorithm favors consistency. This is why we recommend finding the 1-2 platforms you love most and focusing only on those. It is much better to do one to two platforms well than to do 5 or 6 mediocre.
- Platform Bio – Whether it is the About on a Facebook Page or the Profile Bio on Instagram, make sure you utilize this space to show off what your audience should know about you. Tell a bit about yourself, the type of content you share, and the things you love.
- Variety of Content – Do you have content that matches the campaign? Do you utilize all of the media options the platform offers such as Instagram Reels or Facebook Video?
With every campaign, we do our best to choose new content creators who will bring value to the brand and the affiliate program while offering the best opportunity for you to earn as much as possible from the campaign. Our team of affiliate managers is eager to work with you for the success of every campaign. Our goal is to form a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship with you to continue offering these opportunities to earn even more.
If you would like an in-depth, personal, confidential site audit, you can request one by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org