For a channel that was designed as a way to allow businesses innovative access to customers, this hasn’t stopped, even in an evolved market. Innovative outreach is still needed, and this means that fresh publisher types are coming into play, with content partners such as creators and influencers being some of the most popular. This is due to the fact that engaging audiences in new and exciting ways is always key.

Content partners are thriving because brands see other brands’ successful partnerships and decide to follow suit. Brands are flocking to affiliate marketing sometimes only for content partners, as they can tap into a market and access a customer base that is high conversing, simply because these partners are so trusted.

But how is this affecting the wider market? Performance marketing is evolving, and whilst affiliate marketing was once seen as an option for brands to get rid of extra stock, we now see it being for product releases. A huge influx of brands who have never previously been a part of the industry creating affiliate prorammes, without being seasoned in the space, means that this can lead to problems and short lived partnerships.

How can you make sure this doesn’t happen?

As a brand, you need to truly engage with your content partners. There are thousands of brands utilising the industry now, so you can ensure you’re the first choice for the consumers you want by communicating. The exact same goes for your content partners – you want them to choose you, not another brand. And the way you can do this is through applying customer service principles to the way you communicate with your partners.

After categorising your partners, it’s important to talk to them. Treat them like a customer. Here’s how:

  • Within the first 100 days – After bringing on a content partner, introduce yourself, get to know their story, and make sure they understand your brand. At the end of the first 100 days, send another email or jump on a call. Ask them if they have any questions, and delve into their experience and what they found useful – this is invaluable insight you can use in future partnerships.
  • Retention – When you start a partnership, keep communication going. Make sure you continuously keep your eye on the performance of all partners, see who’s up and who’s down. It’s a good idea to reach out to top performance partners, but also do this with declining ones. Asking them for feedback means you can identify struggles, see where they need help.

When this clicks for you, you understand that it’s essential knowledge in running an effective campaign – these two tips should be kept in mind and not overlooked.

Remember, for lots of content partners, this could be a side job, and is most likely their passion. They want to know more information! Don’t hesitate to fill them in on exciting new products and how they could work for them. This is why phone calls are such a good idea.

Things to remember

When looking at partnership marketing, if you’re stuck, fall back to customer service principles of your company. After all, these are tried and true methods. Appreciate the power of yes – if a publisher comes to you and needs help, go above and beyond to help them.

It’s handy to think of the way you work with partners as more of a service than management; after all, you are serving your publishers. How can you elevate them?

But also know your limit! Empty promises are also a very bad idea. You don’t need to rush; relationships take time to be optimised, and forging successful partnerships isn’t going to be a quick thing.

Content partners are a hugely exciting thing to come to the channel, and it’s going to be interesting to continue to see the next iterations these content sites and creators will bring.

In case you missed this talk by Avantlink’s Michael Bhanos and Vanessa Isaacson at the Performance Marketing Association Virtual Conference, make sure to head to the site to be filled in on this and plenty of other insightful content from the event.