Should Affiliate Managers Write Your Content?

One of the things I’ve come across lately whilst chatting with affiliate managers is that they’re being asked more and more to write unique content for affiliates. In some cases they’re happy to do this especially if it means getting their clients on a popular website or blog, or kick starts an affiliates promotion.

However, I’m slightly concerned, especially as I get the feeling (and this is just a personal observation) that writing content is not always something AMs want to be doing.

To get content you either do it yourself or pay someone to do it! In some cases (for example on OMG) there’s copy that can be used – but few networks have a open resource of “free content” for affiliates to use.

My outlook is that it’s my job to write content and promote merchants – and that whilst assistance to get things started (perhaps an email of latest offers or promotions, or a paragraph of content that can be adapted or added too) is fine – I’d not feel too happy demanding that an affiliate manager sits down and generates content for my site on a regular basis.

So if you don’t have time to do promotion yourself and want content then surely you have to pay for it? If that’s the case shouldn’t AMs just turn round to an affiliate and say “yes we’re happy to give you content, but it’s going to cost you”?

Or has the role of the affiliate manager changed to become a copywriter for affiliates?

Should affiliates expect affiliate managers to write content for them?

And if so should they be paying for it?

7 Comments Should Affiliate Managers Write Your Content?

  1. Chris Johnson July 22, 2008 at 10:53 am

    What if you don’t have the time to write content for your site, but feel that having this content on your site would benefit the program and the conversions?

    I think the case of paying AMs for content would differ depending on how you arrange the content and prominence on your site. No need to pay but have homepage link/prominence with a newsletter placement etc etc

    For the exposure they will get it should be worth it. I’m sure they’d work from a template anyhow 😉

  2. Naomi Brown July 22, 2008 at 11:35 am

    I think its an issue of time more than anything. I enjoy writing copy (I seriously considered going for a career as a copywriter at one point) but I can’t do it all the time. I’m happy to write occasional bits of content for affiliates if they ask, but if I had to do it on a regular basis for lots of affiliates it would take up too much of my day.

    Unfortunately paying for the copy, either in cash or extra site prominence, isn’t going to give me more hours in the day.

    Something that always helps when affiliates ask for copy is if they are really specific. Saying how many words you need, what it should cover, and if there are any keywords you want in there makes a big difference.

  3. Lammo July 22, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    I’m one of the Grubby Affiliates that asks Affiliate Managers to write content for our sites, for one simple reason: There are thousands of affiliate programs out there, and I already spend all day every day either writing content myself or writing briefs for outsourced content. As we publish more than 100,000 words of unique, hand-written content per month, I physically can’t do any more – therefore the only way Merchant X is going to get featured on my site is either when I get around to them (some point in the next 30 years), or if they can provide me with some unique content.

    Those that have provided content get to portray their brand in the way they want, and as a result, receive traffic and sales from some nice longtail, relevant keywords. And once I’ve seen how great their site converts and how proactive their Affiliate Manager is, the chances of me writing a huge amount of content for them grows considerably!

    Take the guys from Existem-AM.. I’ve been bugging them for content for a number of their merchants, and they’ve been obliging for a couple of months now – We’ve seen a good level of sales coming through, and as a result, we’ve outsourced over 30,000 words of unique content for those merchants – They scratch our backs with a bit of free content, and we repay with a load of paid content – Everyone wins surely?

  4. Chris July 22, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    I’m sitting on the fence on this one. I do think the majority of content writing is the job of the affiliate, however if a network or agency want to get a merchant on a site QUICKLY then there is no harm in them writing some content in order to speed up the process.

    I have in the past received content from merchants, networks and agencies directly, and it has result in a merchant appearing on my sites within minutes. If they don’t then I write the content myself, WHEN I GET TIME!

    A problem I have is writers block. Sometimes I find myself writing the same old thing over and over again for different merchants that feature in the same vertical. I sometimes miss out on features of a particular merchant as I’m not aware of them or haven’t stumbled across them on their website. This is where networks, agencies or merchants help would be very valuable. Also, if a network pushes and pushes me to get a merchant on my site, then I would expect some sort of assistance.

  5. David Fiske July 22, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    I only use pre-written content from OMG on my credit cards site as the offers change so much. With regards to everything else, I have never used it as I would prefer to do my own research and write from my perspective.

  6. Mark Russell July 23, 2008 at 10:11 am

    This is a really interesting topic.

    As Lammo has commented above we quite often write content for affiliates, and this is for a couple of very good reasons:-
    1. We can make sure that our merchants are always listed on the sites that we want and quickly, so thus helping with the launch of the campaign and growth of the campaign.

    2. As Lammo has said we scratch his back he scratches ours, this is the way we work with a lot of affiliates where they will go the extra mile to help us when we ask as we have gone that extra mile for them before.

    I think you do have to be careful how much you offer as this can be a busy job for people, i currently have 2 members of my team working on descriptions of over 1000 words for each of our clients that will be used to provide some affiliates that ask for it unique content.

    I personally feel that this is an important part of being a successful client and for us being a successful agency. If you want some content please contact me and i will happily do this for you.

  7. Jess Luthi July 29, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    We offered content to affiliates, we started doing just a cover all approach for certain clients like EBTM, but the up take was small. Always happy to review and bring it back.

    I think our job is to supply what ever the affiliate needs but where is the line drawn, soon we will will be developing websites on behalf of the affiliates, its give and take.

    Affiliates should be doing their own research on the merchants they are promoting take notes along the way, edorsements will always be better coming from the affiliates anyway, you guys know your traffic/visitors better then any of us, or you should 🙂


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