I absolutely love the holiday season as an affiliate marketer. September through December is always my highest earning period of the year. People are online, credit cards in hand, ready to shop. Positioning your recommendations (and affiliate links) in their line of vision is one sure-fire way to increase your affiliate commissions this time of year. The perfect opportunity to get that done is a gift guide.
What Is A Gift Guide?
A gift guide is essentially a list post. It’s a list of recommended gifts for a particular person. The gift guide is one of the easiest blog posts to write, in my opinion. The steps are pretty simple.
Choose Your Theme
They should always have a clear, narrow focus relevant to your blog’s readers. A few examples:
- Top Gift Ideas for Your Cosmetic-Challenged Sister
- Age-Appropriate Gifts for a Beauty-Obsessed Pre-Teen
- Top 10 Beauty Gifts Under $20
- check out this big list of 165 gift guide ideas
It’s easy to stay on topic with a clear focus and, in front of a well-qualified reader, it’s sure to invoke action (I.e. a sale). Have fun and get a little creative. Consider the age of your audience, their interests, their family situations, etc.
Choose Your Products
This is the fun part! Your readers don’t just want a list of products. They want to know why that’s the gift they should buy. Put in the time. If these are not personal recommendations based on your experience, do the research into reviews and consumer discussions before making a suggestion.
Offer options, but not too many! Giving your readers 100 gift ideas to choose from may be too overwhelming for them to decide. They will go elsewhere for their final recommendations. A nice list of 7-10 usually does the trick.
Choose Your Merchants or Brands
Amazon is always a safe bet this time of year. They run some amazing deals. You can also include affiliate links to your favorite retailers or go the VigLink route and let them affiliate the links for you. A few of my favorite affiliate programs:
- Warby Parker
- Stella & Dot
- eBay Partner Network
- CenterPoint Media
- Commission Junction
- She Is Media
- Pepperjam Network
- Cents of Style
- Escalate Media
- ShopHer Media
- Affiliate Window (they have Etsy)
- Kings Lane
Maybe you aren’t so concerned with affiliate commissions and would rather get your hands on some brand benefits. You should ideally be reaching out to brands in regards to holiday gift guides in August. This is when they will be creating their holiday marketing plan and designating products for review.
Make sure you are including a disclaimer in your post if you are receiving any type of compensation (product to review, affiliate commissions, sponsor payment).
Optimize and Promote Your Post
Don’t forget your keywords. You may be surprised to find out I receive a trickle of traffic to a stocking stuffer post all year long from Google searches. Google Keyword Tool is a great, free tool for beginners. If you are looking for something more advanced, I personally use Long Tail Pro.
And if there is only one social network on which you will share your amazing gift guide, make sure it is Pinterest. Pinners love to shop and they love Repinning to wish list and idea boards. Make that post image stellar! I highly recommend befunky for this purpose.
I love creating gift guides, and you may find you do too. Just don’t go overboard. This is where an editorial calendar can ensure you aren’t publishing too much of any one type of content.
If you are just getting started or need a little help, check out these personal recommendations.
- Framework from Just a Girl and Her Blog – This course walks you through everything from setting up a WordPress blog to creating content. Three levels of help are available.
- Elite Blogger Academy – This course is for those with established blogs. It’s the crème de la crème when it comes to blogging courses. I took this one two years ago and have been reaping the rewards ever since. I was able to GREATLY increase my blogs’ traffic and income in a very short period of time. I’ve also made connections with some really great bloggers to help continue that success long into the future.
- Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers - This is a huge eBook from Tasha at Designed Trapped. She breaks affiliate marketing down into its simplest form and gives you the tools and information you need to succeed.
- Still in the brainstorming stage? - Check out this post for a few tips on starting a blog and learn how you can get your first month of quality hosting for just a penny.