Optimize Holiday Earnings!

The changing seasons bring excellent topics for engaging content and sizable opportunities for earning. With each holiday comes this year’s “must-haves”, and audiences depend on publishers to guide them in their purchasing choices for these items. From pumpkin costumes, to stocking stuffers (even Santa needs a little help sometimes), your readers will depend on your content. The key to maximizing your earnings this holiday season is simple- plan ahead.

Strategically timing posts and discussing relevant products will spike a reader’s interest, thus increasing revenue. If you post too early, readers won’t be ready to engage; too late and they’ve gone elsewhere for guidance and likely missed the shipping window. The cut-off dates for shipping vary depending where the reader is located, but it’s generally suggested that publishers post about two weeks before the big day to give readers sufficient time to receive their item. It’s never too early to start brainstorming variations of content to post around this year’s holidays… start today!

Use our holiday calendar to ensure important dates are not forgotten, and remember to schedule your posts about these days sufficiently before-hand!

holiday dates

This Week in Tech: Rise of the Entrepreneur, Oliver Roup by Zac Johnson

A few weeks ago Oliver Roup was featured on Zac Johnson’s “Rise of the Entrepreneur” Podcast. In their thirty minute discussion they covered the breadth of Oliver’s career and the ideas that were the driving force behind him founding VigLink. When Oliver started VigLink, he did so on the premise that if a publisher is connecting their audience with a product they want to buy, they should get credit for that. However, prior to VigLink, this was easier said than done.

this week in tech

VigLink erases the barriers publishers have when independently joining affiliate networks. Traditionally, to join an affiliate network one had to…

  1. Know that it existed
  2. Sign up
  3. Find the one with the highest rate
  4. Take the chance of missing out on higher commissions with other networks

This is clearly an exhausting and time-consuming process, thus taking time away from producing quality content that readers enjoy. Oliver wanted to provide publishers with a way to focus on genuine content by creating a service which does work on the backend that isn’t possible to do by hand. Oliver points out that not only does the technology get you the highest rate, but also computes detailed reports allowing publishers to find out what products are most popular to their audiences. Finding out what content is most appealing to readers is good for everyone in that it keeps the audience interested, makes the publisher money, and drives traffic to the advertisers site!

And how about the best advice Oliver has ever gotten?

Focus on the long game.

Written by Hanna Fritzinger

 

Publisher Showcase: Possessionista

Possessionista is a blog people visit to find the fashion from their favorite shows. Have you ever watched Scandal or the Bachelor and wished you knew were you could find the clothing they wear? Dana Weiss did, and started a blog about around that premise in 2009. Find out how she turned her blog into a full-time job below… 

Starting a blog

Dana was working mom, but after giving birth to her second child she decided to become a stay at home mom. With newly acquired spare-time, she taught herself to blog in 2009 as a slide project to track the clothing she saw on TV. Soon after, people started emailing her that they too were searching for the same items, and Possessionista was born!

possessionista

 

Her mission

The goal of Possessionista is to help people find the clothes they like from the shows they love.

The relationship with her readers & their feedback

Dana has a lot of interaction with her audience. They communicate mostly over Twitter and email but also through the comments section of the blog. She finds the most effective mode of communication to be Twitter.

Her favorite part of Possessionista

Possessionista allows Dana to do her favorite things: shop, watch TV, and write. She’s always been a writer and getting the opportunity to write about TV and clothing is truly Dana living her passion.

Looking to the future

Every few years Dana does a redesign and continues to streamline the blog based on the feedback she receives from her readers. Because she wants to write about the shows her readers are watching, their feedback is absolutely imperative.

Commerce and Possessionista’s monetization strategy

Dana’s policy has always been editorial first; in fact, she didn’t start monetizing the site until after it was already well established. She writes about the items she sees on shows, if she wants to feature an item that doesn’t have an affiliated link, that won’t stop her from posting it. That being said, monetization gives her flexibility that she wouldn’t otherwise have and allows her to contribute to her family.

Dana describes Possessionista as a shopping blog, not a fashion blog. In her experience, people come to the site with the intention of making a purchase. She discloses her use of affiliates and sponsors on both her site and twitter, but emphasizes that her monetization strategy doesn’t impact the overall goal of the site which is to provide readers with the best experience possible.

j crew promo

Showcasing certain brands & brand collaboration

Dana works very closely with different show’s costume designers in order to track the clothing she spots in shows. She also works directly with brands, such as BCBG, to create coupon codes for showcased items. If they aren’t part of the current collection, she’ll go as far as organizing re-releases.

Another collaboration Dana initiated was with Shopbop with whom Possessionista created four style guides to correlate with different shows. By doing all of this work, she provides her reader with the luxury of simply visiting her blog to find these coveted items.

Written by Hanna Fritzinger

 

Here’s Why eCommerce Should And Can Account For 10% of Every Publisher’s Revenue

This article is cross-posted from Adrants where it was originally posted by Steven Hall. Guest author, Josh Jaffe, is the VP of Business Development here at VigLink.

Conde Nast’s recent announcement to merge Lucky Magazine with BeachMint, an online retailer, follows the relaunch of Domino Magazine, another Conde property, as an e-commerce store. The New York media giant isn’t the only one blurring the line between content and commerce. Meredith, Thrillist and Gawker are other prominent publishers investing considerable resources in commerce.

Despite these initiatives, commerce-based revenue remains a largely untapped growth opportunity for digital media companies. Display, native and video are the primary drivers of online publishing revenue. Yet, commerce holds the potential to generate a revenue boost of at least 10% with limited investment.

E-Commerce

Fashion bloggers have been at the forefront of the move to incorporate commerce as a meaningful line of revenue. These writers leverage their influence to drive loyal readers from their site to buy a product from an online retailer they have a commission agreement with. They’ve recently expanded to capture purchase intent on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and even YouTube.

Via its acquisition of ShopNation in 2012, Meredith is experimenting with on-site purchase as a means of driving commerce-based revenue. Men’s style publisher, Thrillist, earns most of its revenue from its JackThreads unit, the online retailer it purchased in 2010. Most publishers, though, don’t need to initiate their move into commerce by selling products direct to consumers. Gawker committed to commerce accounting for 10% of their total revenue in 2012 and achieved it last year without selling goods directly from its sites.

To start reaping commerce-based revenue, content must be created with purchase in mind. This is a natural fit for vertically oriented publishers. A technology site promotes deals at an online retailer. An outdoors publisher creates a product guide for camping or skiing. Broader media sites covering news or entertainment can also capture reader purchase intent by featuring travel deals, digital goods or style guides. Stories can be created by existing writers, non-editorial staff or a content agency trained to link story product references to online retailers.

Creating content with the intention of sending readers off-site to an online retailer may seem antithetical to product gurus charged with increasing site engagement. But, creating content that readers find useful and in tune with the brands and products they love actually boosts user loyalty and return visits.

The benefits are clear. The new found revenue is completely additive to the current revenue mix of display, native and video. It is less subject to economic downturns as advertisers are more willing to maintain budgets when spend is tied directly to revenue. And commerce-based revenue generates a predictable return on investment because revenue levers up in direct relation to the amount of content created and the audience pushed to that content.

While publishers keep mobile, social, programmatic and native top of mind, adding commerce as a core editorial and monetization strategy can yield an entirely new, meaningful line of revenue in 2015.

Written by Josh Jaffe, VP of Business Development at VigLink

Make It All About the Treats This Halloween

 

Halloween

The night of fright is a just a ghoulish 14 days away when the clock strikes dead on midnight tonight… Don’t miss out on this frighteningly good opportunity to write your halloween spook-tactual blog post. Even those from the other-side need to guided on what treats (and tricks) are this Halloween’s must buys! For all some ghoulishly good inspiration, latest offers, and commission increases remember to check our Merchant Explorer tool and our Insider blog.

 

Forum Monetization with VigLink

We built VigLink on the idea that site owners should be compensated for the hard work they put in starting, maintaining and growing their sites. Forum owners are no exception and that’s exactly why we’ve decided to address the unique aspects of forum monetization with VigLink. In this post, we’ll outline how VigLink monetization works for forums and some best practices for maximizing earnings.

Links posted on a forum can have significant earning potential – even if they’re posted by users. But turning potential earnings into actual money in the bank can be more trouble than it’s worth. That’s where VigLink comes in. VigLink technology works in two ways. First, we convert existing links into links that can make money. Your community members are constantly posting links to brands, products and sites they know and love. We make it easy to capture the value of these links. Most retailers are actually willing to pay for clicks to their site that turn into purchases. We automatically wire up your clicks to participate in these programs. Second, our advanced technology can automatically link references to products in forum posts. Often, forum members may simply forget or not go to the trouble of adding a link. VigLink conveniently adds the link so users don’t have to hunt for the product and you get credit for the click. To make this work well, VigLink has established relationships with over 30,000 merchants, more than any other link monetization service. Just about any link that can earn money will earn money.

Of course, as with any monetization strategy, there are some best practices that are worth keeping top-of-mind in order to help you take your earnings to the next level. Here are four simple ideas you can put into practice today:


  1. Log in to your VigLink dashboard often to monitor what content is converting the best within your forum. If, for example, digital cameras are converting well, expand upon that content by creating new threads about digital cameras and encouraging people to post about their favorite one. If a particular camera retailer is performing well for you, expand upon that retailer. The VigLink Dashboard is your roadmap to revenue.
  2. Create threads that are retail-oriented and encourage members to post links. “Great deals” and “show and tell” threads prompt members to link out to products. Try starting a thread called “Great eBay Finds” and see the links enumerate. Using specific, meaningful product topics never hurts either. Starting a thread called “Best Speakers under $1,000” prompts users to reference products specifically. Then, post a link to that particular thread to other forums, including competitive ones.
  3. See a particular member who posts a lot of links? Consider reaching out to them directly with encouragement. You could promote them to moderator or even consider a rev-share as a reward.
  4. Make sure the conversation keeps going. Threads will stall unless you or your moderators keep them going. Ask another question or share something new to foster the continuation of product-related conversation.


There’s a reason VigLink is chosen by top forums – our solution is easy to implement, is maintenance-free, and perhaps most importantly, has virtually no impact on the community’s experience. Rather than bombarding your users with pesky, irrelevant banner ads, VigLink integrates seamlessly into posted content, so the conversation members came to enjoy is not compromised for the sake of trying to make a buck. VigLink is not a pop-up ad company; our technology doesn’t pretend to link words only to open up an irrelevant ad as the user inadvertently hovers over a double underline. We take a totally different approach – one that’s far more natural and organic.

We encourage you to sign up and find the tactics that work best for your forum by testing some of these ideas. Let us know if you have any questions or feedback – we’re always just an email away at support@viglink.com.

Whitney Smith, VigLink Marketing Communications Manager

What Does UX Have to do with Monetization?

Last week, Mashable posted a video interview with Jesse James Garrett, author of The Elements of User Experience, and a pioneer in the space as it applies to the web.

Garrett points to a trend among technology companies in which they are now starting to invest heavily in developing and improving user experience (UX).  As he sees it, companies have shifted from taking a narrow, tactical approach with graphic designers (buttons, menus, and fonts) to evaluating the entire picture of what makes a truly beautiful experience. Where UX was once a check box on the long list of tasks to complete a project, it has now evolved into an essential part of product strategy, and, for some businesses, a key driver of success.

When working with publishers, we often find them struggling to balance user experience with monetization. Distracting, irrelevant display ads could actually turn readers away, undermining the entire business. Yet monetization doesn’t have to compromise user experience. There is no foregone trade-off between readers and revenue. For example, limiting the number of ad placements while holding them to a strict measure of relevance and quality can help retain readers and maximize ad engagement.  Of course, VigLink is a tasteful solution to monetization that respects user experience. By affiliating links within your content, VigLink doesn’t rely on the traditional tricks of distraction or interruption. By integrating a monetization solution into actual content (vs the white space around content) publishers can avoid the pitfalls of banner blindness, enhance the user experience, and still earn revenue.

For some, user experience is at the heart of how they run their company. For others, it’s a philosophy that drives the smaller, tactical decisions (such as monetization). Garrett’s interview got us thinking about how we incorporate user experience into our business. As you think about the same for your business, consider the old Google mantra – “focus on the user, and all else will follow.”

Whitney, VigLink Marketing Communications Manager

ForumCon: The Good Stuff

A few weeks ago, we posted the slides from the opening statements made by our CEO Oliver Roup at ForumCon. Today, we’re excited to share with you a few videos taken of actual ForumCon panels and speakers.  Some great points were brought up surrounding several topics, so go ahead and check them out!

 

Verticalized Social Networks: Online Influencers that Savvy Marketers Covet

Speaker: Dan Gill, Founder & CEO of Huddler

 

How to Create, Curate & Put Great Content to Use

Speaker: Tyler Tanaka, VP of Development for PostRelease

 

More to come in the next few days!

Can Content Monetization Deliver a Better Website Experience?

Below is an excerpt from a guest feature by Oliver Roup, VigLink founder & CEO, on 5 Star Affiliate Programs Blog. You can check out the article in its entirety here.

Website publishers feel like they face a difficult trade-off: cater to their readers or cater to their revenue.  But, as any publisher or affiliate marketer knows, it’s a false trade-off.  The two are intimately related. Without strong readership and traffic, monetization is an impossibility. Without monetization, a site is tough to sustain.

So, how can you earn revenue without scaring off your readers? Or, better yet, how can you earn revenue while actually enhancing your readers’ experience on your site?

Publishers that don’t think through these questions may find themselves adopting a rather crude monetization strategy, plastering banners on every spare inch of their pages, or implementing the dreaded paywall. And while there is certainly a time and a place for both banner ads and paywalls, both overlook what should be a critical component of a site’s monetization strategy: the content.

Content is where your readers dedicate the majority of their time and attention on your site.  Why not leverage it?  By doing so, you’ll secure an important additional revenue stream for your site that is both unobtrusive and user-friendly.

Read on for  an overview of 3 of the best ways to get started monetizing your site’s content.

A Recap of LinkShare Symposium West

This post is a short recap by Erin Mead, Affiliate Manager at VigLink, of LinkShare Symposium West. 

Last week I had the pleasure of heading out to San Francisco for LinkShare Symposium West — the event is hosted by LinkShare as a way to bring the organization’s merchants, publishers, agencies and team together.  Not only was it a great opportunity to skip out on the chilly Chicago weather for a few days, but as I’ve mentioned in the past, these types of events are a great opportunity to stay connected with our top merchants and strengthen relationships with new ones.  I was also able to meet with our LinkShare account manager in-person for the first time.  It is amazing how a face-to-face meeting really helps build the relationship.

Though the event is just a couple of days, it is packed with great sessions and amazing keynote speakers.  Not to mention a multitude of meetings!  I’m excited about what the coming months hold with each of the merchants I sat down with and finding innovative ways to grow our partnership with each.

The event wound-down with a cocktail hour at The Tonga Room. It was my first time at the venue and I really enjoyed it.  I will definitely be telling my friends to stop by for a drink the next time they are in town!

All together it was a great week! I’m already looking forward to next time –

Erin Mead | Affiliate Manager | VigLink