One of the very best things you can do to improve your content publishing business is to explore completely different niches.
I mean, really get in there and see if you can apply this stuff to your own site.
Take the time and cruise other affiliate sites within your niche, out of your niche, and everywhere in between.
Today, I'd like to take you into some strange, unique, and creative ways that people are building out their affiliate businesses.
We don't necessarily agree with all these practices, but there's a lot we can learn and take back with us.
At HPD, we focus mostly on the content publishing and SEO part of the affiliate world. But we have to remember that we're just one segment of it.
I think it's going to be pretty fun going over these few examples so you can see why we like our business model the most.
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Before diving in, we need to figure out what to watch out for that's positive and can actually help us out. We shouldn't just take examples from others without having some regards to our own experiences for what works and doesn't.
Here are the four points I always consider before moving forward with a new project for my sites:
- It must be clear how I will get targeted and relevant traffic
- The topic or idea for the niche should be easily outsourced or automated for the future
- If I'm going into another topic, the affiliate programs in that niche are easy to get into & manage
- The work must eventually lead to me owning the web property (which means we can start on other people's platforms but there must be a clear path to us "owning the race course" - Thanks James Schramko for that concept)
I think most of those points are fairly clear, except for #4 (and if they aren't please leave a comment below)
To explain #4 a bit more...
The easiest example is someone who builds a Facebook group but has no intention of building out their email list or attracting people back to their own platform.
Facebook groups will likely be around for a long time, but you still want to get that "owned traffic" that an email list can provide so you can drive people to affiliate offers, your own products or even your top 10 most popular informational posts (which can be monetized by ads, of course.)
Now that we have an idea of what makes an idea worth striving for, let's see what kind of unique affiliate marketing concepts we can learn from.
1. Build a Virtual Shopping Mall
Yeah, I know this one is really far out there but I wanted to kick it off with something fun for us.
It's a stretch for our imaginations too and we can see what the future might hold for us Amazon associates.
This project is a mixture of someone using Unity, a game development software, and combining it with the worlds biggest online retailer. Do you think they're trying to get Amazon to buy them? hehe.
Alright, onto the next one.
I told you we'd be getting outside-of-the-box!
2. Create a Subreddit
https://www.reddit.com/r/amazondealsus/ (7.5K subs)
https://www.reddit.com/r/AmazonUnder5/ (15.6k subs)
https://www.reddit.com/r/AmazonUnder25/ (4.9k subs)
https://www.reddit.com/r/deals/ (85.6k subs)
Now the examples above are mostly for daily Amazon deals and it might seem fun to do, but I question whether it's saturated.
However, I can see the benefits of starting a Subreddit that's specifically for your niche.
Below is an example of a Subreddit that's all about zombie apocalypses and this forum would be a nice supplement for a any survival-based website or even a zombie-themed affiliate website.
3. Work Out Private Affiliate Deal
This one comes straight out of own books.
We recently worked out a new deal with a vendor (not in the online marketing space) that's releasing an information product and we're their first affiliate!
This isn't the first time we've done it though.
The earlier you can familiarize yourself with authorities in your niche, the faster you can contact them about a private affiliate relationship.
The only crappy thing is that most of the times, depending on what stage they're at, the vendor won't have a proper affiliate dashboard setup for you.
So you'll have to depend on the "affiliate manager" to tell you how you're performing.
Each deal is different too, so we can't really say how much of a percentage is considered standard. However, still reach out and see what people are willing to offer. In many cases, you won't be the first one but it still won't be a public program anyone can enter.
4. Build a Directory For The Niche
https://botlist.co/ (directory for bots)
https://thingsonreddit.com/ (directory of books from multiple subreddits)
https://hackernewsbooks.com/ (directory of books from hacker news)
You can think of a directory like your resources page but on steroids.
If we take a step back to our interview with Nick Loper, he talks about one of his portfolio sites being a directory and YELP styled customer reviews for virtual assistants.
This is something you can think about adding to your own site.
In the picture above, we highlighted Botlist. Although they include some affiliate links on their site, the image we highlighted is for a sponsored banner and it happens to be paid for by Amazon.
Which is still very relevant for us and if we dive in a bit deeper, they've also created a membership program.
Now that's maximizing your sites earning potential!
5. Utilize Different Languages
Neil Patel said one of the most important lessons he's learned about SEO is the benefits of going multi-lingual. Which is exactly what this example affiliate site has done!
Although, I wouldn't say you should start with a different language right away.
It's something to think about when you want to expand your site down the road. However, Neil says you should consider adding it under the same domain and I'd have to agree.
In the above example site though, it started in Dutch first before expanding to English.
Which I think might be surprising for a few of us.
6. Build a Custom Tool You Know Your Niche Needs
https://toolwatch.io/ (Watch accuracy tool)
https://pangoly.com/en/ (Computer bundles with stats and costs)
https://enziano.com/blog/category/produkte/ (Hiking guidebooks but monetizes further with product reviews on the blog)
https://runnerclick.com/ (Race finder & injury assessment tool)
I think this one is my favourite ideas because you can really step above the noise and provide something that's a real asset to your audience.
If you decide to build a tool first and then monetize with commissions, that's a lot riskier.
Which is what Toolwatch did.
Meanwhile, RunnerClick went the opposite direction and built up their content first and then created tools that point to specific pieces of content that are answers within the tool.
Very cool, right?
RunnerClick even built a deals tool that allows you to filter through different offerings the site has found on Amazon.
See here for what I mean: https://runnerclick.com/deals/
7) Pay Attention To An Underserved Niche & Build A Community
https://www.wecamgirls.com/ (NSFW! A community that reviews online adult webcam services but is geared specifically to those that would like to work in the industry)
I could have left this example out as it's not appropriate for work, however, I think it's a really important lesson on niching down.
These guys have created an incredibly valuable resource for a community of women that don't necessarily have a lot great avenues or sites to trust.
You can see from their menu that they do a whole gambit of reviews and encourage their audience to add real experiences to the reviews.
8) Use The Authority Of Other Domains
Sites like Quora, Reddit, and Pinterest all allow you to add your content to their site and take advantage of the audiences from within their platform.
One gray/black hat tactic that people have been applying for years is to use content that they've uploaded to these big sites and use the domains authority of them.
For example, sites link Quora and the others have sooooo many links pointing to them that a little bit of link building to your own pages won't look too out of whack and the domain is powerful that it'll move easier onto the first page.
Here's how many links Quora is getting (picture below) and I'm guessing yours doesn't quite have the same velocity either...
Domains like docs.google.com and s3.amazonaws.com have a lot of links pointing to them too.
Here's an interesting article that I read the other day about someone or a team using Amazon AWS to create a coupon site straight off the Amazon domain.
Sometimes you think you know a lot about SEO...
Until you get schooled by someone like this.
What's incredible is that we can learn a lot from how trust works from an algorithmic angle in this "less-than-white-hat" tactic.
In this example, Google thinks that AmazonAWS.com is trying to rank themselves for all these coupon codes...
When in fact, someone is just trying to make it seem that way by masking the home button to be the homepage of s3.amazonaws.com.
Sneaky sneaky! But I can't imagine this being a long term business strategy!
Big "G" must surely be watching.
9) Get REALLY REALLY Good At Content Publishing & SEO
Ok, this ones kind of a let down because you might already know how important it already is. But I think it's important to cap off this list with something that's proven and that we do ourselves everyday.
The virtual mall is cool but there's a long road ahead for them and we have no idea how keyword research works for something like that.
It'd also be really cool to spin that AmazonAWS idea into a different affiliate vertical... But hey, is that really going to last and can we sell that for some sunset money?
That's why I think the best affiliate marketing idea is going to come down to this process:
- Do keyword research
- Hire writers
- Publish the content
- Get links (we can think of dozens of ways but you can either earn them or buy them.)
Does that sound like a good? Yes.
It is proven? Certainly.
We apply this model every single day and so do hundreds of our customers. So if you're at a point where your site is capped off (which I doubt), then expand try one of the strategies where you build a tool or even go try adding multiple languages to your site.
Although, I think you just might need to apply these ideas to expand your keyword research.
If you're completely not sure where to go next.
Explore what we have inside our private Facebook group for our customers. I can honestly say it's one of the most beneficial around for content publishers
Use what we've already proven and continue to refine everyday in the real world.