Why do I need affiliate marketing for PR?

September 6, 2022 | Amanda Green

This is a question prospective clients ask me on a regular basis. Historically, PR has always been purely editorial in nature. But times are changing. The inclusion of affiliate links in earned-media press placements has become commonplace over the past couple of years. I wouldn’t say you 100% definitely need it for a successful PR campaign, but it certainly increases your chances of getting mentioned in those fabulous link-building listicles. Here are some of the reasons why you need affiliate marketing for PR:

Affiliate marketing tracks sales

One benefit of affiliate marketing is that brands can use customized links to track sales back to a certain platform. For example, if BuzzFeed includes a company’s product in a listicle and a customer clicks on BuzzFeed’s link, the seller can trace that link back to BuzzFeed. The seller now knows that BuzzFeed’s audience is interested in their products. 

Publishers make money from affiliate marketing

You need affiliate marketing for PR because publishers make money from affiliate marketing. Traditional publications are looking for ways to make up for lost revenue in print advertising. Many of them now use affiliate marketing as a way to increase their own bottom line. Each time someone purchases from an affiliate link, the publisher – aka the affiliate – earns a percentage of the profits. For small and niche publications, affiliate marketing revenue can keep the lights on and pay editorial staff. For larger publishers, it is a way to keep the ship afloat during turbulent financial times.

Affiliate links increase a brand’s chances of securing editorial press coverage

And that’s the bottom line. While most publications still feature authentic product reviews, the reality is that affiliate links increase a brand’s chances of securing editorial press coverage. Commerce editors are looking for ways to make money for their publication. If, for example, a beauty editor wants to write a roundup of the top new face creams and beauty brands x and y have affiliate links, but beauty brand z does not – you can bet that beauty brand z will be left out of the product roundup. This is certainly not a rule across all publications, but it is becoming more commonplace at many digital outlets. 

How your publicist will use the affiliate link

At Orca Communications, our publicists tactfully include affiliate links in our pitches to editors when appropriate. While affiliate links are important to include, they are not the reason why we approach the press. We always lead with a great story, hook, or angle that fits the publication’s editorial calendar and audience. PR always has been and always will be about authenticity. 

Also, we know that not every editor or writer wants to see an affiliate link. It is important to work with a publicist that understands how the media works so that you don’t come across as spammy or annoying. Orca’s team has decades of experience in working with the media and many of our publicists come straight from careers in the newsroom. We speak their language in a way that most SEO and digital marketing specialists simply don’t understand! 

Top affiliate marketing platforms 

We’ve previously covered the most popular affiliate marketing platforms. While we don’t necessarily recommend one over another, we do find that working with a platform that is compatible with Skimlinks seems to be agreeable with most publications. Whatever platform you choose for affiliate marketing, I hope that you select Orca Communications as a PR partner to weave your affiliate deals into your PR outreach in a way that results in excellent press coverage.