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Product Placement for Consumer-Oriented Blogs

Today’s post in the b5media 12 Days of Christmas series is another post by Hsien-Hsien Lei. She previously posted about ethics for science and health bloggers but this time she’s showing her diversity of blogging interests by writing about Product Placement on Consumer Blogs.

Hi. I’m Hsien-Hsien Lei and I write not only Genetics and Health but also Play Library. The approaches to these two blogs are dramatically different. For Genetics and Health, I present science/health news and analysis with no specific intention of selling anything (aside from the occasional book). For Play Library, it’s a constant show-and-tell of toys, book and things for children.

Almost all of the affiliate links I use on Play Library are from the Amazon Associates Program. It’s the most straightforward and comprehensive products catalog online. Amazon also makes it incredibly easy to create product links. Initially, I inserted the pre-fab ad buttons and banners into every post. They were ugly, but functional, and I did get the occasional sale.

When Arieanna Foley’s Cooking Gadgets blog went live, though, I knew I had a lot to learn. She was making sales left and right without a single ad button or banner in sight. Learning from Arieanna‚s successful example requires a little more work and these are the steps I now take for Play Library posts featuring products:

1. Check Amazon.com for the specific product to be featured and find the image I want.
2. Right click and copy image location (I hotlink directly to Amazon because I would have had to anyway if I were using the affiliate buttons).
3. Go to Amazon Associates and pull up the specific affiliate code.
4. Copy the product link which includes my associate ID.
5. Make the product image clickable and include the link wherever appropriate in the post.

Using these steps, Play Library is sleeker and more friendly. My sales haven’t gone through the roof (yet), but I have seen an increase in product sales via Amazon. When one month has passed since the start of the experiment, I’ll be able to compare Google ad revenues as well.

Hope this works for you too! If subtle product placement works on TV and in the movies, you can bet it will work on blogs too.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Dave says:

    If you can afford the space / bandwidth, download the Amazon graphic to your host / server. That way traffic at Amazon doesn’t slow down your own site. I had pages with Amazon links take 2-3 times as long to render with hotlinked graphics. When I posted the graphics on my own site, the page times went down.

    Plus if the image at Amazon ever changes you won’t get caught by surprise. :-) Just my two cents worth.

  2. Hsien Lei says:

    Thanks for the tips, Dave. Part of the reason I hotlink is out of sheer laziness but I think you make some valid points for not doing that.

  3. Rachel says:

    Any reason why you’re not using a WordPress Amazon plugin to save you doing it all manually?

  4. Hsien Lei says:

    Good question, Rachel. I just haven’t gotten around to installing the plugin yet. Have to check if a plugin compatible with WP 2.0 is available (have been having some compatibility issues with plugins lately).

    Also, I wanted to make my tip applicable to everyone whether or not they were using WordPress.

  5. Rachel says:

    Ahh ok – thanks for the clarification :)

  6. Croak says:

    WP-Amazon works with WordPress 2.0 just fine, and it will save you a TON of time with the way Play Library is structured.

  7. Hsien Lei says:

    Thanks for checking it out for me, Croak. I appreciate you taking the time to visit Play Library.

  8. The WP-Amazon plugin for WordPress is great and really saves time when you want to add product links or images to a post. It can be found at http://manalang.com/wp-amazon/

    Another thing I recently did was to get Amazon to setup a Tracking ID for each of my blogs/websites under my main Amazon Associate account. All you need to do is send an email to Associates Customer Service with this request and list the websites you would like to have them for. They will set them up and let you know when it is done.

    This allows you to see which sites are sending the most traffic and where your sales are coming from. Since someone can end up buying just about anything once they get on the Amazon site you can’t always tell. It has been quite helpful.

  9. Hsien Lei says:

    Jason, Now that the number of blogs I write is mushrooming (what was I thinking?!), I’ll have to ask Amazon to do the same for me. That’s a really valuable tip for probloggers. Thanks!

  10. Gary Miller says:

    Thanks very much for the timely article. It is always good to get confirmation on an idea that you have been milling around in your mind. I agree that Amazon has an extensive product offering and when you are doing a product review site, it is very important to have an affiliation with a site that can help with monetization.

  11. Hsien Lei says:

    Gary: Glad you liked the article! Amazon has been a wonderful resource for my Play Library blog. Most parents I know like ordering from them because it’s simple and easy and the price is generally quite competitive.

  12. Tammy Powley says:

    Product placement has a lot of potential. Thanks for the food for thougt.

  13. Scott Lipe says:

    Hello,
    This is my first time to comment but I’ve visited your site many times and learned a lot. In all Honesty I think Amazon isn’t worth the trouble. I’ve been searching for a good affiliate program for a couple of years now. I’ve tried them all including the pay per click ads with Google and Chitika. I have just found what I believe is to be the next big Ebay or Google business. They pay lifetime commissions and have over 500 stores in their shopping network. They provide the banners and everything. I’d like for everybody to check out my website and email me their comments. Or if you could right an article about it would be great. I’ve already signed up 5 lifetime customers in two days.
    This thing sales itself.
    If I posted this in the wrong place, please let me know where to post it.
    http://scottspuppypalace.com

    I

  14. Clark says:

    Amazon does save you a great deal of time in finding the right product to promote within the context of your site. It is certainly the quickest I have tried. I also use commission junction but it’s much much slower – not sure if anyone has has any success with them.

  15. Hsien Lei says:

    Clark, I didn’t care for Commission Junction at all. It was a total pain trying to sift through the advertisers, then find a good sale button to use. And, they don’t integrate into the site as well as Amazon product pics linked to Amazon.

  16. Donovan says:

    Commission Junction isnt that great. Neither is AdSense.

    I’ve been generating a great income over the last few months by using the techinques in the ebook “Blog For Profits”.

    Download it at the website http://www.blog-for-profits.com

  17. Ralph Delly says:

    Of course blogs work, as a matter of fact I switched from social networking to consumers blogs, and the result is simply amazing. I was figuring out how to attract online consumers to buy Black Berry phones for less than $200, it was until I tried the blogs that consumers responded positively. You bet it works.
    http://www.payoless.com