what_affiliate_marketing_actually_isWe all know there are a lot of common myths about affiliate marketing. Many believe that it is an easy source of side income to develop and jump into it without understanding exactly what it entails.

In this post I’ll talk about what affiliate marketing actually is, and what to expect from your affiliate business if you’re just starting out.

What Affiliate Marketing Actually Is

Answer: Work…a lot of work.

Content Development

Notice that I say ‘content development’ and not simply ‘writing blog posts.’ I think there’s a huge psychological difference between people that approach their site as a blog and people who approach it as a business, and the distinction of what’s involved in producing content is a large part of that. Content is not just a blog post: you’ll probably end up producing images, videos, info graphics, podcasts, and anything else you can think of.

Topic Selection and Keyword Research

There are a lot of different approaches on how to do keyword research and what level of keyword research is necessary to get your site ranked for long tail searches, but I personally spend a fair amount of time digging up good keywords to include on the site.

I approach keyword research as part of the act of topic selection, which is a constant process of jotting ideas, reviewing old content to expand on, and thinking about how any given post will fit into the overall site mission.

No matter how you do it: this takes time.

Online Networking

Finally, the last area where you’ll probably spend a lot of your time is on online networks. Just like in person business networking, you need to spend time getting to know others in your industry.

These may be competitors, potential customers, or even just peers struggling through the same challenges you are, but getting involved in a community is an important part of gearing yourself towards success.

I hope this post doesn’t discourage you from starting your own affiliate site. Internet marketing is a flexible, fun, and rewarding field to be in. I just want to be clear that, like anything, you get what you put into it, so it’s important you dedicate yourself to your site consistently and treat it as you would a job.

If you’re interested, I encourage you to read more about how to get started with affiliate marketing.