Where have you made some of your best “real life” contacts in the internet marketing space? I’m not talking about over email, skype or in a forum… I’m talking about finally putting a face to a name and really meeting up with people you’ve talked with forever online.
If it was at an internet conference, there is a good chance it was Affiliate Summit. It’s funny to look back nearly a decade ago before Affiliate Summit (and really any big conferences) was around, and the lack of internet conferences. From what was just a little over a hundred people meeting in NYC in 2003, is now over four thousand attendees and held twice a year. The importance of networking and new business and exposure brought to affiliate and internet marketing from Affiliate Summit over the years has been simply amazing.
The following is my interview with the co-founder of Affiliate Summit, Shawn Collins, which is also from my Six Figure Affiliate Blogging ebook. You can download the full ebook for free at SixFigureAffiliateBlogging.com, which includes over 130 pages of content and interviews with 25 highly successful affiliates and bloggers.
Interview with Shawn Collins
I got started as both an affiliate and affiliate manager in 1997. I spent ten years managing affiliate programs, and have been an affiliate the whole time. In 2003, I co-founded the Affiliate Summit conference with Missy Ward, and we’re about to host our 14th Affiliate Summit, which takes place August 15-17, 2010 in New York City.
2.) When did you start blogging and how did you first get into it?
I started on Blogger in February 2004 with infrequent posts on affiliate marketing (my first post), and moved on to using Movable Type (MT) several months later. I started, because I wanted an alternative to putting all of my content in somebody else’s forum, and while I was publishing some newsletters, I wanted to do something where people could publicly respond.
3.) When starting your blog, did you ever expect it to grow to where it is today?
No, I didn’t imagine blogging itself would take off as it has. As my blog gained momentum, I invested more time in it. At this point, I think it’s been four or so years that I’ve blogged every single day without interruption. I’m a big believer in the importance of consistancy.
4.) You’ve been in the affiliate and internet marketing space for a very long time, how much of an impact have affiliate / marketer bloggers made in the industry compared to before blogging went mainstream?
I think blog software as a CMS has revolutionized affiliate marketing. At first, I looked at blogs as a type of affiliate, but using WordPress and other platforms as a CMS has become increasingly popular. In the past couple of years, I’ve moved all of my sites over form being hand-coded to running them on WordPress.
5.) How have you incorporated affiliate marketing into your blog?
I was using affiliate marketing on my blog from the time I left Blogger for MT. At first, I was going with banners and buttons, but eventually shifted to contextual text links. I’ve used various programs to automate the links, but came back around to manually insert the links, so they are products and services I can hand-pick to promote.
6.) In your opinion, what is the single best way to monetize a blog?
Banners and buttons are a waste of time. Pop-ups, sliders, etc. are a bad experience for visitors. I think the soft sell is the best sell – relevant text links.
7.) What would you recommend for a new blogger, that wants to create their own brand or presence in blogging?
I’d urge them to blog about something where they have a passion – a topic they will love six months from now, so they won’t abandon their work before it takes off. I’ve mostly followed my own advice, but there are also many blogs I started to monetize on a niche and quickly lost interest.
8.) Any recommended blogs or resources for bloggers looking to bring their blog to the next level?
I think the most useful resource is Google Alerts, so bloggers can set up alerts for all of the terms relevant to what they are doing. This can act as a source of posts for their blog on a regular basis. Also, I would suggest making the full posts available via RSS. Some people won’t bother coming back to your blog all the time, so make it as easy as possible for them to consume your content.
9.) Do you have any big announcements or upcoming projects you’d like to tell us about?
My main focus is Affiliate Summit East 2010, taking place August 15-17 in NYC. Then, there will be an Affiliate Summit unConference in Orlando on September 27, followed by Affiliate Summit West 2011 on January 9-11, 2011 in Las Vegas.
* If you enjoyed this interview, be sure to download my free 130 page guide to â€œSix Figure Affiliate Bloggingâ€œ.