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Screenshot of skimlinks dashboard

Spotlight on 1.4 – Day two: It’s time to start monetizing

Heads up – this post reads as an advertisement for Skimlinks. It is not one. Promise.

The second feature in the upcoming 1.4 release is for affiliate and influence marketers.

Affiliate and influence marketing has become a large part of the WordPress world. Many subject-specific and niche bloggers make a supplementary income from affiliate links and sponsored content. One of our current customers earns over $2,000 a month from affiliate marketing from just web traffic. Maybe you see where this is going.  We think we can help them do even better.

We are working on integrations with a few different affiliate/influence marketing services and ad networks to extend those technologies to email. The first we would like to announce is the availability of Skimlinks in Postmatic 1.4.

Skimlinks caught our eye because their technology is as unobtrusive and elegant as we strive for our own products to be. It’s no coincidence it is the most popular of the affiliate/influencer marketing services among our users.

A quick overview of Skimlinks (skip this if you are already in the know)

Skimlinks helps bloggers make money from their content. It is a particularly good choice for sites that are publishing content related to products or services. It could be a travel blog reviewing gear a few times a week, or a food blog offering product comparisons. If you are writing this kind of content you are inevitably driving sales for someone else. Skimlinks makes sure you get a cut of the action but does so in a way that is so simple and easy we can’t help but recommend it to anyone running Postmatic. And no, we aren’t involved in any sort of formal relationship with Skimlinks nor get a cut. Their product just impresses us that much.

How Skimlinks works – the basics

  1. If you think Skimlinks is a good fit for your content you sign up on their site.
  2. Install a javascript snippet on your blog (or use their WordPress plugin) and you are done.
  3. The next time you write about a product or service that has any sort of affiliate program Skimlinks will intercept any clicks on links in your post, track the sales, and share the commission with you.

It’s dead simple but also offers a slew of content marketing tools if you want to dive in. You can read all about it on their site.

Why Skimlinks + Postmatic?

Postmatic adds value to blogs by increasing engagement, building brand loyalty, and driving site traffic.

But until Postmatic 1.4 there has been a missing piece: letting affiliate marketers take advantage of these increases – even in the inbox.

It’s simple: Now your content will not only be delivered to your subscribers where they are but the links within will continue to operate as Skimlinks. On the web as well as in email. Let a few thousand people read your post on your website. Make a nice commission. But also send it via email to another few thousand and do even better. Postmatic + Skimlinks enables simple and honest monetization of your content – no matter where it is read.

How to get started

In Postmatic 1.4 you’ll see a new option for enable Skimlinks in Settings > Postmatic > Options. Check the box. Enter your Skimlinks publisher ID. Done.

What Skimlinks features we support

The initial release supports Skimlinks. Links that you place into your content will be tracked using the Skimlinks url shortener api. We do not yet offer support for either Skimwords nor the Skimlinks custom domain service. We very well may in the future.

A word on ethics, honesty, and the slippery slope

Affiliate and influencer marketing can be murky. To be honest, we had no idea how deep the rabbit hole went before we started looking into it. Some innocence was lost, and a lots of insight was gained. We found most bloggers and services being upfront, honest, and calling a spade a spade when it came to sponsored posts and affiliate links. But we also found plenty of the opposite.

As per the FTC and other international legislation around sponsored posts and affiliate links, please be upfront with your email subscribers that links in the post will earn you commission. It’s not only the legal thing to do, but it’s the nice thing to do too for your trusting subscribers.

And please, don’t take photos of your kids gobbling bowls of sugary cereal with the brand-name box in the forefront (featured image) and pretend the post is about 15 shortcuts for an easy school morning. The javascript tells a different story.

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