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Shawn Collins on RSS: RSS & Blogs and Affiliate Marketing

Shawn Collins, the CEO of Shawn Collins Consulting (an affiliate program management agency) and the author of "Successful Affiliate Marketing for Merchants", joins us today to share his views on using RSS for affiliate marketing.

Rok: I'm really interested, since you are an affiliate marketing expert, what in your mind and experience are the best ways of using RSS for affiliate marketing, from the affiliate owner viewpoint?

Shawn: Since it's increasingly challenging to reach the inbox of affiliates, with Spam filters, ISP black lists, abandoned email addresses, etc., I think RSS will emerge as the preferred tool for communicating with affiliates.

Rok: But won't there be a problem with personal one-on-one communication with affiliates, since RSS is still mainly a one-way delivery system?

Shawn: No, I think this is really the perfect solution. Affiliates don't generally have a difficult time reaching affiliate managers (except in the cases where it's a bad affiliate manager that is unresponsive). For instance, I make my phone, email, fax, and AIM contact available to affiliates.

My vision for the usefulness of RSS is to be a one-way form of communication ? sharing updates, news, and tools with affiliates in an uncensored environment, since email has become too difficult with all of the Spam and other assorted hassles.

Besides, it you wish to enable comments on a blog for feedback and interaction, you can do so.

Rok: How about using blogs in affiliate marketing, again from the affiliate program owner's viewpoint?

Shawn: It makes all the sense in the world for affiliate programs to pursue and place increased value on blogs as affiliates. In general, contextual placement of ads is the best way to make money in affiliate marketing, especially if an affiliate has unique content, and they integrate text links into their content (i.e. making every instance of the word book link through an Amazon affiliate link).

In my experience, content affiliates convert better than other types of affiliates, so I go out of my way to bring in as many bloggers as affiliates.

Rok: How much impact do you believe publishing a blog might have on an affiliate program's success?

Shawn: It's hard to put a figure on it, since it's a pretty new concept for affiliate programs. However, I think any affiliate program publishing a blog is going to have extended reach and penetration with their affiliates, and that's priceless when it comes to communicating news, tips, resources, and changed terms in a program.

Any program with an active blog should expect incremental revenue as a result of reaching affiliates they would not otherwise reach, as well as recruiting new affiliates.

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