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Blogging in a Recession

Posted by on 9th Oct 2008 | 6 comments

Okay, so it’s no secret: the economy is half in the pooper these days. It makes you realize just how trivial the internet and blogs are, right? Wrong…

You see, opportunities rarely exist in a vacuum. When one disappears, another one usually surfaces. You just have to know where to look for it.

With this recession looming, you not only have the chance generate some extra traffic, but potentially get a piece of that shrinking economic pie. The best part is that you can do it by helping other people make the most out of their shrinking budgets.

The Opportunity

By blogging about different ways you can save money, you’re bound to get some added traffic. And if you’re smart about it, you can make commissions off of the discounted sales that you refer.

As Website Magazine pointed out just the other day, when budgets are tight, people turn online to save:

With the economy sagging, consumers will likely slow down their spending. While it doesn’t mean people will stop shopping altogether, it’s a good bet that consumers will start looking for better deals on the products they want and need. Couple our current economic crisis with rising gas prices and brick-and-mortar stores might take a hit this holiday shopping season. That also means that online retailers could see an uptick in usage.

Of course, this all begs the questions: how do you get a piece of that action?

Well, for starters, you blog about where consumers can find deals on products that are relevant to your blogging niche. When you link to those products, however, you use affiliate links so that you can get a commission on any sales that you ended up generating.

The result: a win/win situation! Some consumer finds a way to save a few bucks on something they wanted, and you get rewarded for helping them out. Who says that it doesn’t pay to be nice?

The Niche

Of course, it’s not always clear what sites have the best deals, so finding one to promote as an affiliate blogger can be challenging. That’s why you have to think outside the box and look for sites that specialize on offering savings to consumers, such as coupon sites. Consider what eMarketer pointed out in May, months before the economy went into a full nosedive:

As consumer spending budgets tighten, […] coupon Web sites are seeing increased traffic, according to Hitwise Intelligence.

[…] the market share of visits for a Hitwise custom category of 11 printable coupon Web sites was up 85% year-over-year for that week. […]

Meanwhile, searches for the term “coupons” were up 45% year-over-year for the week ending May 3, 2008.

Now if coupon sites were seeing that kind of traffic before financial markets went completely haywire, just imagine what kind of appeal they’ll have now.

Of course, coupon sites rarely cover all product verticals, so it can be a challenge to find coupons that are relevant to what you blog about it. But if you choose coupons that are relevant to your readers, then you’ll choose the right affiliate program.

Something that most people have in common is that they have families. And when times are tough, people tend to think about their families and keep an eye out for how they can help those family members out. That’s why family coupon sites are perfect to promote as an affiliate blogger. As the same eMarketer article pointed out:

the most popular coupon searches were “grocery,” “printable” and “free.”

Everyone has to eat, and everyone has parents, siblings, and/or children. So even if you fall short of directly targeting your reader, you’ll still be showing them an ad for something that’s lingering at the back of their mind.

Besides, if the family coupons ads really don’t fit with your overall blog, then you can keep them restricted to posts about how to save on any given range of product (be it gadgets, sex toys, or car parts). After all, after reading content about how to pinch pennies, your readers will be that much more receptive to suggestions on how to save in a variety of ways.

All in all, you’ll attract some added traffic by blogging about how to save, your new and regular readers will appreciate it, associate your blog with yet another positive experience, you’ll be helping someone out and be rewarded for your good deed, and everyone will walk away feeling better about these hard financial times.


CT Moore (@gypsybandito) is the founder of Socialed, a Montreal-based consultancy that specialized in digital startegy, including SEO, content strategy, and inbound marketing. He also heads up Search and Social at Publikit, a boutiqe web dev agency. CT has worked with both start-ups and multinational brands in the tech, entertainment, ecommerce, and travel industries, including Microsoft Canada, WatchMojo, American Apparel and Luxury Retreats. His favorite feature of the Acquisio platform is the Facebook ad tracking module and you can ready his personal blog here.

6 comments - Leave a reply
  • Posted by MLDina on 9th Oct 2008

    Great point! The online advertising and blogging communities are still thriving, despite the state of the economy. Now's really the time to focus (or start) trying some new methods of affiliate marketing and blogging. You'll be helping consumers and yourself.

  • Posted by CT Moore on 9th Oct 2008

    Yeah, MSNBC ran an article on recession-proof verticals, and one of colleagues drew some great parallels that are relevant to affiliate marketing: http://blog.shareresults.com/?p=741

    She covered fitness, insurance, and deals for moms. So basically we're talking about health, personal finance, and family, three things that stay on the mind no matter what.

  • Posted by John on 11th Oct 2008

    It will be interesting to see how a recession will affect ad spending and how it will affect our CPC and CPM.

  • Posted by Affiliate Famous on 12th Oct 2008

    Nice article! I defiantly agree with you on picking affiliate offers that coincide with the trying times. I have been doing extremely well with debt relief and debt consolidation offers for the last several months.

  • Posted by kay on 12th Oct 2008

    there are some time we need to accept that there is recession in blogging. :neutral:

  • Posted by CT Moore on 14th Oct 2008

    @John, my guess is that CPC will be driven down just slightly, and CPA will vary only a product to product basis, with the majority of CPAs staying the same. But that's just a guess.