Updated November 2020 to add more links and helpful information.
You’ve got a blog and you’re ready to develop some posts that serve your audience and generate revenue for your business. Affiliate marketing is a super simple way for beginner AND experienced bloggers to start earning money from their sites.
One of the best ways to jump into affiliate marketing is by writing up some gift guides for your blog.
You’re helping your audience find the perfect gift for a specific type of person. Your audience is helping you by shopping with your affiliate links. It’s a total win-win!
Learning how to create affiliate gift guides will help boost your blog income and connect with your target audience.
Here’s how you can make a pretty, marketable affiliate gift guide that performs well.
Step 1 | Get super specific about who the guide is for
First, define the demographic this gift guide will be for. Be as specific as you can.
Something like “birthday gift ideas” or even “birthday gift ideas for teens” probably isn’t specific enough. There are so many gift guides on the internet and you’ll want to stand out by producing guides that are absolutely spot-on for a specific person.
So, think something along the lines of “birthday gift ideas for cat lovers” or “Christmas gifts for stay at home moms”.
You want the gifter to see your gift guide and think “That’s the guide I’m looking for!” The more general you are, the less likely you’ll be to attract clicks.
Step 2 | Apply for affiliate networks and programs
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already taken steps to join affiliate programs. If you haven’t, you’ll need to apply to some programs in order to find products to link in your gift guides. Here are some options for you:
- Shop Style Collective
- Amazon (Note: This isn’t legal advice, but my interpretation of the Amazon Affiliate terms of service is that you cannot use Amazon’s images in your own graphics. You can, of course, sprinkle a few amazon items into your gift guide post itself.)
Step 3 | Curate your gift guide items
If you’re making more than one, go ahead and start gathering items for each affiliate gift guide now to save time.
f you’re using an affiliate network like ShareASale, browse the stores, featured items, online catalogs, and explore the website until you find an amazing collection of items for your theoretical giftee.
Save a high-quality image of each item you select. You’ll use these images in the graphic you create to promote your affiliate gift guide. Ideally, you want a transparent PNG image with no background so that you can just drag and drop the images into your graphic and everything will look nice and clean.
Sometimes, though, you’ll only be able to get images with backgrounds in them. To remove the background from your images, you can use Photoshop, Canva Pro, or remove.bg. I use Canva Pro because it takes less time to do everything in one place.
Step 4 | Write your actual blog post
Start writing your post! The structure of an affiliate gift guide post can vary greatly, so it’s up to you. Some blogs choose to feature their pin image and simply link to the items in a caption. Some blogs create long-form content around their gift guides. And some choose to develop mini-reviews for each item.
Generally speaking, writing longer-form content on your blog has been shown to improve SEO, but good SEO depends on tons of other factors as well. Link to each item in your post using a unique affiliate link generated by your chosen affiliate network site.
If you intend for gifters to find your post organically, definitely consider writing a longer post and optimizing it for keywords and keyword synonym phrases.
If you intend for the majority of traffic to come from Pinterest, you’ll be fine with a shorter post. Designing a captivating pin to drive traffic to your gift guide will be your best strategy.
Step 5 | Design your pin
Here’s the fun part! Or maybe the terrible, annoying, hair-pulling part if you’re not big on designing graphics. Head over to Canva or another free graphics editing program to design a cute, attention-grabbing, pinnable image. Pinterest is particularly great at driving traffic for affiliate gift guide posts, so this tutorial will focus on creating a pin. I’m using Canva for this tutorial, but you don’t have to! The basic version of it (what I’m using here) is free.
Side note: If you haaaate designing things and it takes longer than you’d like to end up with a pin you’re proud of, I have 2 different sets of ten affiliate gift guide templates for Canva available in my Etsy shop.
Keep reading for how to DIY some affiliate gift guide Pinterest blogger templates for yourself. 🙂
When you pull up the Canva home page, select the Pinterest-sized design to get started on your custom affiliate gift guide pin:
If you want to use a custom-sized image as you pin, that’s great too! Just remember that for the most part, Pinterest favors 2:3 sized images. So, 600 x 900 will work just as well as Canva’s default pin size of 735 x 1102!
Next, start with the title of your gift guide. Click “Text” to add some type and select a font that fits with the look and feel of your gift guide. Here, I’m using “Josefin Sans”. It’s one of my favorite Google fonts!
Add some kind of stylistic element, if you want to. This is a great place to tie in color if you have a specific color theme for your gift guide. Also, add your website URL or logo!
Go ahead and start adding your items! Upload them to Canva and then drag and drop them into place. I usually have to move them around and resize them a little bit to get them to look right, but I can usually crank these pins out in a couple of minutes!
Sometimes, I need to make minor adjustments. In the image below, I wanted to fit the shirt in on the right side of the image but I needed to crop out some of the whitespace that came with the image. Canva has a “crop” tool that you can use to trim down the whitespace around the outside of the images if you need to.
Another thing that happens sometimes is when the images end up overlapping with the text. If this happens to you, try using the “Position” tool to move the image behind the text. After selecting the image, click “Position” click “Backward”. Then, you can move the image closer to the text without annoying overlap.
When you’ve got the gift guide pin looking exactly how you want it, click “Download” and select PNG. All finished! The more pins you make, the quicker this process will become for you.
There are a few things that you can do to speed up your affiliate gift guide workflow even more! One of them is to create a set of templates that you can quickly edit and use to create new gift guide pins super quickly. This saves you having to create tons of different designs – just switch out your colors, images, and text and then save and pin. Here’s a premade set of affiliate gift guide templates for Canva, if you’d like a finished set to save time!
Step 6 | Upload your pin to the blog post and pin it!
Finally, add your pin to your blog post! Remember that your alt text tag will be pulled as your pin description. Write a good one and include a few hashtags if that’s part of your Pinterest strategy. Then, publish your post and pin that pin! Submit it to your Tailwind tribes, pin it to relevant group boards, and schedule it to be pinned a few times over the next few weeks. That’s it, you guys!
How did your affiliate gift guide pins work out? Comment below and link me to your pins – I’d love to see them!
Pin me for later!