Do you wish you had an online course to offer your blog readers but can’t find the time to create the content? Lack of time presents a common hurdle for bloggers who are already busy writing blog posts, books, and free PDF giveaways. Content creation is, indeed, time-consuming. And the potential of an online course as a passive-income generator is enticing.
Don’t feel frustrated. Even if you don’t have enough hours in the day to create an online course, you don’t have to give up this opportunity. You have other options.
My target audience is travel writers and bloggers working towards becoming authors, and I provide them with online resources to help them achieve their goals. I don’t currently have my own online course to offer them, so I began promoting other people’s courses that complement my content niche.
Not only do affiliate courses benefit your followers, but they also provide you with a stream of passive income. The only investment you have to make is time.
Plus, many authors find it easier to promote other people’s content than their own. If you’re squeamish about self-promotion, becoming an affiliate for another person’s course is a practical option.
I’ve become a course affiliate in a variety of ways, most of which involved having direct knowledge of the product. You do, indeed, want to be sure the product has value and will serve your readership. The ability to use the course helps in this determination.
Here are three experiences I’ve had that led to an affiliate relationship and the ability to offer courses to my audience.
1. Software Training Affiliate
I was the beta tester for Joe Nicoletti’s (aka Joseph Michael) when he first launched his online training for Scrivener in 2013. Back then, many authors were intimidated by Scrivener, or only used a fraction of its capacity because they felt overwhelmed by its many features.
Joe’s Learn Scrivener Fast course simplified all the functionality. I provided feedback that encouraged him to include classes specifically for bloggers. You can use online manuals from the software developers at Scrivener (or use Gwen Hernandez’s book, Scrivener for Dummies). However, Joe was ahead of the game in online course creation and produced a wealth of short video content with accompanying reference sheets. He’s the go-to resource for learning Scrivener and respected within the author community.
2. Software Sales Affiliate
Dave Chesson runs Kindlepreneur and is the developer behind Publisher Rocket (formerly KDP Rocket). His software is designed to help you increase your book’s visibility using keywords and understanding of your book’s niche.
You won’t make money by promoting his free video training course. Still, it’s a handy promotional tool to use when you’ve signed up for his software affiliate program. Sending your readers to a free program helps them become familiar with the course creator. When you later promote this person’s paid program, you are more likely to get buy-in from your readers.
Dave is focused on helping authors and creates a seemingly endless supply of high-quality blog posts that I happily share across my network. It was through him that I realized the potential of using blog roundups to grow my audience. This is an excellent example of how collaborating with other influencers within your niche can help you to grow and learn as well as make money.
3. Skills Training Affiliate
I started working with Chris Well, who runs a media-training online course as part of his Build Your Brand Academy. We met virtually through an author event, and I loved his passion for sharing his knowledge about PR and media tactics. We’ve collaborated over the years, and I share his blog posts and content across my social media networks.
This led Chris to ask me to beta test his online course. I have strong analytical skills, and I love test-driving courses and providing constructive feedback.
As soon as he released that first online course, I had no qualms about signing up to become an affiliate. Chris is more knowledgeable about media kits and media plans for authors than I could ever be. Therefore, it made sense to jump on the bandwagon and promote his course in lieu of creating my own.
Form Online Relationships with Course Creators
You can track down relevant courses and offer to beta test or review the course in return for complimentary access. Keep in mind that course creators are more likely to provide you with their content if you’ve already made your presence known to them.
Each one of my beta testing collaborations started from sharing their content and interacting with them on social media before I joined their affiliate program. They reached out to me and offered me complimentary access to their courses to beta test them because they’d already seen me supporting them and their brand.
Even if you don’t have relationships with online course creators (yet), you can get started with affiliate marketing. Be brave! Reach out to experts who are promoting a course that serves your audiences’ needs, or begin your affiliate marketing efforts in other ways.
Remember, courses aren’t the only affiliate offerings. Keep the obvious alternatives, like the Amazon Affiliate program, in mind. I use this program to promote nonfiction books, but you can use it to promote any product sold on the site that would interest your readers.
Sell with Integrity
Approach your online course affiliate program choices from the perspective of your followers and readers. Evaluate each option by asking yourself, “Will this course benefit my audience?”
Here are a few rules (or guidelines) to follow before you recommend an affiliate course to you readers:
Only recommend skills or software courses that:
- could be beneficial to your audience.
- Are related to your niche.
- You’ve used or road-tested.
When you create an online presence, the one thing you have to uphold is integrity. If you recommend courses you haven’t taken, are in an unrelated niche, or won’t benefit your audience, this lack of integrity will harm your brand in the long term.
Blogging is a long-term investment. Promoting other people’s courses through an affiliate program can create a passive income stream and help you develop collaborative relationships with influencers within your niche.
Have you promoted online courses—or other products and services—as an affiliate that were beneficial to your brand and earned you money? Share your experiences in the comments section below.
About the Author
Jay Artale abandoned her corporate career to become a digital nomad and full-time writer. She’s an avid blogger and a nonfiction author helping travel writers and travel bloggers achieve their self-publishing goals. Join her at Birds of a Feather Press where she shares tips, advice, and inspiration to writers with an independent spirit.
Photo courtesy of mayrum