What is Affiliate Marketing in PR?

Topics: Public Relations, Digital Media

Posted by: Charlotte Zoda

We are living in the age of information overload. Huge volumes of information are continually being created and instantly disseminated in today's digital age. How does this heavy and constant flow of information affect the Public Relations (PR) industry in which an editorial feature that once stood firmly on its own is no longer the benchmark for PR success?

coronavirus-resized-2The answer seems clear. PR professionals who excel today are more adaptable, flexible, and multi-talented than in years past. Today's Modern Day PR professionals understand the impact of affiliate marketing, backlinks, and emerging media. And below we outline each for you.

As a PR professional today, it's more important than ever before to be tuned in to industry trends. The PR industry is no longer just a good story. PR is now a reflection of the digital age: dynamic, ever-changing, and always moving. Data and results are the norms. The question then becomes, "How do PR professionals leverage the age of digital to deliver measured results for their clients? How do we capitalize on the modern-day PR ecosphere to effectively position our clients, generate positive press, and build a solid reputation?"

In today's blog post, we tackle why modern-day PR terms, such as "affiliate marketing" and "backlinks," are part of our daily vocabulary - and how leveraging emerging digital media in PR supports client results.

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Affiliate Marketing

If you are an experienced PR professional of today, you are aware of the benefits of affiliate marketing and why it's encouraged that many brands, especially those in the lifestyle space, participate in an affiliate marketing program. For the rest of us, we ask, what is affiliate marketing in PR?

Affiliate Marketing in PR is when a publishing house and media outlet earns a commission for a product they are promoting. Affiliate Marketing is used by digital publications that, for example, promote a product on a "top 10 list" and hyperlink the product to allow for easy purchasing should readers be interested. This frictionless consumer transaction not only gives client visibility (transparency) to the value of the earned press-piece but also allows the publisher to monetize that pathway to conversion with a transaction fee.

Consequently, the days of publishers "organically" promoting a product they are pitching - no strings attached - has become more challenging.

With the current state of a hyper-fragmented media landscape, along with an intense competition to survive, publishers now are more reliant on companies and brands tied to affiliate marketing programs. Let's face it, business is business, and everyone needs to make money. If you do not understand what is driving exposure for many brands in today's PR industry, understanding affiliate marketing is a great place to start. However, you may have already known this just by reading the easy-to-miss disclaimer at the top of the article's page. Seventeen picks products that we think you'll love the most. We may earn money from the links on this page.


Moz.com defines backlinks very simply: "A backlink is created when one website links to another." Backlinks play an instrumental role in driving Search Engine Optimization (SEO) growth and are essential in Google's algorithm. In other words, the site ranks higher in search engine listings. Think of backlinks as a popularity contest - they hold the highest SEO value when coming from credible and trustworthy outlets.

Nevertheless, backlinks aren't guaranteed in editorial coverage. You can't force a journalist who is writing a story you've pitched to link to your client's website. But if a journalist is willing to include a backlink to your client's site because you have the know withal to ask for it, count that as a significant bonus, you just provided your client. Not only did you secure a press feature, but you have also added value to their site in Google's eyes. In today's digital world, this is priceless because higher Google value equals higher Google search volume.

As PR professionals, we must remember that the most crucial objective in working with media is to ensure they effectively communicate your client's messaging, not that they include backlinks - but consider it a big win if they do!

Emerging Media

First, there was print and broadcast, and now we have advanced to interactive ways of communication in ways William Randolph Hearst probably couldn't have imagined. Does it almost feel like there are too many communication channels - information overload, anyone? It's essential to understand the various emerging media to identify where to maximize your time and efforts when strategizing how to promote your client's best.

A strong example of emerging media is today's advances with social media. Augmented reality has transformed storytelling, as clearly evidenced by Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat immersive filters. Another way emerging media has dramatically impacted PR over the last couple of years is the opportunity provided to companies and brands with the ability to live-stream special announcements before it even makes it into the news.

Of course, we're sure diving into this article, you already understood that PR is more than just an excellent front-page story. That's not to say that, as PR professionals, we are not thrilled when clients are covered positively and extensively in the media. However, the various communication channels that are available today have encouraged us to be more creative and innovative in our approach when working with clients.

PR industry leader Ronn Torossian said it best, "PR is a mix of journalism, psychology, and lawyering - it's an ever-changing and interesting landscape." Now, all we're missing is our byline, doctorate, and courtroom jargon.

Are you interested in learning about another innovative modern PR tactic, influencer marketing?

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Join us for the next PR blog posts as we journey through forecasted trends, interviews with industry leaders, and how MSSmedia navigates the beautiful world of PR.


Here at MSSmedia, we’ve been providing Education, Government, Real Estate & Lifestyle clients with succinct, optimized, and successful marketing solutions for more than 15 years. Consider MSSmedia a full-service, one-stop shop for all your Media and Public Relations needs. Your goals are our motivation. And our mission is to propel your message, further and faster, to achieve the outcomes you’re looking for. If you found this blog post helpful, please share!


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