How to choose keywords and content for your niche affiliate blog


It’s only been one week into this niche affiliate blogging experiment, but already progress is happening! For one thing, my latest affiliate blog, Candle Fandom, just made its first referral. I only made $5, but that’s money I didn’t have before, and it’s money I earned writing about a hobby I like, that I would have been satisfied writing about even for free.

Secondly, my friend Colette Bennett has already found success implementing affiliate strategies for her Asian skincare blog, Chok Chok Beauty. Colette says:

“I started my blog in December 2015 and had no idea how to set up affiliate links. Lauren gave me a few tips that I really appreciated—thanks to her advice, I racked up $40 in sales in my first week using the system!”

Way to go, Colette! Notice, by the way, that neither of these money-earning blogs are soulless endeavors, but built around topics we like to write about already. I’ve read way too many sleazy affiliate marketing tutorials to bring another of those into the world.

So now it’s time for me to tell you about the affiliate blog I’m building specifically for this blogging series. The topic is this: STEM toys for girls.

STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, is a block of topics that historically have had less female participation. As a result, fewer women than men occupy these rewarding, often lucrative careers. Even at the fairly diverse company where I work as a Web developer, I am the only woman on the team. Plus, when I worked at ReadWrite, it was part of my job to highlight STEM toys for kids, girls in particular, so I know a lot of them already. It’s something I care about a lot!

On the more technical keyword planning side, here’s what I did to verify that this might be a topic that will earn money.

  1. I went to Google Keyword Planner and selected “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website, or category.” I typed in “STEM girls.”
  2. I scanned the list of result to find Google searches that have low competition, but still get 1,000+ searches a month. That way, I can create a site that Google considers an “authority” on the topic and shows up as a top result for this search prompt.
  3. I discovered that “Women in STEM” and “What is STEM?” are phrases that people type into Google between 4,000 and 6,000 times a month, but are listed as “low” competition keywords. Bingo! I’ve decided that these are the keywords I’m going to target.

Notice how even though I’m writing on the topic of STEM toys for girls, I am choosing to target related keywords and not that exact phrase. The same is true for Candle Fandom—candles are a very high competition keyword, but “great scented candles” and “candle DIYs” are not. Just because the topic you want to cover is high competition doesn’t mean you can’t use it for your site if that’s your passion. As a close-to-home example, “Anime” and “Gundam” are very high competition, but “Gunpla” is not. Hence, Gunpla 101!

Now that I have a topic that’s both important to me and potentially valuable to people who search for it, it’s time to set up a site. I immediately bought (slim pickings, I know) and started generating blog post ideas. Here’s how I am choosing to structure my posts:

  • Authoritative posts. As a professional journalist, I love to research and learn new stuff. It’s surprisingly easy to know just a little more than average about things. These posts will outline my findings about topics like “What is STEM?” and other relevant information.
  • Tutorials. “How to do X” is one of the most common things typed into Google. here’s a huge gap in things people want to learn to do and actually helpful tutorials to help them do it. I will do this in the form of shopping guides and lists of ways to get girls involved in STEM.
  • Reviews. Any Amazon Affiliate “guru” will tell you this is the number one most converting type of content. But I don’t go to many, or any, sites that JUST review stuff. I would wonder, “who are you to review stuff?” So I want to do these, but not overdo them.

Next week, I’ll share how to publish content that makes money—but also expresses your voice.

How’s your affiliate blog coming along? I’m looking forward to your comments. And if you’re not along for this particular ride, we’ll be back to the regularly scheduled Otaku Journalist in two weeks.


Design and launch your niche blog

How to encourage people to click


Finding a topic for your niche blog