Why PR Agencies Need to Consider Affiliate Agencies

The marcomms industry’s shift towards collaboration has gone beyond brand partnerships and VIP placements to a newer model of agency work: the affiliate agency. While sister companies have long existed, the affiliate agency model allows smaller ones the financial and operational support from a bigger firm, while the latter benefits from the hands-on team’s day-to-day focus on brand building and storytelling. We asked Lauren Knudsen, president of 20Two Studio, to break down what an affiliate agency is and how it can benefit both PR agencies and clients. 

Miraval Austin

What defines an affiliate agency? What areas can an affiliate agency help PR agencies with? 

20Two Studio is a creative storytelling PR, social and influencer agency built by some of the industry’s most creative storytellers, launched and powered behind the scenes by global powerhouse J/PR. What that means is The Studio’s account team members - from New York to Nashville to SoCal - focus on delivering ROI-driven creative campaigns for clients, completely separate from the J/PR team and clients. On the backend, we’re able to capitalize on J/PR’s operational efficiencies, sharing finance, operations, HR and tech teams so the accounts teams can do what they do best. 20Two Studio delivers the high touch, brand building and bottom-line driven tactics for hospitality brands that have a relationship already with The Studio team or cannot join the J/PR client roster whether because of conflicts or budgets.  

What does a partnership with an affiliate agency look like? 

For over 15 years, I’ve been working with J/PR Partners Jamie O’Grady and Sarah Evans and the Executive team to build this entrepreneurial minded agency into the reputable brand it has become. As we looked to evolve the business and to find new and exciting growth paths, we saw a business opportunity to deliver on the promises and passions of J/PR in a new way, and 20Two Studio was created.

Conrad Maldives

The ethos of The Studio is inspired by the number 22, which is considered to be a master number focused on accomplishment at the highest level. The number carries the energy of duality which is demonstrated through The Studio’s dedication to creative thinking and ROI-driven approach. As the PR and social landscape evolves at an incredible pace, we’re testing new approaches layered into the tried and true impactful strategies our hospitality clients expect. 

Please share a case study illustrating how your affiliate agency has supercharged client growth, delivered results and bolstered awareness since inception. 

We develop thoughtful campaigns to support client need periods and revenue goals. In our first few months working together, The Studio team needed to deliver on summer season while also ensuring Red Jacket Beach Resort in Cape Cod was positioned as a prime ‘Shoulder Season’ destination during the area’s slower visitor months. In doing so, a TODAY Show segment covering end of summer travel deals was secured, highlighting the property’s low rates, private beach access and family-friendly amenities, and showcasing the stunning b-roll that had just been invested in (a must!). The broadcast coverage resulted in $104,000 in reservations booked in the first 5 hours after airing, nearly 3 times above the daily booking average, and reached a total of 2.1M+ national viewers.

Red Jacket Green Harbor Resort

The Studio team hits the ground running. In our first 60 days of partnership with Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix, 20Two Studio achieved 20 pieces of coverage spotlighting holiday programming and the forthcoming opening of its brand new rooftop, Eden. Simultaneously, we developed a comprehensive media relations strategy to maximize coverage opportunities for Eden, inclusive of securing multiple exclusives and onsite media and influencer experiences. 

The 5 Best Affiliate Programs in 2023

As covered in our webinar, affiliate marketing has become a key component of a successful brand strategy – to say the least. An industry game changer, both agencies and in-house PR pros are feeling a sense of urgency when it comes to mastering the affiliate marketing game. To that end, the Press Hook team shares insights on how to level-up your affiliate partnerships in 2023.

Not yet on affiliate networks? It’s time to change that. Affiliate networks can boost brand exposure (because outlets love working with brands on affiliates) and can help generate revenue as brands and products get featured in bigger and splashier ways, leading to more eyeballs (and hopefully purchases).

Nowadays, being on an affiliate network is practically a requirement when it comes to landing coveted press placements. In 2021, the number of publishers who participated in Digiday’s survey and responded that they were not making money from affiliate programs was just 34%. It’s an important tool!

All of that said, there are tons of options when it comes to selecting an affiliate network with which to work. Which is best for you? Here, we’ve broken down the five best affiliate programs of the year based on ease of use, reach, and more.

As an early player in the affiliate marketing space, ShareASale is a popular choice for brands and publishers. It’s easy to use and has been working alongside merchants, publishers, content creators, and agencies for 20+ years. Commissions vary and are paid on the 20th of the following month.

Like ShareASale, Skimlinks is a wide-reaching affiliate network popular with top media publications including BuzzFeed, Condé Nast, and Hearst offering competitive commission rates. The site also publishes blog posts and guides about link creation, toolbar analytics, content creation, and industry trends for those looking to learn more about affiliates.

Amazon Associates
Also in the affiliate business for 20+ years, Amazon Associates works with a plethora of brands for potential earnings. Depending on the product, Amazon commission rates vary up to 10%, and are paid within 60 days. Amazon offers great customer service, link management, and account assistance, making it a great option for beginners.

A favorite of small e-commerce businesses and content creators, Shopify is free to join and helps you monetize your existing audience while helping you expand. You must already have a website, create original content, and sell a product to join. Commission rates vary and there is no limit to your referrals, with payouts coming every month.

A globally recognized firm, Rakuten is a leader in creating partnerships and influencing sales with top brands, agencies, and publishing companies. Commission rates vary and are paid 90 days after it has been paid by the merchants. Like many other programs, Rakuten publishes an industry blog with insights, but it also offers a customer service team and account managers to guide partners and hosts events. The company recently launched their Accelerate vertical in order to continue offering specialized, custom affiliate plans for retailers and D2C brands.

Press Hook knows that writers, editors, and publishing companies more generally are looking for products and brands on affiliate networks and, because of that, offers an option for editors to filter and search for brands by various affiliate networks, which allows them to find what they’re looking for more quickly—and help your products get noticed. At Press Hook, we see affiliate PR and marketing as an extension of traditional pitching and have seen success when brands utilize both methods.

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