Affiliate Agency Coaching 101

Affiliate marketing has a profound impact on brand messaging and media coverage, making it crucial for marcomms professionals to understand the strategies needed to harness its full potential. We asked Courtney Vanpraag, Affiliate Coach at, to share her expertise about integrating affiliate tactics seamlessly into broader communication strategies. Read on to discover why affiliate marketing is not just a revenue stream for publishers but a powerful tool to drive media coverage, engage diverse audiences and unveil critical consumer insights. 

The PR Net: Why should marcomms professionals leverage affiliate marketing strategies, and how can they help amplify brand messaging and increase media coverage for their clients?

CV: It’s highly likely marcomms professionals are already using affiliate marketing strategies or being asked to provide affiliate links for media coverage. The PR agencies I work with as part of the Affiliate Agency Coaching Program are looking to deepen their knowledge of affiliate marketing because it’s a great way to secure media coverage and prove the value of their work. 

The key benefit of providing affiliate links is that it creates a continuous revenue stream for publishers, who earn commissions when their readers purchase using those links. This increases the chances of a brand gaining media coverage and tracks the performance of that coverage. It also incentivizes publishers to promote brands across their portfolios and boost coverage on social platforms. It’s a win-win!

Affiliate links do more than incentivize publishers, though. They also provide a window into the consumer journey, revealing which pieces of content are most engaging and which audiences and stories are resonating and converting into sales. This data-driven approach empowers marcomms professionals to target their efforts more effectively, amplifying brand messaging and boosting coverage, engagement, and ultimately, brand revenue.

The PR Net: What are some key points marcomms professionals can use to effectively communicate the value proposition of affiliate marketing initiatives to their clients or stakeholders?

CV: Affiliate marketing operates on a pay-per-performance model. Brands pay affiliates and partners a commission for coverage when they drive a sale, lead, or other desired outcome, creating mutually beneficial partnerships. brands see an average of 23% of e-commerce revenue come from partnerships*.

When pitching to a brand that is new to affiliate marketing I like to highlight these benefits:

*Results from the 2019 Forrester Report

The PR Net: What training does provide to help marcomms professionals develop affiliate marketing expertise and industry knowledge? 

CV: Affiliate marketing and PR share many similarities, but like all channels, affiliate marketing requires additional skills and expertise, so we launched the Affiliate Agency Coaching Program. The goal of the coaching program is to both help PR professionals learn affiliate marketing and support them in making it part of their service offerings. 

The coaching program is a free 12-week personalized, interactive program that gives an agency a head start on launching successful affiliate marketing services for their brands. It equips a team with the skills and tools to create a successful affiliate service offering with one-on-one coaching to educate the team and provide hands-on assistance in running its first programs, from pitching to developing partnerships to optimizing performance. 

As part of the program, we help agencies attain ‘Agency Certified’ designation through’s Partnerships Experience Academy (PXA). The PXA is a great way to dip your toes into the world of affiliate marketing - I recommend checking out the Affiliate & Partnerships Industry Training - Fundamentals course, which covers the affiliate marketing landscape, key players, setting goals, and links partnerships with other digital marketing channels.

Lastly,’s Agency Partner Program gives agencies access to dedicated support, events, and exclusive perks. At, we know agency-managed brands grow significantly faster, driving an average of 50% more revenue with 40% more active partners, and so, we’re dedicated to supporting our agency partners. 

The PR Net: Can you share examples of how marcomms pros have successfully integrated affiliate marketing tactics into their broader communication strategies to achieve measurable results for their clients?

CV: The great thing about affiliate marketing is that it can be easily added to an existing communication strategy to amplify success and measure results. I see PR pros from the coaching program take their affiliate marketing learnings and immediately apply them to their current clients.  

A great example is a PR team working with a brand whose goal was to drive new customer subscriptions. The PR team secured an article with a mass media publication and provided affiliate links. By including these links, the PR team was able to demonstrate the article's impact on the consumer journey, as well as the specific number of new subscription sign-ups and return on investment. The article performed well, and the affiliate commission incentivized the publisher to promote the brand across all their channels, driving more sign-ups. 

Affiliate marketing tactics can also open doors to new opportunities and types of partners for brands and PR professionals. For example, most influencers won’t work for only a CPA (affiliate commission), but a high flat fee is out of the question for many brands. By providing an affiliate link or promo code, PR teams can negotiate a lower flat fee and balance the risk for both the brand and the influencer. PR professionals can tap into the power of mutually beneficial partnerships that affiliate marketing fosters to amplify brands, and work with a diverse range of partners, all while tying their efforts directly to revenue (or other brand goals). 

What I love about affiliate marketing is how versatile it is! I challenge you to find a way that affiliate marketing can’t be used in a communication strategy—I’ve even seen it used in print newspapers! 

The PR Net: Are there any recent trends or best practices you’ve noticed in affiliate this year, or expect to be big through 2024? 

CV: A few trends come to mind as the digital landscape shifts towards authenticity, efficiency, and return on investment (ROI).

Performance PR

Over the last few years, we’ve seen an exciting emergence of ‘performance PR.’ It’s still a relatively new concept in the industry but is gaining momentum as consumer behavior shifts away from traditional ads and brands emphasize ROI. We continue to see an increase in the number of PR agencies reaching out to to understand the convergence of PR, influencer, and affiliate marketing, seeking data-driven strategies for their brands.

AI in affiliate marketing

There are AI tools popping up everywhere, to boost affiliate performance and account management productivity, and even to enhance targeted and personalized campaigns. However, not all AI tools are created equal. AI-generated content is creating noise in the affiliate marketing world. The quantity of content has skyrocketed, making it increasingly hard for affiliate partners who manually create content to stand out and get the same attention they once did. Brand success will require a delicate mix of AI and the human touch and connection consumers crave.

Modern partnerships

Today’s consumers are highly connected to the content they read, the videos they watch, and the creators they follow. They smell authenticity from a mile away. Where affiliate marketing used to be dominated by lower funnel partners, the highest value for brands now comes from genuine partnerships they create with modern partners: affiliates, creators, commerce content, and strategic B2B partners. Genuine partnerships shine bright, allowing brands to connect to consumers in their day-to-day and boost performance. makes these high-value partnerships possible by understanding every stage of the customer journey.

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