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How Whimsy Soul scales their commerce content strategy

Posted 12 months ago by Tyra Brown

At Whimsy Soul, diversity, personality and expertise is at the heart of the business. Due to having a multi-faceted team, Whimsy Soul is able to curate content that helps women find their everyday magic. From beauty, to home, to fashion, food, and more, the team of incredible writers help inspire fellow whimsy women to take the ordinary and make it extra.

We were given the opportunity to hear from founder Kara Harms, about how Whimsy Soul’s journey into affiliate marketing started, as well as the cultivation of their commerce content strategy.

Tell me about your commerce content strategy

Whimsy Soul is heavily rooted in passive incoming streams (that aren’t really passive anymore since they provide the bulk of our income!) We monetize through brand partnerships as well, but banner ads on our site and affiliate marketing make up 70% of our annual revenue. 

What were you looking for in a partner and why did you choose Skimlinks? 

Almost every day we get an email from a brand asking to join a new affiliate program of theirs. I don’t think brand marketers realize this is happening and how it’s absolutely unrealistic to expect a small team like Whimsy Soul to be able to manage multiple networks and programs at once. 

That’s why we choose to stick to 2 affiliate programs, one being Skimlinks as Skimlinks encompasses most of the brands we end up linking to. Having all links and data under one portal is what our team needs in order to make educated content decisions, track customer clicks and scale our affiliate marketing efforts. Plus, the Editor Toolbar is super easy to use! 

How has your strategy developed from when you first started affiliate marketing till now?

I started affiliate marketing pretty much right away when I launched Whimsy Soul back in 2015. I took a stab in the dark on what to link to. I don’t really recall even looking at affiliate analytics until 2017 to be honest. 

These days, we digest monthly reports to understand not just what our readers are buying, but what they’re clicking on and showing interest in. We build target reader profiles each year to share with our writers. These have updated stats about the average type of item that converts best for each vertical so our writers and editor can make sure we’re optimizing every piece of content we publish. 

For example: Whimsy Soul readers love colorful clothing. If it has bold colors or prints, they’ll buy the item a lot more than a neutral item. 

How do you decide which merchants to feature in your articles? 

The ethics of individual companies play a huge role in who we choose to support with features and affiliate links. There are a handful of companies that we have on our “blacklist” since we consider them to be unethical in terms of labor abuse or environmental abuse, and even if the commission is high we’ll never feature them. It’s our responsibltiy as a publisher to make sure we’re not facilitating unethical practices at a whole. 

Beyond that, we use data to make decisions about what brands to feature more prominently. Our writers each quarter will pitch articles and ideas, and sometimes that includes brands we’ve never featured before so we’ll test it out and see how our audience responds to it. We’re constantly checking data to ensure that we’re optimizing our clicks. 

How have you seen blogs develop over the years? What direction do you see it going?

People like to say blogging is dead but I don’t think they realize they read blogs every days, they just look different than 10 years. Blogging used to be very much “mommy”, “food”, or “fashion” bloggers but these days there is a niche blog for anything you can imagine. The successful bloggers are the ones who have figured out how to SEO growth hack and also optimize their passive income streams. 

How do you plan ahead for key shopping events?

Honestly – we don’t really. We prefer to publish as much evergreen content as possible to minimize time spent updating older content (Whimsy Soul has over 1.3k blog posts published after all!)

Beyond that, for Q4 each year we do go through our top 100 converting posts to ensure links are updated and that brand is still active on Skimlinks or other affiliate programs. 

How did you start affiliate marketing?

Whimsy Soul started off extremely fashion focused so my first touch point with affiliates was prompting my OOTD on Instagram. 

Do you have any tips for anyone who wants to start affiliate marketing?

Data! Look at your data to make decisions. And make sure to use a network like Skimlinks that has many brands consolidated into one platform. 

Thank you Kara for sharing allowing Skimlinks to understand Whimsy Soul’s commerce content strategy in a greater capacity. For those considering starting affiliate marketing, we hope Kara’s expertise lends you some guidance on your journey!

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