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When I was a beginning blogger more than a decade ago, I always got discouraged when I’d hear about “expert” bloggers making all this money from their sites.
They’d make it sound like all they had to do was write new posts a couple of times a week and money came flying in. Some bloggers want you to believe that so you’ll spend money on their courses and sign up for their email newsletters to learn every trick they have up their sleeves.
The reality is that blogging alone doesn’t make you money. It’s all the forms of monetizing a blog that brings in money, like:
- Placing advertisements that pay per click or view
- Writing or posting sponsored blogs and reviews
- Social media sponsorships and paid links
- Selling courses and digital products related to blogging or the blogger’s niche
- Affiliate marketing on blogs and social media
- Freelance writing for other blogs
Once I learned the reality of how a money-making blog works, it was a lot easier for me to start earning. I joined paid blogging networks, learned the basics of placing ads on my site, got sponsorships with some exciting brands, and began learning the ropes of affiliate marketing.
Over the years, I’ve found the latter to be the most profitable and fun way to make money blogging.
Affiliate marketing doesn’t require you to sell anything, and you’ll never have to promote anything that you’re not 100% behind. Instead, you use it as a tool to make money with the content you’re already creating for your audience.
One of the affiliate marketing sites I’ve started using more recently is ShopStyle Collective and I quickly fell in love with it.
It’s excellent for fashion and beauty bloggers, but those in other niches (like myself!) can earn with it too. If you haven’t yet heard about or used ShopStyle Collective, then this guide has everything you need to know to get a started.
What is ShopStyle?
ShopStyle is a search engine for online shoppers to find home goods, fashion, beauty products, and more. ShopStyle Collective is its affiliate marketing network that pays influencers and bloggers to promote products from partnering brands.
The system has valuable tools that make it easy for you to link to the products you love, promote sales from your favorite brands, and showcase looks or roundups in blog or social media posts.
When you sign up for ShopStyle Collective, you’ll gain access to the full catalog of products from partnered brands. From there, you can create looks or lists using your favorite products or grab affiliate links to use in your content. When people click on or purchase a product using your link, you’ll get a commission.
Who Can Benefit the Most from ShopStyle Collective?
ShopStyle Collective, like most affiliate networks, work the best for influencers with a large, engaged audience, but that doesn’t mean you need one. The key to success with affiliate marketing is knowing what your audience loves and giving them more of it.
Knowing how to strategically place links to products that makes sense for your content is a helpful bonus.
ShopStyle Collective partners with a lot of fashion and beauty brands, so fashion and beauty influencers tend to find success with the program. Those with high-quality, engaged Instagram and Pinterest accounts are some of the highest earners.
However, influencers with small audiences who aren’t in the fashion and beauty niche can still make it work. If you post lifestyle content – home, interior design, parenting and family, gardening, etc. – you can make ShopStyle Collective work for you by tapping into the brains of your followers and linking to products they’ll love.
Types of Brands You’ll Work With
There are millions of products in the ShopStyle catalog, divvied up between a global network of brands in various categories.
ShopStyle focuses mostly on fashion for women, men, and kids and beauty products, but home décor, luggage, furniture, technology, and toys are also available categories. Here are some of the brands you’ll promote as a ShopStyle Collective influencer:
- Women’s Fashion: All About Eve, Burberry, Kat Perry, Material Girl, Yumi Kim
- Men’s Fashion: Boglioli, French Connection, Gucci, Saint Laurent, Under Armour
- Kids’ Fashion: Fendi, J. Crew, Levi’s, Old Navy, Ralph Lauren
- Accessories: Apple, Givenchy, Michael Kors, Ray-Ban, Sachin + Babi
- Beauty: Clinique, Estee Lauder, MAC Cosmetics, Tom Ford, Urban Decay
- Baby: Joss & Main, Maxi-Cosi, Moschino, Saks Fifth Avenue, Serena & Lily
- Furniture: Anthropologie, Apt2B, David Francis Furniture, One Kings Lane, Serta
- Home décor: Eclipse, Fathead, Lenox, Nordstrom, West Elm
Do I Need to Have a Blog to Use ShopStyle Collective?
Many think that to be successful with an affiliate network like ShopStyle Collective, you need to have a blog, but most of them let you link to products using other forms of content, like social media posts. ShopStyle Collective is no different.
The program enables you to place your links in email newsletters, Facebook posts, Instagram captions, and even has a tool that helps you monetize your Pinterest pins!
Blogging can definitely help you make money with ShopStyle because you can incorporate your favorite products into stories or roundups for your audience (like, “12 Pieces You Need in Your Closet This Fall”), but it’s not a requirement to join the program.
Current ShopStyle Collective Programs
ShopStyle Collective has two programs that work a bit differently:
PPC (Pay Per Click)
PPC is ShopStyle’s Pay Per Click program that was the network’s only affiliate model before CPA came along. ShopStyle will eventually phase out PPC, but it’s still available for now.
PPC lets you get paid for each click on your links that sends someone to a ShopStyle partner. This model is especially helpful for people who get a lot of clicks with their affiliate links, but don’t often convert them to sales.
The commission is much smaller than CPA, but if you’re strategic in your methods to get people to at least have an interest in what you’re promoting, you could get a lot of clicks that result in decent earnings.
Also, if you do happen to convert some clicks to sales continuously, your payments per click will go up.
CPA (Cost Per Acquisition)
CPA is a newer program that ShopStyle rolled out near the beginning of 2018. Rather than paying for clicks, the program will pay you a commission for things people buy using your links. CPA pays more than PPC, but it’s also more challenging to get clicks to convert to sales to make CPA worth your while.
Any current ShopStyle influencer can apply for the CPA program, but once you join, you won’t be able to go back to PPC. Once the network phases out PPC, all members will need to decide whether to join CPA or stop using ShopStyle.
Pros and Cons of ShopStyle Collective
Not sure if ShopStyle Collective is the right monetization method for your blog or social media? Here’s what you need to know:
- People with little traffic can still use ShopStyle Collective
- You can place links on social media posts in addition to blogs
- Bloggers can get paid per click of their links (until the program ends, which will be soon), which is excellent for those who don’t drive many sales but get a lot of clicks
- Several tools are available for members to promote their favorites
- It’s virtually effortless to navigate your dashboard to find products you want to promote
- In-depth and easy-to-understand analytics
- PPC is ending soon and influencers who wish to remain in the ShopStyle Collective program will need to apply for CPA
- Widgets can be confusing to implement in some blog themes
- Customer service isn’t the best
- PPC commissions are very low, even if you do convert some clicks to sales
- Not super selective in its acceptance of influencers (semi-exclusive networks can make for a more personal, high-end experience for everyone)
How to Use ShopStyle Collective with Your Blog
ShopStyle Collective’s incredibly helpful monetization tools give you several ways to add products to your content.
Using the LinkIt Tool for Quick Link Creation
The easiest way to create links for your blog or social media content from ShopStyle partner sites is to use its bookmarklet called LinkIt. On your dashboard, click LinkIt, and then drag that button up to your browser bookmarks.
Browse partnered sites, find the product you want to link to and click the LinkIt button in your browser to create an affiliate link for that product. You can either copy the link, save the item, add it to a widget, or even share it on social media.
Creating a ShopStyle Collective Widget
Widgets are helpful when you want to showcase several products in your blog posts without having a bunch of images taking over the post.
I recently wrote a blog post about my favorite pieces for a home office that included furniture, accessories, and some decorations and wrapped them up in a tidy widget my audience could browse and shop from.
You can edit the looks of the widget to include details, like the name and price, or just show the product images with that information displayed only on hover. Edit the widget any time you want, and it will automatically update everything on your site.
Add a widget to your sidebar for your collection to show up on every page!
Looks are a way for you to help your Instagram audience purchase items you include in your Instagram posts. This is an excellent tool for fashion influencers to use and is one of the most profitable ways for you to make money on ShopStyle Collective.
Add up to 200 products that you feature on your Instagram feed. The group of looks forms a Collection that will go on a blog page, giving your audience a place to see all the products you include on Instagram.
Shop the Look Pins
Shop the Look Pins are ShopStyle’s way of helping Pinterest influencers display their favorite styles and make money from them. They’re similar to using Looks with Instagram, only Shop the Look Pins let Pinterest users shop the products used in your image directly through Pinterest.
You can use the Looks you’ve already created to syndicate to Pinterest as a Shop the Look Pin. Be sure to check your account settings to ensure that syndication is set to ‘Enabled’ so that you can send your Looks to Pinterest.
Earn More with Helpful Tools and Content for Creators
ShopStyle includes several pieces of informative content and sections of its site to help you make the most out of your experience with the network.
Must Know is a part of the ShopStyle Collective blog that gives members insights into important stuff that can affect what you promote and how, like what products and content are trending, current retailer sales, and fun challenges.
I check here every week to see what’s going on because it can help shape what I promote that week.
Weekly Sales and Promotions
This is another important category that lets you know all about sales from partnered companies. If you promote a lot of sales or coupon codes on your site or social media, these weekly roundups can keep you one step ahead of the newest deals.
Tips & Best Practices posts give you new tips and tricks every week to aid in your success in the ShopStyle Collective program. You’ll find information on everything from best link practices to upping your SEO skills to drive people to your content and make more sales.
Retailer & Brand Updates
Partnered retailers will also occasionally offer bonuses to influencers for meeting specific goals or boost commissions. ShopStyle lets you know when it happens in the Retailer & Brand Updates category.
Browse through the helpful tool guides to learn everything you need to know about various monetization strategies you can use on ShopStyle. These articles are perfect for beginners who are just learning how to use the network to their advantage.
Analyzing Your Performance
One of the ShopStyle Collective features I love most is its analytics dashboard. It gives you detailed information about your links’ performances without being confusing.
You can view your earnings, by default, for the last 30 days or set up a custom timeframe. The dashboard will also update with your clicks, orders, conversion rate, traffic sources, and other helpful information for that period.
You can also see how each monetization tool – widgets, collections, and links – works for you by looking at the table that displays clicks, orders, and your conversion rate for each.
I check my performance monthly and make tweaks to my strategy as needed, but you may find that checking your analytics weekly helps you figure out what to do differently (or more of) when you’re just starting.
How to Get Paid
You’ll notice on your dashboard that you have both an Earnings and a Balance section. The Earnings section lists everything you’ve earned through PPC and CPA for a specific period, while your balance is the amount that’s available to withdraw.
The amounts may be different because you’ve already cashed out some of your earnings from that timeframe.
You need to have $100 in your balance to receive a payment. ShopStyle pays influencers on the 20th of each month if they reach this balance. If you reach $100 on May 19th, you’ll get paid on May 20th, but if you reach it on May 21st, you won’t get paid until June 20th.
Payments come via PayPal only. You’ll also need to fill out a tax form before you can get your first payment, which you can find in your account.
Important Tips for Influencers
Are you ready to start working with ShopStyle Collective? Great! There are a couple of things you should know before you start:
Disclosure and the FTC
Working with almost any form of monetization for your blog or social media requires disclosure so that you aren’t dishonest with your followers. The last thing you want is for people to think you’re just promoting stuff without anything tied to it.
Realistically, you’re supporting them not just because you like them, but also to earn money.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires disclosure for this type of thing. You can learn best practices for disclosing your relationship with ShopStyle in its Help section, but here are a few pointers:
- A disclosure should be next to the affiliate link to make its purpose clear (right before the link is the best spot)
- Social media posts can use disclosure hashtags like #ad or #CommissionLink
- For blog posts, it’s better to use a simple sentence, like “I receive commissions for purchases made using my links.”
- You’ll also need to disclose in your blog or social media posts if they’re a part of a sponsored campaign with a ShopStyle partner
For an excellent blog or social media post, you need a good photo. Unfortunately, the images you find attached to products through ShopStyle aren’t just yours for the taking because you’re a member.
ShopStyle Collective partners do provide the network with photos to use in widgets and other monetization tools. This isn’t the same as going to the partner’s website and taking a high-resolution picture from the site. That could land you in a sticky situation of copyright.
When possible, it’s best to use your own photos. Alternatively, you can always check the copyright information of the partnering website or, if you can’t find that, ask for permission to use a photo on your site with credit back to the original.
You can usually find a link to a permissions and rights or media department with contact information.
If you’re a beginner in the world of affiliate marketing, I recommend ShopStyle Collective as a great place to start.
The intuitive ShopStyle Collective network is the perfect place for lifestyle influencers to start getting involved in affiliate marketing. With its many supportive tools and resources to assist you in making the most of what you have available, almost anyone can find success using ShopStyle.