#031: How to Make Serious Money with Affiliate Marketing with Angela Davis

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Angela Davis from the blog, Frugal Living NW, makes over six figures a year and works part time. She does this all with affiliate marketing.

In this episode, we delve into her strategies and tips on how to make serious money with affiliate marketing. We go through what types of links to add to your posts, why patience is key, and what affiliate networks are the best.

Join me and learn the secrets to increasing your blog's passive income!

Resources:

Frugal Living NW

Catch My Party

Amazon Associates

MiloTree Affiliate Program

ShareASale

Commission Junction

LinkShare

Impact Radius

Facebook.com/FrugalLivingNW

MiloTree

Transcript – How to Make Serious Money with Affiliate Marketing with Angela Davis

Host: [00:00:01] Welcome to the Blogger Genius Podcast, brought to you by MiloTree. Here's your host, Jillian Leslie.

Jillian: [00:00:09] Hey everyone. Welcome back to the show. Today, my guest is Angela Davis. Angela is a blogger at the blog, Frugal Living Northwest, and she is also an affiliate marketing expert. So welcome to the show, Angela!

Angela: [00:00:27] Thanks, I'm happy to be here.

Jillian: [00:00:28] So I am really excited because one thing that I don't think I've delved deep into is affiliate marketing. So to have somebody who lives and breathes this is so exciting for me.

Angela: [00:00:42] Well I am excited to share with your listeners how they can make more money off of the work that they're already doing on their websites and their platforms.

Affiliate marketing -- how to make money quickly as a blogger

Jillian: [00:00:52] And one thing is that when I've asked people in the past if you're new, you know, if you were to give advice for how new bloggers can make money quickly, a lot of them will say affiliate marketing.

Angela: [00:01:07] Yes, I don't know about the quickly part. But I think that affiliate marketing is the place that you should start, especially if you're beginning or really, anywhere you are right now start adding those links in.

Angela: [00:01:23] Because now is the time to start to start getting that money rolling in. It's we can talk about this little bit later as well but I feel like affiliate marketing is a slow burn.

Angela: [00:01:35] You're not going to make a ton of money starting right out. It's more kind of like doing the work now, so that in the future you can continue to earn money on the work that you're creating.

Jillian: [00:01:47] Ok, so before we get into it, can you describe what affiliate marketing is?

What is affiliate marketing?

Angela: [00:01:55] You could think of it kind of like making referral money. So when you promote another business or brands product or service that you get basically a commission when you make the sale.

Angela: [00:02:10] So if you sell something to a reader, that business will give you a cut of the amount that the purchase of that item was.

Angela: [00:02:20] So it could either be a percentage, so between you know zero point one percent all the way up to, it can be pretty big like 50 to 70 percent of that the price that the person paid. Or it could be a flat fee for you bringing that customer to the brand or business.

Jillian: [00:02:37] Okay. Could we start with then how you started your blog and how you got into affiliate marketing?

Angela: [00:02:45] Well back in 2008 I stumbled upon a blog I didn't know. It was a blog I guess it was a website. And this woman was sharing how she was using coupons at the grocery store in the drugstores to get a lot of stuff for free. And some of the stuff she was even making money on.

Angela: [00:03:02] And so I am frugal by nature, or maybe I was taught to be frugal as a child and so I was completely hooked. I was like, "This is the most amazing thing I've ever experienced." I apparently have low expectations in life and so I started doing it myself.

Angela: [00:03:21] I had at that point three little little kids and I would drag them around town and we would go couponing. And it was so much fun.

Starting a coupon blog

Angela: [00:03:30] Then about the end of 2008, I realized I was like I think I should start a blog. I should do the same thing helping women in particularly the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. learn how to use coupons and then help them learn how to use coupons to get free stuff and cheap stuff and help their grocery budget every single week.

Angela: [00:03:51] And so a friend and I started a blog. I don't know how I figured it out. I think I Googled a little bit. That became became FrugalLivingNW.com.

Angela: [00:03:59] Actually it was very good timing on my part because then that's when we all realized that the market had crashed and so many women my age in their late 20s 30s 40s, they were either losing jobs, or their husbands were losing their jobs and they needed to save money quickly. And so I had a captive audience from the very beginning.

Angela: [00:04:27] And so we went along for a couple of years doing that and then in about 2010 my blog was still growing. I was just hustling because I enjoyed it so much.

Why you need to treat your blog as a business and not a hobby

Angela: [00:04:36] My husband and I went to a blogging conference and I had this aha moment that if I were going to continue to do this, I needed to treat the blog as a business instead of a hobby. So if I wanted to make money, and really in order for my husband to be on board with me spending so much time on this website, we needed to be making money.

Angela: [00:05:00] So we decided at that conference that we were going to treat the blog as a business and give it the time and energy that it required to be a business, and to make money because there's one thing that my husband and I, we both love to save money but we love to make money even more.

Angela: [00:05:20] Then back in 2010-2011 that started a journey for me to figure out how I could monetize my blog and my content while still having the type of life I wanted to have with my family my friends and my community.

Jillian: [00:05:35] And wait, you've got five kids.

Angela: [00:05:38] Yeah. Yeah I've added some since then. No I mean I still have five. But I'm glad I started out I had three and then we added two more. So yeah I have a boatload of kids.

Angela: [00:05:51] So probably for the last eight years I've been experimenting with different ways to monetize my site using different strategies. All the while I'm helping women and families live well on a budget in the Pacific Northwest.

Angela: [00:06:04] So like I had this mission to help women and families live well on a budget, particularly in Oregon, Washington, Idaho but also how can I make money while doing that.

Angela: [00:06:14] So if there's a way to make money with a blog I have most likely tried it. So at this point with my web site I don't work a whole lot because again I never have been able to work anywhere close to full time because again the children.

Working part time as a blogger and making six figures with affiliate marketing

Angela: [00:06:34] But I make my blog earn six figures and I work probably a little bit less than what most people work part time.

Jillian: [00:06:41] Wow wow. OK let's dig in. So tell us your secrets. How do you do that?

Angela: [00:06:50] The secret is that there are absolutely no secrets. I know that people don't want to hear that, do they, but it's really the truth.

Jillian: [00:06:59] It's funny because we have another site called, Catch My Party, and we have a lot of traffic and people tell me all the time like how did you do that? And I say it is a long slog. And if there were a magic bullet you'd better believe we'd be using it.

Angela: [00:07:17] Amen. There is no magic bullet. It is hustle. There is some luck involved, like if you were to look at my story you know I started my blog 10 years ago when there weren't a lot of blogs and there were a lot of women who were at home looking for a way to contribute to their household income.

Jillian: [00:07:38] Right. And the economy tanked. So you were right there.

Angela: [00:07:42] Yeah and there weren't a lot of people around yet. So if I were to start the same blog today it would not take off. I would not be you know, earning six figures working part time. It would be a completely different story.

Jillian: [00:07:55] OK. So yes so as I was saying, you don't have any secrets but what strategies? OK so somebody is a blogger, I mean let's start with the new blogger and what you were talking about which is how to think like an affiliate marketer.

Do not be scared of selling as an affiliate marketer

Angela: [00:08:14] First of all my biggest piece of advice is DO NOT BE SCARED OF SELLING.

Jillian: [00:08:20] Ooh.

Jillian: [00:08:21] You can not be afraid to sell. Now my website is a bit unique and deal blogs, the niche that I'm in, we're a little unique in that generally I have readers coming to me ready to buy. They're like, show me the deals. Tell me what's a good deal on Amazon, tell me how I can save money in different ways.

Angela: [00:08:44] So they're already ready to purchase. So there are some of your listeners that are like, my readers aren't coming to me to buy something, they're coming to me to learn something to be inspired. But in general they are OK being sold to. And they actually expect to be sold to.

Angela: [00:09:05] Now there's going to be a handful of people that are going to fuss at you about selling, especially if you have not been doing it, or you're trying to do it super covertly, like maybe I'll sneak this in and they won't realize they know what's happening.

Angela: [00:09:20] It's not the 30s or 40s anymore, people realize when they're being sold to. You're going to get some people are going to fuss at you at first, and that's okay. That's absolutely to be expected. I still have people fussing at me. It's usually people emailing me in all caps and I see an email in all caps I'm like. See you later.

Angela: [00:09:36] I don't have time for that. But be ok with selling, and once you convince yourself that it is okay for you to make money on the work that you are producing, a whole new world opens up. So, be okay with selling.

Jillian: [00:09:54] So the first is the mindset shift and I know a lot of women who struggle with this.

Angela: [00:10:02] Yes. I don't know any men who sit around feeling bad that they are earning an income from their work. But for some reason women do.

Jillian: [00:10:13] Yep, somehow they're losing their authenticity. I was at a conference with a woman who is also an affiliate marketer but yet she struggles with selling.

Jillian: [00:10:26] That somehow she's selling out, somehow she's she's not as credible. And I said, Oh no. You're even more credible because you're trying to help people, and saying I'm making a living at the same time so I can be more helpful.

Angela: [00:10:42] Exactly. And you get buy in from your family and your community when you're making money off of the work that you're doing it. And there is nothing that we can do to fix the culture that makes us kind of feel icky or like maybe we should be giving away our work. That's just how it is.

Angela: [00:11:01] You just got to tell yourself it is OK. But you have to overcome what you're hearing from people and what you feel inside, it is ok to hustle and make money from the work that you're doing and actually you're serving your reader well when you point them to products and services that you know will be helpful to them.

Angela: [00:11:22] There is nothing more maddening for me as a reader or a consumer of content when I see someone that I think is really awesome, she's a good writer, she's giving me really good tips and she doesn't tell me how to get the things she's talking about.

Jillian: [00:11:37] Yes.

Angela: [00:11:37] Or she doesn't give me a call to action. That's almost disappointing. So there is going to be a lot of readers coming to you who are looking to purchase something because you're solving a problem for them. So give them that opportunity.

Angela: [00:11:53] You may as well make be making money off of it. So that's my encouragement. Just get over that whole being scared of how people will see your work if you're making money.

Jillian: [00:12:04] I like that. Ok, so I'm a new blogger. And let's pick a category. I am a kids' activity blogger.

Angela: [00:12:14] Ok.

Jillian: [00:12:14] Ok. I am the teacher. Let's say I was a teacher and now I'm staying home with my kids. I do really fun stuff at home with them. I've documented it. What would you say to me? How can I start making affiliate money?

Start adding affiliate links to your blog posts

Angela: [00:12:28] Well this is probably the lamest answer on earth, but really just start doing it. You don't have to have a plan.

Angela: [00:12:36] What I want you to do is the post you were writing right now, I want you to add affiliate links to it. So you're going to look at just what you're doing right now. Start with that post.

Angela: [00:12:48] So look at the posts that you're writing and say what products am I talking about? What products can I talk about that would feel natural and helpful to my readers, that would help them do what I'm doing, and then add an affiliate link.

Angela: [00:13:04] So there's going to be a little bit of work involved, especially if you are just starting out, where you have to figure out where can help my readers buy this product? And then you have to go sign up to be an affiliate for that for that company or that brand.

Jillian: [00:13:20] So sorry I was going to say. Do you recommend that just starting with Amazon Associates?

Start doing affiliate marketing with Amazon Associates

Angela: [00:13:27] Always. So what I always encourage people to do is to say, where is the easiest place for your reader to purchase this product? Nine times out of ten it's going to be Amazon. Now if you go to Amazon and you're like this product is $120 here, and it's $20 at Michaels.com, well obviously you're going to promote Michael's.

Angela: [00:13:48] But most likely they're going to find a pretty reasonable price and that product will be available at Amazon. So start with Amazon.

Angela: [00:13:56] The other great thing about Amazon or let's say Walmart or Target or a big brand like that is that you're not going to have to also convince your reader that that place that you want them to purchase, the product at is legit.

Jillian: [00:14:12] Yep.

Angela: [00:14:13] So like I as your reader, I'm going to look at this item that you're telling me that will make my life better. Doing activities with my kids. If you link to Amazon, I don't have to go over the hurdle of is this place reputable how much is the shipping? How long is it going to take to get to me?

Angela: [00:14:32] So that's why Amazon and the other big names are good to start with because your readers are just going to have to decide if they want the product or not. Instead of also adding, am I comfortable with the platform?

Angela: [00:14:46] The thing to think about with Amazon and the other big retailers is that the percentage that you will earn off of that when you sell that item is fairly small compared to some of the other things that are out there that you can earn money off of. But that's OK.

Angela: [00:15:03] So I don't want you to go into your post today, put some Amazon links in there and then expect that you're going to make tons of money off of it. You will not. It's going to be a very slow slow burn.

Angela: [00:15:16] But that's OK because you're going to start with the post today, then you're going to publish it and you're gonna feel awesome about yourself because you're going to say like, I'm an affiliate marketer now.

Add affiliate links to your highest trafficked blog posts

Angela: [00:15:25] Then what I want you to do is to go into your Google Analytics and see what your highest traffic post is. So whatever is number one, whatever it is that means you're getting tons of traffic to it and it's going to be most strategic for you to go into that post and add more affiliate links.

Angela: [00:15:43] So I want you to start with the post that you're doing today because I just want you to feel awesome about yourself, but I don't want you to go to the post that you published last week because you're not getting a ton of traffic to that.

Angela: [00:15:53] I want you to go to your most trafficked post. Figure out how you can monetize it and it's not rocket science, it's super easy.

Angela: [00:16:03] One tip you probably have a lot of food bloggers and even like DIY bloggers, those types of things and you're looking going man, this recipe I could add like a link to coconut milk and you do that like absolutely, that there's an opportunity to do it.

Angela: [00:16:19] But one tip that I have that I use for my recipe posts, that especially get lots of traffic from Pinterest is that at the bottom of that post, I highlight a tool that was used in the creation of that recipe.

Angela: [00:16:35] So let's say it's a cookie recipe, at the bottom I say, "This is my very favorite rolling pin of all time. Here are the two reasons I love it. Here's a link to it on Amazon. It'll show up to your house in two days if you have Prime."

Angela: [00:16:48] So like that's one thing. If you're like, it would be awkward to add a product in here. Put it at the bottom. Or maybe even like in a box in the middle. And so it's kind of like a commercial interruption that people won't be annoyed by.

Angela: [00:17:04] They're like, oh look this is helpful, she's telling me this awesome product that she likes. So that's another way to kind of get those links into your content.

How people make affiliate income from MiloTree

Jillian: [00:17:15] Right it's funny. So at MiloTree, we have an affiliate program and the way it works is, you sign up. We use a company called Refersion. You get your link, if you promote MiloTree and somebody clicks on it and they sign up. We initially give 30 days free. So then if that customer stays for sixty one days, so they get through two payment cycles. We pay you $20.

Angela: [00:17:48] By the way, that's an amazing affiliate program.

Jillian: [00:17:52] Oh thank you. And again what I have found is, the people that are most successful. so there are certain affiliates that make a lot of MiloTree sales. They are the ones that at the bottom of their posts put their favorite tools.

Angela: [00:18:12] Love it.

Jillian: [00:18:14] They already have it set. And I think there's even a plugin where you can add content to every post. And so all they have to do is get that plugin to show up and on every single post.

Jillian: [00:18:31] And a lot of these people give blogging advice, or whatever, but it just literally lives right there.

Jillian: [00:18:39] So if you're a recipe blogger and you have these are my five favorite tools you can keep recycling that in multiple posts.

Use a WordPress plugin to swap out your affiliate links in your blog posts

Angela: [00:18:50] Absolutely. You can put it like use a plugin for that. The beauty of the plugins is that you can swap things out. So let's say you have your five favorite tools, like you suggested which I love. But you know that there's a big affiliate promotion coming up.

Angela: [00:19:09] I know that a lot of DIY and food bloggers and homemaking bloggers they promote with Ultimate Bundles that's really popular and lucrative could be potentially lucrative affiliate program.

Angela: [00:19:21] You can swap the coding out for the period of that launch because they do their bundles for I think it's like 5 to 10 days. That's a promotional period you can swap the coding out in that plugin for that period of time to promote just that Ultimate Bundle.

Angela: [00:19:40] And so then all the posts that you have the coding in, it switches out. And then when the launch is over you don't have to update each post you're just updating the plugin

Angela: [00:19:52] And another thing you can do is like from my blog I have several different types of content that I post so I don't just do deals. I also do fashion and I do some recipes.

Angela: [00:20:05] So then you could put in templates when you create a new recipe you can have a recipe template that has the kitchen tools at the bottom of it, and then if I do a fashion post then that could have a different template so that you are speaking directly to the type of reader that's coming to your site.

Jillian: [00:20:23] And you don't have to always reinvent the wheel.

Angela: [00:20:28] No, do the same thing. There's this idea, someone calls spotlight syndrome where some bloggers think that all of my readers consume all of my content, they read every single word and they sit at home waiting for me to publish.

Angela: [00:20:46] The reality is that ain't true. There's a lot there's probably a small number of people who are ravenous about you. But if I look at my site I get a ton of traffic from Pinterest, so I can have the very same tools or affiliate links and every single one of my recipe posts because from Pinterest I know that most of my Pinterest traffic is coming to my recipes that were created years ago.

Angela: [00:21:13] I haven't written a recipe post in like 3 years but I still get tons of traffic from those older posts. I can be promoting exactly the same affiliate programs or links in all of those posts and they will never know. They're never going to be like, "Why does she keep talking about this rolling pin? They don't care."

Jillian: [00:21:31] Right. Yes I think that that is such an important idea that you brought up, which is people are not obsessed with you. We're all obsessed with ourselves.

Angela: [00:21:45] So I try to tell our teenage daughter that all the time.

Jillian: [00:21:49] I know that's a really good lesson. It kind of takes the pressure off.

Angela: [00:21:57] Absolutely. It really does. And for those of us who've been blogging a really long time, there was an obsession with bloggers that I experience probably 5 to 10 years ago, where people did care about what I was producing and they were reading everything.

Angela: [00:22:15] But it's not like that anymore. There are so many places to consume content your readers, apart from your mom and your best friend, really don't care that much.

Jillian: [00:22:27] Yes.

Angela: [00:22:28] Which, like you said gives you a lot of freedom to go hustle and make some money off of those posts.

Jillian: [00:22:33] Yes. Now can you explain cookies?

How do cookies work in affiliate marketing?

Angela: [00:22:37] Yes. So what happens is when you put an affiliate link into your post and a reader clicks on that link it sets what we call a cookie on their device.

Angela: [00:22:50] And that means that for affiliate marketing if that clicker makes a purchase within a certain period of time it depends on the program. So for Amazon I believe it's like 24 hours and Nordstrom it's going to be a little bit longer.

Angela: [00:23:09] And then there's some affiliate programs that have what they call forever cookies which means if they click on that link and they purchase through after clicking on your link on that same device you get credit for that purchase.

Angela: [00:23:23] So if that reader makes a purchase within the cookie duration period then you will make the commission or the referral fee off of that purchase.

Angela: [00:23:33] Now here here's the thing, which I think is so interesting with Amazon right the percent you know what the percentage is? They don't really tell you what it is, right?

Angela: [00:23:44] It depends. Amazon is just like Facebook and Google. It's kind of like I don't really know what's going on over there, but I'm going to keep my mouth shut and enjoy the money they send me.

Jillian: [00:23:55] Yes.

Angela: [00:23:56] You don't want to rock the boat with Amazon, but it depends on the item that the person purchases with Amazon how much percentage you have and then different associates if they're called Amazon Associates make different percentages. So the percentage that I might make in my program is going to be different than yours, Jillian.

Angela: [00:24:19] Now the great thing about Amazon as well as other programs out there, is that when someone clicks the link for the rolling pin, they don't have to purchase the rolling pin. If they purchased diapers and a DVD and a pair of shoes, I still make the affiliate commission off of that sale.

Angela: [00:24:35] So when you're thinking about Amazon and Walmart and Target like places that have lots of different products, your strategy is a little bit different. You want to entice them to click, because then you know especially with Amazon, I just want to set the cookie.

Angela: [00:24:52] So that if they purchased something else before they click someone else's affiliate link, because if they click someone else's affiliate link, now that affiliate or that associate gets credit for the purchase. I'm going to make money off of whatever they buy.

Angela: [00:25:07] So you are also thinking like this Amazon product, I want to make it interesting. I'm going to talk about it in a way that makes them want to go check it out. I'm not talking about clickbait. I hate clickbait but sometimes I put things in there just because I want them to click over or so that I earn the right to make the affiliate commission off of their purchase for the next 24 hours.

Jillian: [00:25:30] And then you hope that they buy a TV.

Angela: [00:25:34] Yes. Well actually the percentage on TVs is horrible. You want them to buy clothing. Clothing is good clothing is so good.

Angela: [00:25:46] So that's the other thing, is to look inside these programs especially the bigger stores that have lots of different items to see which categories bring you the best commission rate so that you know.

Angela: [00:26:00] So you can be more strategic with which products that you are promoting. So if you go and say I love this particular item, but then you go to Amazon, you're like oh they don't even give a commission on that, well you might not want to spend a whole lot of time on that review post.

Angela: [00:26:18] But if you're like I really am excited about it, put that in there. But then maybe add some items that could accompany that product, or just like make it such amazing copy that people like I need to go check this TV out and then you cross our fingers that they're going to buy syrup while they're there.

Jillian: [00:26:35] So how do you find out what categories in Amazon give you the best affiliate fee?

Angela: [00:26:42] That's in the associates dashboard you can click around. I mean I could figure it out for you but it's it's going to be listed in there. It's not a secret.

Angela: [00:26:53] The difference is is that I know that different associates get different rates and it's not like you can email someone at Amazon and say can you please review my account and see if you can increase my rate?

Angela: [00:27:04] Like that's not happening with Amazon that you could do that with some other retailers like negotiate higher rates.

Jillian: [00:27:10] Really. OK.

You can negotiate better affiliate rates with smaller companies

Angela: [00:27:11] Sure. Yes especially the smaller company the higher chance that you have that if you were to contact that affiliate manager and say, hey look at I want you to see the business that I'm bringing you and you could say like I have this one amazing post that is doing so well on Pinterest, and it's converting really well, could you give me a higher percentag?

Angela: [00:27:37] I know that that's happened for some people. I'm kind of lazy so I don't like emailing. So I haven't really pursued that so much.

Jillian: [00:27:45] And you have five children. Yes.

Angela: [00:27:47] Yes, I've got some stuff going on over here.

Jillian: [00:27:50] So here's a question then explain. So OK so I should sign up for Amazon Associates. Now what other programs do you recommend I sign up or for, example ShareaSale.

What is ShareASale and how does it work?

Angela: [00:28:02] Yes. How it works. And this is a little bit confusing to people. You've got Amazon. They kind of run their empire over there. But with most retailers or brands or businesses that have affiliate programs they are going to contract with what we can call affiliate companies.

Angela: [00:28:21] So you talked about shareasale so in shareasale they're kind of like a brokerage so you can sign up for shareasale and then, you're not promoting shareasale. You're promoting products or retailers that have contracted with share sale.

Angela: [00:28:38] So you are using ShareASale's platform to pull links to view reporting. And they are the ones that pay you. But businesses work withShareASale to be like their middleman.

Angela: [00:28:49] So if you go and say I want to promote this particular product you've got to figure out which company they're contracting with. Or they run their own program. You're going to cross your fingers that they're contracting with a company because it makes your life so much easier.

Angela: [00:29:03] So then you figure out what company they are working with and you apply to that company. So that would be ShareASale, Commission Junction, LinkShare, there's a handful, Impact Radius, there's a handful of companies out there that do this type of work. So you apply to the company.

Jillian: [00:29:22] So not to ShareASale', right? You're applying to the company?

Angela: [00:29:25] Well it's easiest if you first get into ShareASale, which anyone can get into ShareASale, unless you're doing something shady. But then it makes it easier for when you apply for that particular brand then you're already in the system.

Angela: [00:29:41] So let's use Nordstrom as an example because anniversary sales coming up, and I cannot wait to make money from Nordstrom. So they contract with LinkShare. So I join LinkShare and then I go into LinkShare and I apply to run with Nordstrom.

How to promote affiliate links from Norstrom

Angela: [00:29:59] So then I have to wait for Nordstrom to approve me. Once I'm approved by Nordstrom inside LinkShare, then I can start pulling links. That is easiest way, that's how you work.

Angela: [00:30:12] So if you go to a web site and you say I want to promote their products. Scroll down to the very bottom of the page. And usually in the footer if they have an affiliate program there's going to be a tiny little button that says affiliate, or work with us, network with us, or like referrals or something like that click that.

Angela: [00:30:30] And it's going to tell you what company that they're working under. And then you can apply. So some companies or retailers will approve you immediately. It's not usually the big ones they want to manually approve you.

Angela: [00:30:44] So most of them will apply inside shareasale, LinkShare, Commission Junction, and then you will wait a period of time, it's usually between like a handful of minutes to sometimes weeks to wait for them to either approve or deny you.

Angela: [00:30:59] So once you're approved, then inside the affiliate platform you'll be able to pull links. Usually there's going to be banners there. So image ads that you can use in your posts. They're also going to oftentimes post deals or offers or promotions that they're running so you can get certain links to that.

Angela: [00:31:18] Also you're going to be able to deep link to specific products. So for instance if I'm promoting an item that's in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, I don't want to send my readers to the home page at Nordstrom. They will not buy. You've got to remove as many obstacles as possible to them continuing to make their purchase.

Angela: [00:31:40] So I will go in. I will go inside LinkShare into their deep linking tool, and then link to that specific pair of shoes that I want my readers to buy. So that way when they click a link on my web site they go directly to the shoes at Nordstrom. They don't have to do any extra work.

Jillian: [00:31:59] That's great. So for us, tell me if I'm doing it right. On MiloTree, if you scroll down to the bottom it says "affiliate." You click it, you end up applying to our program which is run by a company called Refersion. And then I see the new applicants and I personally will approve them or not, depending on if I think they're spammy.

Jillian: [00:32:22] I want real people who are promoting our product and then they can get into the dashboard, their own dashboard, with their own links to promote MiloTree.

Angela: [00:32:33] Exactly. And the approval process for most brands really is to make sure that you're not spammy, that you're not just like doing random links that you're not trying to trick people into going to that website to buy something and also that the content aligns with the brand.

Angela: [00:32:53] Because you know like in your case, you don't want just any one promoting your brand because what's going to happen is as you are strategically realizing is that if the link is placed on a site that doesn't make sense, you as the owner of MiloTree, you're going to get requests for returns you're going to get hassles involved. So that's why brands and businesses want to manually approve you.

Angela: [00:33:20] So usually when you're applying they will have a box it says tell your promotion strategy. And that's just a piece of information that you can include to try to get them to be excited about working with you.

Angela: [00:33:35] Oftentimes I leave that box blank because I'm like obviously this is why I want to promote you, I don't have time to tell you.

Angela: [00:33:43] But sometimes because a brand will see my site as a deal blog and they're like, I don't know if your readers are going to convert well, I don't know if it's going to water down my brand.

Angela: [00:33:54] I might go in and say like for instance for Nordstrom sales, I want to heavily promote the anniversary sale. My readers are really excited to get high quality brands at affordable prices and something like that.

Angela: [00:34:12] Because oftentimes big brands and businesses look at your site for about two seconds and decide if they should approve you or not. So if you add some information in there if you're like I feel like they might not want to work with me. If you include that information, then they might take some extra time to look at your site.

Spammy practices in affiliate marketing

Jillian: [00:34:30] Can we talk about then spammy practices and this whole idea of people trying to get the last click? And how people abuse the system?

Angela: [00:34:44] Yes. I would say that your affiliate links are going to convert the best when you are being honest, you're being transparent, and you're not just trying to get the click.

Angela: [00:35:02] Also that spammy practice really doesn't result in sales. You know the more I experiment a lot and I don't think I've ever crossed the line to click bait but I have experimented with language that I use around my links.

Angela: [00:35:18] And the more authentic I am, the more information that I give upfront in my posts, or what I post on Facebook or something, the more likely it is that my reader that that's going to convert.

Angela: [00:35:30] So I find I don't like the whole, like check this item out, like check the new thing out that I love so much. Well yeah. You just set a cookie but your reader going to be frustrated.

Angela: [00:35:42] I know for me as a reader, when I do that, I click over I'm like oh you just showed me a pair of underwear. Why did that happen? And that turns me off.

Angela: [00:35:50] So I find the more information that I as a content creator, I give my reader in the post in a Facebook post wherever, it is answering their questions before they get over there.

Angela: [00:36:05] I'm probably going to get less clicks than if I were to try some click baity type of stuff but I'm going to sell more when I'm being the most helpful in the content that I create.

Angela: [00:36:15] So if I'm promoting a product that maybe people haven't had exposure to before, I try to answer all the questions that they may have about it before I send them over there.

Angela: [00:36:26] Now that doesn't mean my link is at the very bottom of the post. I'm putting links through out, so it's easy for people to click on so they so they don't have to scroll to the bottom to figure out where they're going, but my post is going to be as helpful as possible.

Angela: [00:36:39] And again my clicks might be less, I might not have as many clicks. I don't give a rip about clicks unless of course I'm setting the cookie on Amazon. But I want to sell that thing. So I want them to go over there and purchase. That's when I have success.

Jillian: [00:36:54] Right. And it's also, it's your reputation on the line.

Angela: [00:36:58] Absolutely. If my Facebook page feed is filled with what I perceived to be kind of click baity, maybe it's not like being super slimy or anything, but like not especially helpful. I'm going to unfollow or unlike that page.

Angela: [00:37:14] So again I find the more information I put into those posts. With that content, the more my readers trust me as a place to find valuable and helpful information and then they stick around and want to buy from me.

Jillian: [00:37:29] Right. I get that. Now here's a question, so how do you disclose? Can we talk about disclosure?

FTC disclosures in affiliate marketing -- what you need to know

Angela: [00:37:35] Yes. First of all, don't be scared of disclosure. I'm in some Facebook groups with bloggers at varying levels and varying niches, and the fear that some bloggers have about the FTC rules is almost humorous to me.

Angela: [00:37:53] So I kind of roll, like it does not have to be complicated. So on my website every single one of my posts has an affiliate disclosure at the top. It is a plugin that shows up right underneath my title and it goes to every single one of my posts.

Angela: [00:38:12] I do that in particular because Jillian, there's not a single post on my website that does not have an affiliate link. If I don't have an affiliate link in a post, I'm not doing my job right now.

Angela: [00:38:24] I realize that that's not every single blogger but I want you to be monetizing your post adding affiliate links into old content. A plugin with your affiliate disclosure works really well.

Angela: [00:38:40] So something very simple like, this post may contain affiliate links which means I make a small commission when you make a purchase you can read my full disclosure here, and that links to your disclosure or your disclaimer page where you say more of the specific language. So that's at the top of every single one of my posts. I'm good.

Angela: [00:39:04] When I link to that post from Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest. I don't disclose on that post because when they are actually making the purchase or clicking, the disclosure is there.

Angela: [00:39:18] So if I'm on Facebook, and I say check out this recipe I just created, I don't have to disclose that there's affiliate links in that post because it's disclosed on the blog.

Jillian: [00:39:28] Because they're going to your blog.

Angela: [00:39:30] Because they're going to the blog. And that's where they click the link. If I am on Facebook and I am putting it on my page, or in one of my public groups, I have a number of groups that I run that are about specific areas like fashion and deals and those types of things.

Angela: [00:39:48] In there, if I'm using an affiliate link in that post. I disclose there so I will say something simply like this is an affiliate link. I explain what affiliate link means.

Angela: [00:40:03] Because some people would do like #affiliatelink or #aff.

Jillian: [00:40:07] Can you go like #affil?

Angela: [00:40:11] Here's the deal is that no regular person knows what that means, and I think the spirit of the FTC, and I'm not an expert, I'm not a lawyer whatever but I think the spirit of it the FTC rules is that a regular person will not know that it's an affiliate link.

Jillian: [00:40:28] OK.

Angela: [00:40:28] Regular people don't even know what the word affiliate means.

Jillian: [00:40:31] Right.

Angela: [00:40:31] So you could say referral link. I think that's kind of clear you could say #ad. I don't know, maybe. Ad to me means that I'm being paid to produce that content. Not that I make money when you click the link.

Angela: [00:40:43] So I put little arrows and say this is an affiliate link which means I make a small commission if you make a purchase.

Jillian: [00:40:50] You'd write that whole thing out in a Facebook post?

Angela: [00:40:54] Absolutely I put it in little parentheses and then I move on. Now sometimes it put that right next to the affiliate link.

Angela: [00:41:01] Here's the cool thing about when you add that little affiliate link portion right after that links I copy the URL spacebar put an affiliate link. I make a little bit of money. It shortens the affiliate link. Because sometimes affiliate links, well most of the time, they're long and ugly and it's confusing because it doesn't say Walmart.com. It has all these weird letters that is confusing to the reader so it shortens that so they don't see this like seven line long URL.

Angela: [00:41:33] Ok so I will put that in now with Amazon, this is so important. You can't say "this is an affiliate link which means that I make a little bit of money when you click it" because Amazon views that as enticing people to to click the link.

Jillian: [00:41:55] Okay.

Angela: [00:41:55] You can't entice people to click the link so we've been doing this on my Facebook page forever and ever and ever amen. And now Amazon is coming out saying that that encourages people to click your link and make the purchase.

Angela: [00:42:08] So what you're supposed to say with Amazon, it's very short. It's something like, I am a participant in Amazon Associates and I earn money that way. They have this language I can give it to you that you can post later.

Jillian: [00:42:25] Yes, I'll put it in the show notes.

Angela: [00:42:26] I put that in every single one of my Amazon posts. I am so not interested in making them mad. I will put whatever language they want me to put in that post.

Angela: [00:42:41] And it also communicates to the reader who is clicking that link. They then understand the relationship that I have with Amazon, and I know that people are sometimes worried about people not clicking the link because like, oh she's trying to make money off of it.

Angela: [00:42:59] Most people understand that you're making money off of this. They're just happy that they know and honestly most people aren't reading anyways.

Angela: [00:43:07] So I disclose on every where that affiliate link actually lives disclose it.

Jillian: [00:43:16] Got it.

Angela: [00:43:16] And then you're good. That's all you have to do.

Jillian: [00:43:18] So do you have like on your main Facebook page ,if people go there. Can they see you doing this? Where can somebody see you?

Angela: [00:43:27] If you go to Facebook.com/FrugalLivingNW you can see what we're posting on Facebook, and probably one or two times a day we will post a direct link to Amazon because we know that that converts well for us.

Angela: [00:43:47] Now I know there are some bloggers who run very successful Facebook pages and they link to Amazon and it does not convert. But again my readers are ready to get a deal. And so that works well for us.

Angela: [00:44:00] If you go to my public Facebook groups, we drop affiliate links inside of and we disclose that. And that works really well for us. But again those people have self selected, saying I want to buy stuff off of Amazon. And so that works really well for us.

Jillian: [00:44:21] So of the social networks, which for you is the most successful at converting affiliate sales? Can you talk through Facebook or about Pinterest?

Jillian: [00:44:35] Can you link a product, let's say it's an Etsy product and Etsy has an affiliate program. Can I just take an image from Etsy, put my affiliate link in the link to that pin and make money?

Angela: [00:44:52] Ok, you just opened a huge can of worms. So first there is when we start diving deep into affiliate marketing lots of people have lots of opinions.

Can you add Etsy affiliate links on Pinterest?

Angela: [00:45:06] So we'll start with the image thing. Can you pull an image off of let's say Etsy, and put an affiliate link there? Probably not Etsy. I wouldn't do that on Pinterest.

Angela: [00:45:17] So then people say, can I use a product image from Amazon. Some people who are have very strong opinions on that. They're very scared of Amazon shutting them down. I am more laid back about that type of thing.

Angela: [00:45:34] Now Pinterest has some pretty specific rules when it comes to affiliate market, like using affiliate links on Pinterest. And it changes all the time.

Jillian: [00:45:43] Yes.

Angela: [00:45:44] And honestly I have not even started direct linking or using direct affiliate links on Pinterest.

Jillian: [00:45:52] OK.

Angela: [00:45:53] And part of that is because a Pinterest audience isn't necessarily ready to buy. They are ready to be inspired.

Angela: [00:46:02] So I don't know how much time, how profitable it is to spend a bunch of time dropping affiliate links in Pinterest. I would much rather your readers and for me, to create amazing content on my web site that has affiliate links in it and then promote those posts on Pinterest.

Angela: [00:46:24] And so what I will say is you publish a post today and when we publish a post today, we're publishing for our audience the people who love us who subscribe to our emails. That's what they're getting today, you're thinking about that reader.

Angela: [00:46:41] In one year the reader to that post is probably not going to be one of your ravenous tribe members. It's most likely going to be someone from Google or Pinterest.

Angela: [00:46:52] So then what I would say is if you see a post that was published a while ago, that's getting a lot of traffic from Pinterest or even Google, or some from Google search. What I would suggest you go into that post and say now my reader of this post is no longer a ravenous fan. It is a very casual unattached Pinterest person. How can I get them to my affiliate links?

Angela: [00:47:18] So what I might say is if you're getting a ton of traffic from Pinterest on a DIY or a recipe post, or something, and you have the first 700 words of that post is a story about your life and you're getting lots of traffic to it but not making a lot of money. It's probably because people are clicking off of that post because your story is so long.

Angela: [00:47:43] I'm not saying that you shouldn't write stories, but I know as a Pinterest user, I'm like get me to the recipe. I don't care about your dog.

Jillian: [00:47:52] Yes yes. I am with you.

How to optimize your popular posts for affiliate marketing

Angela: [00:47:53] If you had this post is getting thousands of pages or even hundreds of page views. But it's like a lot more than every other post on your site. You might want to edit that story to get people to the content they're looking for as quickly as possible to increase the chance that they are going to click on your affiliate link.

Angela: [00:48:11] So you could even, oh my goodness, I thought of this the other day. You could put a little bit of code in the post and you can Google this, it's easy to do to say like "jump to the recipe."

Angela: [00:48:21] So they click that link inside, like at the top of the post. And then they skip the story if you want to keep the story in there so that they go directly to the recipe where you have affiliate links.

Angela: [00:48:32] That would be a way to really serve that Pinterest user. Get them on your site longer and increase the chance that they are going to click on your link.

Jillian: [00:48:40] I love that. I love that because you are segregating your readers your visitors, those that are the diehard visitors who know your five children, know the names of your dog, care about your your whole home redesign, versus the people who go to Pinterest.

Jillian: [00:49:06] You know Pinterest changed the game because you remember back in the day when you followed certain bloggers and people would come to the homepage of your blog and go explore through it and then Pinterest came and you just hop scotch in and out.

Angela: [00:49:22] Exactly. And so it's a really good idea to modify your content if you're getting the hop scotchers from Pinterest. Make it really easy for them to find what they're looking for and also to get their eyes on your affiliate links.

Angela: [00:49:38] You already served your ravenous audience with this amazing blog post. Those people probably aren't going to read it again. They're finished with that. They've moved on to your new content.

Angela: [00:49:47] So now maximize those posts for the people who are at your site for about 2 seconds before they figure out if it's going to be helpful to their immediate need or not.

Jillian: [00:49:57] I like that. Ok one thing, SEO, I looked at your site and in your blog posts you will put specifics in the titles. You're putting product names and my assumption is that people are Googling for that stuff? What is your strategy there?

Angela: [00:50:21] First of all, I don't have a lot of strategy when it comes to SEO.

Jillian: [00:50:24] Okay.

Angela: [00:50:26] I hope that I am like demonstrating that you can make money off of your blog and not care about a lot of things. So I don't really think a whole lot about Google.

Angela: [00:50:35] The things that you are looking at are posts about Amazon deals that are happening today. So I have a contributor, she figures out what amazing deals are available on Amazon and we post about that.

Angela: [00:50:49] Those posts strategically are for my tribe. The people who are checking out my site every day, they are reading my daily email because they get an email from me every single day they want that I mean that's amazing and they are looking to buy stuff. That content is going to be dead in a couple of days.

Angela: [00:51:09] So there are some posts that I'm promoting products that Google does pick up and basically those posts are mostly getting spam comments. So like people trying to catch some of my juice from Google so I often look and go oh this post about this random I don't know electric shaver must be doing well on Google because I'm getting a bunch of spam comments.

Angela: [00:51:33] So what I try to do with my titles is just be as helpful as possible meaning that I want people who are reading the emails because they get it in an RSS feed. I mean can you even believe that I'm still doing RSS emails. I do other emails too.

Angela: [00:51:46] What I mean that demonstrates like deal blogs. There's people who just want to tell me what you posted today and I can quickly go through it. I want that title to be as helpful as possible so they click on it and then go check out those deals.

Jillian: [00:52:02] Explain what that means that you do an RSS email everyday.

Angela: [00:52:06] An RSS email is instead of me going into my email program and writing an email and sending it myself, it pulls it automatically from my blog. So every 24 hours a certain list of subscribers will get the last 24 hours worth the posts that I published in their email so then they can click the different posts and be taken just like if they're interested in that.

Angela: [00:52:37] You can do an RSS email which means every time you publish a certain type of post, so like every time I publish a Safeway post because that's a popular grocery store in the Northwest then that list of people who subscribe to that RSS feed will get that Safeway post.

Angela: [00:52:57] So it's kind of the lazy way but also sometimes strategic way to get those posts into people's email. So what I will say is that they don't convert super well. And that's why most bloggers should move away from RSS, because the RSS is just like hey a new post is published. Here is a link to it.

Angela: [00:53:20] There's nothing personal involved. So it requires that reader who gets the RSS email in their inbox to go "that title is intriguing. I'm going to click on it."

Angela: [00:53:29] So it really works well if you publish tons of content like I'm are publishing between five and seven posts a day on my website. So that serves that well, and it also helps me because then I don't have to email everyone everyday because I don't do anything every day I meet I'm not that disciplined.

Angela: [00:53:50] And so that works well for me. For like 98 percent of the people listening to this podcast, do not do RSS emails please.

Can you add affiliate links to email newsletters?

Jillian: [00:53:58] OK. What is the deal with putting affiliate links in newsletters? Is it okay? Doesn't MailChimp say you can't do that?

Angela: [00:54:12] Oh I certainly hope not. I've never used MailChimp so I don't know what their rules are. There are some email marketing services that do have rules about affiliate links. If you're running into that then you need to find a new email provider because you should be able to use affiliate links.

Angela: [00:54:39] One thing though is, you can not please listen to this everyone. You cannot put an affiliate an Amazon affiliate links in an email, they will shut you down so fast.

Jillian: [00:54:51] Can you go through that?

Angela: [00:54:52] Yes this is one of the biggest rules I see people breaking. I see giant bloggers making like 7 figures doing this. According to Amazon's policies, you cannot put one of their affiliate links in an email. You also cannot put your affiliate link in a PDF or ebook. You cannot do that.

Angela: [00:55:18] And so the way to think about it is it's really easy to figure out if you can or can't do it. Amazon has to be able to have a person view that link on the internet. They can't see the link in your ebook. They don't know where it's coming from. They can't see it from their email.

Angela: [00:55:34] They also can't see it in a closed Facebook group or a private Facebook group. If you're going to use Amazon affiliate links in a Facebook group that group needs to be public.

Jillian: [00:55:46] Ooh. Yes. So your Facebook groups are public?

Angela: [00:55:51] My Facebook groups that I use an Amazon affiliate links in are public. Which means that any person can see where it's coming from. Now that rule does not apply to other affiliate programs.

Angela: [00:56:01] I think people get confused, they hear I can't use an affiliate link from Amazon in email so they don't use any affiliate links in emails. No, it's just Amazon. So you can put an affiliate link to... All I'm thinking about right now is Nordstrom. I'm so excited.

Angela: [00:56:18] You can put an affiliate link for Nordstrom or for Michael's or for Target, that's ok as long as you disclose at the top of your email. This email contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission when you click and make a purchase, and you can add at no additional cost to you if you'd like.

Angela: [00:56:37] So if you want to promote an Amazon product in your email the best way to do it, it's kind of clunky I'm sorry, is to link to a page on your web site where you're talking about that product so you could review it or something like that.

Angela: [00:57:01] Or you could link to your Facebook page where you have the affiliate link there. Does that make sense?

Jillian: [00:57:08] So go over that again.

Angela: [00:57:10] If you want to promote and affiliate Amazon product and make money off of it in your email, you have to get them to a place on the web where that affiliate link in public.

Angela: [00:57:23] That could be on your website where you could you could even do a page that has like. Here's the instant pot that I love and here's the link, like two lines then that affiliate link lives there.

Angela: [00:57:33] Or you could link to your Facebook page where you're talking about the Instant Pot.

Jillian: [00:57:38] Got it.

Angela: [00:57:40] Or you can put an affiliate link, this is where it gets kind of funky with Amazon, if you have an influencer page you can use your affiliate link in your email that goes to your influencer page.

Angela: [00:57:52] Because they're not making the purchase from the email. They're going to your influencer page, and then making making the purchase from there. Influencer pages should be available to all associates as of right now.

What is an Amazon Affiliate Influencer Page?

Jillian: [00:58:04] Explain what that is.

Angela: [00:58:06] So it looks like a storefront where you go to this page it's your Amazon influencer page and it has products that you love. So you know you could be like here's the things that I love from my website, and things that we use.

Angela: [00:58:19] And all of those items are there and then, so you can link to that page from your email. I have just started out, it's kind of fairly new. I'm not sure how well that's converting.

Angela: [00:58:33] But it is one way to link use an affiliate link inside your emails. That's really the only way that you can do it in a way that isn't clunky for your email reader. So give it a shot. I'm not sure how it's going to pan out.

Jillian: [00:58:49] I love this. I love this. All right so Angela if you are a a new blogger and they've just listened to this podcast, and it feels kind of overwhelming let's say what piece of advice would you have from the start?

Jillian: [00:59:13] So sign up for Amazon Associates. Again you're not going to get rich, you're going to see stuff on Pinterest and Google that says like I went from zero to twenty two thousand dollars a month selling Amazon. No you're not. I don't know who those people are.

Angela: [00:59:29] I sell so much stuff over Christmas and I don't make $22,000 a month. It's hard work and you're putting lots of links in. But sign up for Amazon and in a post just get a link in there. Try to figure out the language that you're comfortable with to get people interested in clicking that link.

Angela: [00:59:51] And again part of that's going to be you getting over your fear of selling, feeling like you're not being authentic because again for some reason, the only way a woman can be authentic is if she is giving herself away for free.

Jillian: [01:00:02] I love that. Yeah yeah.

Angela: [01:00:04] Oh girl, make some money off of this. You deserve to make cash. So start putting links in there. So any content that you create from now on, tell yourself, I'm going to include an affiliate link. I have to do this. And then when you feel good about it again like I said before like you feel awesome.

Angela: [01:00:23] Then start working on past content and then work say like I'm going to do one post a week of past content for the next 10 weeks.

Angela: [01:00:34] You do not have to go down to like your 60th most trafficked post. You're not going to make money off of that. Like at least I look at my Google Analytics I'm like I had 22 people visit this page that's not worth my time.

Jillian: [01:00:46] Yes.

Angela: [01:00:46] But start working on adding links. And then when you write your emails what I want you to do is I want you to sell something in every single email which sounds like you've got to be kidding me.

Angela: [01:01:01] But what that really means is I want you to tell them in each email of a product you love. Figure out how you can do that. I see tons of bloggers who don't even incorporate it into their into the text of their email. They just put it as like an aside at the bottom.

Angela: [01:01:22] Kind of like a newspaper we have different sections the section at the bottom, it can be the thing I'm loving this week, and like make it an affiliate.

Angela: [01:01:33] Now again you can't put in an Amazon affiliate link in there. So make it Walmart, make it Target, make it something that you can put the email the affiliate link in there.

Why you need to start training your readers to click on your affliliate links

Angela: [01:01:45] It's not because I think you're going to sell a bunch of stuff right off the bat. It's because I need you to start training your readers to click.

Angela: [01:01:55] Training your readers to expect that selling is a part of how you do your job. Then, when you have a big affiliate promotion that comes up you want to promote Ultimate Bundles. There's a big offer for a product that you love, and it's super on sale at something like that where you want to hit it hard and try to make money off of this. They are already accustomed to clicking your links and buying stuff or being ok with you talking about buying stuff.

Angela: [01:02:28] So like if you have if you're sending out an email that is all text and there's no click. How do you expect those people when something awesome comes up that you want to promote that they're willing to click you haven't trained them to click out of your emails.

Jillian: [01:02:43] Yes. Also, I think about it this way, which is when I subscribe to somebody's email list and they share what they're loving. What product they're loving, it gives me insight into them. And what kind of person they like. What what kind of cleaner does she like or what kind of jewelry is she excited about.

Jillian: [01:03:06] It's a it's another side, when you're sharing something really it's like sharing a side of you.

Angela: [01:03:13] Exactly. And women in particular want to know what they should buy next. What should they discover next. What should they be trying out. And we all are looking for input. So give them what they might.

Angela: [01:03:28] So here's an example. I found these most amazing shoes on Amazon. These shoes are fourteen dollars. I don't know what is going on. They are cute they're super comfortable. I cannot wait to promote those shoes and my readers are going to go bonkers over these shoes because they're affordable, they're cute, and I'm going to tell them why they're so awesome.

Angela: [01:03:51] So just figure out something that you love and then figure out how you can communicate your love for that product in various different ways, and just try it out and I promise you that most of your readers are going to think it's fabulous.

Angela: [01:04:07] You will have reade

40 episodes available. A new episode about every 7 days averaging 41 mins duration .