Affiliate marketing is a great way to increase your sales conversions. Though it has fallen out of favor with marketing professionals, affiliate marketing is a great way to monetize a blog. It allows a blogger to have a commercial website that is not a typical advertisement site. It’s a different way of blogging that is not necessarily high profit, but high engagement.
Nikola Roza, a professional, and experienced affiliate marketer share his insight and experience on affiliate marketing and how you can join up and start making money.
Nikola is well versed in content marketing. He is a blogger, content marketer, and SEO specialist. He started his journey in 2015 with affiliate marketing.
We are very excited to interview Nikola Roza for our #ChampLifeSeries.
Nikola Roza has a knack for making everything simple and easy to understand, and in today’s interview, we’ll be giving you insight into all things affiliate and the art of creating affiliates.
Fahad: Thank you for being a part of our Champ Series. Please share your experience being an independent content marketer with our readers.
Nikola: Hey, thank you for inviting me. It’s a huge honor for me. Hi everyone, my name is Nikola Roza, and I blog at nikolaroza.com.
I started my Internet marketing journey in 2015 by accidentally discovering SEO and what it can do and how it could change my life. I have never looked back since. At first, I was a freelance writer full-time and part-time affiliate marketer.
Nowadays it’s about 50:50 division in the sources of income I make and how much time I dedicate to each, but the affiliate marketing side of my business is growing fast and I’m pretty close to finally becoming a full-time affiliate marketer. Dreams really do come true and mine is about to 🙂
Fahad: Discovering SEO and affiliate marketing has been quite a journey for you. Tell us a bit more about it and how you ended up with it as a career?
Nikola: Well, in 2013 I was in Belgrade in college studying Serbian language and literature. I was planning on becoming a teacher someday. But then things took a turn for the worse as my mother got sick. She went from being pretty healthy to becoming a near invalid in a few months, and I returned home to take care of her. Her condition was getting worse, until one day they discovered she had huge colon cancer besides UC. We didn’t have the money to pay for the treatment.
At that time, I was totally clueless about Internet marketing. I stumbled upon SEO by accident, created a website, started “SEO-ing” it, and failed miserably. 100 days after her cancer diagnosis, my mother died in terrible pain with me by her side. So I failed in helping her and after she was gone, I was left destitute and living on social help. I only had money to buy food and pay the bills.
I helped myself by truly learning SEO. I understood that the first time I failed because I was in a rush and there was no time. But this time I had time, all the time in the world. So, I created another site in December 2017 and started working on it as much as I could. I was working on my site’s content, freelance writing on the side when I had work, which in the beginning was scarce, and picking fruits as my major source of income for a while. Things went better for me in 2019. I had a bit more freelance work. I work 5 months on my site, while the remaining 7 were spent picking fruit.
Finally, in 2020, Adam Connell of Blogging Wizard noticed my blog and asked me if I wanted to write for him full time. I gleefully accepted and thanks him.
Currently, in the year 2021 and beyond, my site is picking up steam. I still don’t have time to work on my content, but Google is really liking me for the content I already have published, I’m making regular sales from a few of the articles, and I’m growing fast. I hope that in the next 6 months or fewer I can become a full-time affiliate marketer.
Fahad: What’s the one thing that excites you most about SEO and affiliate marketing?
Nikola: I like the competitiveness of it. I used to think of myself as a fairly non-competitive person. But then I set my eyes on SEO and once I started doing it and watched my rankings grow, I grew crazy about it and suddenly it was all about ranking and beating everyone else. It sounds crazy, but I like it when there’s tough competition for a keyword. It makes me work so hard in anticipation of victory, and when I finally get it, that dopamine rush is something that can’t be expressed with words.
Fahad: As a content marketer, you have seen the highs and lows. What would be your advice for brands just starting in the market?
Nikola: My advice is simple, first, you need to determine your brand’s USP (unique selling proposition). What is it that makes you unique in your niche? What are you bringing to the table? Then you need to research a set of keywords searched by your ideal customer. And then you must go hard with content marketing. 90% of your content needs to target questions people ask about this and that in your niche. Ranking for those will present you as an authoritative, but also helpful and caring brand. 10% of the content produced needs to be linkable asset content.
There are many types of linkable assets, but what they all have in common is that they’re super useful, super high-quality guides and articles that deliver tremendous value over a long period. For example, my power words guide is an evergreen linkable asset for my site and if you visit the page, you’ll know why. It took me 2 weeks of writing every day for 5h to pen that piece. But it was worth it as it also attracted 100+ links in over a year, so that’s a big success for me.
Fahad: What are the key factors that can be used to leverage social media for personal branding? Also, how important do you think personal branding is for a freelancer?
Nikola: To answer your second question first, personal branding is super important now, and it’s only going to grow more important as the market gets crowder and more people try to become freelancers. Then the brand and image you’ve built will get you the job over someone else who didn’t put in the effort. It’s an amateur blogging mistake not to build your brand with the help of social media.
Social media can give you outstanding results for your business, but only after you’ve put in the reps and have been consistent for a long time. Being consistent doesn’t mean you have to post like crazy every day, but it means you have to post something every day. You also need to be strategic with social promotion.
Just like in blogging, where there are likely linkers with whom you want to connect so they can link to you in the future, so in social media there are likely sharers, i.e., bloggers with their social followings. Share their stuff, they’ll return the favor and you’ll get organic exposure to their audience which is almost always going to be larger than yours.
Fahad: How essential are marketing automation tools for a business? What would you say about Social Champ?
Nikola: Social automation tools are a necessity for serious online businesses. Because they remove the 99% of work and still give 100% of the result of grunt manual work. Social automation is a rare marketing shortcut that actually works. As for Social Champ, it’s a boon of a tool and one of the best on the market. If someone’s reading this and wondering how to be more active on social media without wasting a ton of time, then Social Champ is the logical answer for them.
Not just because we’re on the Social Champ blog, but because the tool is easy to grasp and use, the interface is intuitive, the UX excellent, and SC works with all major social platforms where they need to have open profiles and active presence. There’s also a 7-day trial which is always a large plus as it allows people to try Social Champ risk-free. I’ll stop talking now as I don’t want my interview to sound overly promotional, but yeah, all good things about Social Champ, and I don’t think the tool is perfect and I’m excited to see how it’s developed further.
Finally, if you’re a social media manager and managing clients’ accounts, then having a tool is essential or you will bounce out of business. You won’t be able to compete with marketers using social automation to their advantage.
Fahad: Tips for newbies who want to pursue their career in content marketing?
Nikola: Several tips:
First, don’t fall into the trap of using AI tools to create blog content. They don’t work as the marketing for them says they do. It takes a long time to learn to use them properly. They produce mediocre content. And finally, it’s machine-generated content that Google can easily recognize as they probably have the same technology.
In my opinion, at one point when the web gets too bloated because everyone’s using AI tools to create infinite content, Google is going to add a filter to their algorithm that will filter out all GPT-3 content and this will remove entire businesses out of the SERPs. They aren’t doing it now, but will eventually and the risk is not worth the reward, as I said, you still have a lot of work to do once the machine spits out a barely readable “article”.
Second, don’t fall into the trap of demanding absolute quality from whatever you publish. Content marketing is inescapably connected with SEO, and SEO takes time, even when done right. It is far better to target a keyword with a mediocre article today, wait a month for Google to rank it where they will, examine the potential, and then choose to pursue or not; then to invest a month into a perfect post that never even cracks the 10th page of Google because Google for some reason doesn’t like your site for that keyword. That is a winning blogging strategy because you’re acting based on hard data instead of your gut feeling, or what you’d like to rank for.
For example, I have this Grammarly student discount page that is doing super well for me. It’s the page with the most traffic potential for my site. But I didn’t know it’d become that when I first published it, as I couldn’t predict how Google would respond to it.
I took a chance and published it in early May. By the end of May, I was already getting 100+ impressions a day with a brand new, basic article with decent but not great on-page SEO and no backlinks pointing to it. Google showed me it liked my site and I took them up on their offer and ramped up my SEO for that page and that set of keywords. And now I’m at the point where that money page alone will be enough to get me to become a full-time affiliate marketer. Here’s a screenshot from my GSC as proof.
Third, just start. Don’t be afraid of the competition. Most of the people you see today in the SERPS won’t be working on their sites five years from now, because most people quit when it gets really hard. If you never quit, and if you show up every day, I guarantee you you will see positive results.
Fahad: What is your recommended digital/content marketing toolkit?
Nikola: I try to keep it simple. Doing the work every day is much more important than having a flashy and expensive toolset. That said, here are the bare necessities you need to have to succeed as a blogger the fastest way possible.
- SEMrush for keyword research
- Ahrefs for backlink analysis and link building
- Buzzsumo for outreach and researching viral content
- Link Whisper for internal linking
- SocialChamp for social automation
- Google Search Console and Bing Search Console for accurate data from the engines
- Google Analytics
Fahad: Who is your inspiration, both personally and professionally?
Nikola: My two inspirational figures are Steve Pavlina and Jordan Peterson. Steve was the person who introduced me to the idea of subjective reality and the law of attraction. That idea shook me up profoundly the first time I heard about it and it has reshaped my life ever since I grasped what it really meant. I remember how I burst into tears the first time I heard this beautiful podcast episode about reality. I was going through really hard times, (the hardest of my life) being hungry, destitute, and all alone, and here, suddenly, someone was telling me compellingly that life can be beautiful if you can learn to change your thoughts and then follow up with hard and persistent work.
Steve taught me then that my happiness is in my hands and that I can achieve it if I just stop feeling sorry about myself and get to work with optimism, faith, and conviction that it’ll work out and that I’m in control. It changed my life. Jordan Peterson inspired and keeps inspiring me because of his claims, that although life is undeniably difficult, there’s always something to be done to make it better, and if one accepts their hero journey, they will have a meaningful life, will erase the fear of death, and will walk with their head held up high through this perilous life. I like that message a lot as it speaks to me profoundly.
These are my personal mentors, and as for professional ones, I don’t have any. I simply seek successful people in SEO and marketing, and then I study what they did. I want to learn and become one of the best SEO specialists in the world. I have to be open-minded and accept advice and knowledge from any side it comes to me. Picking a favorite SEO would just slow me down and it’d make me biased towards that person’s method of doing SEO, and antagonistic towards what everyone else is saying.
Fahad: Stepping aside from work, how do you spend your free time? Any particular activity that will fascinate our audience?
Nikola: I like to walk. I walk on average ~15 km per day. It relaxes me. But, because I have a restless mind, I often listen to SEO podcasts episodes while walking. It’s partly because I want to learn, but in large part so as to distract my mind so it doesn’t plan so much. Excessive planning prevents me from living in the present and raises my stress levels like crazy. I also have an evening routine session every night (lasts 1h) where I relax and kickback. What I do changes occasionally, but nowadays, it comprises reading the classics and watching anime.
Fahad: Can you share a picture of your workplace?
Nikola: Ohh, I wish I had done this interview last month, I’d have shown you a beautiful picture of my home office and official work desk. But now, I’ve moved to a new town for a change of scenery and there I use the big kitchen table as my work table. It’s not nearly as aesthetically pleasing as my normal work environment, but it gets the job done. When I’m absorbed into work, nothing matters to me. Just picture a huge, brown table with a chair beside it and a laptop on it. Next to the laptop is a steaming cup of coffee:)
Fahad: Let’s have a small rapid-fire round.
Rapid Fire Round
|Tea or Coffee?||Coffee. One of my lesser dreams is to travel the world and try the best gourmet coffees in the world offers.|
|Social Media or Social Networking?||Both. You can’t be present on social media without interacting with others. Just be deliberate with it.|
|Traveling or Watching A Movie?||Traveling. No contest there.|
|Content marketing or Affiliate marketing?||A mixture of both for a healthy blog.|
Fahad: Lastly, who do you think we should interview next on Social Champ?
Nikola: You need to interview Adam Connell of Blogging Wizard. That dude is a seriously good marketer and everyone (Including me) can learn a ton from him.