A few tips for new poker affiliates
When looking at a good cross section of poker sites on a daily basis there is always one striking difference between the good and the bad. The best poker portals know the game inside out and for anyone with any experience in the game, and the chances are if someone is browsing for poker they’ll have a grasp of the fundamentals, it becomes obvious in seconds how savvy a site is. Webmasters that buy a poker domain and try duplicating so many other sites without learning the ins and outs of the game and players will quickly realize that generic content is just not enough. Knowing your product is one of few golden rules that never change in poker affiliate marketing. You don’t have to be a pro, but you do need to know some essentials and be involved to some degree in the poker world.
If you’re not aware that the November Nine has just been decided in this year’s WSOP then there is room for improvement – the 4 months leading up to the final table of the biggest poker tournament in the world can be a great window to capitalize on the huge bank of new content, stories, player profiles and forum threads generated by this series of events. One thing a poker affiliate should never be short of is content, so here are some tips on how best to gear your content to the right audience:
Give your reports and articles a voice
So many poker sites run exactly the same story in exactly the same way, which leads readers to stick with the big guns where they know they’re getting it from the horse’s mouth. Why bother reading recycled news unless it is interesting to read or funny or just has a new take on the action?
Cover as much ground as possible
It’s no secret that poker is pretty saturated with reviews, Rakeback offers, freerolls and the usual fare – so why not diversify? Try and look for what is not being publicized – such as bad beat jackpots which are uncommonly high, niche tournaments in select regions and player profiles for up-and-comers which may not have got the same treatment from all the other sites.
Give readers something to come back for
A lot of browsers will find the information they are looking for and not bother to bookmark your page unless it is interesting enough to come back for. This plays into the first point, which I think is worth repeating. Give your site a differentiating factor, make it the sort of authority readers want to consult when it comes to certain hands or tournaments or room reviews. If someone reads a WSOP report they like on your site and you say you will soon be covering the WSOPE – they will likely come back for more.
Bad Beat On Cliché
One of the worst aspects of so many poker sites is that they cling to poker clichés. I don’t just mean repeating words like ‘stacked,’ ‘shipped,’ tilted,’ ‘tight-aggressive’ and ‘donkey,’ there are whole sites that hinge on the sentence ‘he looked down to find (insert any hand.)’ I know that poker is itself a cliché machine and nourishes itself on its lingo and terminology, but there is a balance and it shows much more knowledge and is more interesting to read when a writer does not depends on these stock phrases. If I read: ‘I was sitting UTG and got 3-bet from the hijack seat x4 who was a loose-aggressive donkey that I thought I’d be getting +EV from over the next few blind levels – then I looked down and found Dolly Parton which is worth going over the top to steal’ then immediately I think a robot has written it. If sportswriters always wrote like this nobody would ever read about sports except the players. Lingo is only readable to players and even then it’s not very interesting. If Norman Mailer had written about boxing in this way nobody would read The Fight. Think about the reader and why you are bothering to write about the hand in the first place. If it’s interesting enough to write about, it is interesting enough to write well about.
Okay, so this is kind of following from the last point, but I think it’s worth its own section. Don’t just agree with all the other sites about something. When Full Tilt closed down recently 90% of sites all said exactly the same thing because all they knew was from each other. Do some digging, make your poker news newsworthy and have an opinion about what’s going on. Again, it will make readers want to read what you have to say so they’ll come back to the site.
Easy on the Ads
I generally know within a minute how dedicated a webmaster is to making their site a success. Largely this comes from seeing how many Ads they have on their homepage. Many poker affiliates think that by plastering banners on their front page it makes it more likely a player will click one. The truth, of course, is the opposite. If I click onto a site and see it’s a banner farm I leave is pronto. I know it has nothing interesting on their and the bulk of the site is reviews – meaning I could just look for myself – so why bother? Give your ads a reason to be there. Have Poker Rooms of the week, list rooms in association with live events, new innovations – anything that gives that ad a reason to be there.
Let them speak
Poker players tend to be an opinionated bunch, which is no bad thing. Give your readers as much scope as possible to air their views, start discussions and get involved. It’s a good way to know what players want from the site also, and this will often effect a poker room’s decision on whether they’ll let you have private events and freerolls – if they see you have an active community.
Some of these points are subjective, but as both a player and poker affiliate manager I would strongly suggest having a think about what makes your poker site unique and why players will want to keep coming back.