In 2019, Americans wasted $15.2 billion on Christmas gifts that were ultimately unwanted by their recipients. To make matters worse, only 31% of people who received a bad gift actually kept it; the others either gave it to someone else, sold/exchanged it, or threw it away.
To avoid wasting money and potentially damaging a relationship, some people turn to gift guides to help them find the perfect present. And if you’re particularly gifted at gift-giving, then maybe you want to become part of the solution to this (honestly shocking) problem.
But did you know you could also earn money making gift guides?
It’s true, and in this article, we’ll show you how! All it takes is careful planning, diligent research, and a bit of affiliate marketing.
What’s a Gift Guide?
A gift guide is basically a list of products that your readers could give to their friends or family as a gift for a specific occasion.
In fact, if you’ve ever been stuck in a rut when it comes to figuring out the perfect gift for your friend, you probably turned to the internet to get some ideas (I know I have). Well, gift guides are generally what pops up in those situations.
It is possible to create an entire blog solely focusing on gift guides, but it’s also possible to implement a few in a blog you’ve already started.
And if you’re wondering if you can create gift guides year-round, you definitely can! And there are two ways do that:
- Seasonal gift guides
- Evergreen gift guides
Seasonal Gift guides are pretty self explanatory: they’re gift guides that go with whatever season (and corresponding holidays) are coming up. And we aren’t just talking Christmas and Valentine’s Day, either. There are possibilities for every month of the year:
- January: New Years
- February: Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year, Mardi Gras
- March: St. Patrick’s Day
- April: Easter
- May: Mother’s Day
- June: Father’s Day
- July: Independence Day
- August: Back to school
- September: Labor Day
- October: Halloween
- November: Dia de los Muertos, Thanksgiving, Black Friday
- December: Christmas, Hanukkah
Seasonal gift guides are generally published a few months before the actual date of the holiday, so that there’s enough time for traffic to really start getting generated and your marketing efforts to really start paying off.
While seasonal gift guides need to be updated (or entirely changed) each year to keep up with current pricing and trends, there’s an entirely different group of gift guides that require much less maintenance. Those are often referred to as “evergreen” guides.
Basically, evergreen guides are ones that aren’t related to a specific time of the year. These are instead generally focused on a very specific niche. For example:
- Best birthday gifts for the indoor gardener
- Top 10 gifts for men who love barbecuing
- Gift ideas for the stay-at-home mom with toddlers
- Gifts guaranteed to bring your girlfriend to tears
These will still require a bit of upkeep, as prices change and so on. However, the idea with these types of guides as opposed to seasonal ones is that they’re less trend-based, more classic. And because they don’t go out of season, you’ll be able to get a lot more traffic year-round.
How To Create A (Good) Gift Guide
The first step to making money with a gift guide is by creating a one that’s set up for success.
Creating a gift guide itself is a simple process, and can be broken down into three steps:
- Pick a niche
- Research products
- Compile into an article or article series
As we’ve already touched on, picking a niche is the first (and arguably most important) step. This is the foundation of a successful gift guide: a specific target audience. You don’t want to go too broad.
For example, if you want to create a gift guide for Valentine’s Day, “Valentine’s Gifts For Her” isn’t going to cut it. Instead, try narrowing it down to something more specific, like “Valentines Gifts for Home Cooks.”
Once you’ve chosen your niche, the next thing is to research which products you want to promote. Your readers are going to be looking for:
- Products that actually solve a problem they’re having
- Reliable, good-quality products
- Ideas they haven’t already thought of
It’s important to recommend products that aren’t boring or generic. If we took the above example and were making a Valentine’s Day gift guide for home cooks, recommending a KitchenAid mixer wouldn’t be the best way to go.
Why? Because that’s one of the first things that comes to mind when thinking of gifts for cooks, and it’s highly likely that your reader has already considered – and for some reason foregone – that option.
Instead, people are looking for fresh, creative ideas of things that they probably wouldn’t have thought of on their own.
Also, you don’t want to list something that’s a bad product, because if someone purchases something that you recommended and it turned out to be poor quality, you’ve damaged their trust in you (and thus, your reputation).
That means they probably won’t be returning to your site for gift ideas next time they’re in need, and you might have lost potential future income.
Keeping up with trends is an important thing, especially for seasonal guides. So, it’s important to consider trends when finding good products to promote.
After you’ve researched the products you want, the last step is to compile them into an article or series of articles.
As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to try and have pictures of each of the products you’re listing. Just make sure you’re aware of any potential copyright issues before you use a certain image.
And if you’re wondering how many items it should be, that’s a personal decision. However, a strong, concise list of five to ten items will fare much better than a weak list of fifty or more items.
How To Make Money With Gift Guides
There are two main ways to earn money with your gift guides: through sponsorships and affiliate marketing.
We’ll take a look at both, but chances are you’ll most likely use the latter more often.
A sponsorship is basically when an interested company approaches you and pays you to promote their product or line of products.
While you can reach out to companies yourself, most of the time, these companies will find you if you meet certain criteria, which generally includes:
- Having a lot of readers
- Having a strong presence on social media
- Having the right target audience
Sponsorships can be great because they offer you guaranteed pay upfront – there’s no waiting involved.
However, because you’ll be asked to write specifically about one company’s product or set of products, they most likely won’t want you to be promoting another company’s products alongside theirs.
So, if you were to accept a sponsorship opportunity, you might have trouble integrating that into your gift guide. However, you could always make it one article in a series of gift idea articles that revolve around a specific niche.
Affiliate marketing is basically when you earn commission by promoting another company’s product or service.
You’ve probably seen written in small, light grey text on your favorite blog site something similar to this: “this post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission at no cost to you if you make a purchase through that link.”
That essentially just means that if you click on the link to go purchase the product they’re recommending, they’ll make a small commission on that sale.
This is the main way you’ll earn money with gift guides – by adding in affiliate links to the products you’re (genuinely) recommending.
If you’re wondering how to set it up so your links are affiliate links, all you have to do is join a company’s affiliate program. For example, a popular one is Amazon’s affiliate program.
You can deal directly with the company (also called the “seller” or “vendor”), or you could use a third-party affiliate program, such as:
- CJ Affiliate
How much money you can earn depends on the individual agreement you make and what you’re promoting.
If you’re promoting physical items, you can expect to earn 5-10% commission. If you’re promoting digital products, you could earn 50-75% or more!
When you’re just getting started creating gift guides, it’s recommended to sign up for a program like Amazon’s affiliate program, because you’ll be able to recommend a variety of products without having to reach out to tons of different vendors individually.
While you don’t get paid a guaranteed amount and you won’t get paid upfront, affiliate marketing still offers the potential to make the most income in the long run – it just might take a little bit of time to get it up and running.
Summing It Up
Overall, you can make a lot of money with gift guides if you take the time to plan them out and learn how to market them correctly.
Although it might take a little bit of time to start seeing the money come in, gift guides are considered passive income – meaning once you have them made and set up, they’ll continue earning you money for months (or even years) to come.