Connecting, Pollinating and Affiliating

As I still reside in my London flat waiting for the world to become a new kind of normal, here at What Can You Do, we’ve been coming up with ideas for generating income for our company. 

With our “WCYDo App” recently being given the go-ahead from Apple & Google (whoop whoop!), we are now looking for new ways to keep us ticking over financially.  Especially in a way that meshes well with what we’re about and isn’t too invasive to “you” our followers.  So we’ve found an idea that could work, and it’s something I’d like to share with you as I feel it has numerous possibilities for the future – it’s called Affiliate Marketing

We wanted to avoid all the obvious ways of making money such as adverts popping up over your screen right when you’re in the middle of an article, or the clothing products you looked at the other day now conveniently decorating your web page, or frustrating subscription costs, again popping up unexpectedly.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but YouTube seem to be showing me more adverts than ever, sometimes I’ve spent so many seconds watching adverts for products I don’t need, that by the time the YouTube video comes up, I’ve forgotten why I’m watching it! 

Basically we don’t want to do that, but we are looking for a way to make money organically.  Here at What Can You Do, we’re looking for innovative, digital-friendly and ultimately sustainable sources of income.  So, what is “Affiliate Marketing”?  To put it simply, affiliate marketing is earning commission through the sales of another companies products.  For example, if a company wanted to sell their products, we would sell them on our page and earn a small fee for doing so.  This in no way affects the price of the product, in fact in some cases we may be given a more generous offer and provide discounts!

Our intention is to thrive as a company, which is still in its embryonic state and trying to provide a good service, that doesn’t inflict unnecessary faff on “you” our followers.  So far, this seems like the best approach and here’s why.  First of all, it’s not invasive, we will not be using your personal data to cater specific adverts, which ultimately means, the choice of markets and products is in our hands.  It’s our job to select products we think will excite you and puts us in a great position to help out fellow businesses.  These other businesses will of course be hand-selected by our Team.  We will be on the lookout for businesses that align with our ethos of planet-caring, high-quality, ethical companies, giving them a wider platform to reach more like-minded customers that may be interested in their products – perhaps like yourself. 

As we grow this idea, we reflect on our brand values and gather information about the products & services that might be attractive to our members (to you).  These will be ‘niche’ markets.  So how to begin?  To put it simply, this will be companies that have a beating heart for the Planet and are purpose-driven at their core.  The initial words that come to mind are sustainability, health, mindfulness, re-usable and eco-friendly, and these are just a few.  But as we get closer to manifesting our Affiliate Marketing plan, we will want to hear from you, to find out what products & services you would want to see.  After all, it’s our members with the best knowledge of what they are looking for.  When we go about choosing products & services, we’ll be looking at where do these companies source their materials?  Are they Fair Trade?  Do they have a global goal that they’re trying to reach?  These products & services could range from plastic-free lunchboxes, reusable bottles, bamboo toothbrushes, recycled fashion, all the way to eco-friendly garden tools, services such as a “local school that collects difficult to recycle items” (eg toothpaste tubes!) and so many more! 

The concept is still very much knocking around the ‘ideas board’ but personally, I think it’s a very exciting concept and a great way forward.  When flourishing a new idea, it’s important to reference back to our guiding spirit, the Sustainable Development Goals themselves; how could our choices – in this case Affiliate Marketing – bring us a step towards our trusted goals?  Well, it’s necessary for us to start creating more investment back into our business which quite simply checks the box for SDG 8, “Decent Work and Economic Growth”.  Affiliate Marketing is quite simply revenue-sharing across different businesses, and as we will be choosing more conscientious businesses, we combine SDGs 11 and 12 “Sustainable Cities and Communities” and “Responsible Consumption and Production”.  This benefits them, us, the customer and ultimately everyone.  However, by teaming up with other like-minded companies we are supporting last, not but not least, SDG 17, “Partnerships for the Goals”, ‘built upon principles and values, upon a shared vision and shared goals placing People and the Planet at the centre’…tick

This plan is all well and good, but we are always looking for expansion and new ideas.  In order to bring about more interest and knowledge of our products & services, we will be using this blog page to bring the use and benefits to your attention.  When the App is available, we hope to create our own line of products designed around the sustainable goals.  For example, a reusable bag or a mug with our logo patched on, and maybe even the sustainable goal that you’re most passionate about!

Looking at the wider context and the World as a whole, there is certainly potential to make self-sufficient businesses in the “new normal”.  And forming online partnerships could just be the new future for monetisation! 

We’ve already discussed how this fits with our sustainable goals and benefits us all. Here at What Can You Do, we’re always trying to tailor our ideas and content for you.  So keep up to date with our progress through these blogs and let us know in the Facebook comments what you think and any products & services you’d like to see!

 

Take care, keep well!

Blog: Eliza Pitkin
October 2020

Do you agree?  Tell us what you think – email: tellus@whatcanyoudo.earth
“tellus” is a Latin word meaning “Earth” e.g. Tellus Mater the ancient Roman Earth Mother Goddess

 

Books are has-beens when it’s all on our screens Is the future of education through video content?

Lockdown forced us to all hermit in our homes, spend more time with family, create our own work environment, our own routines and spend more time on our screens. It seemed when routines were broken, travelling, fitness and most importantly connection was disrupted and that’s when it felt like everything and everyone came online. Even generations that were not typically familiar with tech (and turning the camera the right way round!) were given the opportunity to become more confident accessing social media. Education overnight had to strategize online lectures, zoom calls and educational video content. Companies who relied on people passing by or travelling to them quickly had to make themselves easily accessible in the digital world.

It’s not just profiting companies that have come online, with millions upon millions of eyes and thumbs flicking through content every second, charities and humanistic projects (including us) have become inspired to engage followers in short educational films that are no more than a minute or two. A great example of this is Matilda, an 11-year old student who made a film about the basics of Fairtrade, it’s worth checking out (https://schools.fairtrade.org.uk/interview-with-a-fairtrade-film-maker/). It took time but was easily made, made by someone young and was informing the public about an important subject, and can be seen by anyone.  

This immediately speaks to me, as it heightens the possibility for more reachable education for everyone, so could we be witnessing the early stages the development SDG Goal #4 “Quality Education” for more people? This inspired me to think about the future of education, are we side-skipping the opening of a book and instead plugging our brains into one-minute videos? One of the biggest companies to emerge and thrive off the world in lockdown was TikTok, a video-sharing social networking service that averages 10-second videos before the algorithm that knows what you click and like, cleverly does its magic to line up the next video for you. It has given artists, coaches, DIY experts, teachers, performers and so many more the chance to show off their skills to the world. A friend and I were debating whether this new wave of streaming information was a good thing for our minds or not. In fact, that’s what’s inspired me to open up the conversation with you today. 

There’s no doubt that TikTok engages a wide variety of people because of the short duration of these films. This is a great thing when it comes to greater awareness of factual based content that can lead to more support and passion for important causes. Here at What Can You Do, we’ve certainly taken advantage of the opportunity by getting creative with short films about “Sustainability and the SDG’s”, which in turn has led us to more subscribers. Anybody can make a film, many of us have easy access to a camera, and apps to edit, and certainly media channels to share the content we make. This gives space for more access to self-innovative work and hopefully economic growth – SDG Goal #8 “Decent Work and Economic Growth”! When more opportunities and markets are accessible and more people can share and involve themselves online, people are on a much more equal footing socially with digital opportunities than before. Which may improve equality between genders, race and physical ability. 

However before we get excited about our shifting reality, we have to look at what we leave behind and the possible foot-traps we could find ourselves in. For a start, the shorter the film, the more likely it is to be watched, but can you get all the information over in a minute?  One of the most difficult boogie traps to get around is what I briefly mentioned before – algorithms. The TikTok algorithm is based on the system that’s ‘triggered by the velocity of the engagement it receives. Content that gets less than that a 1/10 like-to-view ratio will stop growing’. So if you’re not getting enough engagement, it may not survive long enough on the feeds for people to see it. Similar to Instagram, ‘based on specific signals, it prioritises posts, pushing the most relevant ones towards the top and giving them the most visibility.’ In many ways we could argue that this is the new competitive market and you have get creatively smarter and more strategic about your postings. But is it fair? Does it give the same opportunities to those who are starting up their business, exploring their ideas online and are working twice as hard to be seen compared to those companies and people who can afford large engagement resources? It also exposes us to digital media learning our search patterns and using our personal data, which may be alright, but if it’s only feeding you content it knows you like, how will you learn about what you don’t know? 

More importantly does it isolate those in society that aren’t as tuned in to the realm of social media? 

When it comes to more informative posts, we have to be aware of the growth of fake media and ask the question, is it “quality” education or just simply a higher influx of diluted knowledge? 

When everyone can be a filmmaker and post, it means not everything will be accurate. That means we have to become more responsible consumers of content, look at where you’re getting your information from, which creators you trust and what their sources are. 

There will always be a combat to the good sides of a changing world. Where there’s space for informative and humanistic films, there’s space for adverts for useless and wasteful products. We have to keep the balance by being more mindful and grounded in how we view media. 

Start by following companies and brands you believe in, get plugged into more information and educate yourself on subjects that matter to you. Even as I sit here to write a blog, I have posted two short videos on my social platforms. It’s easy, it’s engaging and it’s where it’s headed.

Get engaged with our new video content on our channel and let us know what you think! 

https://www.youtube.com/c/WhatCanYouDo_WCYDo/

References:

https://ranieri.agency/understanding-tiktok-algorithm/

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/instagram-launches-tiktok-like-reels-functionality-in-india/581095/ 

Take care, keep well!

Blog: Eliza Pitkin
September 2020

Do you agree?  Tell us what you think – email: tellus@whatcanyoudo.earth

“tellus” is a Latin word meaning “Earth” e.g. Tellus Mater the ancient Roman Earth Mother Goddess