Turn a "what" into a "who". If you watched the show, you'll know my examples. "What is in the hatch?" turned into "Who is in the hatch?" "What is the island?" turned into "Who is the island?" "What is the smoke monster?" turned into "Who is the smoke monster?"
And when you're talking about information marketing online, often this is the leap a lot of beginning marketers miss out on. But it's not really their fault - they get led into this niche by the nose on promises of effortless and anonymous riches.
Here's the truth - there are 2 ways to profit as an affiliate. First, you can have NO personality involved and just invisibly drive traffic directly. PPC, ad buys, spamming - those are numbers games.
But there's also personality marketing. Blogging, forum marketing, webinars, social media... if you're not willing to present a PERSON there for people to attach to, those methods won't work.
People often have a lot of confusion because they mash up the methods. Some stuff only WORKS if you're willing to get involved in the niche.
Affiliate marketing began as a way for product vendors to diversify their line without having to make more products. It STARTED out as the only people INTERESTED in affiliate marketing was what we would today call JVs.
They were established in their niche, they just wanted some extra sales by endorsing a product they got a cut of.
It's only relatively recently the "affiliate" model could be completely divorced from personality building to the point where the NUMBERS made it possible. Before PPC for example, short of spamming, you couldn't COLLECT enough traffic to make affiliate marketing profitable without being an influential figure.
Now, I'm not saying one is better than the other, but examine your strategy. If you don't intend to turn a "what" in your niche into a "who" then evaluate the strategies that come your way. Do they fit what you want?
You don't HAVE to become a "who" to succeed - you can be a non-person and sell things all day long. But then there are certain things that you shouldn't get into if that's your route.
Don't comment on blogs if there's no "WHO" on the other end. Don't post on forums if there's no "WHO" on the other end. Don't tweet or facebook or bookmark if you're not being a "WHO".
It just won't well enough to be worthwhile, and you'll pretty much be polluting the web.
But if you're willing to take a "what" and make yourself into the "who" that goes with it, you can become so powerful an influence that you won't believe how easily you can guide the opinions and actions of your audience.
"Influence" is essentially when we decide to take all of the details of a "What" in our heads and replace it with a "who" - I don't need to learn XYZ myself because Colin is my XYZ guy! People are only TOO HAPPY to do this because it saves them the trouble of EVER facing the possibility that they are not cut out to learn XYZ in the first place.
They can "chunk" everything pertaining to your area of expertise and instead of digging, they'll just come to you. They'll want your opinion. You're essentially the viceroy in charge of that remote area of their royal lands.
This is essentially the first step of manufacturing your own guru-hood no matter what the niche is. Take a "what" that people want to know and become the "who" that doesn't just answer the question, but actually IS the answer to the question.
Final note: even if you don't want to become a guru in a niche, you can use this "what" into "who" trick in a day job environment too - and in the process make yourself invaluable to the operation. If your boss can't even think of the WHAT it is you do without thinking of YOU as the WHO, your job is yours for as long as you want it.
And it's not a matter of personally specializing in it - you just have to be the end-all, be-all resource. Online, it's easy. Just start a blog, connect with others and forums and social sites. Collect the "what" content and put it on the "who" pages you control.
The "what" becomes the "who" and YOU become the obvious, visible, and AVAILABLE expert.
Anyways, hope that helps, inspires, irritates, and annoys. Enjoy!