The Affiliate Marketing Podcast, Sharon Rechter, Female Founders, content creation

Building an Affiliate Empire: Female Founders that are FIERCE

Welcome to a brand new season of the Affiliate Marketing Podcast. We are delighted to launch Season 16 with a huge player in the affiliate and media industry. Sharon Rechter is the Co-Founder and President of  First Media, a leading media publisher with over 250 million followers that reaches 71% of US women every month across its brand portfolio. As President, she has grown the business from a single linear cable channel to a global media business, with over 200 employees across three countries. Sharon has created a phenomenal business empire and shares some of the best advice for affiliate managers and publishers just starting out….

Listen in here for all of the insights

Always Meet the Consumer Where They Are

Lee-Ann asks Sharon, “I wanted to get into the nitty gritty around why you decided early on to make a conscious decision to not build a publishing platform, because with all of this data, with all of this knowledge of how to build content, why didn’t you build a website? I know you have three, you’ve got your publishing sites now, but in the beginning – why did you choose to go to where your consumer was? What was the decision that led you there?”

Sharon replies, “That’s an interesting thing that I think everybody who creates funding goes back and forth on. I want to say we started with manners. It wasn’t polite to come to Mark’s barbecue and push all your friends to come to another party, and maybe Facebook rewarded us for that. But other than manners, our philosophy was, and bear in mind, we didn’t raise millions and millions of dollars to do this. So, our philosophy was to always meet the consumer where they are.

“Don’t try and get that extra step to come to you. You know, there are pros and cons for that approach, obviously, but meet the consumer wherever they are. So, today our content is available in addition to being on all the platforms:  Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and all of those, it’s also available in gas stations.”

Doing Things Differently

Sharon goes on to explain, “We have never sacrificed the quality of our content and the virality of our content. I think we do content very differently to other publishers; What we call publishers – publishers on Facebook. Then drive them directly to a transaction. We’ve also looked at the transaction – always as an added value to the consumer.

“To give an example, if we’re showing you on So Yummy this amazing recipe on how to make muffins, and you’re going, “oh my, I’d love to do it, but this was only a very short video”, then we add, ‘click here to get all the ingredients added to your cart’. We’re not annoying the viewers, they’re actually going to save that video to watch it later, but they add the ingredients to cart and they shop. So our philosophy is very different. And I like that because a lot of brands don’t think about affiliates this way.

Future Trends

Lee-Ann asks, “What do you think the top three trends are that are going to be coming forward in 2024/2025?”

Sharon replies, “I think AI is a great tool and you and I used the word publishers a little bit differently so I’m trying not to get confused. AI is amazing. If you go to AI and say, ‘create 10 ads for me for meal kits for people who are on a budget and talk about the budget’, AI will do it. These ads will all suck. So that’s not how I would use AI unless you’re seeking ideas. We told every designer, now you are no longer a designer, you’re a head of a design department. Leveraging AI for the amount of money we have saved on shoots and ad design and video design, and the amount of output we are able to create with the same team.

“So, that’s the number one thing I want to say. That can transform an affiliate business to me, that trend is so much bigger than everything else. I don’t do the trendy stuff. I work on building deep relationships with brands and I  would say  I look for fewer partners. But ones that I can improve, improve, improve, and scale with, because that’s where our learning goes into.”

Discover more over at First Media Blog

Listen to find out more about:

  • How Sharon got to where she is today
  • The consumer and content relationship 
  • Data is King’ discussion
  • ‘Ad Fatigue’ – why if you’re married to a concept, you can’t grow and expand your audiences.


Key segments of this podcast and where you can tune in to go direct: 

[11:20] The importance of content access

[15:00] Why a brand needs to allow affiliates the freedom to get different results

[33:15] Future trends


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Live event. April 16. Miami, FL.

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Running in partnership with Hello Partner and Affiverse, this interactive workshop is your path to success. to affiliate program success. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn from the best minds in the affiliate marketing industry. 

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