Creating fantastic content is hard work.
You spend hours, even days producing something that’s going to speak to your target audience. Yet, sometimes, when you publish the piece that you’ve created, it still doesn’t get the response it deserves.
After all that work, it’s hard to see your effort not paying off.
On the plus side? You’re not alone. Failure to gain traffic is a common issue among marketers. While there are a lot of ways to get your number of viewers and subscribers up, content syndication may be one of the simplest and most cost-effective.
Of course, content syndication only works if you know how to do it right.
By the time you’ve finished reading this article, you’ll have your behind-the-scenes guide to the perfect content syndication strategy.
What is Content Syndication?
Content syndication isn’t the same as guest blogging – although it seems similar.
While a guest post is always a unique piece of material, written for a single publication, syndicated content is generally about taking the same piece of content and republishing it on other platforms.
With content syndication, third-party sites republish content that originally appeared on other channels – perhaps your social media site (LinkedIn) or your website (blog).
At the same time, syndicated content comes with clear evidence that it’s been copied into another format. There’s usually a mention on the page about where the original piece came from, as in this example below from Fast Company:
The mention above is crucial, because it helps to avoid SEO issues caused by duplicate content.
Another point to note? Websites of all sizes use content syndication to build out the amount of material they have to share with your audience. Ideally, you’ll want to ensure that your material appears on high-quality websites that get you plenty of relevant views. For instance, Entrepreneur.com contributors get about 18 million visits per month.
Why Use Content Syndication?
Content syndication won’t always be the right strategy for every company.
Ultimately, syndicating content will always work best if your main goal is to get your brand and material in front of as many people as possible.
Just because you include a link to your website on your syndicated content doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get people to click on it. People may consume your content and never visit your website – so it’s probably not a good idea to use this technique for referral traffic.
However, there are reasons that people should consider content syndication for reach and exposure. For instance, content syndication:
- Captures a wider audience. Syndicating your content to authoritative sites that already have loyal audiences is a great way to gain exposure to thousands of new potential customers and possible fans.
- Creates a steady online presence: Syndicating content regularly allows you to make your brand more visible and accessible from a digital perspective. If you constantly offer content that’s helpful and relevant to others, then you’ll be able to strengthen your position as a thought leader.
- Improves traffic: While syndication may not be the ultimate way to gain traffic, it is an excellent opportunity to enhance your chances of success. Content syndication can boost your organic traffic because it helps to highlight the authority of your website. If credible publications accept your content, then this increases your authority too.
- Improves lead generation: All modern marketers need a focused strategy to attract opportunities in this cluttered marketplace. It’s often easier to find a wider number of quality leads when you distribute your content to a number of publishers with a similar target audience to your brand.
An Example of How Content Syndication Works
Content syndication is a strategy that appears in virtually all industries, from the finance and money management world:
To the fashion landscape:
Countless brands are looking for opportunities to expand their reach and improve their chances of standing out online.
For instance, the CEO of Top Dog Social Media, Melonie Dodara published a personal branding piece on her own blog and achieved around 214 social shares as a result. However, when she published the very same content on Social Media Today, her share numbers increased to 905! That’s more than 4 times as much exposure.
A lot of people assume that syndicated content strategies just cannibalize the traffic from the original content posted on their websites. However, while that may be true to a certain extent, the truth is that you’ll still have the opportunity to bring viewers to your audience from external communities.
Whether the people you reach decide to share your content, visit your website, or follow you on social media, they could help to accelerate your brand’s growth and drive more sales in the long-term.
What’s Required for Effective Content Syndication?
So, what do you need for a good content syndication strategy?
Well, there are two primary factors to think about:
- A content syndication platform or partner
- Material that the audience you’re sharing with wants to read
Crucially, syndicated content doesn’t have to be an original piece created from scratch. You’re not guest blogging, so you don’t have to produce new material for the website that you’re working with.
However, you will need to ensure that whatever content you’re sharing is suitable for the audience that you want to reach. Make sure you:
- Read through the third-party website’s guidelines: The chances are that the company you want to publish with will have some guidelines for guest bloggers and syndicators. These guidelines will request specific types of content, wordcounts, and themes.
- Examine the audience: With a little luck, you’ve already chosen a website that has a similar audience to the one you have been trying to target. However, it may be worth looking at any user persona guidelines that the company has, to help you get a feel for their audience.
- Offer value: Ensure that the content that you’re syndicating offers some kind of obvious value. It shouldn’t just be advertising your brand. Instead, look for content that answers some of the trending questions that your customers are asking. Consider looking on Google to find examples of what your customers want to learn about by checking the related search section or check out the most popular posts on BuzzSumo.
Content Syndication Strategy
Now that you know the basics of content syndication, it’s time to build a strategy.
All marketing campaigns work best when they’re developed with a focused plan in mind. The good news is that content syndication strategies can be as simple, or as complex as you like.
Usually, all you need are three simple steps to strengthen your campaign.
Step 1: Learn How to Pitch
The relationships that you need to build to succeed with content syndication are very similar to the ones that you develop for a guest blogging strategy. Once you identify the target publications that appeal to your audience, you’ll want to research those companies to learn as much as you can about the style of content they accept. It’s going to be a lot easier to convince people that you should appear on their website if you prove that you’ve already done your research.
Once you’ve learned as much as you can about the company, send then a custom pitch that lays out what you’re offering, and what’s in it for them. For instance:
I noticed that you seem to accept syndicated content on your website, based on articles like [example] and [example]. I can tell that those pieces really speak to your values of [brand values] and offer a lot to your audience.
If you would be willing to check out my piece [syndicated blog link on your website], I think that you would see that it offers a similar selection of benefits for your readers.
I would love an opportunity to help your audience learn about [things that you cover in your blog]. Already, [number of visitors] have read this blog on my website. Would you be willing to discuss syndication with me further?”
Step 2: Link to your Site
Just like with guest blogging, one of the most important elements of content syndication will be link building. Properly linking back to your website will help to stop you from cannibalizing your search rankings. When building partnerships with content syndication brands, you should be able to include a canonical link to your original post, which signals to the search engines that the content should be linked to the original version.
If you’re creating a syndicated post using a platform for paid content syndication, like CNN business, or Medium, there may be specific requirements for your canonical links.
Medium helpfully includes a content importing tool in their platform that will automatically add your canonical link for you.
It’s also worth making sure that your content includes internal links to other pages on your website when possible too. This will help to strengthen your position as a thought leader when you’re connecting with new customers.
Step 3: Develop Your Chains of Momentum
Finally, great content syndication is all about building brand awareness and exposure for your company. The great thing about this strategy is that the more you work on your content syndication campaign, the more you’ll have opportunities to create and build momentum.
By syndicating a single piece of content across multiple outlets, and having those versions picked up by additional outlets and publications, there’s a chance that you can turn a single piece of content into a snowballing solution for growth.
Just remember that this kind of momentum with content syndication takes time. You won’t see amazing results the first time you’re syndicating content, or if you’re just working with one business or partner.
Where to Syndicate Your Content
Okay, so where should you be syndicating your content?
Well, ultimately, you could reach out to just about any website online and ask them if they accept syndicated content. Many brands are just beginning to discover this strategy for the first time, and they might be happy to accept new contributions.
If you want to be a little more focused with your choice, you can try:
- Syndication-friendly outlets that accept content from multiple authors. Websites like Business2Community.com accept syndicated content from a huge number of authors. You can produce content that appeals to a wide range of customers in the marketing world.
- Social networks: Many top platforms like LinkedIn, Quora blogs, and the Instant Articles environment on Facebook allow you to republish your content on these websites and take advantage of the audience available as a result.
- Blogging platforms: Medium, Tumblr and other blogging platforms are excellent for publishing content to a wider audience. Medium is one of the best options for today’s companies, as it allows you to easily push your content towards other publications within the budding Medium ecosystem.
Here are some other options to consider:
Free content syndication options:
- Social Media Today
- The Energy Collective
- Smart Data Collective
- Sustainable Business Forum
- The Customer Collective
- MyVenture Pad
There are also some specially designed “premium” content syndication platforms available too. These paid solutions for content syndication will allow you to present your content to a highly selective group of customers in a specific environment. Tools like Taboola and Outbrain have even been used for growth by leading brands like Pandora.
Some of the most popular paid platforms for content syndication include:
Time to Invest in Content Syndication?
While content syndication might not be as well-known as guest blogging as a solution for brand exposure and growth – it’s a strategy that’s quickly gaining ground. For many companies, content syndication offers an opportunity to give your marketing strategy some serious fuel power and growth potential. Used correctly, content syndication can generate all the good stuff you’re looking for in your marketing, from audience engagement and potential sales, to leads, industry leadership, and more.
If you want to give your business more growth potential, then content syndication could be an incredible way to get started.