Marketers are always looking for new ways to reach more people, which is why content syndication sounds so attractive. Who wouldn’t want some extra help generating more traffic? But this is the internet, so it’s never quite that simple.
Content syndication is like sitting at the cool kid’s table at lunch and hoping that your other classmates start to see you as cool too…in a manner of speaking. But just like school lunchroom hierarchy, one wrong move and you can be the outcast of the internet world.
So before you get started, take your time exploring syndication opportunities in your industry, and make sure you have a solid understanding of both the pros and cons.
What is Content Syndication?
Different people mean different things when they talk about content syndication, so let's stick with this definition from Search Engine Watch: content syndication is “the process of pushing your blog, site, or video content out into third-party sites, either as a full article, snippet, link, or thumbnail.” There are many sites that exist for this purpose alone, for examples check out Business 2 Community, eLearning Industry and Social Media Today.
Most digital-centric industries will have a few of these types of sites specifically for your niche that you can leverage, but you can also capitalize on bigger sites like Medium, Linkedin Pulse, Quora and Reddit to get your content in front of a larger audience.
When done right, content syndication can be a useful tactic as part of a larger content strategy, but there are some important considerations to take into account.
Visibility and Potential Viewers
Pro: Time is a precious commodity, especially for marketers. Content syndication is a great and easy way to get access to a larger audience with little work on your part. Syndicating your content will put you in front of an audience that might not otherwise know you exist. Look for a site where your prospective clients hang out, preferably one with a strong social media presence so they are able to promote you on multiple channels.
Con: Not all websites are reputable – some can even be spammy. This is where it is essential to do your research. Check forums, social media, and knowledgeable sources to ensure that you only syndicate on sites that are relevant to your business. If you are not familiar with a syndication site, I recommend signing up for email notifications to get to know them. See what type of emails they send out and review the content they are publishing. You want to make a good first impression on your readers so avoid sites that create spam.
Search Engine Optimization
Pro: When posting your content on a site that has higher authority than your own, Google will give you a boost in ranking as well. Be sure that the posting agreement you reach with the syndication site allows for inline links and an author byline that link back to your website and to your social profiles to drive traffic that way as well. Remember that each inbound link from a credible website is seen as a vote in favor of your site.
Con: Your duplicate content could outrank your own site because the syndicated page has higher authority. Google does not like duplicate content and could potentially lower your ranking because of it. There are ways to avoid the double content hit, like by not indexing one of the listings. Check out this great resource from Moz for more information about how to avoid duplicate content penalties on your website.
Pro: Syndication is one more way to increase the chance that a qualified prospect finds you. Just be sure that you have a system to track and capture leads generated through syndication so you can analyze and report which channels and sites are driving the best results.
Con: Because these leads are removed from your website, it may be harder to convert them the same way you would for leads on your website. Be open to adjusting your syndicated content to high-level offers that will convert even when the viewer doesn’t know anything else about your company.
Just remember, when forming syndication relationships, as Ann Hadley says, “our online words are our emissaries; they tell the world who we are.” So make sure your online content is being shared by the right people that have your best interests at heart and where syndication makes the most sense.