The year is 1884 and a young Samuel Sidney McClure has just moved to New York City to make his mark as a newsman. Contrary to his fellow journalists, McClure began paying writers for long investigative reports, books and deeply reported features. Instead of publishing them himself, he bought the rights to the stories and sold them to publishers around the world. And thus, content syndication was born.
Fast forward 130 years and this concept has evolved into a commonly used practice in the digital world of content marketing. Today, content syndication is the act of republishing your blog content onto third-party sites in order to gain more exposure. These third-party sites allow you to capitalize on their audience, while linking directly back to the original post on your site.
Time is a content marketer’s most precious resource and syndication can save you a ton of time in the content creation process. It also has its risks, which is why we’ve outlined the pros and cons of content syndication, as well as why your company should either consider it or steer clear.
Syndicating your content puts your brand in front of people from your target audience who were otherwise unaware you existed. Some of the larger syndication websites have huge social media followings that you’re able to tap into, with the potential to create a viral effect for your content.
When done correctly, syndicating your content provides additional author bylines and quality links back to your website. You also have the added bonus of controlling the anchor text in the link, ultimately boosting your SEO.
By increasing your exposure to a new audience, your Rolodex of qualified leads may very well grow. Republishing content allows you to meet a segment of your target audience where they are, giving them what they’re searching for in the places they’re already searching.
While syndicating promotional content is typically frowned upon, oftentimes you’re able to include links back to your site or social media handles in your author bio or include a call-to-action within the copy of your article.
Republishing your content on well-established and high-authority sites positions you among thought leaders within your industry and boosts your brand’s reputation. If people believe you’re a credible source, they’re more likely to buy into your message as well.
This is the biggest fear for marketers when syndicating content. The Google gods strongly discourage duplicate content, which is essentially what you’re doing when you republish your content on third-party sites. Check out part two of this post for some SEO tricks that will help with issues that may arise with duplicate content.
If your content syndication strategy is super successful, your blog content may end up being republished on a huge publication (i.e. Lifehacker). However, if someone then goes searching for your keywords from that post, the Lifehacker article may appear first in Google search results, as opposed to your version, discouraging people from actually visiting your site.
When you republish content on a third-party site, those sites don’t allow you to add an email opt-in widget. So while you may gain added exposure, you aren’t able to use that exposure to build your email list.
The most important part of content syndication is finding the right partners. Unfortunately, there are some sites that don’t have a good syndication program and will re-purpose your content as their own, instead of republishing it with a link back to your site.
While your overall lead generation numbers will most likely increase, you may be sacrificing the quality of interested leads. When launching a content syndication program, it’s important to collaborate with your sales team and consider implementing a lead scoring program or lengthening your landing page forms.
Many marketers (including us) believe the benefits of content syndication can far outweigh the risks. That is, if you do it the right way. We believe in content syndication because we believe in adding valuable content to the web. If you’re still on the fence, we recommend trying it out for some of your most popular pieces of content to get a feel for the process. We just so happened to outline where and how to syndicate content in part two of this post. Enjoy!