Content Syndication 101

According to one estimate from Curata, “The target content marketing mix by superstar content marketers is 65% created, 25% curated and <10% syndicated content.” You know how important original content is, and curated content is a time-saving way to promote your website. But what about syndicated content? Although it makes up less than 10 percent of a normal marketing strategy, it can still play a significant role in increasing your company’s visibility and driving traffic to your website.

What exactly is content syndication, how does it work, and how can you execute it successfully?

Content Syndication: An Overview

Image via Flickr by michaelarrington

Simply put, content syndication is when you allow other sites to republish your work while they give you the appropriate attribution. You might balk at the idea, fearing that this could result in SEO-wounding duplicate content flags. However, if the sites that republish your content include the right tags in the content — such as a “rel=canonical” tag or a NoIndex tag — search engines aren’t likely to frown on the syndicated pieces.

If the entity that is republishing doesn’t want to include those safeguard tags, and that website has a higher authority than yours, the republishing website could get search engine recognition as the original publisher. You may still want to syndicate the content to that website if you think the increased exposure will be worth it. However, unlike traditional link-building methods, this has the potential to hurt SEO, so be cautious.

Some people use the terms “content syndication” and “content promotion” interchangeably, but there is a notable difference between the two. Content promotion uses advertising or social media to bring more attention to your work, whereas syndication simply refers to allowing your content to be republished. It also counts as syndication when another party republishes only part of a blog post, video, or infographic that you created.

It is good to keep in mind that content syndication is not the same thing as guest posting. When you create a guest post, you do so with the intention that the content will only be published on one website.

How Effective Is Content Syndication?

The primary benefit of content syndication is that it gives you the opportunity to reach a broader audience. For example, if you sell hardware, you could syndicate your content to DIY and home improvement blogs. Loyal readers of those blogs will see your content and your byline. Although they may not follow the link that leads back to the original post, they may follow links that go to other parts of your website.

In addition to boosting your site’s visibility, well-executed syndication can also benefit your reputation. When you syndicate content to high-authority websites, some of that authority may bounce back on you in the minds of the content’s readers. This, in turn, could lead you to you accomplishing your ultimate goals: more traffic to your website and higher conversion rates.

Syndication offers some significant opportunities. Many well-known companies, such as Business Insider and Time, publish syndicated content on their websites.

Tips for Successful Syndication

Build Your Reputation

If your business or website is relatively new, it might not be the right time for you to embark on a content syndication campaign. You should aim only to syndicate content to websites that have a higher authority than yours, and those websites will be reluctant to publish someone with a minimal web presence.

Before you try to syndicate content, you may want to first focus on traditional link-building and social media content promotion. However, there are paid syndication services that you might want to check out if your site is fairly new.

Establish Relationships

It is possible that one of your syndication partners may only want to publish one of your pieces that seems particularly relevant to their platform. However, ideally, you should establish ongoing syndication arrangements with other websites. After you have a robust syndication network, you’ll find yourself working less while you see positive results.

To build good relationships with other sites, be sure that your content is relevant to their audience, that it is high quality, and that it presents useful information to readers.

To get started on spreading word about your content, research websites that might be interested in what you have to offer. Try to find their query guidelines and send a general letter that introduces you and provides a sample or two of your work.

Strike a Balance

How much content should you syndicate? One article from Search Engine Land says, “There is no clean formula for how much of your content to syndicate. It’s all about finding a balance… you want to syndicate some of your best stuff so that you can build a good reputation with a larger audience — however, you’ll also want to ensure that there is a lot of high quality content which is unique to your site because the reputation-building benefit of syndication will give you the best results if people have an incentive to visit your site for more.”

The amount of content you syndicate may also depend on how old your website is. If you have a good web presence but want to build your reputation, you might focus more on syndication. However, if you already have an established reputation, syndication may be secondary compared to other link-building and SEO methods.

Create Your Content for Optimal Results

Create your content with syndication in mind. Build it to drive traffic to your website. Accomplish this by:

  • Including a line at the top of each article that says where the content originated.
  • Inserting several internal links. You don’t want these links to be spammy. Be sure they lead back to services or information that the syndicate’s audience will find useful.
  • Writing a relevant call-to-action at the end of your post. Some syndicates may not tolerate this, but it is worth asking for permission.

Content syndication lacks some of the SEO benefits of traditional link-building methods, but it does have the potential to grow your audience and boost your visibility. Strive to learn more about it so you can integrate it into your overall marketing strategy.

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About the author

Joy Nelson

Joy Nelson is a professional freelance writer who lives in the Seattle area. Her hobbies include traveling and saving money.