October 28, 2022 (Updated: May 4, 2023)
Content syndication is a marketing process where you publish content on other websites and services to get more views and reach. The concept sounds simple, but to be successful, it takes more planning than tossing your pieces up on channels across the web and hoping for the best. Today, we’re exploring content syndication strategy and looking at how adding one to your marketing plan lets you make targeted, thoughtful decisions about where to share your content:
A content syndication strategy is a targeted marketing plan that helps you choose where, when, and how to share content across the internet. Creating a content syndication strategy prompts your team to think about things like:
A content syndication strategy lets you plan for how to share all types of content in written, visual, and auditory formats.
Using a content syndication strategy to plan when and how you want to distribute your pieces across the internet helps your brand stay focused and organized. Here are a few benefits of developing a content syndication strategy for your brand:
If you do your content syndication right, no, it shouldn’t hurt your SEO. Google doesn’t like duplicate content, but syndicated content isn’t duplicate. It’s shared. The search engine doesn’t give penalties for syndicating your content. At worst, it might filter out duplicate versions of your content from the search results but keep the original.
Unfortunately, sometimes Google’s algorithm misunderstand which version of the content is original. That means it may prioritize a syndicated piece over the one published on your site. When this happens, your SEO can take a hit. Your site isn’t receiving the positioning, backlinks, and organic traffic for the content. Your syndication partner is.
Even in these situations, your overall domain-level SEO isn’t in danger. Using syndication won’t get your site or your content wiped from Google’s index. The most important thing to remember about SEO and syndication is to take all the proper steps to inform Google which piece is the original and which is a syndication. To do so, you can get your host platforms to use a canonical tag to prove the content is a copy of the original. They should also include a portion of text that reads “originally published on,” or a variation, to provide context to syndicated content.
Use these tips to plan a content syndication strategy for a business in any industry:
Some brands don’t use content syndication because they think it’s too hard. Or they think it’s too expensive, or they don’t need a strategy to share content. These are all just excuses to avoid trying something new. If you’re stuck in the space where you think you don’t need to share your content across the web, or you think you don’t need to plan before you do it, it’s time for a reality check.
Even with a great SEO strategy, you’re leaving it up to the chance that your audience finds your content online. And even if they find your content, there’s no guarantee that they’ll read or watch it. Even at the top of the search engine results page (SERP). According to Semrush, 90% of people are much more likely to trust a recommended brand by friends, family, or strangers. The recommendations don’t just apply to sales. They apply to content, too.
If you use syndication to partner with bigger, more authoritative sites to share your content, just being featured in those spaces is a gold star or thumbs-up recommendation from the publisher to its audience. Getting your content featured on those platforms tells the audience, “yes, read or watch this. It’s worth your time.” Especially for smaller businesses, these types of endorsements or recommendations go a long way in building the brand’s own authority and audience.
Never start a content strategy of any kind without asking yourself and your team why you’re doing it. What are you trying to accomplish by engaging in content syndication? Why is this the right strategy for your brand? Common content syndication goals include:
When you know why you’re developing the content syndication strategy, it’s easier to choose the right pieces, audience, and partners to target, too.
Content syndication is typically a lower-cost, less resource-intensive way to create and share content. Since you’re sharing pieces you’ve already published, you shouldn’t have to think about resources at all, right? Not true. You still need to account for certain resources within your content syndication strategy. While you might not have to plan for content creation, you still need to account for the time necessary to find and secure syndication partnerships. There’s also a concern about having enough content to meet a publisher’s demand and having money in your budget to work with paid syndication partners.
Your budget, especially, is the most important resource to consider in your content syndication strategy. While not every method requires payment, you need to know how much money you can allocate to syndication and choose partnership agreements that fit within those boundaries.
We’ll never be able to stress enough just how important knowing your audience is to content marketing success. Syndication is no exception. The entire goal behind syndication is to appeal to new people in new spaces. You want to bring them into the fold of your loyal followers. But you have to know who they are and what they need before you can do that. Taking a hard look at your audience segments and figuring out which content and syndication channels serve each one best make for a more targeted distribution strategy.
Syndication looks different in every industry, partnership, and host space. There’s more than one way to do it. Knowing all the options available to you makes it easier to decide which ones are going to be most beneficial for your brand. You may choose to use a mix-and-match approach of different syndication options within one strategic plan. Consider options like:
Paid syndication is exactly what it sounds like, paying another company to share your content. Most of the other syndication options in the list could fall under this category. Many paid syndication partnerships have contracts to ensure that both groups receive mutual benefit from the agreement. This works in your brand’s favor. The contract helps make sure you get what you pay for.
Trade syndication typically involves two or more companies trading syndication services with one another. Instead of paying a host site to share your content, you complete some kind of action for the brand instead in exchange for recognition. In most cases, your company syndicates the other brand’s content on your own channels and they syndicate yours. But the expectations may be different for every agreement.
Instead of syndicating another company’s content, your brand may offer free access to services, consultations, or other trades of equal value. Like paid partnerships, trade partnerships include contracts to make sure all parties find value in the deal.
This distribution option allows you to publish syndicated pieces with a third-party partner one at a time. If you don’t want to do syndication long term, or you’re just starting with the strategy, this could be a good option. One-off syndication sources may also be a good option if you want to test out a new service or learn more about its publishing practices before committing to a longer partnership.
In a long-term third-party syndication partnership, your company enters a deal to provide a certain number of syndicated pieces within a publishing window. These types of partnerships are best if you want to syndicate a series of pieces that cover the same topic. Or you could use this type of partnership to promote all your best content on a variety of topics to captivate an audience.
Sometimes, your third-party partnerships include a blend of syndicated and original content. For example, if your partner wants your brand to provide four pieces of content per month for publication, they may ask that at least one of those pieces is original. Some partners may take this route to build their own SEO and backlink portfolios. It’s a way to leverage your team’s content development and expertise for their gain.
If your brand doesn’t create its own original content or have its own content channels yet, that doesn’t mean you’re out of the syndication game. Tactics like guest posting or guest blogging aren’t syndication strategies, but they can help your brand syndicate content. It sounds confusing, but it’s not. If your team agrees to create original guest post content for a site that syndicates pieces to other sources, that’s indirect syndication.
As the guest blogger, your company name, team member’s name, or links within the content still point back to your brand and its website or channels. Though you’re still creating new content for another service, that host site shares it and your brand reaps the rewards.
Your brand doesn’t always have to rely on third-party services to syndicate its content. There are plenty of syndication opportunities that don’t require a partnership at all. Self-service syndication providers include sites like Medium, which allow you to upload and share your content to the service without a partnership or contract.
You can also use social media tools like LinkedIn or Twitter to share content or links to content published on your site. Though slightly different from traditional syndication, the process works the same. Your team just has more control over how and where you publish the content than working under another company’s rules and regulations.
What are the best pieces of content your brand has ever created? These pieces should provide the best value to your audience and be the top-quality pinnacle of the experience you want them to have with your brand. When you find your best, most valuable content, you’ve found the right pieces to syndicate. At least at the start of your strategy.
Every piece you syndicate should appeal to your audience, follow the guidelines of your publishing partnerships, and help you get closer to your brand goals. If the content you plan to syndicate doesn’t do those things, you haven’t found the right pieces that make your brand unique. Remember when you’re working with a syndication partner who shares content for a lot of other brands, stand out from the competition. Sharing your unique content is the best way to do that.
Besides picking the right content, you have to find the syndication partners that are right for your brand. Picking the right partners involves thinking about your audience and where they spend time. Picking a partner that doesn’t attract anyone from your target audience is a waste of time. Other considerations to make about your partners regarding their reputation and how they share your content include:
When planning a content syndication strategy, quality is twofold. First, your brand has to create high-quality content that other publishers want to syndicate. Some of the best, most authoritative states are selective about what type of content they’ll republish on their own channels. If your pieces aren’t up to their standards, you’re missing out on good syndication opportunities.
But you also have to consider the quality of the host sites you’re targeting. You never want to partner with a host site that has a lower authority or a worse reputation than your own. You should always try to pick quality sites that are on par with or more authoritative and credible than your own. Focusing on quality on both sides of the syndication equation allows you to attract the right audience and develop legitimate, beneficial partnerships that help readers or viewers build trust and faith in both parties.
We’ve already discussed how SEO and content syndication can get tricky if you’re not doing it right. While there’s nothing you can do to Google-proof your content syndication, so there’s never an issue, you can plan for how you’ll address any SEO snags that arise. The plan of action may differ based on your syndication partnerships, industry, or the content itself. Having an SEO damage control plan, even if you never have to use it, is better than being caught unaware and unraveling any hard work you’ve already done to get good rankings and positioning.
Content syndication works both ways. You don’t always have to be the content creator. Your brand can syndicate content on its website, blog, and other channels, too. Engaging in both content sharing and hosting opens your brand up to more partnership opportunities. And it lightens the load for your content creators by supplementing the good work they already do.
For your audience, serving as a syndication host opens them up to new content and information they might not have known about otherwise. And they don’t have to leave their preferred sites or channels to find it. Just remember that as the host site, you always need to seek permission to share someone else’s content on your channels. In most cases, you’ll likely enter a trade partnership where your site publishes someone else’s content and they publish yours in exchange.
No content strategy is complete without reviewing the process and discovering what worked and what didn’t. When tracking the success of your syndication campaigns, consider how well you met your goals. For example, if one of your campaign goals was to bring in more leads, you can track metrics like the cost per lead, lead volume, or the quality of the leads you received.
If you didn’t meet the goals you expected, you’ll know what to adjust or change for your next syndication campaign. You may try new partnerships or share different content. Or you may do more research into your audience to find better ways to align your syndication to where they spend their time or match what they need. Even when your content marketing campaigns “fail,” they’re never a waste. They give you more data to make better, more informed strategic decisions the next time.
The more research you do about your industry, audience, and content performance, the better prepared you’ll be to create a content syndication strategy. CopyPress has a content marketing analysis tool to make the planning process easier.
When you request your free report, you gain access to a range of helpful data and information to steer your strategy in the right direction. Look at how your content compares to your top three competitors. Find out which of your content pieces performs best across the web. And get a list of potential syndication partners tailored to your industry, niche, and website authority level. To request your analysis, fill out the form below. The results come right to your inbox, usually within an hour of submission.
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