Content syndication is one of the most effective ways marketers drive traffic to their content online. Used effectively, it can help you get more mileage out of your marketing material, boost brand awareness and enhance your SEO.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the basics of content syndication: what is it, why to do it, and how to go about incorporating it into your content marketing strategy.
What is content syndication?
Content syndication refers to republishing your content on more than one website. It’s a tactic used to increase the spread and visibility of your published material, helping it to achieve as large an audience as possible.
You’ve probably come across syndicated content before. It can usually be recognized by captions like “this article originally appeared in X publication” along with a link to the site that first hosted the content.
A key distinction to keep in mind is that between syndicated content and merely duplicated content. While syndicated content is clearly labeled as such and appears on multiple different relevant platforms, duplicate content occurs when the same website publishes the same material without adjustments or with only minor alterations.
Duplicate content is usually a result of poor website maintenance or an outdated and ineffective attempt at search engine optimization (SEO).
Why syndicate content?
So, you’ve spent hours or even days creating great content your audience will love. It’s original, it’s tailored for your target audience, and it’s optimized for search engine visibility. But when you post it to your company blog, it still doesn’t get the traffic you think it deserves.
If the above sounds familiar, then the chances are the problem is not with your content itself, but with how and where you’re presenting it.
There’s nothing wrong with posting your blogs, articles, videos, infographics, or any other content type on your own website. After all, you made it and in this day and age, your website is one of your primary channels of brand communication.
Unless you happen to work for a large media organization – the kind whose website sits at the top of the online content food chain – the chances are that driving a large volume of traffic to your natively hosted content will be one of your biggest marketing challenges.
Here’s where content syndication comes in. There are three main reasons you might want your content to appear in multiple places.
- More Exposure
This one’s pretty simple. If you’re sitting on content you know people will enjoy, but your website or main hosting platform doesn’t generate the traffic needed to get it out to a large enough audience, content syndication can be a way to piggyback other sites’ traffic.
Content syndication generally benefits both the content creator and the content host – a win-win situation. They get material for their readers, viewers, or listeners, and you get to grow your audience.
- Generate Leads
If you choose your publishing partners well, incorporating syndication into your content strategy can help you to generate valuable sales leads.
If the main purpose of your content is to grab customers’ attention, getting it on to the kind of websites your customers frequent can only help. Just be sure you link back to your company’s sales or landing page in order to maximize your chances of conversion.
- Enhance SEO
Done correctly, content syndication can boost your visibility on those all-important search engine results pages. Getting published on a reputable website lends your content credibility and you get to benefit from that website’s overall popularity.
Just make sure you choose websites that are relevant to your brand, and whose visitors will find your content useful and enjoyable.
Also keep in mind that while they don’t discourage syndication done properly, Google’s algorithms have a tendency to punish content duplication and will only index one version of the article.
If the sites you host it on have more authority than your site, then their version will take priority over yours. Avoid the appearance of content duplication by clearly labeling and linking syndicated content so that search engines can recognize it as such and prioritize the original publisher in their results.
Different Types of Content Syndication
Now you know what content syndication is and why you probably should be doing it, the question is how? There are five different ways you can go about syndicating your content for maximum reach.
- Get picked up by websites that routinely syndicate content
Sometimes called earned syndication, getting picked up by websites that routinely syndicate content requires little effort on your part. Because certain outlets use syndicated content for a large part of their output, as a creator, all you need to do is reach out to the publication and see if they are interested in republishing your content.
- Content collaboration
Content collaboration refers to a strategy in which two or more organizations work together on content and then pool their promotional resources, effectively sharing their audience or customer base.
Another fairly straightforward tactic, content collaboration works especially well for social media content as sharing on social media requires little effort and gives you immediate access to your partner’s social following.
- Social syndication
Similar to content collaboration, social syndication relies on two or more organizations combining their efforts to promote content across their media channels.
Where social syndication differs from content collaboration is that the content itself doesn’t originate from multiple parties, they only aid with the publishing of the article, usually as a trade-off. As such, social syndication can be thought of as a type of cross-functional collaboration because it allows divergent actors to align their interests without losing sight of individual goals.
- Paid syndication
If you really want to supercharge your content’s visibility, paying to have it published on a large website is a guaranteed way to ensure it gets seen. The digital equivalent of an advertorial in a magazine, paying to syndicate on a well-known website gives you instant access to their large audience while still getting to use the content on your own channels.
These days, there are also plenty of content marketing platforms that make it their business to get your content published on reputable, high-traffic websites. Companies like Outbrain and Taboola specialize in finding the right sites for your content so that it has the highest chance of reaching your target audience.
- Guest post and then syndicate later on your own page
With this method of syndication, you first publish your content as a guest post on a relevant website, preferably one with a large volume of traffic.
Once published on someone else’s platform, the next step is to republish on your own website, Medium, LinkedIn, or other social media trend that is relevant to your industry.
Guest posting and then republishing yourself brings all the advantages of guest posting without you having to completely relinquish ownership over the content and still allowing you to build the native content library that will help to prove your thought leadership in a relevant field.
Finding and choosing publishing partners
Once you have chosen a piece of content you wish to repost, the next question is where to place it so that it gets seen by the right people.
If it’s written content that you’re looking to syndicate, a great place to start is by publishing your blog posts on one or more of a number of popular blogging platforms.
Choosing this option means you get to get to compile an authoritative content collection on your own website, but also store your blog posts in a place where they can get discovered using the platform’s in-house recommendation and sorting systems.
There are plenty of tools available designed specifically to help you publish a blog this way. For example, Hubspot, the developer of a number of communication tools in the workplace, also provides a handy blogging tool and hosting platform to help you integrate your content with other digital business processes.
Open submission publishers
Many websites that host syndicated content are open to submissions from anywhere – all you have to do is find one that works for your content and reach out.
A good place to start looking is industry-specific blogs and news sites. A quick web search will help you identify some of the relevant sites within your field. Some of them will clearly advertise that they are open to submissions but occasionally you might have to search the site for contact details of the editor and pitch them your idea.
Arguably the most intuitive kind of content syndication, there are several ways to use your business’ social media channels to republish content, either partially or in its entirety.
For video content, YouTube is the most popular location to post syndicated videos. Many organizations choose YouTube as their primary hosting platform because it’s easy to embed YouTube videos onto your website and other social media channels.
If you don’t want to embed YouTube videos on your website, it’s still worth maintaining an active YouTube channel and posting syndicated videos there as it’s a popular medium for education and many people’s first port of call when they want to learn about a new brand or product.
Graphic content is generally the most dynamic and can be posted on most popular social media platforms. Just remember to resize and reformat your images to best fit the requirements of each platform.
Syndication for optimization
Now you know what content syndication is, you will understand that it’s one of the best ways to make your content work for you.
By following the advice laid out here, your content will be able to perform at its optimal level, helping you to get noticed by the right people and grow your business.