Ross Simmonds, CEO at Foundation Inc, narrated how a well-thought distribution strategy led to 26,282 pageviews in the first seven days after publishing. The results sound unbelievable, but brands that espouse proper content distribution are hitting tremendous numbers in terms of organic traffic.
Simmonds advises brands to create content once but distribute it forever. He advocates for the most common distribution channels like the ones discussed in our content distribution checklist. However, while some strategies are pretty common, some of these distribution tactics may have fallen through the cracks.
One such strategy is content syndication. In this guide, we’ll get in the weeds about content syndication and discuss what it is, its pros and drawbacks, and how you can use it to benefit your brand.
What is Content Syndication?
Content syndication is the process of republishing the same piece of content on a different website, preferably a more popular one. In content syndication, you don’t create new content. Instead, you take existing content and publish it word-for-word on a different website.
If you’ve ever opened an article and found a note like “This article originally appeared in [link to the original publication]” or “This article appeared in [original publication] and has been published here with permission,” that’s syndicated content.
Check out these examples of syndicated content:
- Pay attention to me: how marketers can avoid losing the younger generation by Katy Keim
- Liquid expectations by Baiju Shah
- Web Monetization with Angular by Radoslaw Fabisiak
- Why Not(e)? By Slite
How Does Content Syndication Strategy Work?
Content syndication has come a long way, and its methodologies have evolved over the years. Today, you can syndicate any type of content, including blogs, articles, infographics, white papers, ebooks, videos, and podcasts.
The process itself can happen in many ways. You can choose to syndicate an entire piece of content and use canonical tags to ensure the syndicated piece doesn’t compete with the original content. Alternatively, you can republish a condensed version or an excerpt of the original piece.
Given the specifics of content syndication, most marketers are skeptical about it because, as you probably know, Google frowns upon duplicate content. Does syndicating content amount to duplication? The answer is no.
Google rubber stamps syndicated content and won’t penalize you provided you follow the fundamental content syndication guidelines. Google requires you to make it obvious to the reader, and the search engine, that what they’re reading is a syndicated post.
You can do that by adding the note “This article originally appeared in [original publication and link],” linking back to the original piece. From there, the publication you’re publishing the syndicated content to should add a canonical link.
What Are the Benefits of Content Syndication?
Like other content distribution tactics, content syndication can benefit your content marketing strategy. Some of the notable benefits include:
1. Increase in Organic Traffic
When starting out, it can be difficult to reach your target audience. Syndication lets you stand on the shoulders of a reputable site to gather momentum. A short article on an authoritative website can get hundreds and even thousands of more eyeballs on the article than just publishing it on your website alone.
When readers deem your content helpful, they may decide to check out the original source, which can result in a steady flow of organic traffic to your site or social media pages. Readers could turn into leads and eventually customers.
It’s important that you optimize your site so you can capitalize on any increased traffic. For example, if you’re struggling to grow your email list, add newsletter sign-ups to your homepage or pages of content that is getting syndicated to help grow your list.
Such is the impact of content syndication. The results you get could vary depending on where the content is syndicated.
2. More High-Quality Backlinks
As mentioned earlier, Google requires that you add a link to the original source when you syndicate content. This counts as a backlink, and if it’s from an authoritative site, it will improve SEO performance for your site.
High-quality backlinks give your site more credibility than your competitors. When your site’s trust and authority grow, your search engine ranking will improve.
3. Increase Website Authority
Google’s search engine views backlinks as a seal of approval from reputable sources vouching that your website prioritizes helpful content. Getting high-quality backlinks can improve your domain authority (DA), which is a vital piece of the puzzle when it comes to growing organic traffic.
Founder of The Parent Portfolio, Jonathan Sanchez, says he scales up his backlinks with just one or two syndicated blogs. He claims one syndicated article earned his site 83 backlinks, and after persistent syndication efforts, the website DA went from 9 to 54.
4. Cost Effectiveness
Content syndication isn’t guest blogging or content curation, and that means you don’t need to create fresh content. You’re taking an old piece of content and publishing it on a reputable third-party website.
This saves you the cost of having to create new content. In addition, syndicating a simple infographic on authoritative websites can result in hundreds of backlinks for free as opposed to paying for backlinks.
5. Increase in Revenue
When you do content syndication in a way that increases website authority and organic traffic, there’s no doubt it will boost lead generation. It’s even better if the content is published where your audience already is, resulting in qualified leads heading to your site. With an uptick in site traffic from leads that fit your ideal audience profile, you’re able to more easily appeal to their interests and needs, and be seen as a viable solution. This means you can not only introduce them into your marketing funnel, but given their qualified status, it’s more likely they’ll become customers and increase your revenue.
What Are The Drawbacks of Content Syndication?
Content syndication has its benefits when done well. However, if you miss a step, it could derail your content marketing strategy. Here are some of the drawbacks of content syndication when done wrong:
- Spammy links could ruin your reputation. As mentioned earlier, quality backlinks signal to Google that your website is trustworthy and helpful. The opposite is also true. If your content is syndicated on “spammy” websites, it ruins your online reputation and waters down your content marketing effort.
- It doesn’t always result in quality leads. The readers seeing your content in a third-party article may not have experienced much of your brand. In some cases, it might be harder to convert these readers into customers. You have to come up with a proper nurturing strategy driven by a higher-level offer to continue engaging them.
- Syndicated content could negatively impact SEO. If the syndicated content doesn’t feature a canonical link, it competes with the original content. If the content is published on an authoritative website, it could outrank the original piece in the SERPs and negatively impact traffic.
How to Get Your Content Syndicated
There are two ways to get your content syndicated: free or paid.
1. Free Content Syndication
In this case, your content is syndicated for free. All you have to do is reach out to websites that accept content syndication and prove to the owners/editors why they should publish your content on their platform. It’s a time-consuming process but if you find the right platforms, the effort will be well worth it.
When looking for ideal partners, go for websites with a larger audience than yours and ensure they target the same audience as you do. Some of the best ways to find partners include:
- Directly approaching publications, influencers, and bloggers
- Looking for potential partners in social media groups
If you don’t want to rely on a third-party, you can also self-syndicate your content on platforms such as Medium and LinkedIn.
2. Paid Content Syndication
If you dread the back-and-forth with editors and bloggers to negotiate the rules of engagement, you can use paid content syndication. Certain paid platforms can handle the content syndication process on your behalf.
These sites charge you per click, but we advise you to tread this path with caution. Some unscrupulous syndication sites rely on clickbait content and could end up earning you spammy backlinks.
Reap the Benefits of Content Syndication
Content syndication is a cost-effective distribution strategy that can help your business. However, to reap its benefits and sidestep the negatives, you have to come up with a solid plan. Vet the available partners and only pick those that you deem fit. In addition, produce high-quality content focusing on relevance, authority, and depth.