Content syndication is the art and science of creating content to be utilized by third parties outside of one’s owned media channels. The benefit is that an organization can steer its own narrative while distributing its content to novel targeted audiences, often without paid advertising.
Syndicating your content to authoritative sites with large, loyal audiences helps you gain huge exposure among a larger audience than you might otherwise have access to.
“Content syndication is a very effective top-of-funnel marketing tactic for marketers. It helps build a marketing database in your target market and creates brand awareness on 3rd party media websites,” said Charm Bianchini, Head of Global Demand for Engagio. “Content syndication can be used to generate new names or warm up existing names that have gone dark. In order for it to be leveraged strategically, marketers should syndicate company-branded, later stage content so that these leads progress through the funnel faster.”
When done right, syndicated content offers the opportunity to increase your brand awareness, build links, and drive significant traffic. 27% of marketers use this technique, so including a syndication strategy in your 2019 marketing plan may help you stand out from the competition as well.
Kathryn Kosmides, startup marketing consultant for companies like Intricately and RocketVisor, has worked with a variety of B2B startups to develop and execute their content marketing strategies – and the number one hack she always recommends is content syndication.
“I take the time to understand the publications my clients’ ideal customer profiles are consuming and then work to build relationships with the publishers,” she said. “From there, I then pitch different content ideas to them, both previously published and fresh, new ideas, and I would say 9 times out of 10 they’re excited to have us contribute.”
The most important part of content syndication, she added, is to ensure you’re syndicating your content to publications that your customers actually read. It can be a time-intensive approach, so it’s important to do the initial research.
Mark Nardone, Executive VP for PAN Communications, agrees that syndication is meaningless if you’re not reaching your intended audience. Content is the glue that holds a brand together, he said, and in the form of case studies, blog posts, or videos, can act as a pivotal touchpoint throughout the buyer’s journey for prospects.
“If you’re spending time and resources to create content on your owned channels, why not syndicate it elsewhere to expand your reach? Content syndication is a great way to get new eyeballs on your content and increase your brand’s awareness,” he said. “However, keep in mind the style and tone of the sites you’re looking to syndicate your content on. It’s too often that marketers are worried about increasing SEO or driving traffic that they don’t pay attention to finding sites that match their brand’s messaging and positioning.”
Managing Partner of JAKK Media Kenny Kline said he works with content syndication because it helps him build his brands.
“For example, one of my websites is BarBend.com. We struck a deal with USA Weightlifting, the most respected and well-known entity in weightlifting, to do content syndication,” he said. “This deal provides them great content, and from our perspective really builds the BarBend brand because the most respected company in our niche is using and promoting our content.”
Content syndication has an exceptional strength, especially when it comes to B2B organizations whose marketing goals include an educational component, CEO of Emerging Insider Zachary Weiner said. Anything from articles and videos to white papers and webinars can be quickly picked up by syndication partners, greatly bolstering the content produced.
That said, B2C is picking up steam as well, as media channels and influencers produce and leverage new engaging formats.
“I believe 2019 will see more organizations begin to adopt content syndication programs, platforms, and partnerships as the advertising landscape continues to become more competitive and democratized, as well as further challenges arise across earning media via traditional public relations,” Weiner said.
He explained that the forces at work here are twofold. The first is that entry into the advertising market has become simple, due to Facebook and Google allowing any sized advertiser to have the same seamless targeting and data analytics capabilities, ultimately increasing competition for audience mind-share. The second is a continued decrease in the number of journalists and an increase in PR representatives, driving up the competition for press mentions and attribution.
“This means the drive for content exposure and distribution will increase in novel areas with syndication being a powerful solution that allows entirely new strategies to flourish,” Weiner said.
Search Engine Considerations
Jonathan Poston of the Tombras Group acknowledged that getting free content as a result of a syndication partnership is tempting, as it’s becoming very expensive to create and execute a winning content strategy.
“The largest concern here is getting dinged by Google for having duplicate content, which may not result in a penalty but ranking for that content may be difficult, if not impossible, when Google has likely already ranked the original source page,” he says. “Flip that scenario around, and the party offering the content syndication arrangement is scoring big on SEO, garnering many likely backlinks and new users while offsetting the duplicate content issue with a little piece of code (rel=canonical) to tell Google that they are the source.”
Alex Tran, a digital marketing strategist with Hollingsworth, noted that content syndication is great for large news outlets such as Insider, HuffPost and Buzzfeed, but it’s not good for smaller domain authority (DA) websites that then promote the content on a larger publication.
“This is especially true if you are syndicating written content,” he said. “One way to combat that is to request other sites to canonicalize your submitted content, however, that is not always guaranteed. Ultimately, it all comes down to strategy so that Google does not penalize yours for duplicated content.”
One method he recommends for lower-DA companies is to provide quotes or guest posts on larger publications and then work toward syndicating that content on smaller publications.