The Do’s and Don’ts of Content Syndication
Content syndication isn’t just for the local newspapers – it’s now an important piece in the content marketing framework. Last year 77% of B2C (and 76% of B2B companies) said they plan to step up their content production in 2016. But how do you produce a stream of quality content without maxing out your resources?
Content syndication is a huge time saver for marketers struggling to feed the “content hungry beast.” It can fill in knowledge gaps where internal expertise is lacking, and if done right, it provides your audience with high-quality content. Content managers can also offer up their original content for syndication, creating an opportunity to reach audiences they’d never see otherwise.
Original, curated, and syndicated content can (and should) play on the same team. Below we unpack why content syndication is a key component of a complete content plan, and take a look at the do’s and don’ts of syndication.
An important piece of the content creation puzzle.
Let’s start at the beginning – what is content syndication?
Syndication originated in the pre-Netflix television landscape, in the time of broadcast television. Networks with a popular show would generate revenue after the show’s finale by licensing the rights out to other networks. Seinfeld and Saved By The Bell saw a huge resurgence in popularity among younger generations thanks to syndication.
Today, content syndication follows the same framework. Content creators give other sources permission to copy and republish content, extending its lifespan and reaching new networks.
It’s important to note that syndication and guest posting are not the same thing. Guest posts are commissioned and written specifically for a third party site, and do not appear on more than one website. Syndicated content is already published on a site, and is then copied (with permission) on a third-party site. It can be a complete copy, a fragment, or a slightly edited version depending on the agreement between the original author and publisher.
The Benefits of Syndicated Content
Though we often forget about syndication, there are a number of reasons why it’s an important component of any content plan:
- Distribute your original content to new sites, channels, and networks.
Sharing your content with others increases your reach and brand awareness. It can also drive traffic back to your owned channels, generate newsletter subscribers, or increase your followers on social media. Make a short list of publishers where you’d love to see your content and begin researching how to contact the editors to establish a syndication partnership.
- Fill content gaps.
If your content team has a knowledge gap or is simply stretched too thin to do more in-depth research, re-publish content from another source that has already put in the time and energy. If you discover an industry expert with a following and collection creative thought pieces, you might be able to join forces to give their content more exposure while simultaneously boosting your credibility.
- Become a thought leader in your field.
Syndicating content from respected brands and personalities will boost your credibility. If authors want to showcase their work on your site, it tells the industry that you are trustworthy and eager to be part of the conversation.
- Diversify your content.
If you don’t have an in-house designer to produce infographics or the resources to animate an informational video, consider syndicating content instead. This will diversify your content library and create more engaging content for your upper and mid-funnel.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Content Syndication
DON’T : Syndicating content is an important part of a larger content strategy, but it shouldn’t be the
only source of content.
DO: Maintain a good balance between syndicated and original content. You need a mix of original, curated, and syndicated content to keep your audience engaged, and ensure you don’t get dinged on SEO.
Yahoo News is a great example of syndication at work. The news site features a great mix of original news items and syndicated content from reputable news organizations like MSNBC, Newsweek, and Reuters. Yahoo gives proper credit and remains transparent by including a small logo and a link back to the original publisher’s site on each article, and below the blurb on the front page.
DON’T: Syndication isn’t effective if you’re pulling content from the wrong sources. If you’re just trying to feed the beast and add new voices to your blog without a clear strategy, you’re only adding more noise to the web. Your audience will move onto blogs and sites with content that actually resonates with them.
DO: Make sure to syndicate selectively and only when it will add value to your larger content strategy.
Use sites like Scoop.it, The New York Times, or the Scribble Market to sift through content and source relevant pieces to share with your audience. Syndication sites allow you to search by topic, and can help you find the right content for your audience. Though some may charge a subscription fee, it’s worth it to efficiently source the best content for your blog and social channels.
DON’T: Never take without asking. This is plagiarism!
DO: Always give credit and link back to the original source.
Entrepreneur lets their audience know when content is syndicated from a third party by including the third party’s logo at the beginning of the article, linking to the original post, and including a disclaimer that notifies the reader where the original content came from. They give credit where credit is due and use content in an ethically sound and engaging way.
There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for content syndication. However, once you know the do’s and don’ts, it’s much easier to think about how syndication can fit into your long-term content plan and save you a little time in the process.
Looking to add syndicated content to your content plan? Check out the Scribble Market for the latest content from around the world.
Nate Birt is a multimedia journalist, social media enthusiast and copy editor with experience at a variety of print and digital publications, and a Contributing Editor to theVisual.ly Blog. Follow him on Twitter at @natebirt.