If you’ve ever tried your hand at blogging then you’re already aware it can be more challenging than others may assume. Between all of the brainstorming, research, writing, and editing, you’re devoting a lot of time to just one piece of content. While that content is extremely useful, there just may be times when you can’t find the time to create amazing blog posts on a daily basis. This is where content syndication comes into play.
What is Content Syndication?
In a nutshell, content syndication is when a post, article or any other piece of content from your awesome blog is featured on a popular site that is relevant to your niche. Danny Brown provides a great analogy that should help clarify this by comparing a local journalist to a major news outlet.
“For most local journalists, your stories are mainly read by the local township. There’s nothing wrong with this, and it’s a solid enough career. However, now and again you might write a human interest story that gets picked up by the nationals, and your piece is quoted in the New York Times or on CNN.
That kind of exposure can lead to bigger gigs and paychecks, as you’re approached to provide stories (or images) for these bigger outlets, as well as your local publication where it all started. This is the journalism version of content syndication.
Now, take that back to your blog. That’s the local publication, and the bigger newsrooms might be Mashable, or ReadWriteWeb, or Techcrunch, or Technorati – basically, any site in your niche which has an audience hundreds or thousands of times bigger than yours.
If you could get your content into their feeds, then the sky is the limit to where you can go as a blogger. So how do you get out there, and what are the best options for you?
The Benefits of Content Syndication
Some people argue content syndication isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. For example, they claim that Google will penalize you for having duplicate content. That’s not the case anymore since there is a link directing to the Google bots back to the site where the article was originally published. Another concern has been syndicating content won’t drive traffic to your website. Again, that shouldn’t be an issue since traffic is being directed back to your site with a link.
In reality, there really aren’t too many disadvantages to content syndication. But, there are plenty of benefits. These include everything from increasing traffic to your website, exposing you and your brand to a new audience, establishing yourself as an expert, receiving quality links, and improving search rankings.
How To Syndicate Your Blog
While that sounds great and all, how exactly do you go about syndicating content?
Establish a Syndication Strategy
Before you begin syndicating any of you awesome content, take a step back and plan out your syndication strategy. Most likely it’s going to begin by reviewing two primary areas: your goals and target audience.
For example, do you want to drive traffic back to your website? Do you want to increase brand awareness? Do you just want to keep your fans updated on the latest product or service? Reviewing your initial goals should help you not only create content, but also decide where and how to share.
Now it is time to identify your audience and where they spend most of their time online. After all, if you’re just blogging to blog, you’re going to have a really difficult time reaching and acquiring readers. You have to remember who your talking to and what they want from your blog.
Once you’ve recalled your goals and target audience, you can begin to effectively target sites for syndicating your blog because you have guidelines established to dictate the content you’re generating and where to syndicate it.
If you’ve done this blogging thing before, then you already know how important titles are. After all, how else are you going to get people to view your content? It’s just as important when it comes to the titles for syndicated blog posts. Remember, you need your content to stand out from similar content featured on the site where your article is being promoted.
If you’re stuck with trying to come up with catchy titles, are some suggestions from Benchmark Internet Group:
- Make it attention grabbing
- Include keywords in the title
- Be short and to the point
- Deliver on your promise in the body of the post
- Be controversial from time to time
- Use the list approach (10 top, 5 benefits, 3 reasons, etc.)
- Include a benefit in the title
- Pose a question
- Use emotional triggers
- Use power words
We’re going to break this down more thoroughly shortly, but keep in mind that there are three common syndication methods. Each method will have it’s own audience and locations for syndicated content. When you select a quality site for your syndicated content you’re ensuring you reach high value readers.
Free or Bartered Blog Syndication: You submit your content to relevant industry syndication services, such as SideShare, WikiHow, HubPages, PaidContent or SeekingAlpha, but are not paid. The idea is that you will gain exposure from these established services, which in turn could increase traffic to your blog.
Ad-Supported Blog Syndication: This is similar to a reward based system where you receive a percentage of advertising revenue. The better your content performs, the better the opportunity you have to make money or exposure from services like BlogBurst.
Licensed Blog Syndication: This is where bloggers can earn money via royalties whenever content is accessed by high-end users. Newstex is an example of a licensed blog syndication.
Content, Content, Content
Even if you were not syndicating your blog posts previously, content remains a top priority. Of course, since you have established a goal and are cognizant of your audience’s wants and needs, creating content should come a bit more natural. We’re not saying it’s, but at least you have an understanding of what your audience is looking for and where you should be offering that important content.
Ensure you are offering high-quality content on a consistent basis. You want this to be ongoing and most syndicated services have a review process. You don’t want to slack off and lose an opportunity of reaching more visitors because your content wasn’t up to par.
Where to Syndicate Your Content
After you put that all together, you are now ready to syndicate your content. Then what? Here are the best ways to make your syndicated content more visible.
As you already know, social networks are an incredible place to promote your content. But, how can you share your content on all of the various social media platforms?
Have Social Network Profile: At this point, we’re guessing that you have already have at least a Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and/or LinkedIn profile. And, that’s a great start in sharing your content. Just remember — all social networks are not the same. So while it wouldn’t hurt to have a profile on as many social networks as possible, you may want to approach them differently when sharing content, depending on your goals and audience. For example, what works on LinkedIn may not translate well onto Pinterest.
Make Sure Your Blog Posts Have Social Sharing Buttons: This makes it easy for visitors to share your post onto their social networks.
Use Social Media Tools: Instead of manually sharing content to each and every network, use a management tool to free up some time. This could be anything from HootSuite to Sprout Social to help manage all of your social media networks. You can also discover some other suggested resources from Lee Odden.
We briefly touched on this earlier, but syndicated networks are perhaps the best method for increasing traffic and exposure through syndicated content. Of course, there are a number of options available. We recommend what Neil Patel and Aaron Agius from QuickSprout have suggested. Both men reviewed the top ten syndicated networks like Outbrain, Zemanta, SimpleReach, Arc, Taboola, nrelate, LinkWithin, Yarpp, Igit and Nster. You can also explore other syndication networks like Alltop.
Social Bookmarking Sites
Social bookmarking sites are Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon. While these networks definitely have a social aspect, articles are essentially voted up or down based on the actual content, as opposed to the profile or site of the author. Users discover the content here and then visit your website. This is a great way to reach your audience and increase traffic.
One of the most effective ways in reaching a larger audience, establishing your authority and syndicating your content is by submitting a post on a reputable and popular blog in your industry. You probably see this all the time by contributors on the Huffington Post, Forbes, or Social Media Today. Kristi Hines from Wagepoint put together a nice top ten list of sites for your syndicated content.
Make sure that you get your blog listed in a directory relevant to your industry. This is another tried and trusted tactic that has helped blogs gain exposure and new followers for years. Some of the popular are directories are Technorati, Bloggernity, Bloggeries and Blog Flux. If you are looking for some more options, we are at SEJ have already put together a list containing 23 awesome blog directories.
Really Simple Syndication, aka that big orange RSS feed button, has been around for a really long time. And, believe it or not, it remains a useful method in making sure that fans of your blog can stay up to date with the latest content. Make the link to your RSS feed noticeable so visitors can locate it. Many of the social sharing buttons will also include an option for RSS feed. You can find a useful RSS blog directory from TopRank.
If you have email subscribers then you can easily send out a blog post to many readers. There are two ways that you can do this. First, you could include the entire post in the email by reformatting it or you just include a headline with a link back to your website. This second method may be a better option to increase traffic.
Have you tried content syndication in the past? If so, how did you syndicate your blog?