Content syndication lets you take a piece you've already invested time and money creating, and publish it in multiple locations. That means more eyes on your work. More eyes are the first step to achieving your content marketing goals, whether that's increased traffic, engagement, conversions, or something else.
Content is king, and it's not giving up the throne any time soon. Research shows that B2C shoppers read three to five articles or blogs before making a purchase decision. In the B2B space, that number shoots up to 13. About eight of those come from the vendor and five come from third-party websites.
It's easy to ignore those third-party websites, but what if they could host the content you've already produced? That's the main concept behind content syndication, a strategy that makes your marketing dollars work smarter — not harder.
To get the most out of your content strategy, you need to add syndication to the mix.
What Is Content Syndication?
Content syndication is a marketing strategy designed to maximize exposure. It involves taking original content you've published on one or more of your platforms and re-publishing it on a third-party website.
This isn't guest posting or self-plagiarism. Guest posting is original content created for a third-party site. In most cases, that site owns the material.
Syndicated content is pre-existing work that acknowledges and usually links to its source. You can recognize it through language like:
- Originally published/appeared in [source]
- Republished with permission
Here's one example:
The citation tells readers — and Google's crawlers — that the article is syndicated. Google penalizes duplicate content, but it's okay with syndicated content that recognizes the source.
Whenever possible, your citation link should be a canonical URL, which points to the original version of an article. Using canonical links ensures that your original post — and in turn, your blog or website — gets the most traffic from your content.
Once properly cited, syndicated content can improve your SEO performance and reach a wider audience.
The Benefits of Syndication
No matter how you measure content effectiveness, syndication can help.
1. Broader Audiences
Syndication puts your content in front of people who might not find the original version organically. For example, the article above originally appeared in Undark, a science and politics publication ranked 4,623 on News and Media websites.
FastCompany, meanwhile, ranks 297. The same article syndicated on Fast Company is more likely to appear in organic searches for healthcare tech news. More results page appearances mean more views, which translates to more eyes on the article.
2. More Backlinks
Backlinks, also known as inbound links, remain a major driver of SEO results. A website gains a backlink when another site links to it.
Google sees those backlinks as votes of confidence for the destination site. The more backlinks a site has, the more Google sees it as authoritative, and the more likely it is to rank highly.
A 2020 study of Google results revealed that the #1 search result had 3.8 times more backlinks than results in spots #2 through #10.
The link to your original piece is just one potential backlink in syndicated content. The more links you can include to your other web pages and/or content pieces, the more backlinks Google will have to crawl.
There's one caveat: Backlinks are more valuable when they come from authoritative websites. Only syndicate on respectable platforms, or you could lose the attention you were hoping to gain.
3. Increased Traffic
Backlinks also give you the potential for more web traffic, marketers' most popular metric for measuring content performance.
To maximize this potential, syndicate pieces with highly clickable links. That means:
- Enticing and descriptive anchor text
- Prominent link placement
- Just enough links to earn attention
Don't stuff your syndicated content with links and assume that more links will get more clicks. Single Grain recommends one link per scroll, which works out to about one every 200 words. It's not a hard-and-fast rule, but it will keep you from including too many unjustified links.
4. Additional Revenue
More traffic can lead to more purchases by moving readers down the funnel. In the B2B space, that might involve a link to a landing page where leads request more information. For the B2C sector, the link might draw readers' attention to a promotion.
Remember, syndicated content isn't only profitable if it directly inspires a purchase. If it encourages a buyer to make purchases a week, month, or even a year later, it still has revenue value.
5. Thought Leadership
Syndicating your content across platforms expands your presence among readers in your industry. Readers see you in more places, and assuming your content is high quality, they start to associate you with valuable insights.
The more valuable insights you offer, the more people will associate your name and brand with subject matter knowledge.
How Does Content Syndication Work?
Syndication works with any type of content — blog posts, infographics, case studies, videos, and more.
You can syndicate a piece in three ways:
- Republish the entire piece.
- Edit a longer piece down to something shorter, then syndicate the abbreviated version.
- Syndicate an excerpt, such as an infographic or embedded video.
It's possible to syndicate a single piece in more than one way. One example is a long-form article that summarizes the findings of a recent study, including an infographic of key results. You might syndicate the entire article on select platforms and distribute the infographic more broadly.
Partial syndication is often more effective at generating traffic and backlink clicks. If you share the entire piece, fewer people will feel the need to click through and view the original.
Still, syndicating entire articles can effectively build your thought leadership reputation. It encourages people to read more from you, especially when you post to a platform with a much broader readership.
How to Syndicate Your Content
Content syndication starts with the kind of high-quality material that attracts readers. You'll see results faster if you have blog posts or articles that reliably generate traffic.
If you don't have analytics yet, you can still find sites willing to take a chance on you. Just make sure your writing is high-quality and your site looks professional.
Once you have a handful of articles to pitch, reach out to potential syndication partners.
"Earned syndication" is a private arrangement with a blog or website that accepts syndicated content. It lets sites offer fresh material to their readers, without the need to invest in creating new content themselves.
You can find syndication-friendly sites by Googling common citation phrases and adding relevant keywords. This example turns up opportunities for marketing content:
If you have a specific source in mind, try Googling the citation phrase plus the site name:
A quick click on one of these content syndication examples shows that yes, the site (pictured below: Entrepreneur) is still accepting submissions:
Larger sites like Entrepreneur tend to have multi-person editorial teams. Search for the "staff" or "team" page and look for the person most likely to be handling work like yours. That might be a digital content director or an editor who handles a particular topic.
If the website doesn't have a staff page, try LinkedIn. The "People" tab on a company page can usually turn up the name of someone in marketing or editorial.
There's almost always at least one name you can find. Even when the website is a tiny startup, there's a site owner to whom you can direct your inquiry. They'll appreciate the effort.
Content Syndication Networks
Searching for syndication opportunities one by one is the best way to make connections, but it can be time-consuming. An individual editor might not have room for syndicated content that month, or you might not be established enough for their liking.
It's not personal. It's just a competitive market.
Fortunately, some platforms are built for or include syndicated content. Most of these networks are self-serve, meaning that you upload your material to a library and users search for what interests them.
Medium is an idea-sharing platform with 100 million readers across the world. It exists to build connections between readers and writers and to give content creators a place to be heard.
Content syndication is built into the Medium publishing model. All you need is a free account, and you can import your posts from anywhere they live on the web.
Medium automatically adds a canonical URL back to your original. You can also create a bio that may include a link.
Slideshare makes it easy to search content on any topic, from accounting to zoology. As the name implies, it includes a lot of slideshows, but it doesn't limit you to the kind of content you can upload.
Slideshare syndicates content of all types, including:
- How-to guides
- Industry trend reports
- Life and career "hacks"
- Data and statistics
- Case studies
The uploading process is incredibly easy — just drag and drop your content. You'll need to add your syndication citation if you're syndicating the content elsewhere.
You can also use Slideshare as a source for content, then syndicate it across your properties. The same is true for Medium, but because Medium's syndication system is more robust, it's ideal for pre-created content.
Medium and Slideshare work well with B2B and B2C content. If you're specifically in the B2B space, look at these top B2B content syndication platforms.
Business2Community is a source of business information for the B2B and B2C industries. It's an ideal platform for reaching potential clients and establishing your expertise in a particular niche.
B2C welcomes high-quality syndicated content. To be accepted as a contributor, you need to apply with your website URL and three relevant writing samples.
LinkedIn is built for making connections and expanding your brand, so it's the ideal repository for syndicated content. It has readers from every industry, making it's a great place to start for even the most niche-bound contributors.
LinkedIn doesn't have a formal syndication system like Business2Community's, so you'll have to manually share your content. Unfortunately, that means no automatic canonical link. You can, however, add a citation line and include a link to the original piece. This will cover you against duplicate content.
Because LinkedIn has such a wide readership, it's important to put your best foot forward. Post your highest-quality content, and be sure to leave at least a week between the original publication date and syndication.
Paid Content Syndication
Free content syndication may be cost-effective, but it's sometimes harder to get noticed, especially if you don't already have a wide audience. And it's almost impossible to get on the biggest sites, like CNN and HuffPost, if you're not already a contributor.
Paid platforms help you bridge the gap. Designed for content syndication marketing, these networks will deliver your content to popular sites in a pay-per-click format.
These syndicated articles are considered "sponsored content," so they won't earn you SEO clout. However, they can get you viewership from audiences you'd never reach otherwise. This increases the number of eyes on your content and helps you branch out to a wider base.
Outbrain advertises your content to leading news sites like MSN and SkyNews. You'll usually see it in the sidebar or at the bottom of an article under the heading "Paid Content."
Outbrain can syndicate multiple content types including articles, social media posts, press releases, and videos. As with other pay-per-click models, you can choose your audience segments and even see how your syndicated posts are doing.
Taboola's model is similar to Outbrain. It promotes your content across popular properties, including highly respected news sites like CBS, NBC, and MSN. Taboola's algorithm places ads based on your stated preferences, but you can block properties where you don't want your material to appear.
Promoted content on Taboola and Outbrain doesn't always match the page's content, so it can appear spammy. But if you haven't syndicated before and don't yet have an audience, this strategy can jump-start your exposure.
Getting Started: Developing Your Syndication Strategy
Now that you've learned how syndication works and where you can syndicate, you can develop a strategy that works for your brand. Start by looking over your content and choosing your strongest two or three pieces.
Syndicate those to some of the networks mentioned above. Medium is a good place to start if you're new to syndication, but you can't go wrong with any of the top players. Then, get started looking for syndication partners specific to your industry and niche.
Finally, keep an eye on the performance of your syndicated material. You'll want to know which platforms get you the best results — and when to start celebrating more traffic!