Why Syndication Works
If you’re a content marketing manager or blogger aiming for more blog exposure, your next step might be blog syndication.
To steal a baseball metaphor, the blogs already on your website are like farm-league players waiting for a chance at the show. They’re probably already talented athletes, line-driving search rankings, batting a high average in website traffic, fielding reader comments, attracting fans and generally making their manager look good. But with the right opportunity, they could be moving on to the big time — publication on higher-volume, better-known sites that draw bigger crowds (and hopefully bigger money).
Sports analogies aside, placing your content in higher-volume venues can be a nice coup, exposing your brand to a far greater audience and helping position you as an industry expert. And contrary to popular belief, syndication won’t negatively affect your SEO as long as you clearly cite the original source.
Selecting Syndication Partners
That said, it’s important to know the different methodologies. With paid syndication, you contract with a syndication network like Outbrain, Zemanta or SimpleReach to filter your work through a wide range of publishers; once it’s placed, you’re charged on a pay-per-click basis. With organic syndication you simply re-publish your blogs yourself on sites like LinkedIn or Medium, or submit your work for re-publication on sites that screen via editorial review and other factors. General examples are Hacker News, Inbound.org and Scoop.it, while industry-specific examples are Moz.com (a site for SEO specialists) and Contentmarketinginstitute.com.
Here, we’ll focus on how to submit blogs to free sites requiring editorial review.
- Gain credibility by guest posting. Getting published as a guest writer is generally easier than syndication, and could encourage other editors to take a second look at your blogs. Venues accepting guest posts can be found by Googling the category or topic of your blog along with words like “guest post,” “contributing writer” or “write for us.”
- Get syndication-worthy. Choose star blogs that have performed well on your own website. Give them catchy titles that are short, attention-grabbing, content-descriptive and keyword inclusive, incorporating emotional triggers and/or power words when possible. To get more mileage from a single blog, consider tweaking your copy to fit a given niche; for example, the lead in a blog about hiring millennials could be slightly angled to fit specific industries.
When it comes to incorporating links, each venue sets its own limits. You might start with at least one call to action and several other links leading readers to relevant info on your website. Avoid SEO conflicts by adding a statement like “This post originally appeared on (your website link).”
- Decide which venues to approach based on your niche and the sites preferred by your target audience. Determine which ones syndicate content by checking their posts for attribution, then find contact info for the editor handling contributed content. Might you have mutual contacts that could give you a reference? Check LinkedIn to see. Of course, the larger the venue the more exclusivity there is in getting published. Some of the bigger players include Business2Community (which usually re-publishes on Yahoo Small Business and Monster.com; Social Media Today; Business Insider; Quora: AllBusiness (which further syndicates content on Forbes, Yahoo Small Business and Fox Business); Reddit and Huffington Post.
- Develop your pitches. Draw on your sales skills to create query letters summarizing the value of your content and asking the editor for consideration. Many are mad-busy, so it’s wise to get to the point quickly with a solid explanation for why they’d be interested. Instead of a vague, rambling description, briefly state the topic, how it’s related to the venue and how its angle is different from what’s been published. Don’t forget to emphasize numbers noting its strong performance on your own website.
- Expect rejection. You might have to approach many different venues many times to make headway. But if your content is of high enough quality and relevance, you’ll eventually hit it out of the ballpark.
“(Syndication) is all about understanding the reputation and visibility benefits, and also assessing how it fits into your long-term plans for your own website and business,” advises Eric Enge on Searchengineland.com. “There is no one formula here, and you will need to apply your own critical thinking to make decisions as to how this might fit into your longer-term strategy.”