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What is Content Syndication? (+ How to do it Successfully in 2021)

In simple terms, content syndication is the republishing of content on third party sites. Syndicated content isn’t limited to blog posts, but encompasses videos, articles, and more. 

A content syndication strategy is important for several reasons. 

Not only does a proper content syndication strategy save you money, but it also helps you improve your brand authority and boost your rankings and web traffic.

In this article, we explain:

  • What content syndication is
  • Why it is important
  • Content syndication concerns
  • Content syndication effect on SEO
  • Types of content syndication
  • Content syndication strategy
  • How to choose a content syndication partner

What is Content Syndication?

Even before social media and the internet, content syndication has always been a big deal. Newspapers used to do it all the time. 

They’d collect articles written by smaller publications and writers and publish these in their more popular and widely-read newspapers. Both the newspaper and smaller publications/writers won. The newspaper got a fresh article without having to expend resources, and the smaller publication reached an audience it was previously unable to reach while attaining a bit of renown. 

Content syndication hasn’t changed. Whether you are a blogger, a content marketer looking to create a marketing strategy, an ebook writer or podcaster, you can still enjoy the benefits of content syndication. 

A classic example of content syndication is what Ryan did with his article on cold emails. First, he published a blog post on his website.

Source: Ryrob.com

Then went on to publish the same article on And.co.

Today, almost every website worth its salt does content syndication. It is a symbiotic relationship between authority websites and smaller content creators or brands. 

The authority websites do it because it freshens up their content. At the same time, original owners benefit from syndicating content because it allows their brand to reach audiences that they usually would be unable to access independently.

With content syndication, everyone wins!

Some of the platforms you can work with include 

  • content distribution partners
  • digital publishers
  • industry influencers.

And more.  

Pros of Content Syndication

Syndicated content pays. Here are 4 reasons why you should increase your content syndication efforts.  

  1. Exposes Your Content to a Larger Target Audience
Content syndication

The definition of content syndication reveals one advantage – when you republish your content on third party websites, your content is seen by more people than it would have if it remained where it was originally published.

Therefore, it exposes your content to viewers who would have never come across your content or brand organically. 

  1. Helps with lead generation

If you are a content marketer, then you are likely obsessed with generating leads. Content syndication is important to a content distribution strategy, and 46% of content marketers sought to improve their content distribution strategy in 2020. 

Content syndication is a critical lead generation avenue for many enterprises, allowing them to get their content in front of more people than they’d get by just hosting it on their website. 

Do you want to improve your leads? Then syndication is an effective means of growing leads. By promoting your exact content on a bigger platform, you have the opportunity of meeting a large number of your target audience in their element, providing them information that they need where they are already looking for it. 

  1. Boosts your reputation/authority

When you choose the right syndication partners, you can position yourself as a thought leader in your industry. 

For instance, syndicating your content on Medium can drive massive traffic to your website and position you as a thought leader. 

If an authority website approves for your content to be republished, it boosts your reputation as appearing on such websites confers a level of trustworthiness and credibility. More people would be ready to buy into your ideas and check out whatever you are promoting with such backing.  

  1. Drives high-quality links to your website

The next benefit of content syndication is its massive potential to drive high-quality links to your website. Link building is important if you want search engines to trust your website; especially if you are just starting out. 

Content syndication concerns

  1. Inability to collect emails

Creating an email list can be challenging if your content is syndicated because most syndication partners won’t allow you to place an opt-in box on their websites. 

So while you might get more exposure, it becomes a challenge translating the increased exposure into more subscribers for your email list. 

Therefore, content syndication here serves as a two-edged sword — you get more exposure, but you can’t translate that exposure into more subscribers for your email list. 

  1. Disappointing lead quality

As a content marketer, the goal of content syndication networks is to generate new leads from prospective accounts. One of the advantages of syndication is that your lead generation numbers will get a boost. 

However, the downside is that you might have fewer qualified leads, even if you have qualifying questions. 

The best way to deal with this challenge is to use nurture campaigns in conjunction with syndicating content. 

While content syndication has disadvantages, the benefits that you get from it far outstrip them – as long as you do it correctly. 

Is content syndication bad for SEO?

It depends. 

Since content syndication involves duplicating content, it can have a negative effect on a site and its SEO. 

As you might already know, Google seriously frowns on duplicate content and may penalize websites that publish the same content.

So how can you syndicate content safely?

How to syndicate content safely

The easiest way is to use a rel= ”canonical” tag to let Google know that your website is the original source of the content. 

The canonical tag also comes in handy in pushing your website up SERPs.

Content syndication vs. guest posting

Content syndication and guest posting are two different things. 

When you write a guest post for a website, you write fresh content that hasn’t been written anywhere else. The content you write is for the website or publication only. On the other hand, syndicated content is a word-for-word republishing of previous content on one or more platforms – with the content owner’s permission, of course. 

When reading a syndicated piece of content, it’s easy for the reader to know the content they’re consuming appears somewhere else. How? 

There’s often a reference at the top or bottom of the page that mentions it.

Source: Ahrefs

On the other hand, the most a guest blogger usually gets is a by-line. 

The difference can be summed up in two points:

  • For guest posting, you are creating content for websites or publications. The content exists only on that platform, and you don’t usually have rights to the content. 
  • Syndication means that the content exists on your site, and you have permitted other websites or platforms to post an exact or edited copy of that content on their platform. 

Types of content syndication

Content syndication takes different forms depending on:

  • The way the content is displayed
  • Republishing rules
  • Type of content

Syndicated content can be divided into:

  • Free & Paid syndication
  • Inbound & Outbound syndication

Let’s now consider these types of syndication. 

Free & Paid

Free Syndication

As the name implies, this type of syndication is one where the third-party website does not request payment in exchange for publishing your content on their website. 

How to use Free content syndication

Work with publishers with large syndication networks

When creating content, it is vital to keep your market in mind. But if you want to do content syndication, you must also keep potential publishers in the picture and top of mind. 

So what does this mean?

It means that whatever content you create should excite and interest potential publishers you might want to pitch. If these publishers see your content, they might become so interested that they agree to help you boost your reach. 

Getting publishers to work with is not easy, but you can snag one or more with the right content and right pitch. Your pitch should focus more on how much value you’re bringing to the table instead of just asking for a spot in their publication.

When looking for publishers to pitch to, you should also look for publishers with an extensive syndication network. For example, some companies are part of a bigger parent company. Getting published on these can result in getting exposure on even more platforms. 

Work with non-competitors in your space

If pitching to large publishers gets you all nervous, then perhaps you will find it easier to work with blogs and websites with a similar audience like you. While looking for sites with a similar audience to you, you should look for blogs that will not compete with your content. 

In this case, you help each other — they syndicate your content, and you syndicate theirs.

Keep in mind that this method also takes hard work. You need to have people skills and be good at networking. If you succeed in getting non-competitors to syndicate your content, though, the benefits will be enormous. When another website publishes your work, it links back to your site and will promote your content. 

Use social media platforms

Social media platforms are excellent tools that can help you to reach a large audience. It is easy and free (more on free syndicating later). 

Some popular platforms that you can use to syndicate your work include LinkedIn. This platform allows you to write lengthy articles and content on your page or send them to contacts. These contacts can then share your work with others. 

If your work is mostly visual, dealing in images and infographics, then a platform like Pinterest should be of interest to you.  

If you are interested in free content syndication with social media, here is a list of websites and platforms that allow you to post content for free:

  • LinkedIn
  • Medium
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • Facebook Business
  • SlideShare
  • Mix
  • Quora

Paid Content Syndication

As the name implies, this process is one where you pay to get published. 

The paid content syndication process works almost the same way Google Ads works — where you pay per click. You also get to set a budget and outbid your competitors to have your links featured on high-authority websites.

Although most large brands enjoy using this method of content syndication, small businesses and brands can also use it, thanks to Taboola and Outbrain’s tools that allow them to get featured on big sites like the BBC.

Other paid content syndication services or tools include Scoop.it, Zemanta, and Sharethrough.

The downsides of paid publishing are that your links don’t have any SEO authority and that viewers often view the links you gain as spammy. 

Inbound syndication

In this type of syndication, several websites publish content and share the leads. This type of syndication also includes PPC promotion where site owners pay syndication companies to do the syndication for them. 

Outbound syndication

This is unique syndication that refers to content in press releases. For example, a company like CNN writes a short piece of content for distribution on news sites. Then the site can link the shortened piece back to the original article or story on the company website. 

Content syndication tips

  1. Create good content

One of the main reasons for publishing your content on another website is to boost your brand’s reputation. Therefore, ensure that you syndicate only your best content. 

Content that qualifies includes content that:

  • Received plenty of positive feedback
  • You believe is the best you’ve created
  • Is always relevant or evergreen
  1. Don’t rush

Wait for no less than one week after uploading your content before you pitch them to syndicating websites to help distribute your content. Waiting will ensure that Google indexes your content and gives you some SEO value.

  1. Let Google know what you’re doing

Duplicate content might cause some problems with search engines. To avoid these issues, here are two things that you can do. 

  • Ensure your syndication partner adds the rel=canonical tag to your content on their website. The tag shows the search engine the location of the original content.
  • You could also discuss with your partner to NoIndex the content. This will ensure that you don’t get outranked by the bigger website. 
  1. Direct traffic to your website

Because the goal is to direct people back to your website, you should include links to your website in the body of your content and also in the author bio section.

Conclusion

Content syndication can be a powerful tool that can help to distribute your content. It is a simple way to get your content in front of a very wide audience, increase leads and backlinks, and significantly improve your reputation. 

Make it a part of your strategy today, and watch as it carries your website to greater heights. 

Tobi Joshua freelance writer

Tobi Joshua

Tobi is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about workplace dynamics, consumer behavior & psychology, and content marketing. He considers his faith, family, and time to be most important to him. If he isn’t spending time with family, you’d find him reading a book or watching a 80’s movie.

Click here to reach out to him.