We had a debate in the office recently about content syndication and its merits. The term is widely used to describe spreading content through third party sites, but there is some debate around the effectiveness or relevance. We touch on content syndication briefly in our ‘101 ways to distribute content’ guide as a recommendation for distributing content, and here we dig a little deeper into some of the considerations to take into account if you add it to your distribution plan.
Set your objectives
The first step of content syndication should be planning. Set overall campaign goals to know what you want to get out of the campaign. The most popular goals are:
- Brand exposure
- Website traffic
- Lead generation
These goals should be set and tracked over the duration of the campaign, broken down into regular checkpoints to ensure you’re consistently hitting targets.
Syndicate your best content
Content is often shared most when it is broken down into smaller media types which link back to the full content piece. Best practices for doing this include breaking down whitepapers into smaller blog posts, making snippets of videos into animated GIFs or Vines and transforming SlideShare presentations into branded infographics. Shattering content into smaller chunks makes it more flexible, so it’s best you get your content in the right format for your content distribution channel. The best types of content to syndicate are infographics, blog posts and articles.
Target your audience
With content syndication it’s important to know where your audience are most active. Using credible industry blog sites is going to be far more beneficial than free PR distribution sites, as they are more likely to be regularly viewed by your audience. There are some content syndication sites that will put your targeted B2B content mixed in with celebrity gossip – this is non-credible and will not reach the right audience – so consider your placements carefully.
Type of syndication
The type of syndication should relate to your objective. Here are the top 6 types of syndication:
- Guest blogging: syndicating content across thought leadership pieces or partner blog sites.
- Article syndication: posting a blog post onto another PR platform.
- PR service: a PR agency offers an easy way to communicate with your audience.
- Video syndication: using TubeMogul, you can easily optimise a video across multiple channels.
- White paper directory: sites like TechTarget help you distribute your content further.
- Email syndication: a quick win lead generation campaign delivering leads that have actively expressed an interest in your content.
Calculating content syndication ROI completely depends on your campaign objectives. The two most popular types for most syndication campaigns are:
- Cost-per-lead campaigns
- Cost-per-click campaigns
The cost-per-click campaigns are always going to appear cheaper at first, but working out your click-to-conversion rate will give insight into the quality of traffic coming from the channel. With cost-per-lead campaigns, you will know how many leads you are going to get for your initial budget which can help you manage your budget more effectively.
By highlighting the traffic from a referring site in Google Analytics you can get a clear indication of the quality of traffic through the medium. Key insights for the quality of the traffic include bounce rate, average time on site and pages per session. By comparing traffic through the various referral sites with organic, social and direct traffic, you will get insight into the quality compared to your regular website traffic. You may need to set up some goals or events in Google Analytics to monitor performance and clearly see the quality of the traffic.
Can content syndication help your SEO? It will certainly generate traffic to your site. However, almost all guest blogging sites and paid-for media use ‘rel=nofollow’ which won’t benefit your search engine rank. Do not use content syndication and guest blogging tactics to get links to your site in an attempt to boost SEO – it won’t work. Keep your guest blogging posts original and avoid duplicate content and Google will love you.
Content syndication is often overlooked as a distribution strategy, but when used effectively the process can produce new leads very quickly and very effectively. How have you used content syndication successfully? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below or you can tweet me @jj_stockwell.