Search bots might love a fresh batch of content on your website, but if humans don’t see it, there’s not much point.
Finding an audience for your blog posts, videos and infographics is the aim of the game and forms an essential part of your content marketing strategy. Social media plays a key role, but relies on building followers and lots of good timing to find those almighty ‘influencers’ who will share your posts.
Yet there’s an often-overlooked way to maximise reach that’s fairly simple and gets quick results: content syndication. Also known as media syndication, it can be an extremely powerful strategy for brand building.
What does syndicating your content involve?
Content syndication involves the republishing (with permission) of content via a third-party platform. It might be that an article you’ve written is republished and/or reprinted in an industry magazine, or it could involve you connecting with a particularly brilliant piece of content and asking the author if you can share it on your website.
It’s not a new concept by any means; you’ll have seen it used on most entertainment or news sites (with the qualifier ‘This article originally appeared on…’). But it’s definitely a missed opportunity in many marketing strategies.
Why content syndication is beneficial to your business
There are two benefits of implementing a content syndication strategy.
Firstly, it allows you to reach a far bigger audience than you could manage through your natural web search and social media distribution alone. And given that your content will have been selected because of its relevance to a particular audience (which should also be your audience), it means you’ve hit the target demographic jackpot.
Secondly, content syndication offers the potential of maximum exposure for free. This is because you’re using content already produced, so there’s no need to spend valuable time writing anything fresh. You’re simply putting forward existing content into new channels. And when you consider this approach versus the massive ad spend you’d need to get the same level of coverage in the same publication, it’s a no-brainer.
How to give your content the best chance of syndication
So let’s look at a few key points to help get your content out there.
1. Your content needs to shine. This means creating only the very best blog posts, infographics and videos and striving to avoid publishing mediocre content at all costs. Any editors looking to syndicate content will be selecting those pieces that need the least work (if any). They don’t have time to redo your pieces – that would defeat the point of syndication. One such editor at a top publication in the UAE once told me that nine out of 10 thought leadership submissions were rejected mainly due to poor quality. So, make sure you have the right people to write, design and execute your content plan perfectly and create pieces worthy of being picked up.
2. Do not self-promote. Another reason that editor said those pieces were being rejected was because of blatant self-promotion. This harks back to the idea that content marketing is all about educating, not selling. You simply cannot use your content to sneak in sales messages about how great you are. Do it and your chances of syndication are zero.
3. Identify the right publications for your audience. If you’ve done your content marketing strategy correctly you’ll have figured out who your target demographic is. Now it’s time to find out which publications serve that demographic. To do this you can research online, as well as use media guides/kits from your region, to create a short list of publications to approach. But don’t forget that as well as having the right audience, you need to make sure the publications are substantial and active enough for your needs. Amanda Milligan of the Content Marketing Institute picks out three key tasks here: ‘Explore each site’s subsections’; ‘check out the comment sections on relevant articles’; and ‘look for social sharing metrics’. By getting a sense of readership numbers, social media activity and reader engagement, you can identify the publications which are the best fit for you.
4. Engage with the contacts you’ll be approaching. Once you know which publications you want to target for your content, it’s time to gather a list of the relevant contacts to approach. You should be able to find their details on the publication websites, but if not try LinkedIn and Twitter. And try to engage with them ahead of time, even if it’s just liking their posts or adding a relevant comment (again, not selling yourself), because it might mean they are more willing to keep an eye out for your posts in the future (and could ask permission to syndicate without you having to prompt them).
However, if you opt for sending out emails to contacts you haven’t connected with yet, always be polite, keep it short, and post the link to the article rather than attach anything (to avoid spam filters). It also doesn’t hurt to mention any relevant articles you might have read recently on their publication, which shows a good knowledge of their past work and helps to show your content could be a good fit.
Using syndication to build your brand
Given the cost-effective and relatively easy process behind content/media syndication, it’s surprising that most businesses don’t give it much thought when it comes to their marketing strategies.
But it’s worth thinking about. It’s a great way of reusing existing content to give your business the best exposure possible, while further helping to build your brand directly in front of your target audience.
Done right, content syndication puts you in front of the biggest version of your target demographic available. It can give you a reach of thousands—perhaps even millions—of potential customers. And all for very little effort and cost.
Silx is a new style digital agency that works with companies across the UAE and wider Gulf region to help them tell their story, reach their audiences, and create great conversations with their customers. For more information, call +971 4 427 3671, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or click here.