Posted in Content | 9-min read
"Syndication" doesn't just mean newspapers and magazines anymore.
In our first two sections of our “Taking Your Blog Further” series, we explained how both guest blogging and email newsletters can extend the visibility of your blog in order to increase readership. In the last technique of this particular series, we’re going to look at a third way to increase the visibility of your blog and increase your number of email subscribers — blog content syndication.
What is blog content syndication?
Content syndication is nothing new. As long as newspapers have been in circulation, articles, cartoons, and other content have been shared in other publications across various regions. If you’ve ever read a locally sourced piece in a national publication even just enjoyed a “Peanuts” cartoon in your local paper, you’ve consumed syndicated content. In the same vein, blog content syndication allows media sources to share different perspectives and a variety of stories from all over the web.
How does blog content syndication differ from guest blogging?
Unlike guest blogging, content syndication is the republishing of previously published blog articles on other media websites.
What are the benefits of content syndication?
Let’s say you’ve just published an outstanding blog article. This article is genuinely helpful to your audience and shows your authority on a particular subject. Despite this, the article is only visible on your site. While this exclusivity may feel nice, if your blog isn’t receiving optimal traffic, it’s largely unseen.
Syndication, however, puts your high-quality article in front of a wider audience by essentially piggybacking on a larger media site. Captivated readers can then follow links back to your website and take suggestion actions. This all done by connecting with a popular content site — a syndication partner.
Establishing a Content Syndication Strategy
Before you go emailing your blog article off to any content site you can find, it is important to have a syndication strategy in place. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is content syndication the best choice for my aims?
- Who is my target audience and where do they go for content?
- How am I helping my audience as well as my syndication partner?
- How will I determine which articles to submit for syndication?
Determining Which Articles to Submit for Syndicate & When
Before you start to send off requests for syndication, you’ll want to determine which articles to send.
- Send the best. Don’t send your lowest-performing article in hopes of giving it a boost. Choose your highest-performing content in order to give yourself the best chance of being syndicated.
- Gather quality indicators before sending. There is a temptation to submit an article for submission immediately after publishing. Avoid doing so. Like a fine wine, give the article time to breathe. Determine if it is popular among your audience. Use these indicators of article quality when pitching your article for syndication.
How to Find Content Syndication Partners
In order to syndicate your blog article content, you first have to figure out where you’d like your content featured. Here are a few tips for doing so:
- Determine where your target audience goes for content. Before you go off pitching your content to the New York Times and Yahoo News, look for niche media site and blogs to pitch your site to. A helpful way of finding these blogs is by searching Google News for topics related to your content. Google News usually only features media sites and blogs not tied to companies, so you’re less likely to encounter competitor blogs.
- Use this Google search hack. When looking for websites that are open to contributors, craft your query to look like this: Keyword + write for us. For example, if you’re looking to pitch stories about the automotive industry, do a Google search for “automotive industry + write for us”. You’ll not only find relevant websites but you’ll usually be taken directly to pages where you can pitch your content for syndication or discuss guest blogging.
How to Pitch Your Content
Once you find a relevant website where you’d like to see your content featured, you’re going to want to find an editor’s email address. If you’re looking to submit your piece to many different publications, it can be helpful to create an email template where you can fill in the relevant information as it changes.
Here is an example:
Subject: Republishing article about (insert subject here)?
Hi, (Editor name),
I published an article on (insert subject here) last (time period when you published it). My readers seemed to enjoy it as it (insert relevant indications of popularity here). I think that the readers of (enter media website name here) would really enjoy it.
You can check out the article here: (insert URL to article)
If you like it, it would be awesome to see it published on (insert name of media site here).
Thank you for your time,
Structuring Your Article & Links
If the editor likes your article and agrees to run it on their site, make sure to submit a pre-formatted HTML version of the article. Not only does this make it easier for the media site to post on their site, but this also gives you control of the links. As we discussed in our last article on guest blogging, links back to your website are crucial as they’re the main reason you’re syndicating your content in the first place.
In order to determine how people came to a specific link, using a UTM tracking code can be useful. A UTM, or Urchin Tracking Module, is a code snippet on the end of a URL that tells the analytics of the website how the visitor found that link. When syndicating your content, UTMs come in handy in two ways.
- UTMs for outbound links to sources can tell those other websites that you’re linking to them. When the webmaster of those other sites checks their analytics, they’ll see that you’re linking to them. That may increase their likelihood of reciprocating in a positive way such as sharing your article on their social media or networking with you in the future.
- UTMs back to your site (either the original version of the post, a landing page or other page on your site) will tell you how much traffic your syndication is sending your way. In order to access these details, you can open Google Analytics > Acquisition > Campaigns. Under the “Source/Medium” section, you will see where the traffic came from and it’s medium — whether it was an email, blog post, video, etc.
Won’t posting duplicate content hurt my website’s SEO?
One of the main downsides to content syndication is that Google doesn’t like duplicate content. The reason for this is that, in the past, people have tried to fake their relevancy by regurgitating their content all over their page or by straight-up stealing great content from other sites. However, a great way to get around this issue is by including a link back to where the article originally showed up on your site — the source.
Again, don’t forget to use a thoroughly filled-out UTM tracking URL so you can see how much traffic is coming back to your site. You can build UTMs with ease using the Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder.
While there is a risk that your syndicated content may outrank the original source of your blog article, that’s just a risk you’re going to have to take. Still, look on the bright side — your blog article on a third-party site may also outrank your competitor’s blog as well!
Best Practices For Linking Back To Yourself
Congrats — you got your article approved, you have your UTMs updated, and now it’s time to consider how you’re going to link back to yourself. While it is a good idea to link back to the original source of the article for SEO purposes, you’ll want to make the most of your call-to-action at the end of the blog.
Drive Traffic to Landing Pages
You may feel like simply driving traffic back to the article source or your homepage is the best use of your CTA (call-to-action). It’s definitely not.
- Firstly, there’s no reason to drive traffic back to the article source because if they’ve come this far, they’ve already read the article.
- Secondly, if they’ve come this far and are willing to click on something, you want to control what actions they take next — the fewer options the better.
You can avoid causing decision fatigue for the user and invite them to take action with landing pages. Because they enjoyed your content enough to click on a CTA, linking to a landing page that invites them to sign up to your newsletter is a great idea. In the confirmation email or “thank you for subscribing” page, then you can invite them to take additional actions on your site.
Need a Quick Syndication Win? Syndicate Your Blog to Medium.com
In order to put what you’ve learned in this piece to work, you can start syndicating your best blog posts to a service called Medium. Medium is a content syndication website that content makers can use for free to immediately start posting articles. Practice developing your syndication strategy and proper linking processes immediately without any approval.
In this piece, we discussed:
- What is blog content syndication
- How it differs from guest blogging
- The benefits of syndication
- Establishing a good syndication strategy
- Finding syndication partners
- How to pitch your content
- Structuring your article and links
- The SEO implications of syndication
- The best self-linking practices
- How to get started syndicating immediately
We’re excited to see you continue to extend the reach of your blog!