The Benefits and Pitfalls of B2B Content Syndication
At first glance, content syndication is a no-brainer. Why not maximize your content by distributing it to third party organizations who either share or publish your assets via their platform? You will generate brand awareness, expand your reach, and introduce your products and services to potential prospects who may never have heard of you before, potentially driving more qualified sales leads. What could possibly be wrong with that?
Nothing, if your content syndication strategy is done well as part of an overall larger approach. There are definitely content syndication land mines to watch out for, from disreputable, spam-ridden publishers to generating leads that are definitely not sales ready. This blog will present both sides of the content syndication coin; the good, and the bad.
The Top 7 Benefits of Having a Sound Content Syndication Strategy:
1. ROI from SEO. Google can be a double-edged sword. When posting your content on a site that has a higher authority than your own, Google will give you a boost in ranking. (Check out the content syndication pitfalls below to discover the ugly side of duplicate content as determined by Google.) However, when dealing with the syndication site, make sure they allow inline links and an author byline that is linkable back to your website and to your social media profiles to drive traffic. Each inbound link from a credible website is a positive vote in favor of your website.
2. An Introduction to an entirely new audience. One of the biggest benefits of content syndication is that you can double, even triple, your ideal target audience, without a lot of extra work on your part. In fact, you may reach thousands of ideal prospects who may never have heard of your products or services.
One tip, do a bit of reconnaissance work to find out where your prospects “hang out” from a social media perspective. This will facilitate them promoting your products and services on multiple channels. Bonus!
3. Leads, leads and more leads. One of the biggest advantages of content syndication is locating qualified prospects that are interested in your products and services. Better still, it’s a great tool to have your targeted prospects find you. Make sure you have the systems in place to track and capture leads generated through syndication. This is critically important for your analysis and reporting functions, especially as you will want to track which channels and sites drive the best, most productive results.
4. Your content has the ability to travel at the speed of sound. Content travels fast. Real fast. Make sure you give your content multiple platforms to share. Content syndication allows you to reach a wider audience in a much shorter period of time. As time is probably your most important commodity, content syndication is a cost-effective way to gain access to an audience that may turn 1,000 views into hundreds of thousands of views from the very targets you prize most.
5. A content syndicated star is born. Content syndication can make known and respected authors out of mere mortals. To keep a consistent presence in the internet universe, you can do a few things to promote your brand, as well as that of your company. Include strong calls-to-action, links back to your site for a greater treasure trove of information, author biographies, helpful hints and strategies, social media handles and anything else you can think of to gain greater exposure.
6. Brand awareness on steroids. Having an effective content syndication strategy allows you to be a regular syndication partner with top-of-the-line publishers, thus utilizing a better syndication network. By republishing your content on reputed and high-authority websites, you will reside amongst the top leaders within your industry, thus boosting your brand reputation, and that of your company.
7. Resist the temptation to sell. Yes, this may seem counter-intuitive, but content syndication represents an ideal opportunity for you to tout your knowledge, expertise and vision for those topics of most interest to your targeted prospects. Build your reputation and the reputation of your company by demonstrating you fully understand the pain points suffered by your potential customers. However, do not tie in your products and services to this message. Rather, present facts, figures, tips and other content of value.
The Top 7 Pitfalls of Having a not-so-sound Content Syndication Strategy.
1. Beware of the Google Police. Google does not like duplicate content and could potentially lower your ranking due to their perceived infraction(s) on your part. In fact, your duplicate content could outrank the content located on your own site because the syndicated page has higher authority. Ouch!
There are ways of avoiding the double content hit. For instance, don’t index one of the listings. For an excellent resource on avoiding duplicate content penalties and other missteps and how to get around them, check out the following link: https://moz.com/learn/seo/duplicate-content
2. The dark side of content syndication publishers. Not to put too fine a point on it, but some publishers are hacks. Specifically, they embrace spam, which unfortunately undermines your content, lead quality and website. Homework is called for when searching for appropriate publishing partners. Check out forums, social media platforms and industry experts to ensure that you only syndicate your content on sites that are relevant to your business. Don’t risk experimentation. Sign up for email notifications to see what types of emails they generate. Review the content that they publish. You don’t ever want to risk not making a good first impression on your prospects, so avoid sites that create spam.
3. Generating leads that don’t quite make the grade. Leads are not all created equal. Because leads generated via content syndication are removed from your website, it may be harder to convert them to prospects. You may want to consider adjusting your syndicated content to only high-level offers that may convert them even if the prospect is unfamiliar with your products and services.
4. Syndicated content runs the risk of being as stale as day old bread. If your content remains static, never-changing, and just plain dull, you run the risk of having outdated content and bored readers. Never a good thing. Unfortunately, because your content is hosted on other sites, you may lose control of content timing and relevance. Your content may be on hundreds of websites through the internet, which limits your freedom to edit or update your assets. Please note, the main danger of this content syndication phenomenon is that you may do damage to your brand awareness and reputation in the eyes of the very prospects that mean the most.
5. Danger, Will Robinson! One of the major downsides of content syndication is that of duplicate content, a fierce enemy of the intrepid marketer. One of the best ways to overcome this is to collaborate with reputable websites that are a paragon of professionalism. Eliminate the possibility of having your content hampered. You must remain the original source of the content they are syndicating.
6. Complex Content Conundrums. Unfortunately, content syndication is not exactly a submit-it-and-forget-it proposition. It takes steadfast management, refreshed content, and a steely determination to not allow your content to be edited by third-party webmasters. Make sure this is explicitly expressed in your license agreement. Warning: Check to make sure your content isn’t divided into pieces which makes room for more advertising on their site. Also, pay close attention so that syndication partners don’t change the links on your content to point to their own affiliates.
7. Let the Buyer Beware. Do not, I repeat, do not present your products or services via content syndication. It is imperative that you gain the trust of your potential prospects. Save the product spiel for your lead generation activities and direction to your website. Know your content syndication place and you will gain the respect of your constituency – veer from this, and you’ll lose any reputation you’ve garnered with them.
As we’ve hopefully demonstrated, content syndication isn’t for everyone. It takes strategic planning, constant content visits, intense research, and skillful negotiation with publishing partners. Although the cons may at first seem a bit scary, don’t be intimidated by the content syndication process as the gains far outweigh the losses.
According to Ann Handley, digital marketing pioneer, writer and speaker: “Our online words are our emissaries; they tell the world who we are.” So, make sure you put your best content foot forward as you gain new prospects who are on the way to their buyer’s journey. Be careful to attract the right targets, in the right way, and where content syndication makes the most sense with the best publishing partners suited to your business.