These days, there is a lot of content floating around the internet. According to one statistic, 7.5 million blog posts will be published each day in 2023. Whenever you upload a piece of content online, you will face lots of fierce competition for readers’ attention.
At the same time, getting your content in front of a larger audience is crucial. This is especially important if you are using content marketing to drive traffic to your own blog, grow awareness and conversions for your small business, or cultivate your reputation as a thought leader.
To stand out from the crowd, you need to do more than just publish content that is high quality. You also need to optimize your content’s SEO and promote it effectively. Although publicizing your own content on social media platforms is one way to amplify reach, both small and established brands are starting to use content syndication to achieve this.
What is content syndication?
In short, content syndication is when freelance writers, independent business owners, or small businesses republish their existing content onto third-party sites. Syndicated content encapsulates all types of content formats, from articles to infographics to videos.
Content syndication predates the digital age. In the time of print-only media, larger newspapers and magazines often included syndicated content from freelance writers and smaller, more-niche publications.
It is still a popular practice today because it creates a win-win situation for both sides. The content creator gets more exposure, which can result in a better online reputation, and the third-party site gets free content that is good quality and relevant for its audience.
Guest blog post vs. syndicated content
Guest blogging is when a fresh piece of content is published specifically for one website. When you write a guest post, you cannot post that blog anywhere else (not even on your own blog or website) because the hosting website legally owns your blog and all publishing rights.
On the other hand, syndicated content is when the same content is reused on different platforms, and the writer has full publishing rights over their content. A commonality between guest blogging and syndicated content is that they both help improve off-page SEO performance, which can help your search engine ranking.
Plagiarism vs. syndicated content
Plagiarism is when you publish another person’s content on your website or other sites without crediting them. With content syndication however, there is usually—if not always—a backlink to the original content page.
Syndicated content can also be accompanied by a statement that specifies exactly where the content originally appeared, for example, “Article originally published on website name on date.”
Three types of syndicated content
With earned content syndication, you need to pitch your original content to other websites and related publications. And before you can even take this step, you need to know which publications syndicate content on their sites.
Start by identifying publications that allow this practice, for example HuffPost, Fast Company, and Search Engine Journal. Also look out for syndicated posts as you browse the web. Indications of a syndicated post include phrases such as “originally appeared on,” “originally published in,” and “republished with permission.”
Once you’ve identified these publications, it’s just a matter of getting in touch with their editors and requesting them to syndicate your content.
Free content syndication is exactly as its name suggests: it’s free to do with no strings attached. Unlike earned or paid syndication, you don’t even need to contact anyone to publish anything—you have the power to decide.
Websites such as Quora, LinkedIn, and Medium allow you to publish your content as is and whenever you want. At the end of your article, don’t forget to backlink to your website where your piece first appeared. You can also use public forums such as Reddit to post links to your content where relevant.
Of course, with free syndication, you won’t be able to target those who see your content, identify where it is published, or track your results—so keep that in mind.
Paid content syndication is when you pay a third-party website to syndicate content to your target audience. Some examples of paid web content syndication partners include Outbrain and Taboola. With these syndication services, your content usually appears in the form of widgets at the end of relevant editorial articles.
You can also pay more reputable websites to syndicate content through their email blasts. If you appear in the email newsletter of a large publication, your content piece might be seen by thousands of people in just one day.
Paying other websites to syndicate content might not sound very attractive, especially given that you can syndicate your content for free. However, you are essentially paying for account-based marketing where you can appear in front of several qualified and curated leads that will already be more open to buying your products and services.
Advantages of content syndication
A 2023 DemandGen report showed that 30% of B2B experts viewed content syndication as the most effective tactic for lead generation. Since content syndication can be so effective, let’s explore the main benefits.
Increases awareness of your business and brand
Working with partner websites can provide a boost in your brand’s awareness, especially if they are authoritative or influential industry publications. Appearing on a major news outlet, for example, is particularly valuable for a new, small, or niche business that is still looking to establish its customer base and grow its brand credibility.
Builds website authority
Syndicating content on a third-party platform with a wide audience is important in building your website authority. This is due to valuable backlinks that lead from that website back to yours, which can help credit you and your brand.
These backlinks also help drive both organic and referral traffic to your website, which will in turn increase your conversion rate. Finally, the more backlinks each content piece has, the higher it will rank on Google search.
Generates more traction for the same piece of content
High-quality content creation can quickly grow into a large investment, especially if it is something you have to do regularly. Adding up all the different components that go into content publishing—writers’ pay, editing time, and graphic work—one article can cost you between $100 to $300. With any kind of content syndication, even paid, you can put each piece of content in front of more people at relatively little extra cost.
Disadvantages of content syndication
Unfortunately, there are some downsides when it comes to content syndication, so let’s go over them here.
Duplicate content can affect your rank in search engines
Content syndication is a form of duplicate content, which means that the same piece of content will appear more than once on the internet. Although Google does not officially inflict a penalty for duplicate content, it does filter out repeated content.
When Google has to choose which web page to display out of every piece of repeated content, it usually chooses the page with the highest authority, which may or may not be the original post.
Ironically, syndicating content means that your own web page might be outranked on search engines, resulting in less organic visibility.
You cannot collect leads with syndicated content
Most major content syndication platforms with large audiences do not give you the option to add your email opt-in widget to their site for your piece of syndicated content.
Although these sites can result in a stream of consistent traffic to your hosted content, you will not be able to consequently capture potential leads and funnel them through your email nurture program.
Syndicated content cannot be updated, unlike original content
If you needed to update an old blog post on your site with new information, you could make this happen in a matter of minutes. However, with web content syndication, updates might not be so easy. As a result, your entire article could look out of date, which could in turn affect your credibility.
Eight best practices to get the most out of syndicated content
Given there are some downsides to creating syndicated content, at the end of the day, should you still do it? The answer is a resounding yes! Here are 8 best practices if you want to get the most out of your content syndication efforts.
Build your credentials with high-quality content
Before using other platforms to syndicate your content, it’s a good idea to start doing guest blog posts to build your credentials. This might help editors approve your content syndication requests more easily later on, especially if you have a guest post on a popular blog or highly regarded site.
And, if you start writing for sites with reputable content syndication networks, such as Business Insider and TIME, you might have an easier time asking the editor to syndicate the same blog post on their other sites once you have a few published articles with them under your belt.
Identify your target audience before reaching out to third party sites
At the end of the day, content syndication is a form of content marketing and a lead generation tactic. If you just choose your web content syndication partners based on their audience size, you might not be getting your content in front of the people you want to reach. Be specific about who you want your target audience to be and choose your partner websites accordingly.
Always write a highly customized outreach message
Given how popular content syndication is among content marketers these days, editors of highly regarded content syndication websites are likely to receive hundreds of content syndication requests per day. To make your request stand out from the others, you need to demonstrate how your content is the right fit for that particular publication.
Do your research about their broader audience, their specific writing style, and the type of content they usually publish. This will help you craft a highly customized outreach message to increase the chances of your syndication request being accepted.
Have an accompanying social media strategy to amplify content reach
Social media can be a useful addition to any content syndication game plan. People might not keep checking back on a certain website, but they will continually receive updates and notifications on their social feeds. Sharing your article on social media is one way to increase its reach.
Once you know what type of posts, CTAs, posting times, and posting frequencies can get you the most interactions and views, use a social media scheduling app to ensure your content posting schedule runs like a well-oiled machine.
Use HTML to counteract duplicate content
Not only can HTML code boost your SEO performance on any search engine, but it can also help you counteract the effects of repeated content. Here’s how you can achieve this.
Use 301 redirect in your HTML code to tell search engines that the page in question has been moved to a new URL. If the same content can be accessed via different domains, you can choose one of these as the preferred destination and use 301 redirect to route traffic from all other URLs to the preferred URL. As a result, your preferred page will be indexed on search engine results instead of the syndicated version.
In HTML, the rel attribute explains the relationship between a linked resource and the current document. This rel=“canonical” tag informs search engines which page (among multiple sites with the duplicate content) is the original version. As a result, the original page will appear on Google search results instead of the syndicated pages, which can resolve the potential problem of your original content being outranked by the syndicated content.
This tag is also used on external websites. Simply ask the external site owner to add the tag to the HTML code of your syndicated content piece.
noindex robots meta tag
A robots meta tag tells Google how you want a page to be indexed. The noindex tag informs Google that you do not want that particular page to be indexed and served to other users.
As with the canonical tag, you can ask external site owners to use the noindex tag in the HTML code of your syndicated content. This will prevent the syndicated page from showing up in search results, which will improve the visibility and SEO of your original content.
Regularly monitor the results from syndicating content
Content syndication is not a set-it-and-forget-it approach. In order to get the best ROI, you need to keep monitoring the results you are getting. To make an impact on your bottom line, you need to have a steady stream of qualified leads that end up converting. To understand lead quality, you need to consider the following:
- Percentage of qualified leads: The number of leads that fit your ideal customer profile from the total lead number.
- Percentage of conversions: The number of qualified leads that convert from syndicated content.
- Cost per lead: The average amount of money each lead costs from content syndication.
- Level of engagement: The increased number of views and interactions on your syndicated content versus the blog posts that have not been syndicated.
- Website traffic: The overall increase in the number of visitors to your website and social accounts after implementing content syndication.
Don’t expect groundbreaking results overnight; give it a few months to assess how well syndicated content is working for you and your business objectives.
Don't be afraid to keep experimenting
When you have built up a database of results, you can start experimenting with your content to see how your audience responds. Will adding visual content change any outcomes? Do infographics work better than articles? Does embedding a video in an article increase the number of views on a syndicated piece?
Don’t be afraid to try out new mediums and combine different content types with each other—you might be surprised with the results.
Build a follow-up program with email nurture
Now that you have a list of leads from your content syndication plan, you need to follow up with them. According to Adobe, 96% of visitors to your website are not yet ready to buy. An effective follow-up method will increase your chances of lead conversion, especially since an average customer journey consists of 5-20 touchpoints.
A common tactic is through email nurture, which strategically educates leads about the core advantages of your product or service and makes them more likely to buy.
You can also put a lead scoring model in place to determine how likely each lead is to buy at every engagement touchpoint. Once a lead has reached a certain score, it is time to pass them on to your sales team.
Consensus: The right content syndication efforts can improve any content marketing strategy
As sales executives know, awareness is the first step to any purchase decision. Content syndication is a tried-and-tested way of getting your content in front of a wider audience more quickly and, arguably, more cost-effectively. We hope that this has been a helpful resource to get you started on your content syndication journey.