Syndication: Definition, Process & Examples

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These days, consumers are bombarded with marketing content from all avenues: TV, internet, radio and print. In order to compete, small businesses also need to create and distribute large amounts of content. This way, they can establish credibility in the industry, build trust with their target market and showcase their knowledge and expertise. Content syndication is a way to increase your reach without having a large network.

What Is Syndication?

Syndication is a way to reuse content. When it comes to online syndicated content, such as blogs, videos, infographics and articles, a third-party website republishes the content a business has created according to their agreement. The third-party site benefits by having more free content it can share with its readers, while the business benefits by reaching a large audience. In addition, the third-party site backlinks to the business’s website, which helps to increase the business’s organic traffic.

Syndication existed long before online content, however, and it is used in many different industries today. In print or news syndication, articles, columns, comic strips and features can be republished in larger newspapers. By syndicating, the local paper gets credit and acclaim for its work, and the syndicator gets content without having to pay for its creation. Similarly, for radio, specific radio shows from local radio stations can be syndicated to other network affiliates, and this provides stations with enough programming to please their audiences without having to hire additional radio show employees.

When it comes to network television, syndication is a great way for TV shows to get mass exposure and find success. New popular shows, game shows and even reruns can be syndicated to other broadcast networks. The syndication company is able to provide viewers with television shows airing 24/7 and gain additional advertising revenue through this process. The syndicated shows are able to find new audiences on network television and even gain prime-time spots in large markets. Television networks from CNN to NBC to local stations employ syndication in some form or another.

In addition to syndicated programs and content, you can also syndicate data. A market research company that collects data on target markets, for example, can sell that data to a number of companies that can use it to make informed decisions about their business. The syndicating company can create reports or presentations out of the data to sell to others or can sell the raw data itself.

The Benefits of Syndication in Content Marketing

When it comes to syndication, content marketing and online content syndication is most relevant to small businesses. This way, your organization can reach larger markets, build important partnerships and expand your network in a short amount of time. Unlike guest blog posts that only share your content with one other business’s audience, syndication deals can spread your message to a much wider market.

The benefits of content marketing syndication include:

  • Reaching more target prospects: Syndication website often have large target markets that mirror your own target market. This can help get more eyeballs on your content, and new prospects can learn about your brand.

  • Increasing return on investment: Syndicated content reaches a larger market, which brings more people to your website. Sometimes, syndicated content requires readers to fill out a form and visit the original company’s website, which can increase both leads and conversions.

  • Establishing brand credibility: Sharing your company’s content on third-party sites acts as a form of earned media, building credibility and trust for your brand. It tells prospects that it's worth listening to what your company has to say.

  • Improving domain authority: Content syndication includes backlinks to the original domain. This helps Google to see your website as more credible and increases your search engine ranking.

Being Aware of the Drawbacks of Content Syndication

While syndicating any kind of content increases your potential target market, it can also have some negative effects if it is not done correctly. Beware of hurting your brand, business and online presence with content syndication. Ensure you’re doing it strategically and with careful planning to avoid these drawbacks:

  • Outranking your own website: If your content is syndicated to a highly popular third-party site, it could come up ahead of your own website in search results. This can discourage some prospects from visiting your website.

  • Affecting SEO with duplicate content: Google dislikes having duplicate content. When syndicating content, it’s imperative to follow SEO best practices to avoid being penalized by Google. The syndicating site needs to include the correct tags that tell Google that the content is a duplicate, or it needs to include tags that don’t enable Google to index the site.

  • Getting poor leads: There is no way to guarantee that the prospects of the syndicating site are the same as your target market. Depending on the audience, you may end up getting leads that are not your ideal customers.

While the benefits of content syndication outweigh the risks in many cases, it’s best to figure out the right strategy for your business.

How to Develop a Content Syndication Strategy

If you’re considering syndicating content for your business, whether it’s blogs, articles, videos, infographics or other types of content, be sure to develop your plan carefully. Your content marketing syndication strategy process involves:

  1. Finding the right syndication partner: Do your research to find a third-party site that has a similar target market to your business and regularly posts the kind of content your business wants to share. You can find industry-specific sites or general consumer sites. Syndication options can be free or paid depending on the third-party site.

  2. Carefully choosing your content: Look back at your blog to see your highest-performing posts. That is a good place to start when deciding which content to syndicate. You can also turn high-performing posts into longer series and syndicate that content as a group.

  3. Adding links strategically: Gain the SEO benefits of content syndication by including links in your content that point back to your business’s website. You should include inline links within the body of the content as well as a link in your author byline that links back to your business’s website. By giving authorship credits, the syndicating site proves that the content has not been plagiarized.

  4. Building momentum: You can syndicate one piece of content to multiple outlets. This provides more opportunities for prospects to learn about your business and increases the likelihood of your content being picked up by additional publications.

Examples of Content Syndication

There are many different ways to use syndication for your business. Find the avenue that’s right for your business based on your target audience, industry and marketing strategy. Syndication platforms include:

  • Social media: Facebook Business and LinkedIn are good ways to showcase your business expertise. There are both free and paid options.

  • Audio and video: Share audio content on SoundCloud and iTunes and video content on YouTube and Vimeo.

  • Free syndication sites: Sites like Tumblr, Medium, Slideshare, Reddit and Quora give businesses a chance to build credibility on a budget by sharing content for free.

  • Paid syndication sites: While there are many free syndication options, you can also opt for paid options if your marketing budget allows. These sites include Outbrain, Taboola, Sharethrough and RevContent.

  • Industry-specific websites: In the real estate industry, Zillow enables realtors to syndicate their MLS listings to reach a larger audience.

Remember that you don’t have to limit your syndication strategy to just one channel or one kind of content. By sharing different types of content on different content-sharing platforms, you can build more momentum for your business and help new customers discover your offerings.

References

About the Author

Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.