Conventional wisdom calls for publishing MORE content consistently on your blog. When you’re starting, the advice is relevant. However, after you have a decent amount of content on your website, publishing content has diminishing returns.
You need to pursue the “marketing” in the content marketing. And syndicating your content is a great strategy to extend your brand’s reach and catapult your growth.
For starters, let’s begin with...
What is Content Syndication?
It’s republishing existing content on third-party websites to expose it to newer audiences. If you’ve read a disclaimer in an article stating the post was originally published elsewhere, then you have seen content syndication in action. Here’s an example:
Enter your text here...
Note that you can syndicate all kinds of content including blog posts, infographics (place your order with us already, yo?), video, and audio.
Now, there are various ways to extend the reach of your brand, but content syndication offers the following top 3 benefits.
1. For extending your brand footprint, it’s more scalable as compared with other marketing tactics like guest posting. Your content piece is in itself a mechanism of promotion.
2. You can pitch your way to reputable websites like Huffington Post, CNN, Yahoo, Entrepreneur, and the like. It’s a quicker way to reach new audiences.
3. It’s cheaper than creating new content.
For B2B brands, a 2017 survey by Salesbox revealed the following top goals of content syndication.
Now that you have the skinny on content syndication let’s get down to the actionable steps.
How to Syndicate Your Awesome Content on other Publications
I had a high-performing content piece on my website (psychology behind seeking validation) that was ranking on the first page for a few keywords.
My existing audience on social media had likely forgotten the piece, and I thought it could use some more exposure.
Hence, I looked out for relevant publications that would consider republishing. I found that Thrive Global was a good fit and they accepted stories published elsewhere. After going through their contributor guidelines, I submitted the article using their WordPress dashboard.
I made slight modifications to the headline, sourced a high-quality picture from Unsplash, and formatted the article. Finally, I added a link at the top of the article to the original piece on my website.
I also shared the link to the article on my LinkedIn profile. It lent me a few new readers.
Many esteemed and high-trafficked publications are hungry for high-quality content. They might not have a clear FAQ page (like Thrive Global). However, you can negotiate a partnership with them to either:
- Provide them with a mix of original and syndicated content: You can strike a deal of alternating between an original piece one month and syndicated pieces in the next.
Exclusively syndicated content: You merely send your already published content to your partner. And don’t create original content at all.
Note that sometimes you might need first to pitch an original guest post to a publication. The relationship can then evolve into syndication. For example, iDoneThis founder Walter Chen used the following email template to land on Business Insider.
He modified the title of his article and added a few more examples to his original piece.
The “tightening up” work put up in the article was worth the effort. Later on, iDoneThis blog content was regularly syndicated at Business Insider mostly ending with 2,000+ reads. In the picture below, you can see a couple of stories that even touched over 65k and 174k views.
Wouldn’t you love such kind of exposure?
The underlying philosophy that Walter followed was thinking “distribution first.” For every article, he had a channel in mind. His remix, reuse, and repubish approach to blogging netted his company iDoneThis $20,000.
Now, I know your next question:
How to Find Relevant Partners that are Craving your Lip-Smackingly Delicious Content?
Let me start by sharing a list of 46 publications that syndicate content (courtesy of Sumo Me).
Another actionable strategy to check if a top publication in your industry accepts syndicated article is by doing a simple Google search for attribution messages. For example, if I want to check lifehacker.com, I can use a term like “originally appeared on” to search their site.
The above screenshot confirms that Lifehacker accepts syndicated content.
Lastly, to find out more relevant prospects, you can brainstorm on the influencers in your industry. Then, scout for publications they have used to build their brand.
For example, Larry Kim is a world-class digital marketer and the founder of Mobile Monkey. If you search for his articles, you’ll find out that he relies heavily on content syndication. Here are a few results from the first page.
With influencers, you will likely find lesser known industry publications beyond page 1.
Specifically, when I explored his author profile at Small Biz Trends, I found that all of his articles were also either already published on his company website. Else, they were also available at other publications, like Inc. and Social Media Today.
It shows that your syndication efforts snowball. You can make slight modifications to every article you write and make it fit for various publications’ audiences. If you’re are creating evergreen content, then you can even reuse the articles you crafted a couple of years ago (Larry does this!)
Once you have a portfolio of articles and built credibility, you can ramp up your syndication efforts to catapult your brand. For example, Brian Honigman was already contributing to reputable publications like Forbes and WSJ. He then used the following email to further the audience of his articles.
But wait for a second:
What if no publisher is ready to accept your content?
Enter DIY Content Syndication
Essentially, syndication is about reaching new people. In the beginning, getting past the gatekeepers of top-tier publications is challenging. You can still leverage the built-in audiences of huge platforms like Medium and LinkedIn Pulse.
Larry publishes extremely aggressively (almost every second day) on Medium, and manages 100+ claps on most pieces.
You can follow this detailed Smart Blogger guide to get started with republishing on Medium.
Similarly, you can also tweak and republish your articles on LinkedIn. Online marketing thought leader, Neil Patel, used to do it a lot until 2017. And look at the kind of engagement these articles received.
Brian Lang managed to snag 332 new subscribers with 30 minutes of work by republishing his article on LinkedIn Pulse.
If you want to give LinkedIn publishing a try, then forget to follow these ten data-backed tips by OkDork.
You can also amplify the reach of your content by submitting it to niche communities in Reddit, Inbound.org, and the like. Most of such forums don’t appreciate a link to external websites. You need to add genuine value and try to engage members in a conversation.
For example, look at the 300-word original introduction I used in a marketing subreddit. The detailed description allowed me to put up a link to my piece.
You can find relevant subreddits for your content here.
Now, let me turn the tables on syndication.
How would You Like Some Free AWESOME Content for Your Blog?
Once you have an audience, you need to keep them engaged with high-quality content. However, writing from scratch can occasionally become challenging. I have a strategy that can work well in such cases:
Syndicating amazing content by influencers and third-party websites on your blog.
Now, I know that content marketing gods ask you to worship creation of a 100% original content. However, mixing about 10-15% of syndicated content in your editorial calendar from industry experts is a neat tactic to diversify the subjects on your blog.
Note that you will have a hard time to persuade these influencers to contribute a unique and original article for you. By syndicating their content, you get to snag the advice from these icons and serve value to your audience.
Wordstream did a great job at executing the strategy through their ‘12 Days of Experts’ series. They packaged the syndicated series with a powerful intro that you can read here. Their chosen experts were high-profile CEOs and thought leaders of the industry.
The original posts had already appeared on LinkedIn, personal blogs of CEOs, and elsewhere. However, they still fared decently at WordStream. For instance, the Women in Tech article by GoDaddy CEO had already appeared at Fortune (receiving close to 2.5k shares).
At Wordstream, it still managed 100+ shares.
Not too shabby, eh?
Also, don’t ignore the fact that publishing their content is a great way to kick start a relationship with such influencers. As you’ll see at the bottom of every article, Wordstream had republished these pieces ‘with the permission of the author.’
It means that Blake Irving now know about Wordstream and he’s also likely happy to see his writing reach a new audience.
Here are the three steps to implement the strategy:
Step 1: Find top-performing content by influencers and thought leaders. You can explore the trending articles at LinkedIn, Medium, and niche industry publications.
Suppose, my blog is on the subject of self-improvement. At the time of writing, here are the popular articles on Medium.
The fourth article looks like a great fit for my audience. Also, it’s performing well.
Step 2: Now, I will look at the author’s profile and find their email address. In the case of Zat (the author of the above article), I have a direct link to his newsletter subscription.
I will get direct access to his inbox as soon as I subscribe for ‘The Idea Matrix.’
In cases where the email isn’t readily available, you can use an email finding tool like hunter.io.
Step 3: I will shoot an email to Zat requesting permission to syndicate his piece on my blog. I will assure him of using rel=canonical so that he doesn’t run into duplicate content issues. If Zat does not agree, then I will repeat the process with other trending articles and other authors.
And that’s how it’s done!
Stefan Debois, Founder & CEO, Survey Anyplace, didn’t see an uptick in traffic when they syndicated their content with Upwork. It goes to show that syndication works when you really put in the work and build relationships with multiple partners.
Buffer climbed their way from guest posting to syndication, and it boosted their brand awareness and even resulted in direct referral traffic.
I have broken down the process from approaching top-tier publications all the way down to self-service syndication. Now, I want to hear from you.
How do you plan to integrate content syndication in your promotion? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.