Digital MarketingStrategiesContent Syndication and Guest Blogging

Content Syndication and Guest Blogging

Syndicating your content to a third-party site or guest blogging for a respected publication can be a boost for your business. Here's a deeper look at the benefits, and potential drawbacks, of this strategy.

If your company is regularly publishing good content on your site, you might consider syndicating a portion of this content out to third parties, for example, to online publications in your business vertical.

Why Syndicate or Guest Blog?

  1. More Visibility. Although you may have put a lot of SEO effort into your business domain, few B2B sites have the site authority of a dedicated content site. By sharing content with a site with higher authority than your own, your content will be more visible in search engines. Additionally, the site you syndicate to may aggressively promote your content via its own promotional apparatus, which often includes emails sent to large subscriber lists and posts to high-traffic social channels. Syndication can extend your reach to audiences that might otherwise be completely unaware of what your business does.
  2. Added Prestige. If you can strike a deal with a first-rate publisher, your business may be the beneficiary of a prestige boost. Many online publishers (including ClickZ) are extremely picky about who they allow into their pages; if your content makes the cut, it’s definitely something that marks your brand as “elite.” You can promote the fact that your work appears in a given high-profile publisher site in your own marketing collateral and on your blog. 
  3. Editorial Assistance. While some outlets will accept whatever words you send their way without adding any value, first-rate publishers will provide an additional layer of copy-editing to ensure that the quality is up to snuff. 

Caveats

  1. No Direct SEO Benefit. When Google’s Matt Cutts wrote “stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done” back in January, he wasn’t bashing content syndication or guest blogging, only the use of this tactic as a link-building scheme. While many publishers will allow a “hard” link back to your site for navigation purposes, many people recommend that this link should be a “no follow” link so that it does not confer any Page Rank. I’m of the opinion that a hard link in your bio probably won’t do any SEO harm and may in fact provide some SEO benefit.
  2. No Self-Promotion. Just like Google, the editors of online syndication outlets want you to write about interesting things in the world, not promote yourself. If your normal editorial voice is self-promotional, tone it down: you’re guest blogging/syndicating to share your wisdom, not make sales.
  3. Less Topical Control. Once a third-party site selects you to write on a given topic, you’re going to have to stick to that topic. Many sites specialize in very granular, technical topics, and it’s rare that you’ll be allowed to divert from this topic unless you demand an editorial “beat” that’s wide-ranging at the outset of your relationship. 

Best Practices

Here are some recommendations for business people who want to extend their reach via guest blogging and content syndication.

  1. Pace Yourself. While you have complete freedom to publish (or not) to your own blog whenever you want, once you’re engaged with a third party you’re bound to delivering content that’s in good shape and delivered on time. If you have an aggressive (five-day/week) blog content calendar, consider scaling this schedule back until you’re comfortable in your new role. 
  2. Use News Hooks and Anecdotes. Especially if you’re confined to a very narrow beat, it can be daunting to create content that’s enthused and exciting over time. Consider reaching beyond your narrow industry to personal experiences you’ve had or issues in the news. Doing this can boost the energy of your content and avoid the “I’ve said this 100 times before” trap.
  3. Be Yourself. Avoid a stuffy “know-it-all” tone (even if you really do know it all). Approach your audience as equals, and open up your topic for discussion (if the third-party site provides for commenting).
  4. Promote Your Partner. It’s always good to create an excerpt (not a copy) of your syndicated post and promote the fact that it’s been published on a third-party site through your social channels. 

Is Syndication for Me?

Content syndication can extend your reach, add prestige, and create new possibilities to engage with qualified audiences whose members would never visit your business blog. It can also deliver a branding boost and elevate your status as a “thought leader” in your industry vertical. Just because it hypothetically conveys no direct SEO benefits doesn’t mean that one should “stick a fork in it.” Publishing thought-leading content has benefits that range far beyond SEO.

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