In this blog piece, we’re going to tackle the issue of content syndication and teach you how to alleviate the issues associated with it all.
First, let’s all get on the same page by unpacking what content syndication is, why it was created, and how it can and can’t help.
For those who don’t know, the first common use of content syndication was for news companies like the Associated Press. Other news organizations would pay to have access to the syndicated content and then re-post it on their own news websites, sometimes word-for-word.
It has also been used by large technology and hardware manufacturers. They created the process of content syndication in order to send product descriptions of their product to their resellers, VAR’s, and affiliates.
Content syndication is a great solution for large companies that need to send out simple, vanilla product information about their hardware to multiple resellers, all at the same time. Some companies that use content syndication are Logitech, Mitel, Shoretel, Avaya, and even Deluxe Corp.
These companies have multiple re-seller channels that need product updates to be automatic and frequent, and a content syndication tool allows them to send that product data, all at the touch of a button.
The problem is content syndication has now moved from product descriptions to marketing. In the marketing world, it has become a popular method for small business owners to purchase content.
And this is where content syndication becomes problematic
You see, channel-based marketing Saas platforms have adopted this methodology with open arms because it’s a cheap solution to sell to customers.
While this may sound like a strong statement, it’s true. So-called marketing companies will sell “content packages” like blogging, newsletter services, SEO and website copy, all for a low-low price that offers very little ROI.
So, in honor of the game “Two Truths and A Lie”, we’re going to be dispelling the myths about content syndication, explain why we feel it’s not ideal for your marketing.
#1 Search engines don’t like syndicated content, but they also don’t hate it
In our eyes, everything you do from a marketing perspective should help your prospects and buyers find what they’re looking for, faster and more efficiently.
Now here’s why content syndication fails when it comes to marketing.
Let’s take a look at the typical scenario of a small business who uses content syndication to achieve their goals.
You pay XYZ automated marketing company $250 per month. For this $250, you get the same blog content that 25 other websites are using. You also get newsletter content that your potential competitors are using.
Doesn’t sound all that bad, right?
Matt Cutts, a senior engineer at Google, who works with the search quality team on search engine optimization says otherwise. The search engines look at your content through the eyes of a consumer.
If you’re sharing content that showed up on 25 other websites, and it isn’t relevant or of value to your reader, the search engines won’t give your site authority. And authority IS the name of the game.
Authority is a special weight given to websites. When your website and web content is trusted by your end-users, and your website is trusted by those in your industry, you are ultimately trusted by the search engines.
Authority equals trust. Authority is critical to your web marketing success.
What are some examples of websites that have authority? All the ones you’d expect, like major news publishers. The Guardian, Channele2e, Huffington Post, Tech Target, Fox News, CNN, ESPN, as well as industry changing, well-regarded websites.
Even smaller, more niche’ websites can have great standing with search engines because the content they choose to publish is authentic and custom, which typically means it’s shareable and will gain followers.
Sites that fit the search engines’ criteria will have awesome authority. You can too. The reason these sites have amazing authority, ranking well in search, is because they publish great stuff.
- They publish blog pieces that have great headlines.
- They gain authority through creating downloadable e-books and case studies that are helpful, not salesy.
- They gain trust and authority through the education and information they publish online.
That’s what you need, in order to get authority. Content syndication will never give you this result.
While this may not seem like a huge deal, it is problematic.
By using syndicated content, it costs you authority/credibility with Google and the other search engines. They will not consider your site to be authoritative or the expert source and your site could end up taking a nose-dive in the rankings, which ultimately affects your sites traffic, your lead generation efforts, and your overall web presence.
Even though the search engines won’t come out and say “we’re going to eventually penalize you for using syndicated content,” they might as well. Again, even though the search experts don’t hate the concept of low-quality, syndicated web content, doesn’t mean you should use it. Strive for authority. You’ll be better off for it, in the long run.
#2 It leaves a negative taste in your prospects mouths
Consider your customers and your prospects by putting yourself in their shoes. That’s called empathy. All business leaders need to have empathy, especially in their marketing.
Do you like reading low-quality, salesy content that makes you want to take a shower after reading it? Your prospects don’t want this type of content, either.
From your reader’s perspective, syndicated content often times fails to engage your web visitors because its not interesting.
This is because syndicated content is mass produced, rather than educational and appealing. Syndicated content is written without your readers in mind. It’s written and used because it’s quick and dirty.
What’s worse, chances are some of your competitors have the exact same content on their site.
So what are some examples of syndicated content that could potentially be leaving your buyers with a bitter after-taste?
- This content might be blog content.
- It may copy that’s on your services pages.
- It may be a newsletter.
- It might be social media content.
- It could be video content.
Not only do you have the potential to have the exact web copy as your competitors, but now your competition has the same SEO and authority value as your site does (or doesn’t).
Your messaging becomes nearly impossible to differentiate than your rivals, and any unique aspect your site could have is lost. This is why syndicated content is less than ideal for your prospects and potential buyers.
#3 You lose all your content if you leave
That’s right. Typically, none of the content that you use is yours.
It’s created by someone else, on some platform, and simply “streamed” to you. You rent it and you technically don’t own the content, meaning the recurring charge per month is essentially a rental fee.
If you end the relationship with your content provider, you may lose everything. This is probably the most obvious reason why you should reconsider content syndication.
It can be similar when hiring a website designer who does not give you a hosting server, and when you leave, do not give you the files to your access your old website. Whether you’re in favor of content syndication or not, it may cause you to raise an eyebrow, and should cause extra consideration when you realize you will not own any of the content.
Stuff you produce and create for yourself is the always the best method.
The # 1 lie about content syndication
The lie is that somehow syndicated content, other than the aforementioned situation, gets your company good SEO results is a myth.
It doesn’t. The idea of “set it and forget it” to promote your company online isn’t real. Marketing is hard. It’s never easy, especially in today’s digital age.
You’re also not alone. We’re know it’s hard and we’re here, slugging it out with you.
Also worthy to note, is the misconception that your content will never be used by your competitors. People are lead to believe that it just will not happen. It does happen.
Lastly, you should never sacrifice the process of your marketing for a halfway product that only hurts your website. Utilizing syndicated content is not the best bang for your buck when trying to promote your company online. Creating content is never a “click and forget” task. Much like your people, genuine content is the greatest asset to your company.
Be on the lookout for our next blog, where we’ll discuss ways that authentic blog content beats syndicated content every time.
Not sure how to get an ROI on your website content?
If you want free advice on how to avoid the many pitfalls of not creating authentic, helpful content then shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will gladly give you a free consultation and answer any questions you have on how to better serve your prospects and buyers online.