Content syndication is the process in which content marketers, after publishing blog posts on their own blogs, then distribute and spread their blog posts to third-party sites to republish that same content. Syndication is useful for content publishers who want to widen the reach of their content far and wide, to sites where traffic and visibility is much higher than their own blogs. Sites within a syndication network may offer to republish your articles, videos and graphics as native content, while giving you credit and linking back to your original post.
The worry that most content marketers have about content syndication is whether it will harm the SEO value of your content. It is common knowledge that Google penalizes “duplicate content”. It may happen that the site with higher traffic may score over your own blog as the “original site where the blog post appeared” – and your blog would get penalized for the duplicate copy of that original blog post. Content syndication networks usually get around this challenge by telling the search engine where the content originally came from (by indicating the originator of the blog post via the “rel=canonical” meta tag), so that the original publication gets indexed, and receives all of the SEO benefits. One more commonly asked question: are paid content syndication networks better than free solutions? Not at all! That’s why we’ve brought you this collection of free content syndication platforms culled from the best Content Tools & Resources we could find.
Medium is a very popular platform that gives writers (and businesses) a space to publish feature-rich articles. You can “import” articles from your blog to Medium – so that it gets posted in Medium with the “rel=canonical tag” and avoids the duplicate content issue. You can also choose to submit your article to many niche publications within Medium, to enable them to spread your content among their readers.
One of the important aspects of Medium is that it allows readers to annotate articles, upvote them and mark out passages that they want to highlight, which makes it more interesting for other readers. Some businesses like Buffer have developed their content on Medium as a separate blog stream in addition to their regular blog, to increase their readership.
A while ago, the content discovery platform StumbleUpon closed down. All its content moved to Mix, which became the new kid on the content curation block. Mix allows users to create collections of related content and share them with others. You have to sign up for a Mix account, pick topics of interest, and then let Mix create and publish a queue of relevant articles in the format of article cards.
Content marketers can upload their articles to Mix, create themed collections, and then allow Mix to distribute the content to relevant readers. Mix also has Chrome and Firefox browser extensions, so you can curate URLs from anywhere online as you browse, and add content to your collections.
Facebook Business has both free and paid features. But before you get down to paid ads, there’s a lot you can do with free features. You can post short-form or longer articles, you can post to your Facebook Profile, on your Facebook Page or to Facebook Groups. Facebook also allows an easier version of “ads” in the form of “promoted posts” – which cost less and can be targeted at very granular, handpicked audiences. To add to all this, Facebook also has a great retargeting feature.
Of all the social media channels, Facebook has the largest audiences and the lowest rates for paid ads, so it’s a combination that appeals to a lot of small businesses. But it takes a bit of A/B testing before you really get your Facebook marketing – free or paid-correctly done. After you get over that learning curve, the dividends from using all the myriad features that Facebook offers are really worth the effort.
Reddit calls itself the “front page of the Internet”. It is a social media platform where users share links to content from around the web. Reddit’s most distinguishing feature is that it is organized into “sub-reddits”. These are like communities centered around specific niche topics. Sub-reddits are great places to find very niche specific target audiences, and let them engage with what you’re sharing.
Reddit isn’t the best place to syndicate your long-form content because it does not allow you to create or republish feature-rich articles. But what it allows you to do is to link to your original post, and start a conversation about it on the suitable sub-reddits. This is a smarter way to get to niche audiences, without seeming too overtly self-promotional with your content. People who believe in Reddit use it a lot – and get a lot out of it too.
If you create audio content like podcasts, SoundCloud is an ideal free platform to distribute your work to. Just like iTunes, SoundCloud too allows you to upload and share your content for free. If you want richer options and features – detailed analytics or more audio controls – you can sign up for a monthly or yearly subscription.
It is generally considered good practice to syndicate your audio content on several platforms. That’s why if you only publish your podcast via iTunes, you miss out on a substantial number of other listeners. You can sync iTunes and SoundCloud, so you only have to upload your content once and your podcast will be available in both places.
YouTube has over 1.9 billion active users each month (and growing) so if you have video content to redistribute, it’s your #1 choice. It’s easy to set up your account, and start uploading your tutorial or informational videos in a jiffy. YouTube Studio, a new feature, provides a fairly detailed analytics dashboard, so you can get insights into your audience behavior.
YouTube videos don’t just reside on YouTube. Countless people look for videos on topics in their niche, and then embed these videos into their own websites and blogs. So the multiplier effect of YouTube videos is really high. Finally, YouTube is owned by Google, so I am sure Google gives some precious brownie points in organic rankings to those who have repurposed their content into YouTube videos. At the very least, YouTube videos get indexed very fast on Google.
For those who create infographics or other visual content, Pinterest is an excellent platform. Compared with other content syndication solutions, Pinterest displays infographics the way they are meant to be seen – that means at full length, and not in a cropped or half-visible state.
Pinterest lets you upload as many pieces of content as you like for free. Your “pins” can usually be categorized into collections, which are called “boards”. You can pin graphics to your own boards or to the boards you share with others. Pinterest was one of the earliest social platforms dedicated to visual content, and even today is the platform of choice for people who build great collections of visual content on their niche topics. The platform is also one of the most used, and since all pins can also be linked to URLs, you can link images back to your blog posts that are on the same topic.
LinkedIn, one of the premium social sites for career professionals and business owners, is itself a highly popular content syndication and distribution platform. You can republish your blog posts as LinkedIn articles, which will then populate the news feeds of people who have become your “connections”. LinkedIn is ideal for B2B marketers, because the platform is designed specifically for business people.
Content marketers, who are aiming to build topical authority for their brands and themselves, like to syndicate their blog posts to LinkedIn, simply because the platform enjoys a high reputation among people who like reading professionally weighty information. Content here is serious, and usually aimed at helping other professionals in their career or business climb. In LinkedIn, not only can you share your articles with people already in your network, but also with people in the networks of those connected to you. This amplifies your reach substantially.
Slideshare is a site dedicated to hosting Powerpoint slide-decks and presentations. Just as you would post videos to YouTube, you can post your slide-decks to Slideshare. SlideShare has a sophisticated search feature which makes it easy for your target audience to find your content. They can choose to embed your slide-decks in their websites, or even clip individual slides from your presentations.
It’s a great idea to give more lease of life to your blog posts, by repurposing them as slide-decks and uploading them to Slideshare. It’s also a great way to reinforce your thought leadership. Slideshare was purchased by LinkedIn in 2012, so you now can display your slide-decks on your LinkedIn account with just a click.
Quora is essentially a question-and-answer site. It’s beauty is that people can leave their questions there on a host of topics. Others who feel they are qualified to reply – or those who have web businesses and provide solutions to such questions – can write replies at length to these questions. Most content-marketers like to write answers and leave links to their sites where readers can get more information on the topics. One question can get many answers.
In these days of trying to judge people’s intentions behind their search queries on Google, and hoping your blog post fits, it’s a lot easier for content-marketers to know exactly what questions people are asking and then answer them on Quora. Answering queries at length on Quora is almost like blogging, and many bloggers, who have posts on that exact same topic, like to post excerpts from their own blog posts. You may get many people reading your replies, comparing you with others who have replied, and upvoting your replies. You thus gain also on the growing awareness of your competitive edge as an authoritative brand.
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Other articles in our series “Content Tools & Resources”:
- Best CRM For Solopreneurs: To Make Customer Nurturing Easier!
- 25 Content Marketing Books That Bend Your Mind Towards Success!
- 10 Free Keyword Research Tools To Help You Plan Your Site Content!