When it comes to content creation and distribution, scale is the name of the game. But in my experience with prsuit.com, I have not always seen scale in the traditional sense of the word — sharing, referrals, traffic, engagement, etc. While those are certainly elements of scaling a blog or publication, for me, true scale has always meant the ability to effectively and consistently produce content that stays true to one’s brand and brand mission. The more content that fits this vision, the better, enabling you to rapidly seed the digital ecosystem with solid content that reflects your brand values.
Creating on-brand content regularly and with impact is easier said than done, and as any content creator knows, producing content of this nature is time-consuming. Wouldn’t it be great if you could leverage additional authors and existing content that fits the mold of your brand? And in the process, forge relationships with influencers and develop a network of contributors for your publication?
This is where content syndication can help.
What is content syndication?
Simply put, content syndication (also called syndicated curation) is the process in which you republish existing content (i.e., already published elsewhere) onto your platform. There are many ways this can come to happen, but usually it is the result of a value-driven relationship between a content platform and the authors of existing content across the Web. PRSUIT was build on this model, and to date we have published hundreds of syndicated articles. Even better, these syndicated authors have now become frequent contributors of original content, enabling our growth and scale.
Leveraging existing content that shares the same values and voice as your brand is a great way to scale your brand voice and help you fine-tune it. The process is simple:
- Find content that is a great fit for your platform — subject matter, voice and presentation (this is the most important step)
- Secure the rights to republish it on your platform
- Republish and share
How to tackle each step
Find content. The World Wide Web is at your disposal, and there are nearly limitless platforms to search on and identify good content. Hit Google and search around your niche and content, look at LinkedIn Pulse, search Reddit via searchreddit.com, search by category/interests on Stumbleupon, browse Digg, etc. There are thousands of great blogs and pieces of content that exist on them; you just need to find them and then ensure they fit your brand voice.
Secure it. Most bloggers are looking for additional distribution for their content. As long as you have created a solid platform with decent and growing readership (and can relay this clearly), creating a reciprocally beneficial relationship should be easy. Examples of items to offer authors to incentivize them (beyond money, of course)include author byline and image, links, social promotion, etc.
Here is an example of an outreach email that is simple and to the point. From this email, editor and contributor worked out acceptable terms beyond the immediate attribution:
Keep in mind that even if you receive the rights from an author, if he has already published it on another platform that isn’t his own personal blog, you may have to secure permission from the original publisher and/or include language about where the post first appeared. Be thorough here! Know what the writer has agreed to with the original publisher.
Republish it. Take time to customize the look and feel of the content for your platform. Depending on the agreement you have in place with the author, you might be able to tweak headlines, images, etc. Make sure you take the time to get this in place, as you want syndicated content to have the same brand feel as your original content.
The added power of syndication
Syndicating a piece of content is not just about securing permission from an author and then publishing it on your platform in a vacuum. In creating and scaling PRSUIT, I have established working relationships with hundreds of contributors. The result? Hundreds of pieces of great content but more importantly, a combined network of millions of followers that follow and listen to our syndicated contributors. This is the manner in which great content platforms are initially created — by leveraging the combined networks of its contributors.
The social and personal networks of our contributors are astonishingly vast, and they are largely responsible for our rapid growth. Our contributors are proud when their piece is republished with us and thus become advocates of our platform. They are the backbone of our social sharing strategy. They share, seed and distribute our content, because doing so benefits them as well as us.
Content syndication is an effective way to bring your content voice to life at scale, but make sure you stay true to your voice. Don’t stray simply to publish and produce more. Hammer away at your niche, find great supporting content that reflects the tone and theme of your original content and watch your readership grow.