Content syndication is the forgotten art of content marketing.
When it works, it drives in traffic like magic positively impacting your businesses SEO, PR, email marketing, community building and business development.
When you pay for a cycle of Pay Per Click marketing you can expect a return on investment as long as you continue paying for your space but when you create a piece of content and are its owned marketing that you only have to invest time into.
When properly targeted and promoted a good piece of ‘evergreen’ syndicated content will incorporate a larger publishers audience into your own and generate you leads for years to come.
It can build trust/legitimacy with your customers and the only ongoing cost after publication is remembering to pay your domain space.
Jon Westenberg is a man who has figured out content.
He’s built a career on content, largely through his columns in TIME, Inc.com, the New York Observer and his blog on Medium.
With an audience of over 110 000 people on Medium, Jon has tapped into a global audience and we were lucky enough to sit down with him to get his insight on how to gear out content towards syndication.
How to Create Targeted Content For Syndication
You build content for a persona.
It all starts with knowing who your audience is. Creating a targeted customer persona based on your ideal customer’s goals, challenges and then crafting your content offer targeted towards that persona.
Jon benchmark for successful content and how qualified a lead is Attraction, Acquisition or Win (AAW) –
- Attraction: If they visit your blog post or sign up for a newsletter. Roughly in your orbit, but they’ve only just started to care.
- Acquisition: Doesn’t happen until they take the serious action that all of your content is trying to push them through. When someone has taken advantage of your offer you have acquired them.
- Win: Even when somebody takes that initial offer, it’s not considered a win until they take your most important offer, whether it be engaging you for a series of work, continued consultancy or any high value exchange.
rethinking how we claim that they are a part of our ecosystem
How to maintain consistency with your content syndication
The key to traction for your content syndication is consistency. You need to maintain a pipeline of content ready for your synidcators.
The key to generating a lot of content is finding a Workflow that works for you.
For example, Jon’s workflow is based around a few key principles:
Plan out your writing in advance.
According to Jon taking the time to plan is the only way to make yourself write.
He’ll put away one day at the end of every month to plan out the next month’s posts. 6 posts, every week, for a total of 24 blog topics every month.
Obviously, this is a crazy amount of content to be producing and if you’re just getting started don’t try and hold yourself to the same standards, Jon has been blogging since the turn of the millennium.
Topics come from a range of different sources:
Jon will look at what articles he’s enjoyed reading and examine his response, or a new perspective.
He’ll read the New York Times religiously, books and Buzzfeed every day because when you’re prolific in your consumption of other content then ideas begin to show themselves.
He constantly makes notes during conversations with other people. If someone has a great quote then that’s straight into his notes to be expanded upon next month.
When it comes to promotion follow a 3-day share schedule:
When you publish a piece of content the last thing you want it to do is have it disappear into thin air. Content distribution and content syndication are the forgotten art of content marketing because it doesn’t matter how good a piece is if no one reads it.
Choose 3 traction channels for your content:
1. Your owned social media such as your LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook pages.
2. A community message board or forum that you’re a member of such as Quora or Reddit.
3. The final should be syndication, so reaching out to other bloggers, weekly newsletters or interest groups to publish your content for you.
How to actually achieve content syndication
When it comes to content syndication in publications such as TIME, Inc.com or Entrepreneur Magazine Jon has the same approach to creating content as if they were his paying customers.
He does his research, crafts a persona and builds his content around that persona.
For example, when TIME magazine was trying to establish their digital publishing arm Jon reached out to them with a series of blog posts that were targeted towards them.
Then reaching out to individual journalists or editors. You can either reach out to them via twitter or find them on LinkedIn and use a scraping tool such as Contactout or Lush to scrape their contact information from their account without needing to connect with them.
No mail merge email blasts just targeted content. It was based around a TIME persona, understanding what they wanted then going ahead and offering them that content.
In Jon’s experience, the only way to get content syndication is to publish, reach out, keep it small and keep it personal.
Great content creators plan it out. They take an analytical, methodical approach and this is how they achieve success.
He plans out his writing in advance. At the start of the week, he knows everything he’s going to publish in that week. At the start of the month he has a plan for all the content he is going to publish during that month.
You need a systematic approach to writing. Stores ideas for content in a spreadsheet because you’re trying to create a repeatable process.
Great content creators plan it out. They take an analytical, methodical approach and this is how they achieve success. Create targeted content for your personas based on their challenges and goals. Keep it personal, keep it targeted.