How to Syndicate Content
To syndicate or not to syndicate?
That is a question many bloggers have.
Put simply, syndication is republishing content you already own to other platforms. When done properly, this allows you to gain readership from other people’s websites and get more views. However, this tactic comes with its own risks.
To be clear, syndication is different from guest blogging. When you write a guest post, the content you’ve created is only available on the third party site. The content isn’t published on multiple sites including your own blog. Readers are assured what they’re reading cannot be found anywhere else on the net.
Unlike guest posting, however, syndication doesn’t limit how many times you republish the same material. This allows you to reuse the same information to attract a wider readership. You may opt to syndicate a carbon copy of your original post or only part of it.
Think of it this way. Imagine an artisan crafting a watch. He carefully and painstakingly assembles each piece. It can take weeks or even months before a single watch is finished. It is exclusive only to those who can afford it.
Now, imagine a factory which mass-produces watches and clocks. Everything is a look-alike of the other. Although it’s less personalized, it’s more affordable, and it can be sold to a wider target market.
At the end of the day, both watches do the same thing. They tell time.
This is the difference between creating unique content and syndicating your content. Syndication mass produces your articles, so you gain more readers at a fraction of the time and effort to produce your content.
So how do you do it?
1. Don’t charge a lot.
Newspapers generally pay around a dollar per word. Smaller columns pay even less. According to Penelope Trunk, a syndicated print columnist, it’s important to think in terms of publicity instead. Your articles must offer greater value than what you’re asking in return.
2. Self-syndicate if you can.
There are two ways to go about this. You can either hire an agency, or you can do it yourself. If you hire someone else, you free yourself a lot of time to focus on your writing. However, you also risk losing control of your work.
Syndication isn’t rocket science. If you put a bit of elbow grease, you can figure it out in no time.
Penelope Trunk suggests buying a mailing list of newspaper editors and reach out to them. Once you get one syndicated column, the rest snowballs until you have a wider range. Remember, this essentially counts as cold calling, so make sure your headline is enticing. If you don’t know what to say, don’t worry. I’ve already put together irresistible headers to hook them.
3. Never sacrifice quality for quantity.
Syndicating is no excuse to reduce the quality. Even if you’re only going to be republished by small blogs or small newspapers, you never know who’s going to read your work. Besides, it’s all about building momentum. The goal is to get noticed by larger and more credible publications in order to shine the spotlight back on you.
4. Read the fine print!
Another syndicated writer, Sarah Smiley, learned the hard way that a “Work for Hire” deal wasn’t the same as a freelancer contract. When you sign a “Work for Hire” contract, you lose all rights and need to request permission in order to republish elsewhere.
But as a freelancer, you’re only lending them your piece, and you have the option to publish to as many sites you can.