Like the name suggests, content syndication refers to the strategic republishing of content in more than one location to expose it to a much larger audience in order to educate, engage, and qualify leads before they even visit your website for the first time. But how does content syndication work, exactly? What steps are involved, and how do those steps work?
In the context of B2B marketing, content syndication means partnering with other websites, sharing content on social platforms and/or promoting content on syndication networks. Most people use content syndication to source leads for their sales teams.
Here’s a basic, step-by-step outline of how to do content syndication:
- Define your audience
- Create your content
- Make emails, landing pages, web forms
- Distribute your content
- Collect and verify leads
- Nurture, nurture, nurture
But like all good things, it’s not that simple. Let’s dig into the details so you can better understand how to develop a content syndication strategy that will deliver results.
So, How Does Content Syndication Work, Exactly?
By now, the benefits of content syndication are clear: it boosts the return on investment of your content in a way that can be planned and aligned with your business strategy; it expands the reach of your content, offering wider exposure and brand engagement; content syndication can be customized to address your specific ICP; and it has quantifiable SEO benefits.
Sounds great, right? But how exactly do you do content syndication? In this article, we take a deep dive into each stage of the content syndication process:
- How do you choose your audience?
- How do you plan and produce the content to syndicate?
- How do you structure the emails, landing pages and web forms you’ll need to promote to and capture leads?
- How do you distribute the content?
- Where does the distribution list come from?
- How are leads vetted for accuracy and how do you follow up with them?
Choosing Your Target Audience
If you’re trying to syndicate content on your own, zeroing in on the right audience usually only goes as deep as choosing which websites to work with. But paid syndication services allow you to zero in on your ICP, often with additional layers of targeting, like buyer intent.
Whether you’re planning to use free or paid content syndication options, you’ll want to get really clear on your target audience, including:
Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
Also known as a buyer persona, an ICP is an important piece of any marketing strategy, but crucial for effective content syndication. Work on identifying (or refining) demographics, psychographics, company size, corporate make-up, tech stack, or any other type of characteristics for your ideal buyer.
Understanding your market can help you further refine your intended audience. Your competitors can be very valuable in this process, because a good content syndication partner will be able to identify who may be using their products—and you can then target them with yours.
Have you had a conversation with the primary buyer at this account before? Have they clicked on a link in an email you’ve sent them? Have they participated in one of your webinars or product demos? All of these are examples of an engaged buyer. The more engaged they are, the more likely it is that they’ll develop a relationship with you, which will lead to increased opportunities for sales. Again, the right content syndication partner can help you find and target engaged buyers.
Creating the Content You’ll Use in Your Campaign
You want to build a campaign using your best content. Ideally, you should syndicate content that has successfully generated leads, converted readers or boosted sales. Any type of content is eligible for content syndication. But the goal is to support prospects throughout their entire customer journey, so it’s important to create or repurpose quality content that’s pertinent to specific areas of the sales funnel.
The best place to start is by using your buyer personas and analytics data to focus on topics you know your top prospects are most interested in. What are your strongest products or product lines? Which ones offer the strongest opportunity for sales growth? Some general categories to think about for core content are:
- The pain points of your customers and prospects
- The solutions you offer/the benefits of your products and services
- The features of your products and services
- The different vertical industries you specialize in (if applicable)
It is equally important to recognize that different audiences require different content types, most often depending heavily on where the buyer is in the sales funnel. Some of the most effective content types for a B2B audience include:
- White papers
- Case studies
Overall, you should strive to post multiple content assets delivered in various formats that touch on a wide range of topics to reach as many different potential customers as possible.
Emails, Landing Pages, Web Forms and Gated Content
Almost all content syndication campaigns include emails that are distributed to a targeted list. Those emails drive recipients to a landing page that promotes the content, which typically includes a web form that asks the visitor for some basic contact information in order to be able to download the content. Here’s a more detailed look at each of those components:
- Emails. Email is indispensable to marketers, as it’s still one of the most convenient ways to communicate despite the presence of other new modes of messaging. You can enhance your email campaigns by knowing which ones resonate well with customers. As a rule of thumb, the best email types are the ones that educate, establish connections and offer solutions.
- Landing pages. Landing pages are distinct, standalone pages on your website that serve as a tool to convert your visitors into leads. What distinguishes them from other pages is that they drive user action via a lead-capture form. In exchange, users gain access to exclusive content or marketing offers.
- Web forms. The lead-capture or conversion form on your landing page should be easy to fill out and fast to complete. A good rule of thumb is to ask for only the basic information, such as a name, company, email address and phone number, just enough for your sales or marketing team to qualify them as a legitimate lead.
- Gated content. Once a visitor fills out your web form and clicks the “Download” button, what happens? For some assets, such as white papers, ebooks and infographics, simply filling out the form and clicking the CTA button will automatically prompt the downloading of the digital content, usually a PDF. For other media (webinars, podcasts), the CTA might drive you to another page to view or listen to the episode in question. In some cases, you might receive an email with a direct link to the digital content.
Once these elements are in place, you’ll want to continually test how they perform so you can make ongoing improvements and really maximize their ability to get results.
Distribute Your Content
You’ve identified your target audience, created a number of high-quality content assets in a variety of formats, and produced the emails, landing pages and web forms you’ll use to reach and convert prospects into MQLs.
Now it’s time to start syndicating your content. When choosing your content distribution channels, you have a couple of options:
Do It Yourself
You can attempt to build syndication strategies internally. In addition to the steps you take to produce the content itself, you need to create tools, methods, and contacts to distribute that content. Many companies do this via internal email marketing platforms, although there are plenty of both free and paid content syndication options to consider as well.
The self-directed approach involves a lot of internal time, effort, and resources. Beyond the resources you’ll need to create amazing content—which aren’t insignificant—you’ll also have to figure out exactly where your ideal customers spend their time to ensure your syndication efforts are going toward the right channels. You need to follow SEO best practices to ensure you won’t get penalized by Google when distributing your content assets across different industry news sites, or sites like Medium, LinkedIn, and others. And you may also need to optimize your content for social shareability, allowing it to display correctly when someone shares your content on any social media platforms, each of which has their own set of specs.
Work With a Partner
The other option is to hire a company that already has a content syndication solution and data system in place. A good partner will work with you to build a campaign that will allow you to target your ICP from an accurate contact database.
A good content syndication partner can complement your lead generation efforts with a guaranteed flow of new contacts. A great partner goes beyond that with a rock-solid database that incorporates enrichment practices with multiple layers of intent data to get you the most accurate leads possible.
The trick, of course, is selecting the right vendor.
The first step in collecting and then working with your content syndication leads is having somewhere to store them. Ideally, you have some kind of CRM software, like Salesforce, Sugar, or HubSpot.
There’s a good reason you’ve created an ICP for your target market. This buyer persona not only fits your brand but is also the ideal client you want to approach. Use it to qualify your leads and focus your efforts on the leads that are most likely to convert. When leads aren’t qualified, you can expect to spend significantly more (in terms of effort and resources) on converting them into customers, if it’s even possible.
That’s why the best content syndication partners will ensure your leads are continually validated for accuracy, allowing you to focus your resources on contacts with verified emails and phone numbers. To ensure increased call-to-connect rates, the right vendor can help you target potential buyers who have responded to email or answered the phone within the last quarter, which will enable you to prioritize your outbound prospecting and accelerate your sales pipeline.
Nurture, Nurture, Nurture
As you begin receiving leads, you want to follow up with them as quickly as possible, and that doesn’t mean picking up the phone to serve them the hard sell. Rather, let’s get you prepared to funnel new leads into a structured nurture campaign.
Leads that are sent to sales too soon rarely convert. And, in most cases, leads from content syndication will require a significant amount of nurturing before they’re ready to convert. It’s not uncommon for leads to require 18-24 touches, in fact, before they can be considered sales-qualified. That’s why it’s crucial to set up an automated nurture program including emails, content offers, even social media community building and ad retargeting– all to help your prospect become ready-to-buy.
Get Started with Content Syndication
Want to learn more about how to create an effective content syndication marketing machine for your business? Check out our free Quickstart Guide to B2B Content Syndication, a succinct and helpful overview of this key marketing strategy.