Beginners Guide to B2B Content Syndication

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What is Content Syndication

Content syndication is taking an existing piece of long-form content and placing it on another web property to expand the content's exposure and to support your desired goals, especially if you are looking to generate leads.

Syndication a great method if you want to see an immediate impact from your content marketing efforts.

It can take several months for organic content to build backlinks and authority and start to see results.

In the meantime, content syndication is a proactive way to fill the short-term need for leads, branding, and credibility. Content syndication works in parallel with your organic traffic efforts to amplify results.

For B2B marketers targeting a fixed list of accounts, known as Account-Based Marketing or ABM, SEO is not as effective as paid content syndication. If you’re doing ABM, you need content syndication services.

According to Demandbase, 70% of B2B marketers will pilot or launch full-scale ABM programs in 2021.

Benefits of Free Content Syndication

Exposure - It makes sense that if you publish your content to more places off your site, it will get seen more.  

Authority - If you’re producing high-quality informative content that answers your target audience’s questions, this will increase your authority in the industry.  

Increased authority helps you move up the ladder of industry recognition, which amplifies your content further.  It’s a virtuous cycle.

Backlinks - You probably know that backlinks help fuel better search results.  When you place your content on other sites, you will almost always get to put a link back to your site as the ‘original author’ of the piece.

With free syndication, there are two options:

  1. Find sites that accept user-generated content such as Quora, Reddit, or LinkedIn and republish your content 
  2. Negotiate with the owner of a site in your target niche to republish your content or create an original guest post  

Benefits of Paid Syndication

Guaranteed results - You are paying for an outcome that is either a click to your content with a conversion widget or a direct lead itself through the Cost Per Lead (CPL) model

Guaranteed budget - You get to set a budget.  The paid services will stop when you reach it.

Leads to match ABM & Intent - If you are doing ABM marketing, paid content syndication is one of the most efficient ways to reach your narrow targets.

Paid syndication is performance-based and guarantees a certain amount of traffic or leads.  

There are 2 types of paid syndication:

  1. Self-serve
  2. Full service via publishers or agencies

Popular self-service syndication services are 

  • Outbrain
  • Taboola
  • Zemanta

With self-service, you upload your content and creative, select your audience targets and set a budget.  The services generate and place the ads for you.  You pay for each click to your conversion page on a cost-per-click (CPC) model.

Publishers and Content Marketing Agencies

For B2B marketers, especially those with ABM lists, industry publications, and content marketing agencies offer custom, targeted syndication opportunities on a cost per click or cost per lead (CPL) model.

These programs guarantee results at a fixed budget.  For example, under a CPL program, a publisher can guarantee you get 500 qualified leads at $30 per lead.

Publishers and agencies can also set up retargeting efforts via their publications and partners.  

To set up a direct relationship with a publisher, go to your industry publications, find the number or email for advertising contacts, and ask them about their content syndication programs.

How to Syndicate Content

How you syndicate your content depends on how targeted the audience is and your potential syndication partners’ popularity and authority.

Targets and the web properties you choose can fall into three categories:  

  1. Broad
  2. More narrow
  3. Very narrow

Broad - The platforms

These are the all-topic public discussion forums such as Quora, Reddit, Medium, Slideshare, LinkedIn Groups, Facebook Business, Hacker News, and many others.

These are communities that have groups of like-minded people with an interest in your industry.  

There are no shortcuts to success on the community platforms.  You need to pick the ones with your target audience and good reach and then commit time and effort (probably single to double digits of hours per week) to grow your reputation.

Once you have the right groups, you can’t start on the first day by dropping a self-promoting plug with a link to your blog.  You will be ignored, or worse, banned.  This is the driveby approach.

The drive-along approach is the only way.  Here you’re moving along with the group to answer common questions and solve new problems.  This is taking the content you built in your garage (aka your website) and running it out on the track to see how it performs.

To give thoughtful answers, you’re essentially guest blogging when addressing people’s issues.  You can undoubtedly repurpose ideas from your existing content.  Don’t just cut and paste the same blog in 10 Reddit forums that vaguely answer a question. 

Do

  • End your posts with a link to your site
  • Offer something of value in your community profile such as a free assessment or consultation
  • Link to your posts with anchor text to relevant content on your site (or other sites if it adds value to the post).

Don’t

  • Plug your service as an answer to all questions
  • Be rude or inappropriate
Great For Content Ideas

As you get more engaged with the community, you’ll also start to see new or different problems buyers are struggling with.  Look at what is popular, then read the comments to find out why it’s resonating.  Use those insights as new ideas for content.

More Narrow - The Blogs

You probably know the prominent blogs and publishers in your industry.  These are ‘rich’ sites that keep getting richer because they have high domain authority and significant traffic.  Anything they publish is automatically amplified.

Your buyers know about these sites and spend time on them researching and downloading content. These are the ideal sites where you would like to get your content published.  They are also the most difficult for syndication partnerships (unless you’re willing to pay).

You need a practical list of web properties where your buyers go for research but are also realistic for getting your content published. 

Start With Guest Blogging on Sites

To get published on big sites, you probably need to have big authority.  The people who run these sites get dozens of requests for syndication partnerships.  

The best way to start getting authority (if you don’t already have it) is to guest blog.  

Start with lower authority sites (60 and below is a good start) and build up over time.  A great discovery tool for blogs, communities, social accounts, and publishers in your industry is SparkToro

 Here you can enter some keywords that reflect your industry, and SparkToro will list all the places where it detects your buyers are going for information.

They have a feature called ‘Hidden Gems’, highlighting target audience properties with good traffic and authority, but not necessarily the biggest.  These sites will be more receptive to your pitch.

1

In the screencap above, using the keyword ‘content marketing’, you can see the ‘majors’ listed on top and the hidden gems next to them.

You can export a list of these sites, and SparkToro will provide the contact information for each one.  Send a short pitch asking for a guest blog opportunity along with some highlights of your best work to date.

Another way is to use Google to find sites that accept guest posts.

Assume your content is around email marketing. To build out your list of syndication partners, start with a search like this:

2

There are dozens of pages of similar results.  Record the sites.  If you have a keyword research tool like Ahrefs, or Moz, enter the domains and note their domain authority, traffic, and the keywords driving that traffic. If it looks like a good fit for domain authority and target audience, find the ‘Write For Us’ section’s contact information.   

A few weeks after your guest post, you can repurpose the whole post or key ideas to the content platforms like Medium and Quora.

Syndicate Your Original, Existing Content

After you’ve been guest blogging for a few months and you’ve had some wins, it’s time to start asking higher domain sites to syndicate your original, existing content.  

Here is where you can move up the authority hierarchy and generate exposure and backlinks on quality sites. 

Asking For Elite Sites to Publish Your Content

The bloggers and editors who run these sites get hundreds of pitches every month to post content to their site.  The problem is that the relationship is one way.  You get expanded traffic, and they don’t.

The best way to pitch elite DA sites (80 or greater) with good traffic is to offer to co-author a blog post and then work on syndicating to new audiences for them by sharing credit and backlinks with the high DA site and helping to expand their audience.

By ‘co-author’, you don’t need to be locked up in a room writing away with them for 8 hours. You can interview them over the phone, Zoom, or email, whichever they prefer. Offer to collect their insight on a particular topic.  Add your insight, create a piece of content and syndicate it with credit and backlinks to their page.  

You do the work, they get the benefit, and you get exposure and a backlink from a high DA site.  It’s a win-win.

Asking High DA Sites

You always want to pitch to sites with higher authority than you, and a DA of at least 50.

Similar to the process for guest blogging, research syndicating your existing content to other web properties.  

Use SparkToro or Google Search to find sites or both.  If you use Google, start with the phrases:

"originally published in"

"republished with permission"

"originally appeared on"

And then use the Google search parameter INURL:{your topic} to find pages that have your keyword in the url.  For example:

3

Do your DA, keyword, and traffic research on the sites you see.  Your keyword research tool should have a browser plugin that can help you decide which sites have good potential by showing you DA and traffic within the Google search results. 

Here is how Google search looks with the Ahrefs browser plugin if you were looking for sites that accept syndication requests on the topic of ‘b2b marketing’:

4

There’s information about the site’s domain rating called DR (Ahref’s version of domain authority) how many backlinks they have and so on.  You can export the results to Excel for as many results pages as you need to track opportunities.  

Start clicking through to the articles on sites you want to partner with.  You’ll typically find a link that invites you to submit posts for syndication:

5

Highly Targeted - Publisher Email Lists

If you’re doing ABM or need leads quickly, you can pay publishers to syndicate your content directly to their targeted audience on a Cost Per Lead (CPL) basis.

It works by taking an authoritative piece of content like a white paper and putting it behind a registration page hosted by the publisher.

They often use their high-value direct opt-in email list to place your offer in front of a targeted audience using filters specified by you, such as company size, industry, and job role.

Give your ABM/Intent list to the publisher or agency and have them do a direct email campaign for you that only returns leads from these accounts at a guaranteed price and volume.

Cold Email

Cold email usually involves building a targeted list and then sending out requests for a meeting.  Five years ago, it was more effective than it is today.

If you don't offer something of value, 99% of cold email ends up in the trash.

Writing an authoritative content marketing piece and turning that into a cold email offer is a great way to increase the response rate for cold email.

Mailshake is a great platform for cold email.  They also have a comprehensive set of educational videos to learn how to build lists, and how to best craft and send cold emails.

Newsletters

For B2B, especially new companies starting out, it's difficult to build a meaningful newsletter subscriber base right away.

You should always have a newsletter sign-up option on your content pages, but it can take months or even years to build a meaningful audience in B2B.

Today, there are other options via newsletter discovery sites to have readers find your valuable content.  The most prominent is Substack.

Substack has been growing steadily since 2017 and now offers thousands of newsletters people can search for on their site.  Ahrefs estimates they get over 326,000 organic visitors per month.

If you're worried about having enough content each week to do a newsletter you can take your original content as the headliner piece, and then add curated content from other web properties.

You can do this by taking the web properties in your industry that you normally read, and save the articles you like in a repository like a spreadsheet or a document.  Then assemble a weekly 'best of' newsletter for your industry that you can post on Substack.

Conclusion

The goal of content syndication is to get your ideas off your site and out into the world so you can be 'seen everywhere' by your target buyers.

A comprehensive content syndication strategy requires a written 'media' plan ahead of time to decide where to put your time and effort.

Use your tools like Google, community forums, Sparktoro, Substack, and your industry knowledge to ask as many sites as possible to publish your content.

If you don't have a budget don't worry, there are plenty of great free resources.

To get on high-quality sites, be persistent, and always offer to add value to the elite sites.

If you can pay, do so to guarantee a certain level of leads for your sales team.

With a broad, consistent effort both free and paid channels will start to position you and your website well for authority in your industry.  You have to earn it, but it's well worth the effort.

Want Your Own Custom Content Strategy Playbook?

Drop us line and we'll explore if there is a good fit to work together!  If so, we'll create a free content strategy playbook just for you.

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