Most marketers know they can syndicate their website content, such as blog posts, by making it available for publication on other websites. Various services are available to help you do this. Some are free (e.g., Medium), and some are PPC (e.g., Outbrain). When successful, these efforts build backlinks to the content on your site, enhancing SEO and site traffic.
But what about the reverse, where you publish relevant syndicated content from third parties on your website? Sure, a constant stream of self-generated content is excellent, but very difficult and costly to achieve. This is where third-party content comes in. You augment your stream of content with outside syndicated material. When well-executed, you enhance SEO and site traffic and improve the customer’s experience (CX).
The Buyer’s Journey
Let’s look at the issue from the customer’s perspective. In general terms, the buyer’s journey has three phases: problem and opportunity recognition, alternative definition and evaluation, and purchase.
Very often, companies focus their content on the second phase by describing product features and benefits. Perhaps they go even further by comparing their products to competitors. This type of content is helpful … when the buyer is in the second phase of their journey.
But what if buyers are in the first phase of their journey? Then their needs are not met, and they have a frustrating buying experience on your site.
One way to remedy the problem is to write content that helps buyers think through their situation more generally. For example:
- Provide points of view on broad business trends that relate to your products.
- Describe use cases that describe problems or opportunities you have solved or addressed in various industries.
The problem with early-phase, company-generated content, though, is bias. Buyers assume it represents points of view that favor the company.
When you offer perspectives written by outsiders on your website, you reduce the buyer’s tendency to view your content as biased. A mix of inside and outside authorship shifts the feel of your website. From the buyer’s perspective, you are now putting their needs first. You are serving their need for unbiased information by providing multiple and diverse sets of views.
Yes, But …
Some of the most common objections to third-party content include:
- Quality: What if the outside content is poorly written?
- Distraction: Can it distract buyers from embracing our point of view?
- Diversion: Does it take people away from our site?
Syndicated Content Quality Management
While there are multiple tools for managing syndicated content quality, it is too easy to get the cart before the horse. Quality management should start with … you guessed it … the buyer. Who are your buyers? What jobs do they need to do in the early phases of their journeys? When you know the answers to these questions, you can then design a syndicated content strategy that delivers high-quality information for your buyers.
Once you know what content serves your buyers, you can calibrate your syndicated content feeds to align with those needs. For example, you can restrict your feeds to keywords that are especially attractive to your buyers, or to sources or authors held in high regard.
You Can’t Manage Buyers
Stop trying to manage buyers! You will fail, so don’t even bother. The internet is so rich with information that your buyers will find alternative perspectives, with or without your help. So why not help them, and build goodwill along the way?
When you provide content with multiple perspectives, you do two things. First, you give buyers what they are looking for. Second, you force yourself to achieve high content standards that sufficiently offset alternative perspectives.
This does not mean you should flood your website with content that contradicts your point of view. Instead, it means you should allow a dose of high-quality content that provides different perspectives. Remember: diverse content is already out there, and buyers will find it, so why fight a losing battle? Instead, serve the buyer’s needs, and you will reap the rewards.
Let Them Go … They’ll Be Back
When you provide buyers with links to high quality, syndicated content, you are increasing the likelihood they will leave your site. This is true, but only in the moment. The wise digital marketer remembers their job is to win the customer and make a sale, not maximize session duration. Remember: Buyers can simply return to the prior tab on their browser to continue browsing your site.
Where’s the Proof?
When you serve customers useful content, they respond. The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is one example. Studies show that an industry’s NPS leader tends to outgrow its competitors by a factor of two.
During the buyer’s journey, one of the most valuable things a company can do is provide useful content. Our clients often improve their Google search rankings on important keywords simply by providing relevant syndicated content on their websites.
One client frequently appeared on page two or three in Google searches for important keywords before engaging us. Several weeks after launching relevant syndicated content on their website, they consistently appeared on the first page for important organic keyword searches. And these site visits cost them a fraction of prevailing AdWords rates.
You can publish a custom syndicated content feed on your website for only $500 per month plus initial set-up. For more information, contact Mark Blessington at Consentric Marketing or Leland Morris at Content Engine.