What is digital syndication and how does it work for both content creators and content distributors? Eric Dolan, Founder of PsyPost and Manoli Katakis, Founder of MuscleCarsAndTrucks.com give us more details.
As someone who has been writing for publications for many years, I was intrigued about the concept of digital content syndication, which has been gaining traction in the industry. For writers, digital syndication doesn’t necessarily offer paid compensation. Rather, it is often structured as barter, offering free re-use of web-based content such as blog posts articles and videos to third-party websites. So, while it is a revenue stream for distributors, it might be considered more of a marketing and branding opportunity for content creators.
For Eric Dolan and Manoli Katakis, digital syndication offers important advantages to all participants.
Charlene Weisler: What are the advantages of digital syndication for the various interested parties?
Eric Dolan: It allows you to expand your market presence. Thanks to Nordot, PsyPost is now syndicated on MSN News and the SmartNews app, which can both generate a hefty number of pageviews. I would not be able to reach these audiences otherwise. It’s also a bit of a hedge against adblockers (depending on who your syndication partners are). If people are reading your article in Apple News or Facebook’s “Instant Articles” (rather than on your webpage), then they aren’t blocking ads.
Manoli Katakis: The main advantage has to be the extra reach that digital syndication provides, thus creating a favorable revenue stream that hedges against low ad revenue payouts. Recently, it's been a great boost.
Weisler: What are the negatives or pitfalls for the various interested parties?
Dolan: The main downside to syndication is that you lose control of your content. Your article might end up on a website with a less than stellar reputation or with a wacky clickbait headline. I have not found this to be much of a problem. But I could see how it might be a concern to those who are extra sensitive about their branding.
Katakis: One negative ... is perhaps the detachment between the syndicated outlets and the platforms doing the syndicating. It might be more comprehensive if there was more collaboration between the parties, so as to provide optimal content that will drive the most traffic and revenue.
Weisler: Does the owner of the content have access to data from the syndicator or client company and if so, what is generally available?
Dolan: Most syndication platforms provide basic traffic information, such as pageviews, and unique views. Some (such as Apple News) also provide demographic information about the readers.
Weisler: Are there best practices and if so what are they?
Dolan: There is a benefit to syndication that often gets overlooked, and that is its SEO potential. You can build up a portfolio of high-quality backlinks if you’re diligent about adding links to your other content within your articles. If you include 10 links to your other content within your article, then syndicate that article to five other outlets, you’ve just gotten yourself 50 backlinks. (And there is a good chance that your syndication partners will have high domain authority.)
Weisler: Where do you see digital syndication three years from now?
Dolan: I think the need for syndication will only continue to grow as the Internet becomes more diverse, divided and disunified. It used to be that online publications could rely on Facebook (and only Facebook) to provide them with web traffic. But Facebook is no longer king. Algorithm changes and the rise of new social media platforms have led to it no longer being a great traffic booster. If you want your articles to reach a wide audience, then they need to be present on a wide range of different platforms.
Katakis: Digital syndication could see growth in the next three years, especially as traditional revenue streams go through a downturn cycle.
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