As a B2B search marketing agency, one of the first things most clients ask us about our services is, “What...
When it comes to generating leads for B2B via content marketing, syndication is a must.
Content syndication is the process of pushing your content out into third-party sites to promote it either as a full article, snippet, link, or thumbnail. This is where you take the asset you’ve created (blog post) and leverage it on different platforms as a lead magnet.
If you’re familiar with the 80-20 rule of content marketing, you know that the real work doesn’t start until after you’re done writing. The 80-20 rule states that roughly 80% of your success should come from roughly 20% of your work.
This means that 20% of your content should be driving 80% of your leads – if you know how to leverage it.
The Need for Content Syndication
Ask any thought leader or search marketer – high quality, relevant content is still one of the most important factors for ranking. B2B sites are, as a whole, publishing content more frequently every year to keep up with Google’s changes.
Now – publishing mass amounts of keyword oriented content can be great for rankings. But Google isn’t the one putting money in your pockets.
Being satisfied with impressing Google isn’t enough. B2B content marketing requires walking a fine line between SEO and lead generation.
It’s vital that you can identify where your end customer consumes information and how to promote your content directly to them. It’s too passive to just publish content and hope that your readers read it and begin to associate your brand with expertise. Your content needs to be converting readers and generating leads for your pipeline.
So how can you leverage all the content you’ve created to generate leads for your business? That’s where content syndication comes in handy.
The Benefits of Content Syndication
As content marketers, it’s our job to educate and nurture our different level readers to move them further down the funnel. The content we create for our readers can range in intent – from education to individualizing your brand and value. Certain content syndication/promotion strategies vary with their different goals.
Most content marketers look at content syndication as a brand awareness strategy. The logic is that by widening the visibility of your blog posts you can spread your online reputation as an industry expert – the more authoritative you seem the more leads you’ll convert.
But this is a passive, indirect method of generating leads – at best.
If you know where and how to syndicate your content, you can leverage each piece as a powerful lead gen funnel. In B2B Marketing, it can be difficult to attribute value to certain tactics that don’t directly generate leads. So – stop looking at your content marketing as some loosely-knit brand builder and start leveraging it as a lead generating force.
Social Media Based Content Syndication
Content marketing has always included promoting/syndicating your posts to maximize their visibility. But, somewhere along the line, “content promotion” as a strategy was replaced by Twitter blasts and one-off paid social promos.
If you want to create a set audience for your social profiles that you can blast with a new blog post once a month, go ahead. But I think it’s safe to say that you probably won’t be seeing strong returns.
Instead, here are three engaging and effective ways to promote your content via social media to generate leads.
1. Content Cards for Twitter
Twitter has become a leading platform for thought leadership in the digital marketing community. Even if it’s a one time tweet to your followers, leveraging this social platform is a must.
However, most Twitter-based promotion strategies don’t account for Twitter users’ behavior. There are plenty of leads left untouched from a one-off Twitter blast. You may be on your way up the mountain, but you haven’t reached the peak yet.
Especially on branded profiles that use templated designs for their featured images, the lion’s share of your opportunities have yet to come. Twitter can be a great platform to re-promote your content with variants in copy and design. This not only extends the piece’s promotion and engagements over time, it also gives you some solid context for testing.
Instead of using your blog’s featured image (or a templated card) for your tweet, try crafting 20 custom cards instead.
Use a different snippet of copy for each card and vary the CTAs you use as well. This will help you probe your followers for what kind of copy works best when promoting content. It will also help you generate some new engagements if each card looks like a “new” post to the user.
2. Micro Videos for Facebook
If your readers are fans of multimedia content, then you may want to turn to Facebook to promote your posts. Facebook’s autoplay video feature is great for marketers looking to generate stronger engagement. Whether it’s a regular blog post or video blog, the autoplay feature is a big win.
Facebook’s autoplay feature will start the video for anyone scrolling past on the news feed. This is great for engagement as it guarantees a certain level of exposure. But, as we all so painfully know, just seeing an advertisement does not necessarily mean anyone will click through to the actual post.
This is where the autoplay “best practices” come into play. To ensure you generate maximum engagements/reads, it’s important you focus on three features of your micro video:
- Audio/Subtitles – make sure you are telling the story of your video with and without sound. The autoplay feature doesn’t include audio so make sure you are double and triple checking your subtitles in the Facebook Ad Manager.
- Data Visualization – if you have any important metrics or stats that you discuss in the post that would entice reads, include them. But keep in mind that viewers will be scrolling past this video quickly. So the graphs or charts should be disruptive and engaging, as well as placed at the beginning of the video.
- Talk Solutions, Not Summaries – Making these thirty second micro videos can be tougher than it looks. When faced with such a compressed timeframe, we often resort to rambling summation. But you can’t sufficiently explain your blog post in under 30 seconds. Instead, discuss the specific pain point that your post works to solve, and stress the viewer’s need to read it. This should entice more people to click through the link and read the actual post. You are using the video to generate demand, the blog post generates the leads.
3. Personal Profile Shares for LinkedIn
This may seem like an afterthought, but don’t forget to promote the post via your own, personal social media profiles as well.
For the digitally-savvy, modern day user, there’s few things as annoying as being advertised to. Especially in your favorite online communities. It’s easy for users to identify branded social pages promoting their own products/services and scroll past.
On the other hand, social users trust what people post on personal profiles more readily.
You may want to consider sending out a company wide email to post on personal profiles before promoting on your branded profile. Depending on the number of employees, you could be increasing your visibility by a factor of ten or more!
Email Based Content Promotion
Email is another tried-and-true promotion channel that is often under utilized. Now, email marketing can be tricky. Assembling the right list of emails and contacts will make or break your outreach campaigns, regardless of whether it’s an outreach campaign, promotional campaign, follow ups, or other. The image below shows how troublesome list building can be.
Success in email marketing doesn’t come from “counting the people you reach,” it comes from “reaching the people that count.”
Consistent Branded Email Blasts
If you have already compiled a strong email list, you’re already halfway there. At the very least, you should be using this email list to send out regular email blasts containing your most recent posts.
Your timeline can vary – some sites send out roundup email blasts whenever they have compiled enough content. Others aim for regular email blasts to give their subscribers a sense of consistency.
Your frequency will be determined by the capabilities of your content team and the attention span of your readers. For email blasts, there are two major factors to take into consideration.
- The Subject Line/Title – what are you calling your newsletter/email blast (monthly or weekly)? It’s important that this name reflects the value of your content. This value should be conveyed in the subject line in a catchy manner to generate a high-open rate for your email blasts.
- To HTML or Not to HTML – it’s true that cleanly formatted HTML emails look much nicer and more professional. But it’s also true that “more professional” doesn’t always garner “more success.” Tools like Mailchimp let you custom design email templates that align with a singular branded theme. But more often than not they scare readers away by looking to promotional, sales-pitchy or spammy. A classic email organized in the right way can really do wonders for your reply rate.
Direct, Account Based Promotion
If you want to take your email promotion one step further, account based content marketing may be what you’re looking for.
Account based content marketing consists of creating content about your ideal clientele, and promoting those posts directly to those potential clients. This requires some tiresome prospecting, as these emails aren’t already part of your email list. However, this is a bonafide lead gen promotion tactic, as you are putting your content directly in front of your customers.
For account based content promotion, you’ll need to scrape data on a large list of accounts. For example, organic search metrics for Series C funded B2B software companies. For Directive Consulting’s blog, we had a VA (virtual assistant) mine all the data and contact info for these companies.
We used Upwork to find our VAs – it’s a great platform for finding freelancers for small projects that you don’t want to assign to in-house team members.
After you have the data you can create a large scale piece of content around the data set. Once the post is complete, run it through the usual promotion tactics. But, on top of that, add each of the emails that the VA prospected to your email outreach.
Let me be clear, don’t add these emails to your email blast list. We emailed these editors and VPs directly with a personalized email promoting the piece.
Here’s the copy:
Hey [insert name],
We recently completed this blog post on The Organic Traffic Value for Series C Funded Software Companies. I noticed that your company, [company name] was ranked around the mid 20s in the study. Feel free to read the piece and share it with anyone if you like what you see.
In case you are interested in bumping that ranking up from mid 20s to mid 10s, I’ve CC’d our business development rep, Jake, on this email as well. Feel free to reach out with any questions.
& Cheers to the optimizers!
This way the editors and marketing managers were receiving a personalized email will a personalized value offer. They were now reading a blog post about their company in comparison to their competitors – which they are bound to read.
Third Party Based Content Syndication
The primary focus of account based content marketing is to place your content directly in front of your end customer.
You want to create content about your ICP and syndicate it where your ICP reads, promote it directly to your ICP’s channels, and have it shared by the social influencers your ICP follows.
It’s important to note that this will vary a great deal by industry. Marketing executives at commercial construction companies aren’t reading the same blogs as Digital Marketing Coordinators at digital agencies.
Blog Syndication Sites
The search engine marketing industry is one of the easier industries to syndicate blog posts in. Probably because each website and search marketing understands the necessity of widening your blog’s visibility.
For this reason, there are quite a few different blog syndication sites to choose from. There are five that we rely on primarily at Directive Consulting.
Growth Hackers – great community of blog submissions and Q&A to help disperse innovative growth tactics for search engines
Inbound – industry trusted Q&A forum where search marketing experts share tactics and submit blog posts
Quora – user oriented Q&A forum open to any type of question regarding any industry, vertical, or topic
Outbrain – content focused syndication site with relevant posts advertised within other posts
Triberr – community oriented syndication site that works to build groups of content marketers to share relevant posts
These are only a few of the different content syndication networks (CSN) that the digital marketing community relies on. But if you are marketing within and to a different niche, the CSN’s you use may differ.
You can submit your content to these forums as a complete blog post, a snippet of text, or even just a link. Depending on your goal, the format of your submission may change. For the most part, however, reposting the entire blog post when possible is usually your best bet.
What’s important is that, regardless of which site you use, you not only submit the post as a blog syndication, but also promote the piece on the forum platform of the site. You can do this either by asking a question that you feel the post answers or simply shouting out that you’ve recently submitted a new piece.
Either way, we are looking to broaden exposure here, so every mention counts.
Forum Answers Syndication
I’ve spent that last few thousand words discussing how the best content syndication strategies know where to best place your content to ensure your readers read it and engage with it.
So, if you are looking to be as direct as possible with your promotion, why not use your post to answer the questions users are posting on the forums?
On top of syndicating and reposting your content on third party blogs and web 2.0 services, you can post snippets instead. Promotion sometimes can work better than full-blown syndication.
Take Quora for example. If you are following the right topics on Quora you can quickly find any recent questions regarding the keywords you’re targeting in your content strategy. You can then answer these questions with a copy-and-pasted snippet of the first few paragraphs of your post.
*NOTE* – Make sure you are only pasting a snippet as the answer. You don’t want to get hit with a duplicate content penalty, so make sure you are re-posting the content safely.
You can then end the snippet answer with a backlink to the actual full blog post on your site. Use the anchor text “click here to read the full article” to make sure your readers know how to find the answers they’re looking for.
In terms of directly reaching your end customer, it doesn’t get more direct than promoting your blog piece to the exact question/pain point it was created to solve.
Asking “Who, What, & Where” of Your Content
We all invest a great deal of time, energy, and resources into the content we create for our online campaigns. So we need to make sure that our content works as hard for us as we do when creating it.
Make sure that you are asking the right questions of your content. More often than not, this doesn’t mean questioning your writers. It usually means questioning who you are writing for.
Don’t make the mistake of creating and promoting content to yourselves. Create content for your end customer, about your end customer, and promote it to your end customer. They are the ones paying you, and they are the ones you want reading your posts.