Guide To Online Content Syndication: Part 1

Online syndication allows web publishers to distribute their content to multiple audiences, networks, as well as to traditional media outlets and to their online counterparts. In an age where content is increasingly in contexts different than the original source, understanding professional syndication options and their pro and cons is a strategically important piece of the success puzzle for any professional web publisher. the-content-syndication-guide-Part1.jpgPhoto credit: head-off mashed up by Robin Good Blog syndication works much the same way as the syndication of content from well-known online content producers. For example, just as the Associated Press, the largest and oldest news organization in the world, is paid to allow a myriad of web sites to republish content from its reporters, bloggers are looking for ways to get paid for the content they create. However, blogger content is far too often republished without permission, without attribution and without payment and that is where blog syndication comes into the picture. Do you want to understand what online content syndication can do for you? Are you interested in making sense of all the different syndication options available? Larry Schwartz and Susan Gunelius have prepared an in-depth report on online content syndication which provides lots of valuable insight into the various options, pros and cons available to web publishers. Here all the details:


The Truth About Blog And Twitter Content Syndication - Part 1

By Larry Schwartz and Susan Gunelius

What Is Blog Syndication?


The Opportunity

the_truth_about_blogs_opportunity_id28741301.jpgThe concept of syndication is not a new one. In fact, syndication formally originated over 100 years ago. As early as the late 1800s, news organizations were participating in syndication activities. Before 1910, the syndication of comic strips in newspapers began as a tool to boost newspaper sales through the broad appeal of comics like Buster Brown and Mutt and Jeff. Today, consumers take it for granted that a new Dilbert will appear in their Sunday newspapers each week. As media evolved throughout the 20th century to include radio and television, syndication grew as well. Soon comic strips such as Little Orphan Annie became syndicated radio shows, television cartoons, and more. Today, the syndication business model is extremely popular and has proven to be beneficial to content producers, distributors and consumers. It’s not surprising that the 21st century brought with it a new age of syndication - online content syndication. As the business of online content grows, more and more consumers shift their content consumption habits from traditional, mass media to freely available content on the Web. According to an April 2009 report from The Nielsen Company, The Global Online Media Landscape, nearly 1 billion people around the world are actively involved in the digital media universe. With nearly 1 billion people looking for specific content each day, syndication provides a unique opportunity for media producers (such as news organizations, bloggers, video producers, and so on) to get their content in front of a large and highly targeted audience. Today, it is common to find large companies and well-known brands, particularly from news organizations, syndicating their content. Those influential content producers have three things going for them:
  1. They produce content that people want to read.
  2. They produce high-quality content, making consumers perceive them as authoritative and credible sources.
  3. They create brand recognition across a broad audience.
Blog syndication works much the same way as the syndication of content from well-known online content producers. For example, just as the Associated Press, the largest and oldest news organization in the world, is paid to allow a myriad of web sites to republish content from its reporters, bloggers are looking for ways to get paid for the content they create. However, blogger content is far too often republished without permission, without attribution and without payment. That is where blog syndication comes into the picture.






Types of Syndication

the_truth_about_blogs_types_of_syndication_id29120021.jpgSyndication can be confusing, because there are actually several types of syndication. Each syndication model centers around an agreement between content producers and content aggregators or distributors, but the processes between syndication models differ. The three types of online content syndication are defined below:

1. Licensed

the_truth_about_blogs_licensed_id14371901.jpgDistributors pay a fee to content producers to provide their content to end-user customers. Blog syndication through Newstex Blogs On Demand follows the licensed syndication model. Unlike other syndication models, in which content can be republished on multiple, publicly accessible web sites, licensed syndicated content through Newstex Blogs On Demand is distributed to end-users who access that content via closed systems found at
  • corporations,
  • law firms,
  • financial institutions,
  • government agencies,
  • or academic research libraries.
Links back to the content producers blogs are retained to ensure the bloggers are identified as the original publishers. In return, bloggers are paid royalties when consumers access their syndicated content and bloggers benefit from increased exposure to professional influencers.



2. Ad-Supported

the_truth_about_blogs_ad_supported_id28591541.jpgContent producers share in advertising revenues generated from their content that is syndicated to end-user customers. There are some blog syndication companies that follow the ad-supported syndication model, which offers little control to bloggers. Blog syndication through BlogBurst follows a version of ad-supported syndication by paying only top performing bloggers using a performance-based reward system. Blogs that are not highly trafficked do not earn money but do benefit from broader exposure than they might be able to get on their own.



3. Free or Bartered

the_truth_about_blogs_free_or_bartered_id40323261.jpgContent producers receive no monetary payment but can benefit from:
  • increased exposure,
  • embedded advertising, or
  • secondary sales such as subscriptions, product tie-ins, seminars and so on.
Many blog syndication services have followed the free or bartered syndication model without long-term success, such as the defunct BlogRush and ScriptWords. Other blogs follow a slightly different variation of blog syndication, such as PaidContent and SeekingAlpha (for the financial industry), where bloggers are given the opportunity to syndicate (i.e. republish) certain posts or articles on these sites for no payment but with the hope of achieving added exposure.







Who Syndicates Their Content?

the_truth_about_blogs_who_syndicates_their_content_by_fantescawine.jpgTelevision studios, radio producers, web site creators, video producers, bloggers, microbloggers (people who publish short 140-character or less snippets via sites like Twitter) and others look for syndication opportunities to grow their audiences, make money and reach their goals. In fact, blog syndication is gaining significant popularity as the number of blogs continues to grow (there are over 130 million blogs according to Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2008 report and millions more in countries not tracked by Technorati). Well-known bloggers with highly-trafficked blogs, bloggers with growing blogs and bloggers of every size in between syndicate their content. For example, Engadget.com, Gawker.com and Mashable.com are just a few of the thousands of popular blogs that syndicate their content through the licensed syndication model.






Who Distributes Licensed Syndicated Content?

the_truth_about_blogs_who_distributes_licensed_syndicated_content_id251191.jpgTelevision and radio producers typically seek out individual distribution partners to syndicate their content. This process is also used by news outlets (think of news columns that are syndicated to multiple newspapers, such as Dear Abby), web sites and bloggers. However, it is difficult for smaller players to secure syndication deals with large distributors. For example, the average, quality blogger would have a very difficult time signing an individual distribution deal with LexisNexis (a leading global provider of information solutions to professionals in the legal, risk, corporate, government, law enforcement, accounting and academic markets). When smaller players have to secure syndication deals with large distributors is where licensed syndication is useful for some content producers, such as bloggers. For example:
  1. Companies like Newstex aggregate the content they license to syndicate and provide it to high quality, well-known distributors.
  2. The well-known distributors then provide that content to end-user customers around the world in real-time and often alongside content from internationally recognized and respected news organizations and sources.
  3. Suddenly a blog with an audience of thousands of visitors per month has the potential to get in front of millions of people through a simple syndication agreement.
Bottom-line, licensed blog syndication gives quality bloggers an equal seat at the table with top online influencers and media outlets.






Who Uses Licensed Syndicated Content?

the_truth_about_blogs_who_uses_licensed_syndicated_content_id4659701.jpgPeople who use syndicated blog content come from a variety of professions. For example:
  • Academics,
  • journalists,
  • scientists,
  • legal professionals.
Them and many others use syndicated blog content to support and streamline their lives and their jobs everyday. Unlike free, bartered or ad-supported syndicated content, licensed syndicated content gets in front of a unique audience, because it is distributed to closed systems. That means it is not accessible to the general public. For example, LexisNexis content might be delivered to a corporation for use by corporate researchers on the company Intranet or corporate library. Alternately, content might be delivered to law firms or universities for research purposes. In all cases, the content can only be accessed by employees or individuals who are able to use the closed systems through which the content is delivered. Companies that license blog content for their distributor partners to provide to end-user customers must provide premium content, because end-users who access licensed, syndicated content on closed systems (e.g., a Wall Street trader accessing blog commentary about stocks from the trading desk or a journalist seeking commentary for a breaking story) expect to find only the best information. The content needs to be:
  • Timely,
  • authoritative,
  • credible, and
  • accurate.
Many of these end-users choose to access content through a quality distributor of licensed syndicated content because they want more than a simple web search can provide. End-users want easy access to great content from a variety of top sources that is directly applicable to their needs and they want it now!






Why Should You Syndicate Your Blog Content?

the_truth_about_blogs_why_should_you_syndicate_your_blog_content_id35564701.jpgContent syndication offers a variety of opportunities to bloggers, but the decision to syndicate your blog should be made based on your individual goals for your blog. In Part 2 we will discusses the benefits of licensed blog syndication and debunk some of the myths about blog syndication at the beginning, so you can make the best decision for you and your blog.


End of Part 1

Part 2 - Guide To Online Content Syndication: Part 2 (will be published on 9/16)

Originally written by Larry Schwartz and Susan Gunelius for Newstex, and first published on July 9th, 2009 as The Truth about Blog and Twitter Content Syndication

About Larry Schwartz Larryschwartz_thumbnail.jpgLarry Schwartz is a co-founder of Newstex and President of the company, with responsibility for sales, marketing and product development. Larry has guided numerous entertainment and new media ventures, from start-up through growth, development and maturity, including Bolenka Games Online (Trivial Pursuit(R) Online), GFI Group (Nasdaq:GFIG - financial), Wizard World (publishing), Patron Technology (technology) and Tickets.com. Most recently Larry was President of Comtex News Network, a real time wholesaler of news to the financial industry.

About Susan Gunelius susangunelius_thumbnail.jpgWith nearly 20 years of marketing, branding and copywriting experience, Susan Gunelius, President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc. is a published author and active blogger (Susan owns one of the leading blogs for business women, Women On Business). Susan is also a featured columnist for Entrepreneur.com where she writes about copywriting and marketing communications.

About Newstex Newstex was founded in 2004 by online business experts CEO Steve Ellis and President Larry Schwartz. Newstex is a content aggregator and syndicator, which means Newstex collects licensed content and delivers it to numerous content distributors who provide it to their end-user customers. Copyright of Newstex, LLC Copyright holder is licensing this under the Creative Commons License, Attribution 3.0.

Photo credits: The Opportunity - Mikhail Mishchenko Types Of Syndication - Michaela Stejskalová Licensed - Michaela Stejskalová Ad-Supported: - Michaela Stejskalová Free or Bartered - Michaela Stejskalová Who Syndicates Their Content? - Fantescawine Who Distributes Licensed Syndicated Content? - Searagen Who Uses Licensed Syndicated Content? - Richard Thomas Why Should You Syndicate Your Blog Content? - Alastor

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