Content Syndication in basic terms means providing a series or sequence of content in any format that can be delivered via a subscription. The original presentation of the content might be a series of blog posts, news feeds, podcasts, videos, presentations, white papers, etc.
But the critical component to the concept of content syndication, is that it must be made available as a subscription.
Keep in mind that everyone has their own preference for how they like to consume content, for example, I’m a visual learner so my favorite format is video, and I’m sure you have your favorite format too.
The bottom line is this; the best way to get more subscribers, is to make sure your content in syndicated in as many different formats as possible.
Or, in the words of Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income, learn how to Be Everywhere!
RSS – The Easiest Form of Content Syndication for Bloggers
For bloggers the syndication format which is most familiar to us is RSS, also known as Really Simple Syndication. When you started your blog, regardless of which platform you’re using, you didn’t need to lift a finger to generate the RSS feed because it is an integral component of every blogging software. If you’re new to the subject of RSS feeds, be sure to read this post that covers all the basics on how to find your “raw” blog feed and how to burn it to Feedburner (don’t worry it’s super simple and I recorded a video to hold your hand through the entire process). It is critical for new bloggers to understand the concepts of RSS feeds and using sites like FeedBurner and Google Reader in addition to the multitude of other Feed readers available that allow people to subscribe to your content. For example, you might want to take a look at a cool alternative to Google Reader called Feedly (it comes highly recommended by prolific writer and freelancer Sharon Hurley Hall).
Email Marketing Takes Content Syndication to the Next Level
Most of you who are reading this, might be ready to move beyond getting RSS Subscribers and you’re venturing into affiliate marketing or even better you’re promoting your own products or services. If that’s you, I’m sure you realize the importance of capturing the emails of your visitors and building your subscriber lists is the way to go. In fact, list building should be the primary goal and the most important call to action on your blog! Content syndication through an email marketing service like AWeber or MailChimp is essential to your success. Personally I recommend AWeber because of the advanced segmentation features, but there are several service options for you to choose from.
Place an email sign up form in a prominent area on your blog like the header, sidebar, about page, or you can even put one at the top or bottom of your blog posts. Some bloggers use pop-up forms to attract subscribers and find them very effective. I prefer a more subtle approach like the Optin Skin Plugin but just like any other marketing strategy, you need to use your own judgement and test a few different strategies to discover what works best and appeals to your specific audience.
Video and Audio Content Syndication Platforms
Syndicating your content on video platforms like YouTube can help you grow your subscriber base substantially! YouTube is the number #2 search engine in the world and posting videos on YouTube exposes your content to a huge audience of potential subscribers that you will never be able to reach otherwise. Remember, if you don’t have a YouTube channel, people who search for content in your niche on YouTube, will never find your blog. Even worse, they’ll never see your email sign up form if you don’t have a YouTube channel. And the numbers of people surfing YouTube looking for answers to their problems is nothing to sneeze at. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to promote your content to the millions of consumers who spend billions of hours watching videos on YouTube. Read some of my previous posts for suggestions on easy methods to create YouTube videos and how to leverage YouTube to get more links and traffic back to your blog.
Bonus Tip: Include links to your RSS feed and Email Newsletter in the descriptions of every video you post on YouTube!
Podcasting is another vehicle you can use to drive your subscriber numbers through the roof. World renowned technology giant Apple, introduced iTunes back in 2001 and for more than a decade, iTunes continues to reign as the number #1 platform for podcast discovery and distribution. According to a recent survey conducted by Edison Research, one in six Americans have listened to a podcast in the last month. And despite rumors to the contrary, podcasting is alive and kicking, and I highly recommend it as a format for content syndication. iTunes is not the lone source of audio content syndication as other players in the field of podcast delivery include Spreaker, Audioboo, SoundCloud and even Stitcher internet radio, which now broadcasts on car stereo systems manufactured by Ford Motor Company using their Sync technology. I’m willing to bet this technology will be available from other auto makers in the near future, and before you know it, you’ll be listening to the Ms. Ileane Speaks Podcast while riding in your car, without the use of iPhone adapters or earbuds.
Facebook Profile Subscribers
Did you know that people can subscribe to your profile updates on Facebook? If not, get a glove and get into the social media game and turn on the subscriber option on your Facebook profile. Here’s what Facebook said when they announced the subscription feature back in September 2011:
“Get Your Own Subscribers
If you’d like to share your public updates with more than just friends, you can get a Subscribe button on your profile, too. People who subscribe to you will get posts you set as “Public” in their News Feeds. This is an entirely optional feature – you need to opt in.”
Go to your Facebook profile and turn this feature on and start building subscribers on Facebook today. Keep in mind that you’re not allowed to openly sell things on your Facebook profile but you can certainly share links to articles and all of the other content you’ll be syndicating thanks to this blog post.
Bonus Tip: Use Post Planner to find interesting quotes and questions that will engage your subscribers on Facebook.
Watch this video called Subscribers: A Content Marketers Greatest Asset as I describe the importance of subscribers and share some additional insights you don’t want to miss!
There are a few more popular platforms for content syndication I should mention, for example SlideShare or even newcomer SlideRocket and I’m sure you think of some I missed. Please feel free to leave a comment so we can add them to the list! Remember, Pat Flynn told us to Be Everywhere so let’s leave no stone un-turned.
RSS, email lists, Podcasts, YouTube Videos, and social networks like Facebook are popular methods for content syndication covered in this post. But above all, be sure to produce content that is engaging or entertaining and your content should add value to your community by answering questions, solving problems or serving a higher cause.
ONE LAST BONUS TIP: It is very important to remind people to subscribe to your content. In every piece of content you produce, always include a Call To Action reminding people to subscribe.
This is how you can use content syndication to get thousands of subscribers and grow your community!