Should You Dump The Syndicated Blog Content? Probably.
As demand for ever-larger quantities of content has grown, marketing agencies and end clients alike seek better and faster ways of meeting the need. One increasing trend is syndicated blog content.
Nearly every industry has at least one: An organization offering inexpensive blog content written by industry professionals, offered inexpensively on a model similar to that of stock photos. Some offer geographic exclusivity, others rely on bulk to reduce duplication among competitors. Most are cheaper than custom blog content.
It’s natural that many marketing agencies and even more end clients find the concept alluring. After all, at a time when the market demands content, content, content, here is one place a marketing program can step up to the plate with minimal fuss.
- Instantly populate a new blog with a year’s worth of entries!
- Easily and frequently update with timely & relevant information!
- Access professional writers who understand the industry!
- Improve SEO with keyword-optimized content!
- All at a price that doesn’t break the bank!
What could possibly go wrong?
A whole lot, unfortunately. So much, in fact, that we strongly encourage agencies to leave blogging out of the client’s marketing program altogether if they can’t afford to invest in custom content. Here’s why:
- Google penalizes duplicate content. Check out Google’s official policy on the matter, in which they warn webmasters against copying content among sites, at the risk of failing to rank at all on the very keywords they are trying to hit.
- Users penalize duplicate content too, and don’t think they’re too dumb to notice. At best, they’ll ignore the blog as irrelevant. At worst, they’ll be annoyed and lose respect for the company.
- Ultimately, it’s pointless. Without targeted personas and strong, unique CTA’s, the client is throwing good money down the toilet. It may not be much money, but why throw it away at all?
Of course, we are big fans of blogging when it’s done right. Making an appropriate investment in targeted custom content can yield strong SEO, conversion, engagement, and reputation increases. Here’s what a strong blogging program looks like:
- It focuses on personas. A good blogging program will start with a clear understanding of who the content is for, and target their emotional and rational drivers.
- It begins with a solid plan. An editorial calendar, or a strong & thorough topic list linked to seasonal issues, personas, and the company’s UVP, starts the program on the right foot.
- It’s goal-oriented. What does the client want the reader to do before clicking away from the site? Share the content, subscribe to the blog, contact the company? Blog entries that contain strong CTAs tied to goals will produce better results.
- It’s integrated with ongoing SEO research and goals. Knowing what prospects are searching for can be the start of many a great blog entry. When our agency client discovered that their client’s primary buyer persona was searching for “what to look for in a landscape management contract,” we created a blog entry with that as the subject heading. Key bullet points mapped directly to the end client’s UVP. The resulting content contributes to the company’s SEO while simultaneously increasing high quality conversions and positively engaging their contacts. No syndicated column can possibly accomplish all that.
- It’s unique and personal to the client company. Even in B2B, ultimately people want to do business with people they like. A blog is a terrific place to show off the unique character of the company. Don’t be afraid to insert humor, real-life stories, and personality. Make it part of the contract with the provider that the content be absolutely unique to your client’s site.
- It requires investment. A blogging program that costs $250 a month and requires no input from the end client’s leadership is a blogging program headed for trouble. Expect your client to invest at least three times that amount, and for the key personnel to be involved in the process at least one hour per month.
If you’re just deciding to unplug syndicated content for your company or your clients, what will you do with the savings? We suggest a few custom resources, a case study or two, or a valuable blogging program that will significantly return on investment.
Did I miss anything? How are you convincing your clients to dump the syndicated blog content?
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Cheap syndicated blog content is about as valuable as this cheap stock photo.
Fen Druadìn Head (formerly Heather Head) is an author, as well as the founder of Scopcity. When she is not writing, running the business, or chasing down bad guys on Twitter, she enjoys hiking, snuggling with her husband and three boys, and avoiding the kitchen.