So, you’re ready to get started with content syndication.
You have a budget. You have goals. You certainly have marketing needs. You open up your web browser …and you realize you don’t know where to go from here.
You’ve got questions: Where do I go? What do I ask for? What should this all cost?
These are all valid (and common) questions. As a provider who does a lot of lead generation through content syndication, HiP sees clients in various stages of preparedness. Based on their common challenges and questions, we’ll walk you through each of the six basic steps to getting started with content syndication.
1. Pick Your Audience
As far as content syndication, everything starts with the audience. Your audience will have a big impact on everything from your content choices to your cost per lead. Ultimately, the right choices at this stage will determine success (or lack thereof) later on.
The key is to pick the right audience for your campaign goals. If you want to expand your current audience, use very specific filters to mirror your best clients. Conversely, if you’re trying to build out a new segment, use loose filters to affordably establish a presence.
Tight filters will deliver fewer, more expensive, and more targeted leads. They can be worth it when you know what you want. Loose filters will offer more leads, but lack some of the more in-depth targeting – things like custom questions and the ability to target specific companies.
2. Pick Your Asset
Once you have an idea about your audience, the next step is to choose (or create) an asset for syndication.
In general, you’ll want to select a piece of content that stands out. The topic and the title needs to be attention-getting. Keep in mind, your content won’t be the first or last that’s distributed to content syndication audiences. Likewise, the design of the asset needs to be unique and interesting.
Your audience will also go a long way in determining the right asset for the job. Consider where your audience members will be in the buying process when you make contact in this campaign. Will they be just discovering your brand for the first time or will they already be comparing alternative products?
You’ll want to choose an asset that aligns with their needs at the given stage. Early-stage leads need basic, high-level information. Those farther along will need more detailed, product-specific information. In either case, make sure your asset has a strong and specific call to action.
3. Pick Your Syndicators
With an audience and an asset, you’re ready to select your vendors. With content syndication, you have a lot of vendor options. Some do content syndication through email (like HiP), while others do content syndication through display and other channels. The way a syndicator distributes content will have a big impact on the scale, targeting options, and cost of their offering.
In looking for content syndication partners, you’ll want to do your research. There are quite a few credible options, but there are also quite a few that aren’t so reputable.
When selecting content syndicators, you’ll want to answer the following questions:
- How does the syndicator distribute content?
- What audience(s) do they have access to?
- What targeting options does the syndicator offer?
- What lead volume can they deliver?
- Who fulfills the content syndication? (Some vendors outsource)
- How do they validate their results?
It’s a good idea to select a couple of content syndication partners. Even with quality partners, outcomes can vary. Selecting more than one partner mitigates some risk and offers you a basis for comparison.
4. Run the Campaign
Now that the groundwork is done, it’s time to let the syndicators do their thing. As you’re agreeing on the details of the campaign, pay attention to any recommendations the syndicator might have. They know their audience and, often, they’ll help you tweak targeting to get the most from your campaign.
For your first campaign with a new syndicator, it’s a good idea to start on the smaller side. This starter campaign serves to confirm the quality of the syndication outcomes and the syndicator’s service. It’s a good way to iron out any kinks before a long-term deal.
As the campaign launches, stay in contact with your syndicator. When they send proofs of their creative, look them over closely and inform them of any necessary changes. In general, it’s worthwhile to be receptive. Catching small things early on can prevent them from becoming costly later on in the campaign.
5. Collect Results
Depending on your syndicators, you could get one large lead delivery or several smaller incremental batches. Ideally, you’ll want to coordinate deliveries between syndicators so that the leads can be compared more accurately.
Before the leads arrive, you’ll want to have a plan for their next steps. Timing is very important at this stage. The sooner you follow up with a new lead the stronger that your point of affinity is. You don’t necessarily need to contact leads as soon as you receive them, but messages closely related to the campaign asset will benefit from a condensed cadence.
Finally, don’t be shy with your campaign returns. You’re paying for targeted leads. If the contact information is bad or they don’t match the targeting criteria, return the lead. Quality syndicators plan for some degree of returns and they won’t hassle you for reasonable return requests.
6. Benchmark outcomes
After you’ve gone through your various follow-up steps with the leads, take time to see how you did.
Ask yourself some key questions:
- How many moved on to the next step of the process? (Conversions)
- How many became closed business? (Customer acquisitions)
- How many returns did you have to deal with?
Translate this information into key campaign metrics. Divide the total cost of the campaign by the number of conversions to calculate your cost per conversion. Along the same lines, divide the total cost of the campaign by the number of customer acquisitions to determine your cost per customer acquisition. These numbers provide a quick point of comparison for leads from various sources.
Once you’ve run campaigns with several syndicators and you have some data to compare, draw conclusions. After the first few campaigns, there are usually varying degrees of success. There will likely be a couple channels that stuck and a couple that didn’t.
If this isn’t the case, it’s possible that the content syndicators just weren’t a good fit. That said, if you don’t see success – especially after trying multiple syndicators – it’s important to reexamine your strategy. It’s possible you’ve selected the wrong audience or a suboptimal asset.
These six steps can help you get up and running with content syndication. There’s a little bit of trial and error in the beginning stages, but as you find what works, content syndication will be a valuable part of your marketing strategy.
Let us know what you think:
- Do you currently use content syndication?
- How did you select your current partners?
- What would you look for in a new content syndication partner?