For most (if not all) bloggers, one of the key metrics on how their blog has grown comes from how many readers it has.
These don’t necessarily have to be subscribers, either, although I’m a fan of subscribers being more a metric than readers for success, since these are folks that are investing their inboxes with you. But I digress…
But as any blogger knows, wanting more readers and getting more readers can be two wildly separate entities. It’s a big blogging world out there, and people can be sparing with their time and where to invest it.
The good news is, there is a way you can attract more readers to your blog, and that’s through content syndication. The bad news, you may have to give up some control. So what are the benefits and how do you get syndicated?
A Quick Introduction to Content Syndication
Before we look at how you can get your blog in front of the eyes of more readers, let’s just take a quick look at what content syndication means. The easiest way to compare it is to local news journalists and major newsrooms.
For most local journalists, your stories are mainly read by the local township. There’s nothing wrong with this, and it’s a solid enough career. However, now and again you might write a human interest story that gets picked up by the nationals, and your piece is quoted in the New York Times or on CNN.
That kind of exposure can lead to bigger gigs and paychecks, as you’re approached to provide stories (or images) for these bigger outlets, as well as your local publication where it all started. This is the journalism version of content syndication.
Now, if you take that back to your blog. That’s the local publication, and the bigger newsrooms might be Mashable, or ReadWriteWeb, or Techcrunch, or Technorati – basically, anywhere that might be in your niche but has an audience hundreds of thousands of times bigger than yours.
If you could get your content into their feeds, then the sky is the limit to where you can go as a blogger. So how do you get out there, and what are the best options for you?
The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Content Syndication
The simplest way to have your content syndicated is to do it yourself.
Yes, it’s also the most time-consuming, as you have to do all the legwork and find the sites in your niche that accept blog feeds to be shared. But until you have the good fortune to be noticed by other websites for your blog content, getting yourself out there in syndication land is the only way to go for now.
To help you make this process a little quicker, here are some of the best (and most widely-read) syndication sites and options currently out there, regardless of your blog’s niche:
- Alltop: Although Alltop gets a lot of stick from many people, it can still act as a great library of blogs and bloggers. With a complete A-Z of topics and syndication as easy as submitting your blog details, it’s a great way to get your blog in front of a new set of readers.
- Networked Blogs: Primarily a great way to share your blog posts on Facebook, Networked Blogs also has a library of blog topics to submit your blog to. The cool thing about Networked Blogs is if you can get enough of your Facebook friends and colleagues to follow your blog via their Facebook app, you can rise to the top of the topic list and get even more readers.
- Scribnia: From my friend David Spinks, Scribnia has become a great resource for finding quality new blogs due to their voting system. People can show their approval (or disapproval, so make sure your quality is good!) of your blog with a vote and description and, like Networked Blogs, this helps you rise in the ranks until your content is in front of thousands. Again, submitting your blog is straightforward.
These are just three options you can begin submitting your content to for syndication. There are more (and this is where Google is your friend), but I chose these for the width of topics and audience size.
As a way of potentially growing your readership, syndication offers the best “bang for your buck” when it comes to the number of new readers you could attract. However, it does have some downsides.
I Get a Whole Bunch of New Readers – So What’s the Problem?
While syndication can get you new readers, by its very nature it can also be a limited amount of new readers. If you take a look at the three options I highlighted above, you’ll see that there are hundreds (thousands) of other bloggers syndicated there too.
So, to make sure your blog stands out, you have to know how to best use each network for promotion. A widget on your blog (Alltop, Networked Blogs and Scribnia all offer this) is a start. As is adding the syndicated feed to your email signature, or other online destinations.
Additionally, syndication often means losing control of your content. For instance, instead of people sharing your blog post on Twitter, Facebook, etc, they share the syndicated feed. So, your work is read but readers still aren’t necessarily coming to your site versus the syndicated one.
Just a couple of things to keep in mind before going down the syndication route. There’s no doubt it can work – just make sure you’re ready to do the work to make it work.
Then again, isn’t that how all blogging growth really happens?