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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Guide To Licensed Content Syndication

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What is licensed content syndication? What are the key misconceptions of this content distribution and online marketing approach? Is licensed syndication profitable? Do you retain rights on your content? What are the key benefits?

Photo credit: head-off mashed up by Robin Good

In this licensed content syndication guide, you can learn more about how licensed syndication can be used to deliver your content beyond your typical audience.

Licensed content syndication promises to be a win-win approach where the end-user gains access to exclusive content while you generate new traffic and increased brand awareness by reaching new audiences. Licensed syndication can also become a source of additional revenue as it can provide royalty payments to publishers when their content is viewed by end users who have paid for it.

End users are generally willing to pay for licensed content if the type of information provided is particularly rare, difficult to find or unique. Often, business people prefer to pay a small amount of money rather than having to wade through hundreds of Google search results. This is why it is possible to get significant amounts of people to pay small amounts of money to get access to valuable information, when this is not easily available elsewhere on the open web.

While publisher royalties derived from online content syndication may not represent the main part of a web publisher revenue stream, this should not be considered a matter of concern.

Professional web publishers should rather focus on the general benefits that licensed content syndication can provide to their overall online marketing approach including the increased exposure and visibility it can bring, as well as the additional extra credibility and authority it can provide when the content being distributed is of really high value.

In this guide, Larry Schwartz and Susan Gunelius, have researched and debunked some of the most common misconceptions about licensed content syndication.


The Truth About Blog And Twitter Content Syndication

By Larry Schwartz and Susan Gunelius

Dispelling The Myths and Rumors About Licensed Blog Syndication

The Most Common Misconceptions Debunked


Licensed blog syndication is very different from ad-supported, free or bartered syndication.

While some of the myths and rumours about blog syndication might apply to the ad-supported, free or bartered syndication models, they are not true of licensed syndication.

It is important to make the distinction between what is accurate and what is false before bloggers can make educated decisions as to whether or not blog syndication will help them achieve their individual goals.

Myth #1: Distributors Make All The Money From Syndicated Blog Content


The truth: It is true that end-users pay for access to the highly selective content delivered through licensed blog contracts. From those subscription fees, several parties are paid:

  1. The distributors are paid to maintain the systems and to get blog content in front of highly influential audiences that are unlikely to find it easily through open web searches.
  2. The aggregation company is paid from those subscription fees to maintain the systems and standardize, enhance and deliver content to meet both the distributors' and end-user customers' needs. Again, a haphazard web search will not produce the results that top companies, universities, government entities and law firms are looking for.
  3. The bloggers are paid royalties from those subscription fees based on the actual use of their content by end-user customers.


Myth #2: Bloggers Do Not Make Any Money From Blog Syndication


The truth: While it is unlikely that bloggers will not make any money from blog syndication, it is probably true that they will not earn huge royalty payments. However, every dollar helps.

Many bloggers think, "I am writing my blog anyway, why not syndicate it to an audience who probably will not read it otherwise, and make a few bucks, too?" The money is nice, but the exposure is priceless for the majority of bloggers.


Myth #3: Bloggers Who Syndicate Find Their Content All Over The Internet and Lose All of Their Rights


The truth: The difference between free, bartered and most ad-supported syndication models versus licensed syndication is the type of exposure they provide to bloggers.

Most free, bartered and ad-supported syndication opportunities deliver blog content through the open web, making it available to exactly the same people who could find it directly through web searches. In other words, bloggers will not necessarily boost their blog traffic to a new audience.

While free, bartered and ad-supported syndication might boost blog traffic faster than a blogger can achieve on his or her own, eventually, the same people would find the blogger organically. With that said, free, bartered and ad-supported syndication can be useful to some bloggers who want to grow their blogs quickly.

The drawback of free, bartered and ad-supported syndication can come on the back end in terms of hurting the blog's search rankings.

For example, Google ranks the originating site of an article or blog post higher than the sites that republish it.

Depending on a blogger's individual publishing situation and syndication agreements, first publishing rights might go to the syndication site, not to the blogger, as far as Google's search ranking algorithm goes. That can actually hurt a blog's traffic numbers in the long run and is something every blogger needs to consider when researching syndication options.

However, blogs that are syndicated through a licensed syndication agreement have their content delivered through closed systems, not on the open web, with links back to the original article, so the blogger retains all rights to his or her work.

Furthermore, the blog is always identified as the original publication source, thereby preserving the blog's search rankings and organic traffic growth.

While it is harder to get accepted into a licensed syndication agreement than an ad-supported, free or bartered syndication agreement, the results are quite different.

Licensed syndication drives smaller amounts of highly targeted and influential traffic over time and often leads to other opportunities for the blogger to grow his blog and business.


Myth #4: Since People Read Syndicated Content Outside of The Blog, The Blog's Traffic Will Drop


The truth: This is a common misconception related to licensed blog syndication. Unlike free, bartered and ad-supported syndication, where blog content is republished in a myriad of places and on multiple web sites, thereby reducing the potential traffic for the originating blogger, licensed syndication works differently.

Subscribers pay to access licensed content through closed environments such as university libraries, corporate or legal research departments, and so on.

There is little likelihood that the individuals who access blog content through syndicated, licensed distribution would be the same audience that would find it through web searches.

In short, the audiences are quite different and licensed syndication introduces a blogger's content to a new and highly targeted, professional audience that may turn into loyal readers and ultimately, boost a blog's traffic over the long term.


Myth #5: The Amount of Traffic Blogs Get From Blog Syndication Is Negligible


The truth: It is difficult to predict how much additional traffic a blog will get as a direct result of licensed syndication.

More often, it is the indirect traffic and exposure to targeted influencers in the fields of journalism, business, law, government, academics, and so on that are the primary benefits of licensed blog syndication.

According to Jonathan Hoy, director of news and business content for LexisNexis,

"Traffic trends often change with the current hot topics. For example, during the election, political blogs were popular.

During the recession, financial blogs have grown in popularity. Currently, international blogs are becoming big, and blogs in languages other than English are likely to be in demand from our end user consumers in the future."


Bottom Line


Each blogger must identify his or her goals for a blog in order to determine whether or not syndication is right for him or her.

The key to determine whether or not syndication is right for the blogger is to understand that licensed blog syndication is very different from free, bartered or ad-supported syndication. That is why many of the most popular and well-trafficked bloggers, as well as many smaller, high quality bloggers, choose to syndicate their blog content through the licensed syndication model.

The next section provides more details about the benefits of blog syndication.


Why Should You License and Syndicate Your Blog?

The Top Benefits of Blog Syndication


Licensed blog syndication can play a pivotal role in a blogger's overall marketing strategy.

In the 21st century, generating word-of-mouth marketing and online buzz are extremely powerful tools. That is why so many people around the world have started blogs.

Everyone has a particular goal in mind for their blog. For those bloggers who are interested in growing their blogs, developing a platform as a subject matter expert, and connecting with:

  • Top journalists,
  • corporate and legal researchers,
  • academics,
  • financial experts and others,

licensed syndication is an easy way to broaden their exposure to a highly targeted audience of professionals and it fits in perfectly as part of an integrated marketing plan.

The decision to syndicate blog content is one that each individual blogger needs to make based on his or her unique goals.

Bottom line, a licensed syndication agreement can bring added exposure, new opportunities, a broader reach, and some money to the blogger.


Increased Credibility and More Authority


The power of the blogosphere has grown exponentially over the past five years and shows no signs of stopping.

Traditional mass media is feeling the effects of that growth as print newspapers and magazines struggle to stay in business and news organization web sites search for ways to stay profitable despite the demand from consumers for free online content.

Blog syndication provides one more avenue for bloggers to directly and effectively compete with mass media because it allows user-generated content to be delivered to professional end-user customers, including many of the top companies in the world, alongside content from highly-respected global news organizations.

More specifically, professional influencers from Wall Street, the legal and business fields, government and law enforcement agencies and universities access syndicated blog content through private systems via well-known distributors such as LexisNexis, which immediately gives those blogs a credibility boost.

It never hurts a blogger to be able to tell potential advertisers, clients or employers that his or her content is distributed through organizations like LexisNexis or Thomson West.


Increased Exposure and Brand Building


Blog content that is syndicated through a licensing contract is delivered to end-users who access it through closed environments, which are completely separate from the open web.

End-users who pay for subscriptions to access syndicated blog content have specific needs.

End-users do not have time to search through Google or Yahoo! to find targeted commentary from premium bloggers. Instead, they are willing to pay for access to commentary written by experts who can help them do their jobs, build their businesses, and so on.

Syndicated blog content that is delivered through closed systems gets in front of an audience of influencers who are unlikely to find it otherwise, and since the blogger's links and original branding are retained for end-user customers to see, blog syndication presents an invaluable opportunity for bloggers to generate increased brand awareness and recognition across a new global audience.

Imagine the advertising dollars a blogger would have to invest to get his message in front of that same audience!

Some people and businesses pay hundreds or thousands of dollars on press releases to reach a similar audience, but bloggers can do it (and earn money rather than spend it) through licensed blog syndication.


More Readers and Opportunities


Since syndicated blog content that is accessed through closed environments gets in front of influential users who are not typical blog visitors, the added exposure a blog gets from this audience often leads directly to increased blog readership.

For example, bloggers who syndicate their content to closed systems are often called upon for interviews, to write books, for public speaking engagements, for job opportunities, and more. Such broad exposure ultimately leads to more blog traffic. Depending on a blogger's goals for his or her blog, that added traffic can be an important part of his or her marketing plan.

The added traffic could help the blogger boost ad revenue or present new business opportunities. The possibilities are vast and real.


Make Money


Bloggers who syndicate their content through licensing contracts earn royalties when end-users access that content.

The vast majority of bloggers who syndicate their content are looking for increased exposure and recognition to boost their blogs or develop other businesses ventures.

Therefore, to many bloggers, royalties are an added bonus that will not make a blogger rich, but when coupled with the added exposure, credibility, and indirect opportunities that licensed syndication offers, the entire licensed syndication model is an excellent way to enhance a blogger's overall integrated marketing plan.

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 (original link not available anymore).

About Larry Schwartz


Larry 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 Online), GFI Group (Nasdaq:GFIG - financial), Wizard World (publishing), Patron Technology (technology) and Most recently Larry was President of Comtex News Network, a real time wholesaler of news to the financial industry.

About Susan Gunelius


With 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 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 Most Common Misconceptions Debunked - Robert Byron
Myth #1: Distributors Make All The Money From Syndicated Blog Content - Milous Chab
Myth #2: Bloggers Do Not Make Any Money From Blog Syndication - Joshua Haviv
Myth #3: Bloggers Who Syndicate Find Their Content All Over The Internet and Lose All of Their Rights - BabyCakes_73
Myth #4: Since People Read Syndicated Content Outside of The Blog, The Blog's Traffic Will Drop - Eric Isselée
Myth #5: The Amount of Traffic Blogs Get From Blog Syndication Is Negligible - Stephen Meese
Bottom Line - KAREEM saady
Why Should You License and Syndicate Your Blog? - Alastor
The Top Benefits of Blog Syndication -Andrey Zyk
Increased Credibility and More Authority - tasys EIDIEJUS
Increased Exposure and Brand Building - Mikhail Lavrenov
More Readers and Opportunities - Emin Ozkan
Make Money -head-off

Larry Schwartz and Susan Gunelius -
Reference: Newstex [ Read more ]
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posted by on Wednesday, September 16 2009, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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