When people hear about my Affiliate Maverick program, one of the first questions I get asked is “How does syndication work?” Syndication is not a new concept. Newspapers who could barely afford to pay local reporters, let alone reporters who travelled to covered national or international news, often resorted to paying syndication fees to groups like the Associated Press to print their articles, while popular shows like Siskel & Ebert: At the Movies were syndicated to local UHF channels back in the 80’s and 90’s. How does this apply to the internet? Many bloggers who are just starting out try to get their content syndicated on sites with more traffic, but that can be difficult and essentially means they are writing for free. However, by using RSS feeds, you can create a blog or online newspaper where you don’t have to write any content: you simply syndicate other people’s content. This allows you to populate your site with fresh content every day, thereby increasing your traffic. The best part is that, unlike newspapers and UHF channels, you don’t have to pay. Before getting started, though, it is important to know how exactly this works.
When people first hear about syndication, one of the first things they ask is: why would people visit my site if they can get the same content on another site? The answer is aggregation. Yes, the content you syndicate on your site will be available on another site, but you can syndicate as many feeds as you like. If you have a basketball website, for instance, you can grabbed the RSS feed from NBA.com, and then add the basketball RSS feeds from sites like ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and Yahoo News. In this way, readers who typically have to visit several different sites to get all their basketball news, can now visit one site: yours.
Once this element of the process is explained, the next thing people ask is: “What’s in it for the sites I am syndicating from?” The answer to that is pretty simple as well: exposure. It just like doing guest posts. Because some of the articles you syndicate will only offer a partial article with a link to the full post, or will have a link to the source at the end of the full article, you will always be generating traffic for other people. No matter how big or popular a website is, it can always use more exposure, so this will help them. For example, people who visit a sites likes Rolling Stone may not be aware of sites like Spin or Entertainment Weekly. If you do a good job of getting readers to your site, those Rolling Stone readers who happen to be readers of yours, or who may have stumbled upon your site via Twitter of Facebook, will end up finding articles from Entertainment Weekly, gaining them new readers. It is a symbiotic relationship.
This is not to suggest that you shouldn’t add any original content. In fact, though you can succeed working strictly with syndicated material, original content can help improve your SEO ranking and differentiate yourself from other sites. I recommend setting up a tab for current news, and one for blog posts. If you don’t have time to write regularly, you might just do one post a week where you summarize the top three or five stories in your niche. Perhaps you have a food-and-wine blog. Once a week you can do a post where award, the wine, bake good, and entrée of the week. Or perhaps you can pick a recipe each which and do a blog post about preparing it. This is great because it allows you to hyperlink to your own articles and gets you even more page views. It’s easy to add some of your own original content to a syndicated blog or news magazine, and this will add to the novelty of your site.
The most important thing about these kinds of sites is monetization. The entire purpose of bringing traffic to your site is to profit from it. You can do this by signing up for Google Adsense, or Bing Ads, or other monetization methods, like Click Bank, or even signing up as an Amazon Affiliate. These are pretty straightforward programs that are easy to sign up for, and my Affiliate Maverick program goes over a number of these methods. If you don’t monetize your site, then there likely isn’t going to be much of a point to creating it, so this part if vital!
For most of the clients that I work with, these blogs or web magazines are meant to be a supplemental income, though you can turn a significant profit on these sites. More importantly, though, they can help you build a brand. If you work in a specific niche, and you build an online magazine or blog related to that niche, it can help to establish you as an authority in the field and foster trust between you and potential clients. In this way, the magazine can be invaluable, and because they can easily be designed to be niche specific, you will get targeted traffic, creating an ideal space to promote your products.
There are a number benefits to syndicating articles on your blog or web magazine. If, for instance, you only have time to post once or twice a week, syndicated articles will keep your readers coming back on a daily basis. It is of course a must that you have your own hosting, which is important for any online entrepreneur to have, but these fees can easily be covered by the profits generated from Google Adsense. It is also important to promote these articles on social media, but you can arrange it so that this is done automatically (a feature of my Affiliate Maverick program). In filling your site with fresh content aggregated from multiple sources, and using automated social media features, your site can essentially run itself and drive traffic while you collect the revenue from the monetized components of your site. This can enhance your brand, or your existing content, and give your readers and clients a unique product that reinforces your value to them.
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