[Originally published 10/28/19]
Creating content that your intended audience actually finds valuable is a feat in itself. So, if you’ve got a great stash of content, you’re halfway there. You might even be syndicating on social media channels, or through one-to-one relationships with media sites. But, as demand intensifies for more highly-qualified leads, it’s time to consider choosing a content syndication vendor who can help you expand your reach.
There are plenty of content syndication options to consider, especially in the B2B space, where connecting with the right buyers at the right time can be challenging. Choosing the right content syndication vendor is essential to improving your reach, gaining opt-in leads, and squeezing all the marketing juice you can get from your original content.
According to our research, all of the most successful marketing teams have some sort of paid content syndication program in place. The key, of course, is selecting the right vendor. This article helps you out with a list of what to look for, and even some actual vendors to check out.
What to Look for in a Content Syndication Vendor
With so many available outlets— from free platforms to cost-per-click services— how can you be sure you’re partnering with the right content syndication vendor? Here are six concrete qualities to look for to ensure your lead generation success.
1. High Quality Data
The most important feature any content syndication vendor should offer is high quality data. Look out for methods by which your vendor ensures data accuracy and quality. You should have faith the leads you’re receiving have the most up-to-date information and have been enriched with intent data to help you reach more of the right buyers at the right time.
Achieving rich, accurate data usually involves the following:
- Access to lots of records (over 100 million is a good place to start)
- Title taxonomy checks
- Contact-level buyer intent data
- Contact validation
- Content engagement tracking
- Behavior analytics
- Decisional data
- Technographic insights
Since company and contact info is always changing, this data should also be regularly QA’d through a combination of AI and manual efforts. Updated data will improve segmentation, targeting accuracy, outreach connection rates, and, ultimately, will lead to faster lead generation ROI.
High-quality, and actionable data is a powerful complement to your CRM efforts, too. In fact, it gives your CRM greater utility and relevance, giving you the power to approach your marketing and sales activities armed with the confidence of accurate, verified data and true insight.
The opposite is true as well: poor data quality can destroy a marketing campaign and have a significant negative impact on your sales team. It can also create other risks as well, depending on the type of follow-up you’re performing. For example, actions you take based on flawed data could result in breaches in customer privacy or information, and damage to your own reputation. And don’t forget about the financial costs to your business of using poor-quality data; the average financial impact on U.S. companies annually is around $3.1 trillion.
2. Buyer Analytics
Analyzing your buyers through engagement trends and competitive brand interactions is extremely important. Buyer analytics, as defined by Marketing Evolution, is the “study of data garnered through marketing campaigns in order to discern patterns between such things as how a campaign contributed to conversions, consumer behavior, regional preferences, and creative preferences.” Content syndication can provide this type of data to help enhance your database and improve your follow-up campaigns.
Content syndication vendors can make use of buyer analytics using AI to segment their audiences based on various interaction points. In theory, this process will help provide you better leads with more personalization. However, the catch is the vendor needs to consistently measure their audiences to keep up with changing trends. A great way to see how your content syndication vendor uses buyer analytics is to run two test campaigns with the same persona and see if the quality stays the same or if it drops off between the two test runs.
3. Audience Engagement
A list of contacts is nothing if the contacts never engage. And, in order to be successful with content syndication, you need to reach people who may actually download your offering and become a lead. This fact is why media outlets and other types of publishers try to keep their audiences engaged through regular nurturing and partnered content. In addition to offering content, surveys and other engagement opportunities, the best vendors will regularly analyze contact-level intent signals that are created from domain level trends, social media triggers, and other channels to derive actionable insights about prospects who showing interest in solutions like yours.
From a demand generation perspective, a lead that’s engaged with content consumption versus a passive lead can be the difference between closed-won and closed-lost. Depending on the type of media you syndicate, there can be a huge spike in your conversion rates once you start following up with the leads, because those leads are targeted and engaged.
4. Buyer Segmentation
B2B databases tend to be filled with a wide variety of contacts, and whether it’s industry, title, timeframe or any other characteristic, every possible contact is not always qualified for your product, service, or brand. As a demand generation marketer, when researching content syndication services, try to find out if they offer various levels of segmentation in their campaigns. At the very minimum, your potential partner should be able to match your campaign criteria and intended customer profile. It’s even better if they can get more granular using:
- Competitive Intelligence
- Buyer Intent Signals
If your B2B content syndication platform is able to fill each one of these spots with segmentation options, that’s a great sign. It’s also helpful not to get overwhelmed with the data. Just because you can segment your campaign down to miniscule details, doesn’t mean you should. Try and create campaigns that address your buyer’s needs and take into account what would provide value for them. There is usually a sweet spot between targeting too specifically (and thus shrinking your possible audience size) and targeting too broadly (in which case your offer won’t apply to a lot of the audience). Your content syndication vendor should be able to assist in setting the right targeting parameters.
5. Agility and Campaign Performance
Another important factor to keep in mind when researching content syndication vendors is how they measure campaign performance, and the ways they promote your content. The campaigns they run will always prioritize generating leads over anything else, but you want to make sure their syndication methods won’t damage your brand. Try to ascertain how many times they email your content to their prospects. Also, determine if the leads are generated over the phone or just by email, and talk about how the campaign is evaluated and potentially shifted as it’s running to give you the best chance at getting great leads.
Successful marketing strategies are never “set-and-forget.” The goal of any campaign should be to evaluate and improve results by continually refining your methods. The same goes for working with third-party content syndication vendors. Make sure your potential vendor has the ability to evaluate during your campaign and to be agile.
6. Proven Success
You’ll also want confidence that whatever partner you choose has done this sort of thing before. When looking at different types of content syndication vendors, it’s worth looking at the case studies and reviews that support them. Look at the company’s reach into your specific buyer persona. Ask yourself, are there any crossovers or similarities to what you do? What other companies have used this vendor and left a positive review? Are any of them in your industry?
Successful content syndication vendors should have case studies or use cases readily available, and if they don’t, that should raise a red flag. Ask for case studies if you don’t see them on the vendor’s website.
Paid Content Syndication Vendors – Some Options
Once you’re ready to seek out a content syndication vendor, your six points of evaluation will help you determine your best move as you look into the options. Here are some B2B content syndication platforms you can leverage in order to best support your specific business objective:
Outbrain is a popular discovery and marketing platform that recommends your content to top media outlets like CNN, Time, and ESPN to help drive increased traffic to your website.
According to the platform’s website, Outbrain reaches an audience of more than 550M online users and recommends about 344B pieces of content every month. Considering those numbers, your content is sure to receive extensive exposure. Also, Outbrain features a reader engagement tracker, so you can pinpoint specific parts of your content that resonate best with target audiences.
The downside of Outbrain, however, is that it doesn’t allow publishers to qualify for its revenue sharing program unless the original content itself is either ad-supported or boasts over 10 million page views. Therefore, if you’re a small-to medium-sized enterprise that aims to generate earnings from blog posts alone, Outbrain might not be the best syndication network for you.
The Taboola network mostly serves high-end publishers, including The New York Times, NBC, and CBS. Its content engine helps you determine which sites give you the best engagement from your posts.
As of late, Taboola seems to be experiencing great success in marketing video content, so it’s best to consider the service if you see your brand doing more video content marketing in the near future.
ARC XP is part of The Washington Post’s press release service, which publishes content across a wide network of blog, news, and social media sites all at once. It was “designed by digital storytellers, for storytelling,” according to ARC XP’s Joe Croney.
While ARC XP isn’t particularly useful for your SEO campaigns, it does help generate traffic to your site and increase awareness of or interest in your brand.
PureSyndication by DemandScience
PureSyndication is a content syndication platform featuring top-notch customer support and guaranteed in-market, high-quality leads that match your ICP. The service includes global targeting, 131M+ B2B technology buyers, and contact-level intent signals created from domain level trends, social media triggers, and other channels. PureSyndication can help you build your sales and marketing database with opt-in leads familiar with your products and brand.
Use the Right Content Syndication Vendor and Get the ROI Your Content Deserves
If you find yourself a bit overwhelmed with the idea of making sure your content is driving revenue, you’re not alone. About 44% of marketers recently said their biggest challenge was proving ROI of their content. That’s why it’s so important to look for a content syndication vendor that offers high quality data, robust buyer analytics, real audience engagement, granular levels of buyer segmentation, the ability to continually evaluate and improve content performance, and experience activating and engaging in-market buyers to produce sales-ready leads. Working with the right partner can make this syndication stuff much easier. Using these guidelines to choose your best vendor is your next best move. Want to learn more about content syndication? Download our Quickstart Guide to B2B Content Syndication, where we breakdown the fundamentals of B2B content syndication—what it is, why it matters, and expert tips to get you started.
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