The pros and cons of syndicating your content on Medium and LinkedIn

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The core problem with content marketing as part of your social media marketing strategy is that, fundamentally, you have to get someone to read your content. Without readers coming into the funnel, you have no one to nurture into customers.

One strategy for increasing readership is to syndicate your content onto one or more other platforms where there are other people who might be interested in reading your blog. The two most applicable platforms those who are selling complex B2B solutions are Medium and LinkedIn.

The idea of syndication is that you take your original content that was on your website, and you copy it and publish it onto a syndication platform. There are some reasons why you’d want to do this, and there are some significant problems that you need to be aware of.

Syndication will get more people to read your content, because the platform is a) desperate for content to publish, and b) they’re better at getting readers than you are. But you have to remember the motivations of the platform owners are not the same as yours

The platform owners objective is to deliver value to the readership. Just like you want people to keep coming back to you, your website, and your social accounts to get more of your “good stuff”, the platform owners want people to keep coming back to them for the same reason. This means that they are motivated to work their platform so that there is a really good match between reader interest and the content they they are shown. This delights the platform readership in the same way that your content should delight your customers.

However, your objective in publishing content is to get people to follow some “call to action” (aka CTA), whatever that might be. For example, you want people to start a free trial, or pick up the phone, or download something.

That means on your website you tune the presentation of your content such that you are ever looking to increase the chances of your CTA happening. For example, you might funnel 100 people in to read your blog and hope that three or four of them provide their email address for a newsletter.

On the syndication platforms, you have very limited — or virtually no — opportunities to present a CTA.

This means that a visitor to your content on Medium, LinkedIn, or any other syndicated platform has an entirely different value to you than someone coming to your website. This doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing — it just means you need to deal with it differently.

Anyone coming to your website should be quite firmly pushed towards your funnel, although this needs to be deftly done so that you don’t end up tripping away the value the reader was getting by frustration with regards to the user experience of the funnel.

Anyone coming to syndicated content should be pushed firmly towards actions that are in tune with the platform’s owner’s objectives.

For example, the platform owner is always looking to put the “best” content in front of their readers. They will do this by looking for signals in the readers behaviour — how long do they spend reading a piece, did they click the “like” button, did they share it on other networks, and so on?

If you do look to stimulate that signal — and the easiest one to do is get them to click the “like” button — your content (and pieces you publish subsequently) will be given a higher rating when it comes to considering what needs to be presented to readers on the platform. However, this starts to look more like brand building and/or authority building rather than direct lead generation.

An obvious word of caution here is that if you link out of a syndicated piece to an external CTA (e.g. “Click here to download our briefing paper on blah blah…”), you’re not getting the reader to signal to the platform. Therefore, you won’t get “seen” by the platform, and won’t get bumped up the ratings.

This isn’t a bad thing — as I mentioned before it’s about value. For example, paying for a Twitter promotion that drives clicks to a syndicated piece on Medium is (probably/possibly) a total waste of money when compared to the same promotion driving clicks to your website.

It also means that making, as people so often do, Medium your main website is almost entirely pointless from a social media marketing perspective.

But then, all of this is free. You can put your content on Medium and LinkedIn, and it’s just an issue of copy and paste and using the same “don’t forget to leave a ‘like’” CTA at the foot of each one.

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