Beauty is in the eye of the beholder... or maybe just in the eye of the person paying attention at the time?
A very broad explanation of Inbound Marketing is getting relevant information in front of people where they are looking for it. Don't interrupt them on their way to relevant content and try to buy or steal their attention. Be the relevant content.
The typical (paraphrased) response is: That sounds great, but how do I get my content in front of the right people?
Should I post to my blog? Should I post to LinkedIn Pulse? Guest Blog? Syndication?
One of those methods? All of them?
People are very distracted these days, and all the content that is created is competing for people's attention. Have you ever watched TV with a phone in your hand? Have you ever started an email, only to get a phone call and realize hours later you still haven't finished the email? Have you ever started reading an article and heard your phone buzz, and rushed to see if that message was more important than the thing you were reading?
A True Story
On March 16 of last year, I wrote How Not To Prospect On LinkedIn
The following day, I received this message:
It is by far my most popular article! We have a couple hundred blog subscribers. HubSpot has a couple million and about 800 of them shared the article directly with their network!
We obviously got a pretty nice boost in traffic to our own website, so I figured I would try it again. On April 2, I published The Only Acceptable Time To Start Your Sales Pitch, and fired off an email to Emma.
I read that as, "Meh! Thanks, but no thanks."
I thought it was a really good article. The people that commented and shared thought it was good. Oh well.
A week later decided to syndicate the post onto my own LinkedIn Pulse. Since my personal network on LinkedIn is larger than our blog subscribers, and I happen to know a lot of sales people, I thought maybe it would get some good traction there, and it did.
A week after publishing (the exact same article) on LinkedIn Pulse, I got the following email:
What changed? I did nothing different besides post to a different location. Maybe LinkedIn's simplistic formatting framed the article differently? Could it be that a LinkedIn user has a particular mindset while engaged with content on LinkedIn versus someone just surfing the web? Maybe one of my connections shared the article with Emma and suggested she syndicate it to the HubSpot Sales Blog?
The Nuts and Bolts
So, what's the right answer to, That sounds great, but how do I get my content in front of the right people?
Let's assume that you have created content, and the content is relevant to someone. Why not use data to decide?
Post it to your blog, and invite people to read, comment and share.
Try reposting to your LinkedIn Pulse. LinkedIn provides metrics on how the post is performing, but the huge bonus is that when people like or comment, their entire network see that. If someone comments on your own blog, only previous commenters and future readers will see the comment.
If offered the opportunity to syndicate an article to someone else's blog, why not try it? It's a different audience, a different mindset, and another channel to generate referrals.
Here is a classic example:
Violinist Prodigy Joshua Bell plays virtually unnoticed in the DC Metro.
But stick him in a concert hall with an entire orchestra wearing tuxedo's, and people would gladly pay hundreds of dollars to watch him perform.
Joshua Bell did not get on my radar because he's a famous violinist. He got on my radar because someone shared a video with me of him playing unnoticed in a metro station.
In concert circles and concert halls, Joshua Bell competes with all the other great violinists, but stick him in a metro station and he's different. A Purple Cow.
Is Syndication a good idea? I heard it's bad for SEO.
Ya, I've heard and read that too. Presumably, Google is the only authority that can comment definitively. The general consensus on the topic is that is a widely-accepted way to reach greater audiences with your content, and on the flip-side, curate relevant content for your audience. However, there are two ways you can go about it without getting dinged as mentioned in this HubSpot article - How to Syndicate Content Without Getting Dinged in Search. Here is an excerpt from that article:
Add a rel=canonical tag on the new page with your article, and point that tag back to the original article on your site. This gives Google a heads up that the syndicated copy is just a copy, and that you are the original publisher. All links to the syndicated copy will give the benefit of the original article.
The second best choice is to NoIndex the copy of the article. This tells Google to keep the syndicated copy out of its index, but it will still pass the valuable “link juice” between articles (unlike NoIndex’s evil cousin, NoFollow).
Here are some links to other articles that also cover the topic.
But ask yourself, what will have the greater effect on your business- Semantics over SEO or engagement from actual people?