Posted on 21 October, 2018
A content marketing campaign is nothing without high-quality, engaging content. Digital magazines, social media platforms, and email lists all come to life when populated with content tailored to meet the expectations of an increasingly demanding target audience.
Great content resonates with those who read it, while mediocre content sinks. And while creating high-quality, original content is a great way to engage with audiences, it is not always the solution for brands looking to boost their online presence and see maximum ROI.
When done properly, the use of licensed third-party content can greatly benefit a brand’s digital marketing efforts. Take a look at this strategic use of licensed content by Pfizer from HuffPost Live by Huffington Post.
Used alongside original content, or at times even exclusively, syndicated content can help in the acquisition of new customers, the retention of existing ones, and the increase of brand awareness and trust across the target market.
Here are some of the main benefits of using licensed content, with an eye to the future of content marketing in 2019 and beyond:
1. Licensed content is time and cost-effective
Investing in original content is certainly worth it for brands embarking on content marketing campaigns, however this can be an expensive and resource-heavy pursuit. Complementing original content with relevant third-party content is an affordable and timely way in which a brand can populate its content hub or social channels, without breaking the bank.
Dedicating a portion of its content marketing budget to licensed content allows a brand to ensure a regular flow of content to its distribution channels, keeping users engaged for longer, and enabling the brand to cover a wider variety of topics and content formats without having to hire a team of writers, or paying an agency for a large amount of original content.
2. Licensed content can increase user engagement
Brands and publishers are constantly competing for the attention of audiences, and with the multitude of new technologies being constantly developed and improved in this digital age, it can be quite difficult to keep users in one place. In order to stay relevant and engage users, brands must take into account various formats such as virtual reality, podcasts and interactive content. Creating a podcast, or experimenting with virtual reality is expensive and time consuming, however licensing it is simple, and ultimately much more cost-effective.
Users arriving at a brand’s content hub will stay engaged for longer if content is relevant, entertaining, or informative, and to create such content takes time and money. Carefully curating third-party content which will resonate with the target audience will drive engagement and allow for brands to retain users on their own distribution platforms and channels. This example by Rue La La is worth noting here - the brand licensed content from the popular fashion magazine Fashionista, targeting its audience with relevant content to engage readers.
3. Licensed content can help SEO, despite what the naysayers would have you believe
This is a controversial point, however it is the case that publishing third-party content can help SEO when done properly and legally. While licensed content itself will rarely rank higher than the original piece, it does help build trust and authority in a domain. If users are arriving at a content hub and engaging with multiple pieces of content, search engines will see that the domain is trustworthy and relevant.
Google will continue to favour sites which satisfy user demand, with this factor being considered highly important in search algorithms. While a large number of quality links back to a site still plays a role in search engaging rankings, Google ultimately wants users to find the content they are looking for within the top displayed results upon searching any particular query.
A content hub which is shown to engage its users and provide them with the information they are looking for will certainly rank higher than those which offer limited and low-quality content. Licensing content around a specific topic, and complementing it with a number of well-researched and SEO optimised original pieces, can show users and search engines that a brand’s content hub is a trustworthy and reliable source for information on that specific topic.
4. Licensed content can help a brand’s reputation
A brand which aims to be a thought-leader or reliable source of information on a certain topic can benefit from using syndicated content when the content it licenses comes from reputable sources. Big name publishers often allow for their content to be republished, and have levels of access that other publishers—and even brands—do not.
A tech company looking to develop its content hub into a reliable source of information on a specific topic can benefit from licensing high-end content from reputable publishers, such as interviews with experts or thought leaders. If the brand were to attempt to conduct the interview itself, it might be faced with a number of budgetary and time-related difficulties, not to mention the issue of actually gaining access to the subject.
GuideSpark’s use of content from FierceCEO is a good example of leveraging reputable content for a successful content marketing program.
5. Licensing content allows for increased variety
As mentioned previously in this article, creating original content is expensive and time consuming. In addition to this, building a team of content creators, or hiring multiple agencies to cover various formats, is a sure-fire way to burn through a budget quickly.
Licensing content allows for a brand to publish articles, videos, infographics, interviews, interactive content, podcasts, and much more, without having to hire a huge team of creators. The original publisher does the hard work, and the brand can legally use that content for its own content marketing campaigns without having to worry about incurring huge costs.
In addition to this, if a certain content format shows to be ineffective, it can be easily dropped from the content strategy, without having to worry about wasted resources in creating it.