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Is paid-for content syndication right for you?

By: Mark Gatty-Saunt

Posted on 19 February, 2019


Is paid-for content syndication right for you?

Publishers and other content producers are missing out on a trick if they are not actively involved in paid-for content syndication (or other licensing deals). Aside from creating a supplementary new revenue stream, there are various other appealing benefits to consider.

Within this basic guide, industry expert Mark GATTY SAUNT answers the questions that will likely arise when considering if paid-for content syndication is right for you and your content.

What is paid-for content syndication?

Paid-for content syndication usually involves a third party licensing and paying to display, or otherwise use content that originally appeared elsewhere. And typically, the third party is required to give credit to the original content provider when displaying syndicated/licensed content, in the form of a byline, a copyright notice, a watermark, or a brand logo.

Example of paid-for content syndication

Gulf News (a daily newspaper) syndicates its full-text news content to MSN.com. In return for the rights to re-publish selected Gulf News stories on MSN.com, Microsoft (who own MSN.com) pay Gulf News agreed fees.

The key benefits with paid-for content syndication  

  • Regular royalties, license fees, or other payments from the copying, usage or reproduction of your content
  • Improved SEO (through backlinks from syndication partners)
  • Increased reach and brand exposure

What type of content is suitable for paid-for syndication?

Regular content services (e.g. a daily news service), or individual content items (e.g. an interview) in various formats, including but not limited to audio, data, image, text and video. High quality, or unique content is always more marketable. Further, content that is either freely available online, in print, or on air, as well as content that is only available behind a paywall (or its requires a subscription) can both be suitable for syndication, or other licensing deals.

Does content syndication impact SEO in a positive or negative way?

The good news is that content syndication can improve your rank in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), as it brings you backlinks from the sites that are re-publishing your content. Requesting that the site licensing your content uses a rel=canonical tag will tell Google that your version of the content is the original (stopping you from being penalised for duplicate content). A NoIndex tag on the re-published content will ensure that it is not included in SERPs and thus does not compete with yours. Further, the sites that are re-publishing your content can benefit from Domain Authority, yielding a win-win situation for both parties.

Where can I expect to see my syndicated content being distributed, re-published, or otherwise re-used?

Depending on the type of content being syndicated, typical channels can include newspapers and magazines, internet sites, mobile services, content marketing hubs owned by leading advertising brands, TV, radio and streaming services, libraries, professional news platforms, research databases, in-flight entertainment systems, content marketplaces, media monitoring companies and more. However, distribution will depend on how effective a content owner (or a content syndication agency) is at marketing the content to prospective buyers.

What are the business models utilised for paid-for content syndication?

There are a wide range of syndication and licensing business models in use, such as fixed licensing fees, one-off spot sales, pay-per-view, pay-per-click, usage based royalties, share of subscription fees, or share of advertising revenue on the pages where the syndicated content is displayed. The model offered will very much depend on the service or product where your syndicated content will be used.

How much can I charge for my content?

This depends on many factors including but not limited to the quality and reputation of your content/brand; the format of the content; the frequency of your content service; and the volume of content items being syndicated. Further, pricing should be weighted according to the audience size of the licensee that wishes to display your syndicated content.

What typical rights can I offer a licensee or syndication partner for my content?

Exclusive, or non-exclusive; worldwide or certain geographical rights; broadcast, digital, print, or in-flight; archiving rights; translation rights and more. It’s all to be negotiated with your syndication partner (or other licensee).

What usage or performance data can I expect to receive from the licensee who is using my content?

Typically, the syndication partner or the licensee is not obligated to provide usage or performance data concerning your content. This is especially true where the licensee is paying a fixed fee to display your syndicated content. However, this is not always the case. For example, if a licensee is paying you a share of the advertising revenues on the pages where your content is displayed, the licensee will likely provide you with data including the number of views for each content item during the given billing period.

How do I license my content for paid-for syndication?

Always enter into a legal content license agreement with any third party that wishes to re-use your content. If you don’t have the know-how, the capacity, or the contacts to form paid-for syndication partnerships, consider utilising the services of a content syndication agency like SyndiGate, or a content marketplace such as DISCO, to tap into their pre-existing network of global content buyers.

How do I deliver or make my content available to a syndication partner?

There are multiple delivery options, depending on the type of content and the technical resources available, including RSS/mRSS, JSON or ATOM feeds; uploading XML, MPEG, JPEG, Plain Text, or PDF files to an FTP site; an API; platform access to download the content; or allow your site to be crawled for new content published.

Mark GATTY SAUNT has 20+ years experience marketing, licensing and selling digital content. He is a co-founder of SyndiGate and the founder of DISCO Content Marketplace.

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