How Content Syndication Can Help Authors Sell More Books (An Excerpt)

Enjoy this excerpt from Guest Blogging and Content Syndication (T-Shaped Marketing for Authors Book 2)

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An SEO Analogy: Retail Merchandising

When you think about it, SEO is a lot like effective merchandising in a “bricks and mortar” bookstore. It’s all about positioning. The books that are strategically placed at eye level in the front aisles, or on shelving units and tables in the high-traffic areas of a store, are going to sell more than the books that are tucked away on low shelves where most people don’t bother to look.

It works much the same way online. The whole point of improving the SEO of any webpage is to ensure it appears as close to the top of an online search as possible so that more people can easily see it. The higher its visibility, the better your chance of it being clicked on which translates into the better chance of a sale down the road. And that’s what we’re all after here, isn’t it? At the end of the day, authors are blogging to promote their books with the intent of selling more copies and improving their readerships.

Here’s the good news: it’s somewhat easier—and much more cost effective—to improve your positioning online than it is within a traditional bookstore, particularly the major chain stores. If you want prime real estate in a major chain, allowing you to be seen by hundreds or even thousands of impulse buyers on any given day, you’re going to have to pay upfront for the privilege. How much will it cost you? John B. Thompson provides details about this in his 2012 Kindle ebook titled Merchants of Culture: The Publishing Business in the Twenty-First Century:

The front-of-store area that is in your field of vision is a thoroughly commodified space: most of the books you see will be there by virtue of the fact that the publisher has paid for placement, either directly by means of a placement fee (that is, co-op advertising) or indirectly by means of extra discount. Roughly speaking, it costs around a dollar a book to put a new hardback on the front-of-store table in a major chain, and around $10,000 to put a new title on front-of-store tables in all the chain’s stores for two weeks (typically the minimum period). … Visibility does not come cheap. (Thompson, 2012)

While you can choose to pay for increased exposure online by running pay-per-click advertising campaigns or buying banner ads on high-traffic websites, the difference here is that you don’t have to. Blogging is an organic—not to mention free—way of improving your online ranking. Your only cost is your time.

Don’t Get Dinged by the SEO Gods!

Now, here’s the kicker: all of your online articles and blog posts have to be original content. Why? Because also built into these search engine algorithms is the ability to detect copied/reused content—and copied/reused content is a no-no in the online world. It is treated like a form of plagiarism and penalized by search engines in the sense that it won’t be indexed by them at all; rather, it will be ignored altogether. The search engines will compare two webpages that contain the same content and choose only one—most likely the original, higher ranking page—to include in search results. The copycat webpage will fall into online oblivion, never to be seen or heard from on the search engines again.

Content Syndication to the Rescue

The obvious issue here is time. Where is the time to write all your books, and write original articles for other online publications, and post unique content to your own blog on a regular basis so you can organically grow (and maintain) a strong online presence? Even the simple idea of it is daunting enough itself, never mind actually doing it day in and day out. We all have busy lives, after all.

This is where content syndication comes into play as explained by Christopher Ratcliff in his article titled “What is content syndication and how do I get started?” on the Search Engine Watch website. According to Ratcliff, content syndication is great for new authors and publishers who want to expose their books and blogs to a much larger audience, but who just don’t have the time or manpower to write copious amounts of new content on a daily basis.

Content syndication is the process of pushing your blogpost, article, video or any piece of web-based content out to other third-parties who will then republish it on their own sites….

Content syndication is particularly useful if you’re a smaller publisher or an up-and-coming writer who wants a larger audience from a more authoritative site.

By having your blog content published on The Guardian (for instance) you will be exposed to a much wider audience that isn’t your own, who may then visit you on your own blog.

The other major reason for doing this is SEO. Some of that bigger site’s authority should be passed down to you. (Ratcliff, 2016)

“Okay. Great,” you’re thinking. “So, I won’t have to write as much unique content on a regular basis. But how does this resolve the issue of copied/reused content?” That’s a great question, and here are three simple solutions to that problem.

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Hope you enjoyed that short excerpt. You can learn the three simple solutions here: Guest Blogging and Content Syndication (T-Shaped Marketing for Authors Book 2).