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What Does Digital News Syndication Mean for your Publishing Brand?

Content syndication has been a common marketing tactic since the dawn of the internet. Smart marketers are aware that, by implementing content syndication, their brand will reach new audiences, thanks to the nature of digital publishing becoming increasingly automated

The direct benefits of content syndication include driving increased traffic to your brand’s website, enhanced brand awareness and new leads.

The mobile-first internet has led to a sea-change in content syndication. The rise of news syndication, through the likes of Google News, Apple News, Apple News Plus and Facebook Instant Articles has fundamentally changed the landscape for media publishers.

In this article, we’ll give you all the information you need to streamline your content syndication strategy in order to scale your business quickly and effectively. 

What news syndication means for your publishing brand

Content syndication is as old as time itself, but new methods have emerged in the last four years, ever since Google launched its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project in 2015.

The aim of AMP was to improve the average internet user’s experience of finding and reading mobile web pages. The effects of AMP have been felt across the digital news industry and ecommerce world.

These powerful new syndication platforms are led by Google News. Yet why are these platforms such a powerful tool for media publishing brands looking to scale their businesses?

It’s that word scale; the sheer number of users exposed, particularly to Google News, is huge. The service attracts millions of hits to its content every month, meaning your brand could benefit from a huge upsurge in new customers when featured prominently on Google News.

AMP and News Syndication can supercharge your organic traffic 

For publishing brands new to Google News, visit the Google News Publisher Center, where you can learn how to get started with adding AMP to your website code. 

Although adding AMP to your website is not a requirement to be featured on Google News placements, it’s an advantage, because websites with AMP tend to get preference from Google. AMP websites also are more likely to benefit from higher placements on the overall news feed. This means boosted traffic and higher revenues for your brand.

On top of this, web page speed is a direct ranking factor of huge significance to Google’s Search Algorithm – the faster your web pages loads, the better chance you have of improving your site’s SEO health, as well as ranking at the top of Google’s SERPs.

The true power of AMP revealed 

This all sounds fantastic on paper, but where’s the evidence? A real-life example from data analytics firm Chartbeat helps drive the point home

Between January 2017 and January 2018, Chartbeat revealed their average client’s traffic grew by 25%. However, clients with AMP had a traffic boost of 100% in the same period – this clearly demonstrates the value AMP can have on potential traffic gains.

Differences between news syndication services 

Not all news syndication services are born equal. The big three tech players Apple, Google and Facebook are the most prominent. 

But which will suit your business needs best? It depends on your industry, your audience and website functionality. Read on to learn the differences between the three major content syndication platforms, or contact us for a strategic consultation with the Powered By Coffee team.

Facebook Instant Articles

Facebook Instant Articles were launched in May 2015, with the aim of making mobile page loading speeds instantaneous.

Facebook Instant Articles were followed by Google AMP, which was announced in October 2016. Google News is now the leading news syndication service, due to its open nature. In comparison, Facebook is a closed platform with limited reach. 

Many publishers also decry the limited monetization opportunities of Instant Articles, as well the limited control over ads for publishers, as opposed to their own websites, as well as other news syndication platforms.

Facebook Instant Articles at a glance:

  • Publishers keep 100% of ad revenue if they provide creatives
  • Facebook takes 30% when they source ads

Google News

  • 150 million monthly US-based users
  • Google claimed to make $4.7billion in ad revenue from news sites in 2018

Apple News 

Apple’s news aggregator has an impressive user base, being featured across Apple’s mobile, watch and computer software operating systems: iOS, watchOS and macOS.

Because of this, it’s seen by millions of readers, and potential customers in your niche every day. 

Apple News at a glance: 

  • Apple News has 85 million monthly users
  • 5 billion articles are read on Apple News each month
  • According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple News is the largest news publishing app in the world

Apple continued its foray into news publishing in 2019 with Apple News+, a subscription news and magazine service, with content from more than 300 publishers. 

How to be a registered publisher on Google News, Apple News & Facebook Instant Articles

Get it right, and content syndication can be an incredibly powerful scaling technique to help your publishing brand reach new heights. 

Here’s what you need to know about which publishers are most successful on each platform and the requirements for being accepted as a publisher.

Facebook Instant Articles

The Facebook ecosystem is closed, which unfortunately reduces the opportunity to get your target audience to further interact with your brand. 

Facebook wants to keep readers on its platform, rather than encouraging them to visit your website and engage further with your brand. 

So, the most successful publishers on Instant Articles are those with a dedicated readership or brand following, rather than growing brands wishing to scale.

Getting started publishing content on Instant Articles is quite simple, there are no real barriers to entry. To begin, publishers just need to follow a quick registration process.

Google News

Becoming a featured publisher on Google News is slightly more complicated. To be a news publisher on Google News, a brand needs to be at the forefront of their industry and regularly producing timely and newsworthy content. However, the name Google News is slightly misleading in terms of which publishers are accepted.

By producing timely and relevant thought leadership content which your audience engages in, you can become a featured publisher and drive thousands of clicks to your website.

If you’re not producing traditional news content, it’s worth considering a Google Newsstand account, which is more geared to publishers producing content marketing blogs and articles. Google Newsstand also helps brands to maintain a close hold on their brand and monetisation levels.

Apple News

Many of the issues with Apple News syndication are the same as those felt by publishers using Facebook Instant Articles.

Publishers using Apple News may gain a boost in audience numbers, with a growing number of people reading their content. However, they can also end up actually losing traffic to their websites.

Also, publishers on the Apple News platform do not have control over the discoverability or navigation of their content on the platform. This means that if your content is not favoured by Apple, for whatever reason, it loses a great amount of potential reach.

Publishing Workflow

Just because you’ve made the smart, scalable choice of content syndication, it doesn’t mean that you should abandon the marketing resources and platforms you’ve spent so long building in the past. 

Publishing content on your website still has a lot of value – it’s beneficial for SEO, brand building and customer engagement. Moreover, you still want and need to engage customers who aren’t exposed to the news platforms you’ve chosen, so don’t abandon publishing content on your website.

To improve efficiencies in your publishing workflow you may want to invest in custom WordPress plugins. By improving the ease of publishing, you can free your creative teams to be even more innovative with the content they craft. It’s a win-win situation for your brand.

Google News – the clear winner

If you’re convinced that content syndication is the answer to help scale your business, it’s time to decide which platforms you want to distribute your content on.

By reading this article, you have reinforced the benefits news syndication can have for your brand: increased traffic, content consumption, ad boosted revenue, increased brand recognition and fresh leads.

But, which channel should you adopt? 

Google News is the outstanding news syndication platform for several reasons. First and foremost, Google News has the highest user count of the big three tech giant’s platforms. Google, according to the majority of publishers, offers the fairest monetisation system and, most crucially, is an open platform, so it’s easy to direct traffic back to your website.

For advice and guidance on planning a content syndication strategy for your website, get in touch with Powered By Coffee, and we’ll lend you our expertise.

Jim Kersey

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