Developing a content syndication partnership with a larger brand can have long-term benefits that extend beyond the day, week or month your publication’s copy is housed on another site. Introducing readers to your brand via an already trusted source can help create and reach new readers that your title may have never captured.

“There is a benefit for us to syndicate our content,” says Rodale’s director of syndication, Angelica De Las Salas. “Our primary goal in doing these partnerships is to increase the number of monthly uniques and page views to all the sites within the Rodale Network.”

In addition to generating higher traffic figures, De Las Salas says that content syndication partnerships help support advertising within the Rodale wheelhouse as well as capture email addresses, data and contact information of visitors coming to various websites within the Rodale network.

“It’s been hugely valuable for our brands to be exposed to a larger audience,” she says. “Not just for building brands, but for building our audience. Sometimes there are surprises—a partnership will work a lot better than expected or not so much. There is a need for us both; they help to drive traffic back to our site through contextual links and we provide great content that they’re clamoring for.”

Rodale’s Strategy in Finding the Right Partner: Size Matters
When determining partners, De Las Salas says that Rodale looks for brands that have a white space to fill when it comes to health, diet, nutrition and fitness content.

Right now the company has up to 20 content syndication partners, including MSNBC, Yahoo! and Fox. One thing publishers should consider when striking this type of deal, says De Las Salas, is the size of a partner.

“We look for sites that have at least one to two million uniques and up,” she adds. “This way we can see the benefit of traffic back to us.”

Syndication has been part of the Rodale business model for several years—in 2008, Rodale partnered with online content network Glam Media, for example. Women’s Health and Prevention contributed branded articles, slide shows, and video to Glam’s Health channel, which at the time attracted 9.6 million unique visitors a month.

“In 2011, syndication counted for about 12 percent of the Rodale Network traffic,” says De Las Salas.

Quantifying the number of repeat visitors that originate from the partners can be difficult, but De Las Salas says that the brand knows there is a connection.

“It’s hard to say which [IP] addresses are actually repeats, but we hope that by exposing our content to a mass audience like MSN or Yahoo! that they’ll love the content enough to come back to our brands,” she says.

To increase the value of the partnership, De Las Salas says that Rodale works with content syndication partners to promote news and information across multiple platforms that move beyond a basic website.

“We do set up deals where we promote each other’s content—we collaborate with the people on our social team so that they like one of our partners,” she says. “We’ll talk to a partner and ask them to like us back and make the best effort to try and promote our content on their social pages when it makes sense for them, and we’ll do the same, too.”

Social Media Marketing for Small and Mid-Sized Brands
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