There’s a lot to love about having your posts syndicated. More visibility. More reach. More traffic. More influence. More social sharing. Same goes for writing guest blog posts—if content marketing is your strategy, mastering website selection for where to place that content is essential. Otherwise, you’ll be creating content, but not results. If you are a public relations professional, post syndication and guest posting are absolutely essential in building digital influence for your clients. But not all blogs are created equal. There are times when syndication does more harm than good, or when it doesn’t move the needle at all. Here are a few useful lessons that I’ve learned: 1. Be uber-picky in matching audience to goal. If the blog, e-zine, or content publisher website doesn’t reach your target audience, then why bother? It may bring you some bumps in visibility, but it won’t bring you revenue or new business unless you have chosen it with a strategy in mind. If your goal is new business, don’t automatically look for syndication or guest blog post opportunities in your industry. Instead, look at where they hang out—your prospects, that is. If your goal is building an author platform, go where your potential readers are. Syndication isn’t always helpful. Make sure that audience aligns with your goals. 2. Look at how their share buttons work. Share one of their posts, and look at how it is handled. If the publication only has its own Twitter handle in the tweet content that the share buttons generate, not the author’s handle, they are getting credit for the article, but it won’t do much for your own visibility. It makes them look good, not you. It will not help you gain influence. You might get a few subscribers to your own blog or some new followers, but the end benefit might be slim. If they do include the author handle, rejoice. This might be a fantastic placement opportunity for you. Including author Twitter handles in the share button copy is of major importance. If they don’t, be sure and ask if they can before you move on. Then, don’t assume they will remember. Remind them with each post. 3. Make sure it won’t cause duplicate content penalties from Google. If you aren’t an SEO brainiac who can look at the HTML code and figure it out yourself, ask how they ensure their authors don’t end up with SEO penalties for duplicate content. If it is a post syndication opportunity, then they will be publishing your copy verbatim, so you want to know how it will affect your own blog. The last thing you want is to cannibalize your own website because Google isn’t happy with how this is handled, and you aren’t credited as the original source. If you don’t know, ask.
I certainly don’t have all the answers, but these three things I know are true. Any lessons you’d care to share? Carrie Morgan is a 20-plus year public relations veteran based in Phoenix, specializing in digital PR. A version of this story first appeared on the Rock The Status Quo blog.