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The Content Syndication Bubble
Why It's Time to Rethink Our Approach

In the digital era, the dynamics of local newsrooms are being dramatically reshaped, with content syndication emerging as a prevalent strategy. This approach, while seemingly a lifeline for cash-strapped newsrooms, is creating a bubble that's set to burst. As newsrooms become saturated with syndicated content, their quest for new revenue sources is leading to a dilution of local news and a questionable sustainability of these institutions.

Much like a financial bubble, the over-reliance on content syndication is creating an inflated sense of value and a precarious balance that could easily tip. Businesses pay SEO companies, who in turn pay media buyers who have relationships with news sites, to have their content featured. This convoluted process often results in content that lacks genuine value and relevance to the local audience.

The sustainability of this model is questionable at best. As search engines become nestled within Large Language Models that prioritize genuine, valuable content, the value of paid-for placements on news sites is likely to decrease even further than it already has. In the end, the survival of local newsrooms may depend on their ability to adapt and innovate, moving away from an over-reliance on selling digital real estate in favor of, ironically, more traditional valuable content.

Any future iteration likely leads to a continued destabilization of the makeup of newsrooms. The way things are going, it's hard to envision a world where CNN, MSNBC, and FOX News don't exist. At least, not in their current form. Smaller cohorts of news anchors, potentially personified through AI avatars (that may or may not be based on real flesh and blood humans) are very probably going to become the norm.

Whatever the final destabilization or dissolution of the traditional news room, it's time to rethink our approach to content syndication. By "we", I mean marketers and businesses alike. Especially those of us who have historically pushed SEO services. As we navigate this changing landscape, it's crucial to remember that the value of local news lies in its relevance and authenticity, not in the number of backlinks it can generate for people through its syndication network.

What Went Wrong...

Local newsrooms, grappling with shrinking resources and declining local funding, have resorted to syndication as a means to populate their digital platforms with content and generate revenue. This strategy involves sharing their stories with a central hub, which then disseminates the content to various outlets nationwide.

However, this approach has led to a significant erosion of local ownership of media. The industry is now predominantly under the control of large media conglomerates that distribute content across their networks. This has created a scenario where a single story can appear on multiple platforms, even hundreds, amplifying its reach but potentially undermining its local significance.

...the news room is burning down but it's...Business As Usual...

This is an important thing to sit with for a moment - these syndication practices have paved the way for external SEO companies to purchase space on reputable news sites. The enormousness of this unnecessary side economy is greatly underappreciated. Real businesses compensate local marketing agencies, which in turn pay purported SEO agencies, which in turn pay syndication companies involved with the actual news networks. This establishes a chain of intermediaries, each claiming a share, and the ultimate outcome is often content that lacks authentic value and relevance to the local audience. There's zero vetting that happens - it's as basic a transaction as buying a pack of gum at a gas station.

"Have story, will pay,"are all the digital wings of news outlets want to hear.

What does this say about the relevance or value of digitally ingested news? Even on trusted media sites? They've become a labyrinthine network of syndicated content mostly unread by anything but indexation bots from search engines. That game can only last so long, both for the folks buying digital real estate, as well as for the news agencies themselves.

This model, while seemingly a quick fix for cash-strapped newsrooms, is causing them to lose both money and authority. The revenue generated is often offset by the costs paid to intermediaries, and the flood of syndicated content can dilute the newsroom's unique voice and local relevance. In the long run, this could lead to a loss of trust and engagement from the local audience, further exacerbating the financial challenges facing these newsrooms.

Redefining Content Syndication

Rather than flooding various platforms with generic content, the focus should be on identifying valuable niches online where you can place valuable resources that link back to your services.

Stop posting generic messages everywhere. Don't become part of the brainless mass of content online - overcome the signal. Make content that you want people to actually read - not that you view as a means to the end of getting more traffic.

Platforms like Scribd, Medium, and Substack offer excellent opportunities for sharing valuable content. However, the list doesn't end there. Other platforms such as LinkedIn, Quora, SlideShare, and even GitHub for tech-related content, can be effective avenues for content syndication.

The key is to find platforms that align with your industry or field of work, where your content can provide genuine value to the audience. For instance, if you're in the tech industry, sharing insightful articles on Medium or answering relevant questions on Quora can help establish your authority and drive traffic back to your services.

In addition, consider platforms like for academic research, Behance for creative portfolios, or even industry-specific forums and online communities. These platforms have niche audiences who are highly engaged and interested in valuable, relevant content.

Remember, the goal of content syndication is not just to gain backlinks, but to provide genuine value to your audience and establish your authority in your field. By finding valuable niches and sharing relevant, high-quality content, you can redefine content syndication and make it a powerful tool for enhancing your online visibility and driving engagement with your services.

So without further adieu:

Medium - You've likely used this platform before. But here's the special sauce you can cash in on: it's a high domain authority site. So simply by virtue of landing your content on it (even if the article you're using already exists on other sites) you're getting the benefit of that domain's authority for your website. Just make sure you create the backlink!

Slideshare - Widely used to disseminate powerful ideas through a visual experience, Slideshare offers a unique way of getting your content in front of more eyeballs, and pointing those eyeballs back to your business' domain.

Quora - is an excellent site for meeting people's problems with solutions only your business is qualified to provide. Opening up an account is easy. If the information is widely sought after it can bring in more traffic to your site over a relatively short amount of time.

LinkedIn - Yes, LinkedIn. The very same platform you likely never touch until you find yourself suddenly searching for a new job and now find an immediate need to beef up on your job history details. It also provides its users with an incredible platform for content syndication.

SoundCloud - If you've never entertained the notion of building out a podcast, you might reconsider now. Reading your content aloud and then syndicating it through an audio file is an often missed opportunity to build your backlink portfolio.

Scribd - This platform is a treasure trove for written content, from books to academic papers. By sharing your content on Scribd, you can tap into its diverse audience and high domain authority, boosting your visibility and backlink profile.

Substack- Known for its newsletter services, Substack offers a unique opportunity to share your content directly with interested readers. By creating a newsletter that links back to your site, you can build a dedicated audience and enhance your backlink portfolio.

GitHub- While primarily a platform for sharing code, GitHub also allows for the sharing of tech-related articles and resources. If your business operates in the tech industry, sharing valuable content on GitHub can help establish your authority and drive traffic back to your site.

You can do this! We believe in you, whether you're a small business owner, or the head of a media team at a fortune 500 company.

Hello, truth seeker!