It seems every bit of communication we see coming out of Sage these days has some sort of plug push promotion for Zift syndicated content.
So, what is syndicated content?
In a nutshell, it’s ready-made blocks of content that you plug in to your website.
But here’s the problem …
Google Hates Duplicate Content
You can think of “syndicated” as synonymous with duplicate … and Google penalizes duplicate content. What’s the penalty? Crappy search results … not good for business.
So what’s the deal with the push to syndication?
Is Sage collectively unimpressed with channel partner websites? Is it a “Big Brother” effort to control the messaging and content in order to protect the brand (in light of the tremendous Sage rebranding effort underway)? Is it because they realize that Sage partners are accountants and IT guys at heart and creative writing just isn’t their bag?
Or maybe at the end of the day, it’s a simple matter of good intentions (easy website updates) gone bad via unintended consequences?
What are those unintended consequences? Here are three that come to mind:
1. Your Search Results Suffer – duplicate content is a sure way to lose search engine ranking fast (or bury your website even further in search results). In fact, you’ll probably never outrank your competitor that has original, compelling, and keyword-optimized content on their website.
2. No Differentiation – Every once in a while, it seems that Sage promotes a book that they feel offers a good message to channel partners … a few that come to mind are Good to Great, Solution Selling, and Duct Tape Marketing.
Another Sage-recommended book that comes to mind is “Differentiate or Die: Survival in Our Era of Killer Competition.”
If your copy and paste content is the same stuff your prospect is seeing on 4 other Sage partner websites, what does that say about your unique value proposition as a Value Added Reseller?
Where’s the differentiation? If your message isn’t clear, here’s how the prospect will define your value … what’s your rate and how big of a discount can you offer? Can you beat the competitor down the street who sells the same accounting software product?
3. It’s boring and full of gibberish – This probably isn’t as detrimental to your business … but all that syndicated content is boring. It’s full of industry-specific jargon that says a whole lot of nothing. A bunch of $60,000 dollar words where a $5 dollar word would have been more effective.
You know, all that stuff like “a comprehensive, best of breed, and world-class enterprise-level solution for your mission-critical applications that’s integrated, scalable, and user-friendly” … Huh?
How to Make Syndicated Content Work
Let’s be clear, syndicated content can play a role in your overall website strategy.
But you better have some high quality, original content elsewhere on your website that complements that plug-and-play syndicated stuff.
It also helps if you surround the syndicated content with common on-page SEO techniques like keywords in your title tags, URLs, and H1 Headers.
Lastly, you have the ability to customize the syndicated content a bit. Do it! You don’t want to recreate the wheel … but don’t just slap the out-of-the-box content on your website. Tweak it a bit, give it some flair, and make it your own.
There’s no Shortcut to Success
Don’t give in to syndicated mediocrity. Let the channel marketing experts at Juice Marketing develop content for your website or blog that’s creative, compelling, original, and keyword-optimized.
And if you’ve already got Zift Syndicated Content on your website, let us take a crack at helping you get the most out of that investment. Hit us up via email – it’s time to put some JUICE in your MARKETING!
Hi – I thought it appropriate to respond to this post with a few facts about content syndication that seem to be common misconceptions about this type of service!
First, I applaud Sage Channel Marketing for taking concrete and specific steps to help partners solve some of their most on-going, tenacious and time consuming marketing tasks – and doing it with proven tactics and systems (including channel marketing automation) that help remove barriers and costs for partners to better marketing and sales enablement.
Second, I certainly agree with the poster in that using content syndication requires the right model and supplier to be effective!
I would also respectfully submit that the comments on duplicate copy and unintended consequences are not correct as it relates to Zift content syndication.
While Google can indeed penalize for copy/paste content on a site – one of the significant virtues of Zift content syndication is that it’s implemented (using server side includes) so that it appears to Google as though it’s a native part of a partners website from the get go – which hundreds and hundreds of re-sellers have done using Zift product showcases around the globe and to great effect.
In conjunction – Zift’s content syndication service is a fantastic way for Sage partners to benefit from updated content directly from the supplier product marketers and managers themselves (the experts I’d say!) automatically and right where they want it to go on their website/pages.
This solves a major and on-going challenge for many Sage partners that aside from implementing permission based marketing tactics – just want correct and up to date product information on their sites to start!
Differentiation on one’s website is about high level branding for most folks – and as the poster noted – controls are built right into the product pages where Sage partners (without any technical skills and usually as a one time task) can change text blocks, upload company logos and even change colors – further personalizing the content to specific needs.
In fact, Google themselves and their Global Channel Marketing team selected Zift as their content syndication provider for their OWN Google Apps Re-sellers just this year – and hundreds of their partners already have deployed their product showcases with their own branding using Zift product showcases on their own sites.
Here is an excellent link on more information on Google rankings, content syndication at large and commonly asked questions on this subject.
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Mark Badran says
Thanks for your comments. I think you’ve made a couple of good points (regarding Sage’s intent in helping the partners) and perhaps addressed some of the misconceptions that folks may have about syndicated content.
But at the end of the day, I have to respectfully disagree with your comment that “Differentiation on one’s website is about high level branding for most folks.”
Differentiation is about much more than high level branding. Each partner has a unique story and unique reason their customer’s choose THEM over the competition … I feel strongly that plug-and-play panels of product information don’t tell that story.
What’s more, I think that most prospects will educate themselves about product features and functionality on the publisher’s website (Sage, Microsoft, SAP, etc). Once that prospect realizes that they can’t purchase software directly from the publisher, they search for an authorized partner that can guide them through implementation and continue to support them. And THAT’S where message differentiation (not syndicated product info) is going to play a tremendous role in moving a prospect closer to selecting that partner (or their competitor!).
As I pointed out in the article, syndication can play a role in an overall web marketing strategy. I realize that not every partner has the time or resources to create totally unique and compelling content throughout their websites. And when it comes to standard product info, recreating the wheel just doesn’t make sense.
SOME content is better than nothing at all and I, too, applaud Sage Channel Marketing for taking steps to provide a solution.
After all is said and done, I’d say this … content syndication is a tool, not a web strategy. If Sage partners understand that, then it can be a helpful and complementary resource.
P.s. For anyone that’s interested, here are more thoughts about the Role that Quality Content plays in marketing:
5 Reasons You Need Great Content
Why Did my Website Disappear from Google Search Results?
How to Generate Enough Marketing Content
How to Create a Marketing “PULL” with Great Content