It has been a while since I did an article for Christian bloggers. I try to help all of my fellow Christian bloggers in their efforts to use their blogs to reach our world. Recently I was contacted by a larger Christian website that was interested in syndicating our content from Taber’s Truths onto their websites. Needless to say, I was quite excited. This would be the second major Christian website that wanted our content and felt we had a a valuable voice to add to the Christian world. So I started doing some checking on their website with other content that they were syndicating and I made sure what I thought I knew was in actuality true. This post is the result of that research. If you are every approached about having your content syndicated on other websites or you want to use content from other websites then this information will help you navigate the complexities of content syndication and content curation.
What Is Content Syndication And Content Curation?
Content syndication is when your original article is picked up by other websites as content worth sharing with their readers. It comes from the age old practice of newspapers who pick up articles from other places than their regular staff to fill out their papers. You probably have all heard the term syndicated columnist. Probably one of the most famous people that has been syndicated in a newspaper was Dear Abbey. Her original content was syndicated over thousands of newspapers world wide. When you are asked to have your content syndicated, it is an honor in my opinion. It is something that writers all over the world want to achieve.
Content curation is the other side of the syndication process. Instead of you being the writer of the syndicated content, you are the one that is using the writers content. Think of it this way. A librarian is not an author. A librarian collects the works of writers and bundles them into one place where people can conveniently find them. On the internet, content curation is used in ethical ways for things like syndicating an author’s work with their permission, quoting or referencing something they wrote in the an original article that you are working on, or using an excerpt of the article when you are sharing that article within social networks. Christian bloggers use content curation without knowing it all the time. Every time that they quote a Bible passage they are curating a portion of another author’s work and using it to make a point to as a launching point to base their article on. Unethical methods are when people come and take your content and use it on their website without your permission in it’s entirety or in part and call it their own. That is plagiarism.
Use Caution When Allowing Your Content To Be Syndicated
Content syndication needs to be a win/win situation. If you are not careful, you could be shooting yourself in the foot. A large and powerful website could end up outranking you in search results for your own content. If this happens, then instead of building followers and readers to your website, you are building followers and readers to their website. So I advise caution before you just allow anyone to syndicate your content.
According to Google’s Webmaster Central Blog they say,
Syndicate carefully: If you syndicate your content on other sites, make sure they include a link back to the original article on each syndicated article. Even with that, note that we’ll always show the (unblocked) version we think is most appropriate for users in each given search, which may or may not be the version you’d prefer. http://googlewebmastercentral.
blogspot.com/2006/12/deftly- dealing-with-duplicate- content.html
So if the website that wants to syndicate your content is not willing to follow this guideline, I would suggest you pass on the opportunity.
Secondly I would suggest that you get involved with the Google Plus authorship program. https://plus.google.com/authorship This is where you link your Google plus one profile to the articles you publish. As much as I think Google plus is a dismal failure as far as a social networking alternative, I think that the authorship program gives you a good way to make sure Google recognizes who is the original author of an article.
Finally, if you are allowed, I suggest you also place links in your syndicated articles to your social networking accounts. To me this is just smart business. Your syndicated article will get traffic from the reader base of the website publishing your article. However that will be just a short term boost for you. However if you include links to your social networks you have the chance of gaining a reader for life. I do mine in this manner at the end of my posts when I syndicate something with the Christian Post.
This article was first published on my website Taber’s Truths
On this website I have encouraged every contributing author to make sure they link back to their original article if they are syndicating something they have written previously on another website and I have encouraged them to get involved with the Google authorship program. It is my opinion, that a Christian blog or website above all others should make sure that they are being a blessing and not just trying to look out for themselves. By encouraging these practices we are treating our neighbors as we would want to be treated. Pretty basic Christianity if you ask me.
Curate Content Ethically
Make sure that when you use a quote or take something from another website, that you do so in a manner that is also a blessing. If you are gathering articles that you think your readers will enjoy, that is fine. Use the first paragraph of the article and link back to the original author. We have several Paper.li newspapers that are run by enthusiasts that do this with our content. I don’t have a problem with that. It causes greater awareness of who we are to new people and it gives us a link that helps our search engine rankings.
Notice how I used the quote from Google Webmaster Central’s blog. Even though Google does not need any new links, or new people going to it’s site, I linked out to them. It is only right. It was their content and not mine. Try to use the name of the author and where you found the information. Just think of it this way. If someone used your content as an excerpt, how would you want to be treated? Remember back to doing your term papers in college? How was the references that you used in your term paper cited? Try to be as ethical with your blog posts as you would with a term paper.
I hope that this sheds a little light on how to handle content syndication and content curation as you are on this wild adventure called Christian blogging. As I told one friend just the other day, “never in my wildest imagination did I think there was so much to learn about running and growing a Christian blog.” Content syndication and content curation are just one part of it. I hope I have saved you some steps and some headaches by sharing with you what I have learned.