BlogBurst was once known as the free and ad-supported blog syndication service that could help bloggers get their content in front of wider audiences. I’m a proponent of syndication with some caveats that I explain later in this post. Since Demand Media announced at Blog World last week that BlogBurst was relaunching as part of the Demand Media Blog Distribution Network, I thought revisiting the topic of syndication would be a good idea.
Let’s take a step back and look at who Demand Media is. If you’re not involved in the world of freelance writing, then you may have never heard of Demand Media before. It’s actually a company that draws a lot of negative attention from the freelance writing community with many writers viewing Demand Media as nothing more than a dreaded content mill. I actually disagree with that because in at least some of its published content production process, Demand Media does try to hire people who can actually write coherently. Furthermore, Demand Media does pay freelance writers more than the typical content mill.
So what does this reputation mean for bloggers who have or are considering syndicating their content through BlogBurst — now Demand Media Blog Distribution Network?
The simple answer is two-fold — quality and association, which are two of the caveats I mentioned about blog syndication earlier. Let’s take a closer look at each.
When you consider syndicating your blog content through another online publisher, you have to think about the quality of the sites where your content will be published as well as the type of content that will be published around your own blog content on those other sites. Unlike licensed content syndication, free and ad-supported syndication models, like the syndication opportunities available through BlogBurst (now Demand Media Blog Distribution Network), publish your content on the free-Web. That means it appears on multiple websites, which might steal a bit of page views from your own blog, but are more likely to drive more traffic to your blog through increased exposure.
However, you need to understand where your content will be viewed as part of the syndication agreement. For example, Demand Media Blog Distribution Network publishes content on a variety of sites, including its own properties such as eHow.com and LiveStrong.com. You need to determine if these sites are ones that will help or hurt your reputation and your blog’s reputation. Also, you need to consider whether syndicating your content and allowing Demand Media Blog Distribution Network to earn money from it is worth it to you or if it would be better for you to take the time to publish your content on some of those other sites (such as eHow.com) without a middle-man.
Again, I’m an advocate of blog syndication for boosting exposure and growing an audience, but you need to research syndication opportunities and ensure you’re choosing the ones that will truly help you reach your long-term blogging goals rather than working against those goals. Is syndication through Demand Media Blog Distribution Network right for everyone? No. Is it right for some bloggers? Yes. It’s up to you to evaluate the pros and cons and determine if this type of syndication will help or hurt you and your blog.