The value of content syndication for business news

How should content syndication fit into my media strategy? Does getting re-published on websites like Yahoo! and MSN meaningfully amplify content? Do people even read these aggregator sites? 

Questions once met with guesses or speculation can now get answers with hard data. Our team analyzed readership (i.e. unique visitors) on 341 articles re-published on MSN and Yahoo! that covered business and executive news – topics that would typically fall into the corporate comms bucket – over a 30 day period.

So, what’s the value of an aggregator site? 

To start, article readership is +41.8% higher on these aggregator sites compared to the originally published articles in our sample. This means that in total, content received 141.8% more readers than had it not been syndicated.

Some of our key findings and what they mean for comms teams are summarized below, and the full report is available for download here.

Takeaway #1: Don’t discount syndications in your PR measurement and reporting 

Right off the bat, we find that many, but not all, articles re-published on Yahoo! and MSN get more readership on those sites than they received on the original publications. This means that while MSN might not be a priority outlet from a media relations standpoint, for example, it should be on every comms team’s radar for measurement purposes.

This trend is not universal, and more nuance begins to emerge when we break down syndicated-content readership by the original publications as well as other attributes.

Takeaway #2: Targeting Bloomberg and Business Insider can both reach a more narrow business audience and generate mass awareness with syndication

Among the 68 publications with content re-published to either Yahoo! or MSN over this 30-day period, Bloomberg and Business Insider are the two top-tier business outlets that benefited the most from syndication amplification.

On average, Bloomberg articles syndicated to MSN and Yahoo! received an average of 339% more readers than they did on the original source. Similarly, Business Insider articles received an average of 233% more readers. 

This means that comms teams don’t necessarily need to trade off between getting in front of the higher-value business audiences that subscribe to Business Insider and Bloomberg and building mass awareness on news aggregation sites. 

Takeaway #3: Don’t disqualify reporters from a pitch just because they’re behind a paywall; syndication can increase their readership 

Aggregator sites like MSN and Yahoo! make articles accessible to more people by eliminating the paywall barrier, driving higher readership. Syndicated articles from paywall publications saw 2x the readership on average compared to the original articles. 

As part of any reporter mapping exercise, understanding which paywalled reporters get syndicated to highly-trafficked, non-pawalled sites can surface opportunities to reach niche and mass audiences in tandem.

To see the full analysis, including deep dives into commonly syndicated publications, download the full report here

Introducing Memo’s first “Readership in Action” report

In an effort to share the value of readership data more broadly, today we published Memo’s first publicly available Insights report for the PR & Comms industry. Accurate, article-level readership data has reinvented the insights for earned-media measurement and strategy over the past two years, something I witness everyday working with the innovative and bold PR teams who are pioneering this change.

While most of our Insights reporting is highly tailored to our customers – their brands, their competitors, and their goals – this report is wider in scope. “Readership in Action” compares actual readership to potential reach (otherwise known as impressions or UVMs) to uncover the publications driving high readership for recurring news topics across three industries. 

Of course, getting high readership is never the be-all and end-all goal; qualitative factors like message pull-through and the publication’s reputation among your target audience remain critical inputs to evaluating earned media. But if you wanted to answer how many people really read a placement the next time your CEO asks; or know what messaging resonates most; or take the guesswork out of choosing an outlet for an exclusive, readership needs to be part of the equation.

My hope is that this report provides new insights for communicators in the industries analyzed here – Tech, Entertainment, and Grocery – and that it demonstrates the types of powerful learnings that readership enables across all industries.

Whether you use Memo or are just discovering us for the first time, I hope to hear what you think, and what you’d like to see next in this series. Please reach out to me anytime (success@memo.co), and enjoy the report.


Get the free report to see why readership has everyone ditching impressions.