Although I don’t take up content spinning assignments, now and then I get requests from clients to spin an existing article or blog post. On Quora I found that some people are confused about the difference between content repurposing and content spinning. I’m quickly explaining in this short blog post.
What is content repurposing?
Repurposing your content means creating new pieces of content from existing content. A few years ago, I published a blog post on this topic: How to re-purpose your old content.
I will give you a recent example of repurposing my blog post.
Within this blog post there a subsection titled “10 benefits of publishing a business blog”. I created a YouTube video out of this subsection:
This is called content repurposing. You use your existing content to create new content. The objective of repurposing is not to create duplicate content, but to create content in other formats.
These days I often pick up small portions from my existing blog posts and web pages and then turn them into social media posts and even carousal posts. Sometimes I pick up a subsection, and create a complete blog post on it.
What is content or article spinning?
Content spinning means rewriting the same piece a blog post or article but using different words. Nothing is original in the spinned article. Just so that Google doesn’t take it as duplicate content, you use different words and different phases.
People pick up a blog post that is doing quite well. Rephrase the title. Then rewrite the whole thing using synonyms and alternative words.
Is article spinning bad? Is it plagiarism?
It is certainly plagiarism in the sense that if you do the same thing as a journalist, as an author, or even as someone who is writing a research paper, you’re simply picking information from someone else and using it as it is, and you can be sued for that. Just because you’re using different words it doesn’t mean it is original or it belongs to you.
I don’t like such work. As a writer I find it offensive if a client expects me to spin an existing article.
It is important that when visitors come to your website, they spend longest possible time there. This is important for lowering your bounce rate as well as increasing your conversion rate.
Studies have shown that the longer people stay on your website, the greater are the chances of them becoming your paid customers and clients. This is because they become familiar with your presence and grow comfortable with what you represent.
In different forms I have explained on my website how to lower your bounce rate, which means, how to keep people on your website longer. How long people stay on your website or how fast they leave your website, is a reflection on the quality and relevance of your content. The quality and relevance of your content and your lower bounce rate go hand-in-hand.
It’s very easy to bring people to your website. Any SEO company or content marketing company can help you with bringing as many people as possible to your website. The real feat is turning those people into paying customers and clients. The content that you have published on your website accomplishes that, or must accomplish that.
The fact that people stay on your website, explore various sections, and go through your web pages, means that they are interested in your proposition. Here are a few things you can do to keep people longer on your website through your content.
Provide definitive answers to definitive questions
Your bounce rate will be higher if people feel that they have been misled into visiting your website. Suppose they come across your link on Google, click the link, come to your website, and then, after feeling dissatisfied, leave within a few seconds. Why does this happen?
Take your own example. You are moving through an arcade of shops and there is a gripping banner offering you something that you have been looking for, for ages. With great excitement you enter the shop but to your dismay, it’s nothing like that. They are offering something completely different. Something that you don’t need. Disappointed, you come out of the shop. If possible, you may also give it a negative rating if it is listed somewhere.
Exactly this happens when people come to your website through a link they have found somewhere, expecting something, and then not finding it. They immediate leave your website. This is neither good for your conversion rate, nor for your search engine rankings.
All this while Google is quietly observing how people are reacting to the search results its algorithm is throwing up. If the search results don’t come up with the right answers, its performance deteriorates. In retaliation, it takes it out on you. It lowers your rankings.
Hence, when you are publishing content, make sure you are delivering exactly what is being displayed in the title and in the headline. Stick to the point.
Internally link to other web pages and blog posts
Even if somehow, your visitors are unable to find what they’re looking for, maybe they will find some useful information on another link within your website. For example, when writing about SEO content writing, I may have also written about SEO copywriting. Since you are searching for SEO copywriting, but you enter my website through something related to a SEO content writing, you might as well check the SEO copywriting link too, just in case. This increases your chances of staying on my website longer.
Make your content easier to read
Despite finding something valuable, just because you have grabbed everything in a single, large paragraph, your business may get frustrated and leave your website in a hurry, without reading the entire web page or blog post.
Use shorter paragraphs. They are also convenient to read on mobile phones. They also help your readers focus on singular thoughts. Don’t try to express a lot within a single paragraph. Whenever there is an excuse to create a new paragraph, create a new paragraph.
Use headings, subheadings, and bulleted points to succinctly explain complicated topics. This also makes your content easily scannable. Without reading the whole thing, if people simply go through your headings, subheadings, and bulleted points, they should be able to understand what you’re trying to say.
Use relevant and attractive images
Although images are not a part of content writing, they can keep people on your website for a bit longer because even if they are not reading the text, they may like to go through the images, and this increases the time they spend on your website. Even if it doesn’t help you with your conversion rate, it may send a signal to Google that you are providing good content and as a result, your search engine rankings may improve.
Use conversational style of writing
Everyone likes being talked to. Have a conversation with your readers. Use lots of “you” and “me” and “I”.
The good thing about writing in a conversational style is that you write as you speak. You use smaller, direct sentences and expressions. You don’t sound pretentious. Even you yourself feel as if you are in a positive flow of and this reflects through your choice of words and phrases.
Just like people like being talked to, they also love reading stories. This is because it is easier to relate to the characters in a story, whether they are anthropomorphic animals or human beings.
Stories also provide ready-made templates. For example, if a character is going through certain circumstances, one or the other reader too has gone through somewhat similar circumstances.
If I tell you the story of Peter who was reluctant to use content writing to improve his search engine rankings and due to that, he went through extreme hardships. It was almost too late when he decided to give quality content writing a chance, and that too, cynically and reluctantly. But then, he was swept off his feet when he began to experience the results after four months and by the seventh month, his business had taken a U-turn.
In the story you learn that just like you, there is a person Peter who doesn’t understand the power of quality content. He cannot figure somehow that content writing can improve his SEO. When he has tried everything, in the end, before completely giving up, he decides to give content writing a try. The story also tells you that the results aren’t immediate. In four months his search engine rankings begin to improve and by the seventh month, the fortunes of his business had completely changed.
Hence, these are some solid ways you can use content writing to keep people on your website for longer. Keeping your visitors on your website for a few minutes isn’t as easy as it sounds. As I have mentioned in the beginning of the blog post, it’s quite easy to bring people to your website. Simple SEO hacks can achieve that for you. What’s important is, for how long people stay on your website and how many of them convert due to that.
The short answer will be, he or she should be able to write well, convincingly, and just the way you want him or her to write.
The long answer is that you need to take certain facts into consideration before settling for a particular content writer.
Of course, you’re not just going to hire anyone. You will visit a few websites. You may also scour through freelance websites where many content writers have created their profiles. Some people prefer to hire from LinkedIn. That’s your choice.
Whoever can write, is not always a content writer you can rely on. As mentioned above, there are multiple factors. You also need to remember what’s your requirement.
Why do you need a content writer?
Do you need a general content writer whose services you can use for writing blog posts, social media updates, email campaigns or website content?
Here are a few things to keep in mind when hiring the right content writer for your business.
Carefully analyze your requirement
This will definitely have an impact on the performance of your content writer. What are you looking a content writer for?
There are writers, and there are content writers. A person who is a good writer should be able to write for any requirement. At the cost of bragging, I can give my own example. I write content for all sorts of writing requirements. Even if a client needs a copywriter and not a content writer, I can fit the bill. This is because of two factors:
I have written content for many years now (almost 2 decades) and I have lots of experience writing for different businesses and for different requirements.
I’m a writer first, and then a content writer. It means I’m good at expressing myself. Provided I know what is to be said, I can say it well through writing.
Therefore, clients hire my content writing services for all sorts of needs, but this may not be applicable to the content writers you are evaluating.
Hence, analyze your content writing requirement carefully. If you’re not sure, don’t try to cast a wide net. Look at your immediate requirement.
Do you want someone to revamp your website content alright your website content from scratch?
Do you need a blogger?
Do you need an email writer?
There are some clients who unknowingly are looking for a stenographer who will simply write what they want him or her to write, and yet, they want to work with a content writer.
Whatever are your requirements, look for a content writer accordingly.
Do you need a content writer or a copywriter?
There is a fine distinction between a content writer and a copywriter. A content writer is supposed to inform and educate your visitors. A copywriter is supposed to sell.
Both are important. A content writer brings traffic to your website and a copywriter converts the traffic to paying customers and clients.
Many clients commit the mistake of mixing them up. They think that just because someone can write, he or she can also write to generate sales.
No, it is not as simple. There is a reason why copywriters charge so much money. They have the ability to turn casual visitors into paying customers and clients.
Hence, when you’re looking for a content writer, make sure that you’re looking for a content writer, and not a copywriter, and if you’re looking for a copywriter, make sure that your content writer can wear that hat too.
Ask for writing samples
Every professional content writer should be able to show you some writing samples. They can be websites. They can be blog posts. Anything that gives you a sense of how the content writer writes.
You will need to pay close attention to how the content writer writes for your industry. If you are in tech industry, you must be looking for someone who can comfortably write about technology. If you’re in the fashion industry, then the content writer should be able to comfortably write about haute couture. For a food related website, the content writer should be able to write about, of course, food.
What if the content writer is good but does not have samples related to your business or industry?
Again, I will give you my own example. Sometimes I don’t have the appropriate samples. I offer to write a few hundred words for the client and if he or she likes what I have written, we go ahead and decide to work on the project.
You will need a content writer who can write for the web. Sentences should be crisp and clear. The writing style should be convincing. The writer must know how to use your keywords strategically. He or she must be able to pack the maximum punch in as few words as possible.
Look for consistency and commitment
Although, on the Internet it is quite easy to find content writers who may fit the bill, looking for new content writers repeatedly can be a hassle. It adversely affects your content quality. Hence, when you are hiring a content writer, make sure he or she can commit for at least a few months.
How can you know that you can depend on a content writer?
There is no scientific formula for it. Use your own judgement. In my case, you can see that I have a website to offer my content writing and copywriting services. This at least tells you that I’m serious about my business and I’m constantly putting an effort to promote my work and get new assignments.
You can also check social media timelines of a content writer, preferably LinkedIn. Is he or she active over there? Most of the serious content writers consistently post on the social media accounts they maintain.
Even if you find your content writer on freelancing websites, the ratings should be able to tell you if he or she is consistent. If he or she has worked on many assignments, you can safely assume that he or she will be able to commit.
What about the charges? The content writing rates?
Although rates matter, if your decision to hire a content writer depends on paying a few dollars more or paying a few dollars less, then the writer is not important.
Set a budget in advance. This is not a government tender where you need to hire a content writer who charges the least. Remember that you are building an asset – the content for your website or blog. It’s the quality that matters. When you are building a home or an office, do you go for a talented contractor or who charges the least no matter how lousy his work is?
Again, I’m not telling you to spend more than you can. Set a budget and then scale your content writing requirement accordingly.
Hire a content writer in a manner that it is a mutually beneficial partnership. Just as you need to grow your business with the help of the content being written by your content writer, a content writer needs to grow financially and intellectually while working on your project. Keep that in mind.
Content syndication can take place in two directions: you syndicate your content, or you publish syndicated content on your website or blog.
Syndication means when your content is republished by a third-party website. Content that can be syndicated includes blog posts, infographics, videos and articles.
Just as someone may be interested in publishing your content, you may also publish someone else’s content.
Many news websites use content syndication. For example, many newspapers syndicate content from Reuters and Associated Press. These are independent news gathering services. Newspapers and magazines pay them a fixed fee and based on the agreement, they get a certain number of news items or images that they can syndicate from the agencies.
Content syndication can also be a good content marketing tool.
What is the difference between guest blogging and content syndication?
You must be wondering, if your content is being published on another website or blog, how is it different from guest blogging? After all, in both the cases you should be getting backlinks or getting your content exposed to a different audience.
Guest blogging is when you write a blog post or an article, preferably exclusively, for another online publication. This blog post or article shouldn’t be published elsewhere, not even on your own blog or website.
Syndication on the other hand allows you to publish your content on multiple websites and blogs. In most of the cases, an API/RSS/XML connection is used to distribute the content.
If someone uses your RSS feed or an XML link to extract content from your website (based on your permission) and then publishes the content with due attribution, it is syndication. The content exists on your website. It also exists on other websites.
You can syndicate product reviews, movie reviews, authority blog posts, or even social media feeds. Syndication can be paid or free, depending on your agreement with the publishers.
The basic idea behind content syndication is that your content appears on multiple websites. Doesn’t it create lots of duplicate content?
Yes it does?
Does Google penalize you for having duplicate content scattered all over the web?
Google says no.
But you need to take care that the websites and blogs publishing your content link back to your website or blog with attribution. You should also advise them to use the canonical link (that tells Google that the original content belongs to your URL).
Most of the content syndication tools automatically insert link to the original website. Content syndication is supposed to be automatic anyway. For example, if someone uses your RSS feed to extract content, whatever script is used to extract content also extracts the original URL and then links back to it.
The benefits of content syndication
There are many. You can promote your best performing content on bigger websites if they are ready to syndicate your content because of its quality and relevance.
Your old content, if it is still relevant and useful, can be repurposed and syndicated.
You generate backlinks automatically sometimes, which in turn benefits your SEO.
You can also use professional content syndication platforms such as Taboola and Outbrain to spread your content on other websites and blogs.
How to find content syndication partners
You can search on Google. You may use the following phrases when searching Google:
• “published from”
• “originally published in”
• “original source credited to”
• “republished with permission from”
You can also combine these phrases with the niche you’re looking for. For example, you can search for [“originally published in” “content writing tips”]
I have used  just to club the two phrases together, you don’t need to use these brackets. The above combination should bring up websites that have published on the topics of content writing tips and somewhere they also contain the phrase “originally published in”, which indicates that they may have syndicated the content from somewhere else.
I have never pitched for guest blogging. If I ever did, I have forgotten – maybe in the late 2000s. But I definitely get pitched on a regular basis.
Mine is a decently successful blog. Therefore, every day I get at least one guest posting pitch. I mostly ignore them not because I don’t want to publish guest posts. I need to regularly publish content on my blog and if I’m getting free content, why not? Especially if it is well written and provides value to my readers.
Why do I ignore most of the guest blog posting pitches? Because they are not directly written to me. They are template pieces. They sometimes don’t even refer to my website properly.
Here is what I recently posted on Twitter:
They don’t even sometimes take enough trouble to go through the blog and try to find out what sort of content I publish.
Hence, even if I don’t pitch for guest blogs, I certainly know how not to pitch. Here are a few things you can do to get a positive response from a blog publisher.
Carefully go through the blog you’re pitching to
Not knowing what sort of content the blogger is publishing and despite that pitching for a guest post can be quite annoying.
People send me pitches for beauty products, cloud-based software, gaming mobile apps, search engine optimization, web design and all sorts of professional fields. Rarely do they go through my blog and send me an appropriate pitch for a blog post title that would be appropriate to my niche – content writing, copywriting, blog writing, email writing, and to an extent, content marketing.
Mention in the subject why you are writing
I won’t pretend that I get a ton of email and one needs to be specific to be noticed. I notice almost every email that arrives in my inbox.
Nonetheless, if you are writing to a very busy blogger, clearly mention in the subject that you are proposing a guest blog post. If possible, even suggest the title although, in the subject line it may be a bit difficult.
Describe why the blog post will be useful to the blog’s audience
Every blogger publishes content for his or her audience. Hence, while talking about the subject you have chosen, describe how the subject is going to help the visitors of the blog and what value it is going to add.
Include samples of your previous writing, preferably published
It doesn’t matter to me, but it may matter to some bloggers. When I find a good guest post idea, I don’t worry much about samples. I simply tell the person to send me the draft along with the author profile. If I like the draft, I publish it, if I don’t like it, I either request the person to revise it, or simply refuse to publish.
Ask if a blogger has a preferred format
I have a particular way of publishing blog posts and even writing them in MS Word or Google Docs. I have a style sheet defined. For example, for the main name of the blog post, I use the title tag. Then for all the headings and subheadings, I use the <h2> and <h3> tags (in MS Word, these can be simply H2 and H3).
I don’t like long, convoluted sentences. I keep the paragraphs preferably short although, longer paragraphs are fine too if they maintain a flow. Up till six months ago I was publishing paragraphs that were just one sentence long. Since then, I have abandoned the practice because it sounded quite phony and just catering to the search engines.
Main points should be described in bulleted points.
Anyway, if you ask for a preferred style, it shows that you care about the blogger’s time and you’re going to send a blog post that will be easier to publish.
These are the basic points. My main gripe is that most of the people pitching for guest posts send a mass email. This is not a good way of approaching a blog publisher, especially someone who works hard at creating focused, quality content.
It hardly takes a few minutes to go through a blog and get the gist of what type of content is being published. Prepare a direct, personal messages. Address the blogger by his or her name. Give an example of the blog post – from his or her blog – you have really liked to strike up a conversation. Again, let it be known that you’re specifically writing to that particular blog and you’re not sending the template message.