Avoid the pitfalls of third-party content

Does allowing third-party content on your site make you nervous? While most small business owners are hesitant to let outsiders write their material, they are missing out on some opportunities for company growth without third-party help. Take a look at some common concerns, and suggestions for overcoming them, when it comes to third-party content.

Publishing third-party content is a vital part of building your audience and strengthening your online reputation, and all industries seem to be jumping on board. Top newspapers like the Washington Post allow third-party content on their websites, providing the material adheres to strict editorial guidelines and is fact-based. Third-party content is a term that covers a lot of ground, from advertising to guest blog posts, but for the purpose of this entry, I will use the term to refer to any site content that is meant for reader information.

The Necessity of Third-Party Content

To present yourself or your company as the expert in your field, you need to provide more than one angle or opinion on an issue. A company blog or articles section on a website that is peppered with a variety of industry voices shows that you are interactive in your field and have a handle on the important issues and trends. You do not need to publish opposing views necessarily, just write from your own perspective.  People will naturally approach the same topics from different perspectives, thus writing different viewpoints, adding dynamics to your company sites.

Nervous James
Photo credit: trixie

Third-party content is also a time-saver, plain and simple. People that are willing to write content for your sites free you up to focus on more in-depth entries of your own, or different business tasks completely. Developing a third-party content schedule pinpoints gaps in your schedule when you can take a break from content development.

The Pitfalls of Third-Party Content

Small business owners and entrepreneurs tend to have a tougher time letting go of control, especially when it comes to their digital image. When you allow someone outside of your trusted circle inclusion in online products with your company name attached, it can be a scary prospect. The best way to protect yourself from mismatched or poorly written content is to consider your terms upfront. Decide what your stance will be for blogger outreach programs and make sure you are clear that you have the right to reject content for publication, even if you have accepted content in the past.

Best Practices for Third-Party Content

In addition to putting a policy in place to protect your company from outside content that is not up to your standards, take a proactive approach to third-party content. If you have a list of topics that you want to cover on your sites, but no time to address them, consider hiring a contract writer. If you receive a lot of emails from other companies that are willing to write unique content for your site in exchange for planting a few links, present your list of content ideas. Chances are that the companies that want to be linked to you will be more than happy to take your content suggestions and come up with material that benefits both parties.

You should also consider third-party content for social media sites too. Whether you seek out the links or graphics on your own, or hire someone part-time to handle it for you, sharing information from other entities is a smart way to round out your brand and provide interesting content for your customer base. If you are using information without knowledge on the part of its originator, always use proper attribution.

It can be tough to relax the reins, especially when it comes to the online identity of your small business. Third-party content, when procured and maintained well, boosts your online credibility and frees up your time for other tasks. Put practices into place to protect, and promote, the online expertise of your small business through third-party content initiatives.

How has your business implemented third-party content with success?

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Megan Totka

Megan Totka is a freelance writer, business expert and consultant. She was the marketing & editorial director at ChamberofCommerce.com for over a decade. As a business expert, she specializes in reporting the latest business news, helpful tips and reliable resources, as well as providing business advice. She has significant experience with the topic of business marketing, and has spent several years exploring topics like copywriting, content marketing, list building, social media and any hot topics to help businesses run their business successfully. When she's not writing articles to educate businesses on the vast importance of building up their web presence, she likes to keep her finger on the pulse of the latest small business products, services, apps and other reviews. With a strong suit for managing business partnerships and developing partner relations, she often cultivates topics around the partnerships she's established by reviewing and highlighting what makes each business unique. She prides herself on keeping up with the diverse variety of services each business specializes in to spotlight new offerings.

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