Professional Community for Car Dealers, Automotive Marketers and Sales Managers
I don't know how much buzz this is getting but I do think it is an exciting time for the automotive marketing business. Dealer.com, or DDC, develops top notch auto dealer marketing software and the new SRM tool addresses an important undeveloped territory for car dealers - Content Syndication.
What is Content Syndication?
Content syndication is not a new practice. It has been going on in print media and in radio for more than 150 yeas with the Associated Press. It is the practice of re-distributing content across numerous destinations. In terms of the new SRM software by Dealer.com, the content syndication features are meant for the web, thus blogs and social media sites.
Is Content Syndication Good for Car Dealers?
Content syndication is a tricky beast for car dealers. From 2007-2009, we implemented aggressive content syndication initiatives with our dealer blogs using a practice called RSS Marketing. This was effective for SEO purposes by promoting a dealership's website, but it did nothing to foster community and engagement on on the blog itself.
As social media evolved, search engines began looking for conversations to serve up in the SERPs, and that form of RSS marketing grew less effective for SEO, to the point where we shifted gears towards other types of content, content that builds on the dealership-customer relationship as opposed to products and services. Doing this has made it possible for us to build long-term engagement with dealership customers by collecting permission-based email or mobile opt-in subscribers. The SEO benefits however are less impacting, but still there.
What Can Dealers do with Content Syndication?
If you want the SEO benefits of content syndication, you have some options. To name a couple there is the Automotive Advertising Network (AAN), which generates thousands of syndicated pages of commodity-based content in a way that produces an impacting SEO benefit for car dealer websites. This network can be good for generating website traffic and leads in the local dealer and commodity markets.
There also is AutoConverse.com, which permits dealers and marketers to create unlimited free SEO micro sites to promote products and services. This system is good for connecting with in-market buyers and loyal customers, engaging people and managing relationships over long periods of time while building permission subscribers...the best kind.
Dealers and merchants with these free automotive SEO micro sites, otherwise known as Merchant "Smart" Sites on AutoConverse.com can take advantage of two forms of content syndication:
a.) You can publish blogs to your merchant site which are automatically syndicated on AutoConverse.com.
b.) You an hook up your blog RSS feed to your merchant site so that recent posts can appear
Both of these options are completely free and offer good SEO juice for your blog or website, and no additional software is required to benefit from these things.
How Do Content Syndication and Reputation Management Relate?
With the new Social Relationship Manager from DDC, dealers will be able to experiment with content syndication to give their content more exposure, and have a good way to keep a radar on things using the reputation management tools it offers. I think it was smart for DDC to make this product available stand-alone but I would not be surprised if dealers struggle for a while to make it truly beneficial. There is certainly no lack of tools out there to do these things already, some of which are free as shown above, and syndication is only useful if the content is effective.
Producing effective content is not something I see a mass of dealers catching on to, but that is ok. It makes space for guys like us, who specialize in producing engaging and interactive content that has an automotive SEO backbone, because we understand the dealership perspective and produce content that appeals to the customer's general interests.
As Pasch stated towards the end of his review on ADM...
"SRM is one of those groundbreaking products that energizes the automotive community and provides the momentum to build innovative, time saving, products in the years ahead."