"In today's economic climate, content syndication is one of the lowest risk lead generation vehicles there is," writes Howard J. Sewell at The Point. "At our agency, the programs we negotiate for our clients are almost all performance-based," he says; that is, "they guarantee a minimum number of leads at a fixed cost."

So why don't more companies use syndication to put content in front of potential customers? Sewell says they make two critical mistakes that lead them to believe it's ineffective:

Failing to set appropriate expectations when handing the lead to sales. Someone who downloads your whitepaper or podcast through a content-syndication channel is expressing an interest in solutions for her pain point—not in your company's product or service. "That individual may well be a great candidate for your product, it's just that [she] doesn't know it yet," he notes. "If you hand off content syndication leads to your sales force without setting that expectation, the program is doomed to failure."

Failing to provide quick, effective follow-up to leads. "In a typical scenario," explains Sewell, "content syndication leads are received by the media vendor hosting the registration forms, and then shipped weekly to a client in batch form." In other words, leads might be a week old before your sales team even sees them. Accordingly, he recommends sending an automated email to leads as they're entered in your CRM system. "It helps remind the prospect that [she] downloaded the content," he says, "and makes [her] more receptive to a follow-up call."

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