As we’ve discussed, thoughtful content syndication is a vital component of a station’s content and editorial strategy. Syndication, like locally created content, should be meaningful and relevant to your audience as well as driven by editorial decision-making. Among NPR member stations, KUT, Austin’s NPR member station, stands out as a web presence that utilizes good syndication practices. Recently, we talked to Stephanie Frederico, Andrew Weber, and Todd Callahan at KUT about their syndication approach and processes.
At KUT, syndication is a conscience, cognizant practice from editorially-minded individuals. Each story that is published on KUT’s site from NPR or member stations is evaluated by the KUT’s web team for relevance and interest to the community KUT serves. Unlike most member stations, KUT doesn’t not utilize the Core Publisher setting to automatically publish all Top Stories from NPR. KUT will “Focus on something special from NPR that people might like to hear, not necessary the mainstream, but resonates well with the audience.” said Stephanie Frederico. Because of this policy, the stories on KUT from NPR or other member stations have been carefully chosen by KUT staff to be meaningful and speak to the individuality of the Austin area. Furthermore, KUT evaluates each story that has potential to be syndicated for editorially quality, adding an additional level of editorial best practice that ensures the content on their site meets their quality standards.
Finding quality, resonating syndicated content across the NPR and member station community can be challenging. Hundreds of stories are created each day, and it can be difficult to filter through stories that belong on your station’s website. KUT has some useful tactics to make this easier and less time-consuming. Stephanie Frederico and Andrew Weber utilize the NPR News App and NPR’s Twitter account to keep abrest of the stories that are published and review which ones are relevant. KUT knows to check stories published by member stations that serve a like-minded, unique community, such as KUOW, a Seattle member station, for content that would be interesting to someone from Austin. Additionally, KUT also staff knows to check the stories published by other Texas Radio stations for local news that would be benefit their audience.
KUT is outperforming similar markets in terms of SEO traffic and engagement, and their syndication strategy is a big contributing factor. By using editorially driven decision-making in their content syndication, they are seeing tangible gains in the performance of their digital properties. Instead of setting it and forgetting it, they are actively and personally engaged with syndication and are exploring further possibilities with non-radio media, like the Texas Standard, and with collaborative journalism initiatives.
While KUT’s practices might seem to require dedicated staff and intensive resources, the opposite is the case. The decisions on what to syndicated are often made “in five to ten minute daily web meetings.” Todd Callahan explained. “It doesn’t need to be drawn out.”