- Focus on core competence and value addition.
- Determine syndication and affiliation content areas.
- Identify domestic and international syndication and affiliation partners, both for receiving and for disseminating content.
- Benefit from syndication options in the area of tutorials, country guides, statistical databases, market reports, business directories, market places.
- Insight into turn-key solutions for trade intelligence portals.
The information overload era; avoid duplication, add value
We live in an information era. Stronger even, an information overload era. More than ever, it makes sense to make use of what is already available instead of duplicating what is already out there. Third parties may be well positioned to provide relevant trade information on certain topics. This Step suggests you to pursue strategic options; focus on value addition in specific areas, and content syndication and affiliation in other more generic areas.
Characteristics of syndication and affiliation
Content syndication is the process of sharing content with third-party websites. The idea is to drive more engagement with such content by wiring it into related digital contexts, to boost traffic or to get exposure for a brand, product or services.
Syndication refers to:
- Websites providing information.
- Websites displaying it through publishing and aggregating so-called web feeds (RSS feeds).
- Parties offering an affiliate program to share database applications to search and find trade statistics, regulations, business directories and alike.
So what are the benefits…? For the receiving website, content syndication is an effective way of adding greater depth and immediacy of information to its pages. This makes it more attractive to users. For the transmitting site, syndication drives exposure across numerous online platforms. This generates new traffic, making syndication an easy and relatively cheap form of advertisement. Content syndication has also become an important subject for Search Engine Optimization contributing to link building.
Syndication and affiliation arrangements can be commercial against a fee as well as free of charge. It depends on the syndication and affiliation program and partner.
Setting up your syndication and affiliation strategy
As a trade promotion organisation, it is wise to concentrate on your core competence and determine where to add value (see Step 2). Therefore, planning ahead for syndication makes sense. During a redesign or site launch, or when setting up your content strategy, content structure, and content management systems, think about how you can auto-generate feeds in a flexible fashion without a lot of manual work.
The first step of syndication and affiliation is to establish goals that match your business model. For example, you can use syndication and affiliation for your own marketing, sharing content and databases to third parties. On the other hand, you can use syndication and affiliation by tapping into relevant content and databases of other trade information providers and share that on your website. There is a lot of good quality generic international trade information provided by third parties that may be used efficiently.
- Country profiles
- International commodity prices
- Trade statistics
- Trade facilitation
- Business directories
- Trade leads
- Export readiness and doing business tutorials
Below, we provide some examples and good practices of syndication and affiliation on these subjects.
Selecting syndication and affiliation partners
Once you set your goals:
- Think about the kind of information you have and where you want to send it.
- Think about the information you want to use from other parties.
- Map out content distribution partners, their requirements, and your content and infrastructure capability. Many syndication partners require custom RSS feeds, thumbnail images, snippets, titles, or paragraph excerpts.
Syndication and affiliation partners can be:
- Business or sector associations in your country.
- Educational centers in your own country.
- International providers of country guides, business directories, electronic market places and business news and price information.
- International trade support organizations.
- ITC, through its market analysis tools like Trade Map, Market Access Map, Standards Map.
“We are open to publish information about initiatives from stakeholders, at the same time they have the possibility to subscribe to our RSS feeds. This way, they can provide us a multiplier effect.”
- Stéphane Decoster, Communication Manager, Brussels Invest Export, Belgium
Syndication and affiliation options
Below, we highlight some practical syndication options.
Online tutorials to support companies to improve their knowledge and skills in international trade offer interesting syndication opportunities with education centres or other service providers. Think of online courses in international trade, export readiness assessment tools and alike.
Good Practice: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vzvnMb3qDA)
Uk Department for International Trade – Open To Export
UKDepartment for International Trade collaborates with the Institute of Export in their joint platform on “Open To Export“. It provides a good case of syndication of video tutorials on overseas sales and marketing.
In many cases, price information is provided through sector associations. In such case, syndication with sector associations or third party service providers is recommended. Reuters is a good example of a source that provides syndication opportunities. Reuters offers RSS feeds on a wide range of business news and commodity subjects.
Syndication of trade statistics may exist with the Customs in your country, or for example the United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database (UN Comtrade). Also, ITC can provide effective solutions to cater to these statistics need through the TradeMap solution.
Mauritius Trade Easy – Trade statistics
A good practice of syndication and affiliation in many ways, and also in trade statistics, is provided by Mauritius Trade Easy. Watch the instruction video to find out how third party statistics and related functionalities are embedded in the trade portal.
Finding business partners
Syndication possibilities also exist in the area of tapping into business directories and databases of online market places and trade leads. A good practice is provided by Mauritius Trade Easy, see below.
Mauritius Trade Easy – Finding business partners
The trade information portal of Mauritius Trade Easy provides a good practice of syndication and affiliation to find business partners. Watch the video to find out how third party databases are integrated in the website.
Country reports and market reports
There are multiple opportunities to tap into syndication in the area of country reports and market reports. Both public and private sector institutions provide quite a range of online publications on these subjects that can be syndicated.
Examples of syndication in this area can be found at:
Below, we highlight 2 good practices:
- UK Department for International Trade and its Open to Export platform with several partners.
- CBI, the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries, in the Netherlands.
Open To Export – Country guides
UK Department for International Trade provides a wide range of country guides, in collaboration with several third party providers, including the British Chambers of Commerce, but also financial and logistics service providers like Western Union and DHL. They do so on the joint platform of Open To Export.
CBI – Affiliate market intelligence database
A good practice of an affiliate market intelligence database is provided by CBI. It offers its database in full, or segmented by sector, to partner business support organisations. The affiliate database is then accessible from the website of the partner organization. In this case: the Sri Lankan export development board (EDB).
Turn-key solutions, an opportunity…?
Over the last few years, we have seen a rise in integrated Trade Intelligence Portal solutions that are built around a syndication and affiliation concept. These include information on trade facilitation and market intelligence whereby the content and data are syndicated from third parties like United Nations, trade show organizers, business directories, online marketplaces.
These turn-key solutions are provided against a development and service fee and have been purchased by governments as well as private sector parties like banks.
Some good practices of turn-key syndication and affiliation solutions can be found at:
- Banesto Comercio Exterior (in Spanish)
- Societe Generale Import Export (in French)
- Mauritius Trade Easy
Highlights Step 6: Syndication and affiliation
- Focus on your core competence and added value.
- Avoid duplication of efforts.
- Define which content you want to share and which content and tools you would like to use from third parties.
- Identify syndication and affiliation partners per subject area.
- Reach a formal agreement with your affiliation partner (to the extent required by them)
- There are good syndication options in the area of tutorials, country guides, statistical databases, market reports, business directories, market places.
- In case of limited capacity, consider a turn-key solution
Make use of ITC expertise
Want to know more about this step or how ITC can support you with your trade intelligence portal?
- Check our advisory services
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