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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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JD Rucker

JD Rucker Founder

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The Importance of DrivingSales' Exclusive and Community Blog Sections

8f2f63f399f30b6fd225d0bcffa2b0a0.jpg?t=1If there's one thing that gets me riled up, it's the types and degrees of education in the automotive industry. The car business has always taken care of me, so I try to always take care of the car business.

On many of the blogs and networks in our industry, there are sections for exclusive content and separate sections for "community posts" or syndicated content. Both serve an important role and I publish profusely in both. Here's why:

Community Content is General

There was a time when I didn't agree with posting the same article to multiple places. It seemed obtuse from a search perspective and annoying from a dealer perspective to see the same content republished over and over again on a wide variety of sites.

A friend and someone who manages one of the sites changed my opinion on this. He pointed out that content of general interest to the majority of dealers are better served when a post is published in multiple places. While the vendors seem to be on all of the networks, he pointed out that most dealers are on one or two regularly. If the content is good for them to read, then it's important to publish that content everywhere so that more dealers have an opportunity to read it.

That's the idea of the Community Posts section on DrivingSales. They know that there will be content duplicated here and elsewhere. They know that the content can be good, so why exclude it? Rather than cut it off completely, the team chose to have two sections (as many networks are doing nowadays) with the prime real estate given to Driving Sales Exclusives and syndicated content still visible but less prominent.

Exclusive Content is Meant for the DrivingSales Community

We have something special here at DrivingSales. I don't work for the company, but I have been a part of the community since the beginning and I've helped Jared and his team on several different projects over the years. I don't own it, but it certainly feels like I have a stake, even if not a financial one.

There are certain pieces of content that could be published elsewhere, but that has a unique resonance with this particular community. For those posts, the website offers a little radio button (pictured above) where industry bloggers can designate that "this piece of content is being publshed here and here alone."

This gives it better positioning and the opportunity to be broadcast through the DrivingSales newsletter (one that I highly recommend). It's for this reason that more and more people are posting duplicate content in the exclusive section. They publish it here and in other places, but then they select the "Exclusive to DrivingSales" radio button because, "hey, who's going to notice, right?"

I notice. The DrivingSales team notices. It doesn't take a genius to copy and paste a paragraph of content into Google to find out if a piece is unique or not.

I understand the desire that many vendors have to promote their businesses using any way at their disposal, but I humbly ask that you honor the "Exclusive" options on this website. That doesn't mean to post it here first and then post it elsewhere later. It doesn't mean to post it on DrivingSales and no other automotive blogs but then to post it on your own blog or an off-industry site. Exclusive is exclusive. If you're going to post it elsewhere, there's a section on this site dedicated to content that is of general interest to other networks or other industries. If the content is great, it doesn't have to be at the top to get attention. Enough people read the whole site, exclusive or not, so that strong content in the community section can still get incredible exposure.

Thank you and sorry for the rant. Carry on.

Megan Barto
Great post, JD - this is one of the things I love about DrivingSales - I like engaging with different posts across all the networks. And I know people syndicate their posts on all the automotive forums, and there's nothing wrong with that - but I also don't see a need to reply to the same post on 3 different forums. But for the people that only visit 1 automotive forum, the community posts are great! :-)
Chris K Leslie
I agree. If you are going to click the box, click it with conviction.
Grant Gooley
Well said!
Timothy Martell
I would add too that there could be substantial improvement to the way syndicated content is being shared on these community sites. With Google's focus on ever increasing content standards, the wrong methodology of content syndication that has gone on for years is going to come back to bite everyone in the new year. Most of us with even a mild understanding of SEO will attribute the original article's source at the beginning or end of the article. The problem is this is NOT what Google recommends. What should happen is that these syndicated articles be canonicalized to their original article. I think we'll see not only the publisher's be negatively impacted by this, but the communities as well once google roles out its next machine-learning algo some time in 2015. BTW - its easy to do and something I've offered to help every community with (for free). But my guess is no one will take any action to do this right until they get put in time-out by Google.

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