Reciprocity and Digital Content Seeding


Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 16 seconds

One of the key things that I have learned from promoting my own content online is that if you share the content of others, there is a good chance that when you publish content, they will be more open to sharing your content too.   I believe a lot of the time this could be related to the principle of reciprocity.

What Is Reciprocity?

The principle of reciprocity has been around a long time in marketing, and it basically plays on the human need to return the favour. 


An example of this was highlighted in a social experiment that showed that when waiters gave patrons a free mint along with their bill it resulted in bigger tips.

Common examples of this occur all the time in everyday life too. For example, if you are in a bar having a drink with a friend and they buy you a drink, you will likely want to buy them one in return unless of course you are a complete bastard. 😉

Bottom line is, if you are kind to other people, there is a good chance they will be kind to you in return.  I go into a bit more detail below about specific techniques to help seed your content and encourage others to share.

Create or Join a Group

During the early days of SEO, reciprocal linking was all the rage, but this tactic has become quite dangerous, and Google has pointed out that this could be in violation of their webmaster guidelines.

Now that SEO has shifted to a more content driven approach, the reciprocal model has been tweaked slightly, and digital marketers have started forming groups for the sole purpose of promoting each other’s content. 

These groups can often be found on Facebook, Slack, or as Bas Van Den Beld pointed out to me recently, Google+ communities are a secret goldmine when it comes to content seeding. I’m not particularly active on Google+ anymore, but using it as a way to seed content makes a lot of sense, as it is still quite an appealing platform to many digital marketers.

If you are not yet a member of one of these groups, you should probably start asking around.  If you can’t find a suitable one, then why not start your own and invite other people to join?

Once you join one of these groups, make sure that you share the content produced by others, and make them aware of what you have done. This will increase the chances of others sharing your content in the future.

Social Voting and Content Sharing Sites

Sites like Reddit, and digital marketing specific sites such as, can be an extremely effective way to seed your content. Unfortunately, if you are new to these communities it can be extremely difficult to gain traction on these sites.

A great way to increase the chances of your content doing well on sites such as is to dedicate some time to interacting with the community, especially with key influencers.

Popular articles rise to the top which can give your content a great start

Popular articles rise to the top , this can give your content a great start… allows you to view members in order of ‘rank’.  This is an extremely simple way to find key influencers within the community.

If you decide to upvote a piece of content, make sure that you connect with the person that produced it, and make them aware that you have upvoted their piece. This will increase the chances of them returning the favour for you.

It is probably worth mentioning that it’s usually against the rules to explicitly ask your friends to submit or upvote your content on sites like this.

Say ‘Thanks’ and Build Contacts

If someone is kind enough to share your content, make sure to take the time to thank them.  Whenever I put out a piece of content, I often search for it on Twitter and try my best to thank everyone that has shared it. I also like to try and pay attention when they publish their own content too, and share it or promote it on social voting content sites.

If you find that certain people have a wide online reach and they find your content useful, compile that data into a spreadsheet and approach them in the future if you need help seeding a new article. Be careful with this though, as it can be annoying to constantly bombard someone by asking for favours.

Final Thoughts

If you are new to producing and promoting digital content, it can be extremely difficult to gain any traction, but the process gets easier as you start to build your reputation within the community.
Creating genuinely good content is never enough; you need to make sure that your content is promoted in the right places by the right people.

If you are sharing the content of others, and interacting with and adding value to the digital marketing community, then when you need the favour returned, there is an increased chance that other digital marketers will be willing to help you out.

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Gordon is the Digital Marketing Manager for a large automotive retail business based in the UK. He gets involved in most areas of digital marketing but specialises in SEO, PPC and Remarketing.

State of Digital


Content Marketing for Ecommerce Websites: 3 Strategies to Lead The Game


The most successful ecommerce companies already know the simple truth – sassy product descriptions and big juicy product images are not enough to land a sale.

Ecommerce websites no longer just sell products. They sell a related lifestyle, ideas and inspiration.

With ecommerce giants like Amazon, Wal-Mart and Costco dominating the web, product discovery and promotion gets tough for small to medium sized sellers.

So, enter content marketing – the buzzing trick business of all size and shape use to drive traffic to their stores and land sales.

But what if I’m not a good writer? What if I don’t have enough creativity to blog, tweet and fill my Instagram feed on a regular basis?

Fret not. In this post I’d like to share some of the simple, yet effective content marketing strategies backed up with examples and all sort of practicalities!

Video Marketing: You don’t need to be a pro or break the bank.

Visual marketing and video marketing in particular are among the top trends leading the content marketing game in 2015 and onward.

With 1 billion active users and people now spending over 40 minutes per session, YouTube is definitely the platform to be for an ecommerce business.

The good news is – you don’t enormous budgets and celebrity speakers to capture your audience attention.

All you need is good natural lighting, an iPhone or a digital camera shooting in decent quality and a few good ideas. I’ve got you covered with the latter.

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Make a video tutorial showing what awesome things can be done with your product. According to Social Media Today at least 64% of users are making a purchase after watching a video. A rather impressive conversion rate, compared to other marketing channels, right?

Show how your product is made or behind the scene snaps. People are always curious how things are made and never miss a peek inside the personal side of any business. Show your production process if it’s curious enough or shoot a video of your team at work or at play.

Invite a popular vlogger for collaboration offering them to shoot your tutorial video or showcase your product in a certain way. However, the more popular the person is, the bigger your budgets will stretch.

Newsjack and/or capitalize on a popular social trend. Something major just happened in your industry? Be fast and shoot a video offering your opinion and commentary on the matter. Your video, if properly optimized, is likely to rank well next to the original news posting.

Share your company’s story. Authentic stories win hearts and minds, especially when it comes to millennial consumers. Share how you’ve came up with the idea of launching your business, talk about the challenges you’ve faced, be vocal about your brand values and ethos. At the end of the day, everyone loves a good story more than a glossy promo video.

Blogging: Bring value and educate your audience


If you want people to read about your product, answer the questions they have.

The strategy works great as:

You bring value and help to your potential customers and establish your brand credibility. Isn’t it nice to be spoken of as “that amazing retailer from Twitter”?

You have a fresh stock of blog ideas all the time. Start entering “how-to” in Google and you’ll get swiped away with thousands of answers people are looking for. To find the burning questions people in your industry have browse Quora; check your competitors FAQ sections and relevant support forums and desk; find a relevant SkillShare class and see what topics they are covering in the course plan; use Ubersuggest to discover new how-to keyword suggestions.

You gradually build your expertise as the niche authority and a one-shop stop for everyone looking for answers in your niche, journalists seeking expert opinions and buyers looking for additional information before making a purchase.

River Pools and Spa were among the first to use the “answering questions strategy” and now land loads of sales from users that came in search for the answer e.g. “How much does a fiberglass pool cost?” an so on. In fact, this strategy also landed Marcus Sheridan an interview on The New York Times.

Social Media Marketing: Take advantage of user-generate content


As visual social media and in-the-moment updates now prevail in social media, a lot of ecommerce businesses struggle to stay consistent with their social media marketing.

Simply posting images of your products no longer does the trick on Instagram and Facebook. Pinterest is leading the product purchasing game with 87% of users saying they made a purchase through it, however it’s the certain type of content that performs particularly well there.

If you are struggling to fill in your social feeds with consistent content, here are some strategies to help:

Instagram: Create a business hashtag and encourage users to share images with your product. The initial decent following is required, however.

Snapchat: Share special promo codes (time-sensitive) to amass the initial following. Share behind the scenes snaps and product sneak peeks to gauge the interest further.

Pinterest: Create relevant graphics with Canva for your blog posts, esp. how-tos + products. Product collages also work great.

Facebook: Curating user-generated content works great for the platform as well. Check out how GoPro is nailing it. On top, upload your videos directly to Facebook, rather than sharing YouTube links for bigger impact.

Twitter: As the platform has gone visual recently, the stats say that tweets with visuals receive 150% more re-tweets and 18% more click-through. Tweet blog graphics, share visual discount coupons, parts of infographics and charts used in your blog post.

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