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


Tips for Promoting Your Digital Marketing Event


Estimated reading time: 6 minutes, 58 seconds

event-audienceAre you feeling inspired by all the talk of digital marketing events in 2016? Do you now want to organise your own? If you’re about to launch your first big event, or thinking of arranging a meet-up in your area for like-minded marketers, pay attention.

We’ve put together some tips from the experts for how to promote your event.

Know Your Audience

Dom-Moriarty“We think the trick to a successful event, like with most forms of marketing, is targeting. There aren’t many agencies in South West London, but as most of us live nearby we don’t get to as many events as those living or working in Central London or the East End. This presented a gap in the market for all digital folk living in the South West of the city, so we just needed to get the word out.

We utilised our own social media community and reached out to people we have met in the industry, building a website for the event and integrating Eventbrite to make it easy to sign up. Our events are all about people being people, no agendas or note-taking, and that’s been crucial to our growth so far. We had about 30 people at our first event but from that moment on, it became all about word of mouth”

Dom Moriarty, Swindig

Knowing your audience is not just about understanding the things they like and are interested in, though that helps. Instead, also think about the types of area they want to travel to. Frequently I see events that look interesting but if it’s not easy for me to travel from office to event and then home, the likelihood of me making that extra effort to attend is pretty slim. For Swindig, they identified an audience group of potential attendees who just lived a little too far out to travel to the big central events, but who still had a lot of interest in the digital marketing sector. The result is a busy, popular event, in an otherwise fairly quiet networking area.

Cross Promotion

Tim-Sheed“Team up with other industry groups that complement the content you are promoting. Partnerships or joint events can benefit both parties as they are a quick and easy way to access a large number of like-minded people”

Tim Sheed, SearchLondon

If you’re a new event, or targeting a small niche then it can be difficult to gain immediate attention for the event you’re hosting. The likelihood is you’ve been inspired by your attendance at other similar events, so why not utilise those relationships to help promote your own event?  For example, if you’re launching an event focused on Analytics, then attendees of an SEO event are likely to be interested so you could work together to help promote your events together. Supporting other events is also a way to pick up more tips for running yours, and meet people to collaborate with if you choose to grow your event bigger and bigger each year.


Understand the Competition

Nichola-Stott“The most important point is to emphasise the potential benefits to busy people giving up their precious spare time. As Digital Hampshire is a free mini-conference, based in the evenings, rather than competing with other conferences in the region, we’re competing with friends and family time. In our messaging we make sure to stress the quality of the content, speaker and learning outcomes, plus the additional benefits of networking and socialising with industry peers at the drinks afterwards.”

Nichola Stott, Digital Hampshire

By working out the opportunity cost of someone attending your event, you can determine the best way to explain it to your audience. It would be easy to assume that people choosing your event are turning down multiple other events or work in order to attend, but in reality it’s likely they’re giving up their free time.

This means you need to demonstrate that your event is adding enough value for someone to put it above an evening of Netflix and pizza. It’s crucial that the messages you use on your event information, email marketing and social media all reflect the benefits of the event. For example, the networking element means your attendees will still get the opportunity to relax and unwind after a busy day of work.

Make the Most of the Resources You Have

charlie-williams“Take advantage of local contacts. Your event is likely based in a geographical area, so especially for your first events, make the most of those in your local area to help build a following, & become evangelists who will do some of the promotion lifting for you. Buy people coffees, ask them for advise on what they’d like to see at a local event or give them free tickets – just find reasons to talk to your local community.

Also, make sure you ask your speakers for a preview of their talk. Not only can you add a synopsis in your event’s home, you can take the key ideas the audience will learn as teaser-text in your promotional material to entice a potential audience.”

Charlie Williams, Optimise Oxford

When you’re initially promoting your event, you may find that there are budget and time limitations that will appear daunting at first. Instead of being blinded by the ‘where do I begin’ panic, start by focusing on the resources you already have. Investing the time in your local contacts and making a personal connection with some influential attendees will help the popularity of your event grow organically, meanwhile an experienced and knowledgeable speaker will give you a wealth of information to start your promotion with. By giving teasers of the type of insight attendees may get if you have an expert presenting, you’ll be able to encourage people to sign up and spike interest in the event. These simple methods utilise information you should already have to hand and will help you to make the most out of the time you have to work on promotion.

And finally, make sure your event is awesome…

dom-hodgson“I’ll open my thoughts by being the Grinch in the article. Before you start promoting your event, look at what you are organising and figure out what makes it unique?

Think clearly about what you and your audience will get out of the event and what will attract them (and if the event is during the work day, what will convince their employer to let them have the day off)

Once you’ve decided that your event is amazing and people are going to come, do what you would for any campaign. Get a domain, get the twitter and facebook account, start collecting email addresses as soon as possible (people hate launchrock but bloody hell it works) and start interacting with your audience,hire an amateur comedian to MC the event , make some moo cards and give them out whenever you go to a relevant social event (you are going to those alright right?) do guest posts on relevant blogs, ask your speakers to do a blog post or give them a badge to put on the website (but don’t hassle them).

And never stop talking about it, you don’t know who knows someone who knows someone that might be interested.”

Dom Hodgson, Amateur Comedian (and organiser of Think Visibility, and does something at Kerboo)

This really sums it up, alongside all of the different ways you may choose to promote your event, fundamentally you need to believe that it is awesome. Once you have that faith in your event, and so do all your organiser helpers, then you’ll really be able to sell the idea of attending to anyone. It’s important that your enthusiasm for your own event is what makes it stand out and gets people excited about attending.


Every digital marketing event is different. Make sure yours is awesome, and suits the audience you’re targeting. Invest time into promoting it and building relationships to help gain attention, but also keep in mind what it is you are trying to get out of it as the organiser.

Digital Marketing Events should be fun, for both the attendees and those in charge, so keep it light-hearted and if all else fails, ask your sponsors for a bigger bar tab.




Hannah Thorpe is a Digital Specialist at, with 2 years’ experience in content marketing and technical SEO so far. is a digital marketing agency which works across SEO, PPC, Content Marketing and Digital PR.

State of Digital