A big part of my job involves spreading or seeding content created by the team I work with. At first it seems impossible, so here are my tips to get started:
- Start at the content creation stage. Look for niche areas to write/design for, see what’s already out there and do something new and different. If the market is saturated with similar content yours won’t get a look-in unless you do it exceptionally well.
- Consider what kind of content is needed. Infographics spread well, long-form articles not so well. If a particular site has a gap in it’s knowledge create something with them in mind.
- Create a list of contacts. Think in, around and outside the box. Which categories will this fit into? Can you re-write any part of it to fit in on a different site? Think about the topics within. (Top tip: If you’re a manager hang onto these lists as their great equity when starting somewhere new)
- Never send a piece of content to everyone. People will think less of you digitally if it’s not relevant.
- Be polite. Your efforts will be rejected at times. Sending people content has a habit of making them angry if it’s not spot on for their audience, so don’t burn bridges for future efforts. Research people before you send them content and have a look at what they’re up to at the moment, who they already work with (competitors?) and how they like to be contacted.
- Keep a record of who you’ve contacted and any good/bad results from the connection.
- On social channels, rewrite details each time you post them focussing on a different group of people. Try posting at different times of day and think it through (e.g. Your more likely to reach a business-minded audience during commuter hours but they won’t have time for thick content)
- Use a social aggregating dashboard like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to set up tweets at a time that won’t interfere with your natural feed.
- Links from abroad are still useful even if your business is UK-based, but don’t focus on those.
- Use Google Analytics or RedEye to track the results, if you don’t have those, set up a free Bit.ly account! See which content works.
- Don’t try and high-jack a trending news story unless your business or content is GENUINELY relevant.
- Spread out your seeding over time. Business communities in any sector are very interlinked. If you send content to lots of people at once, it looks dodgy. Seems desperate and potentially lessens it’s effect. Use your common sense.
- You will have to seed content on your personal profiles. It’s jsut how it goes. When people hire a social media manager they also buy their contacts. Don’t make your friends sick of you though, do it just once.
- Never just publicise your own content. Share relevant news too! If people are kind enough to share your content, find something of theirs to share too.
- Focus on your aims, if your looking to create brand-awareness light and fluffy content will do. If you want more customers you’ve got to show expertise and quality work. To keep customers use what knowledge you have about them.
- Track what happens once your links have shared, ask sites that use your content how well it did for them, offer more content further down the line.
A working example of seeding in action
Content: Business Infographic
Channels: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, email, business blogs.
Contacts: Users interested in business + infographics + SMEs
- Found a niche topic relevant to both our readers and seeding sites
- Added a code for people to take the infographic under a creative commons licence
- Made a list of helpful contacts and looked through previous distribution lists
- Seed through work channels
- Seed on personal social accounts
- Upload to photo-sharing site
- Emailed infographic to contacts
- Write tweets to encourage people to post on their own blogs
- Set up email campaign to relevant customers