Seeding is the planned distribution of content on the Internet. To do this, the content creator contacts thematically relevant influencers in a targeted manner in order to persuade them to distribute his content further. The influencers use their own networks to distribute this content. In this approach, the marketing aims to increase awareness of the own brand and the published content among a relevant target group.
The scatter effect
In order to make one’s own brand known on the web, good content is an adequate means. However, only very few websites can rely on users finding their way to them on their own. Without well-planned seeding, spreading one’s own content and building links on a large scale are rarely successful. So to get a campaign around a brand and its associated content going, targeted networking is mandatory. Seeding thus becomes the foundation of a successful content campaign.
The goal of seeding
Seeding is about convincing opinion leaders and multipliers to distribute content via their network – for example, via social media, blog, newsletter, etc. The aim is to increase one’s own reach and awareness. This is intended to increase the company’s own reach and awareness. In the best case, the content spreads virally (distributed by the influencers), so that a large number of users themselves serve as multipliers and voluntarily promote the content further.
Seeding paths: how content spreads virally
Many marketing experts distinguish between simple and advanced seeding. In simple content seeding, companies share their content on their own channels and only ask a few influencers they know to spread it. The effort and cost here are low, but the content must be very high quality and with real added value for the user in order to actually spread virally.
This chance is much higher with extended seeding. Here, companies spread their videos, texts or images considerably more widely. Via a larger number of influencers, they thus achieve a wider distribution in various social media, blogs or on websites. The chance of reaching a critical mass of users and thus triggering a virally successful campaign is often higher here, but so are the associated effort and costs.
If you want to keep the effort low and still go viral, an external partner is recommended. In the meantime, various agencies have specialized in supporting companies with seeding and networking. The agency takes over the entire process and can usually also fall back on a suitable topic-relevant network. Nevertheless, even an agency can never guarantee viral success.
Nor can seeding replace good SEO content. A good web presence remains mandatory to be found by Google. Seeding is just another step towards better link building and more traffic.
More than a marketing strategy: How do I go about seeding?
Seeding is an important element in online marketing. Therefore, it is necessary to proceed in a well-structured and planned way. The final distribution of videos, texts or images via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or simply via link is only one small step of a well-organized campaign. The following points serve as a guide to a successful seed:
Not only for seeding, but for all corporate marketing activities, a healthy network is the most important foundation. Online (for example, via the various social media) as well as offline (for example, at trade fairs and conferences), relationships can be cultivated and information exchanged very well today.
To generate a successful campaign, the exact definition of a target group is essential. This includes analyzing the traffic of the company’s website as a database as well as subdividing the users according to various characteristics. It is also important to pay attention to the media that my target group uses – are my users more likely to be on Twitter or do they use Facebook? In addition, it is also important to define the goals that the marketing department wants to achieve with the content, be it more followers, more sales or more leads.
Once it is clear for whom and for what purpose the content will be produced, it is time for the actual creation. Special attention needs to be paid to the format, purpose and quality of the content: Is a video, an infographic, or is text more appropriate after all? Am I producing it more for PR purposes, for entertainment, or to convey information? Do I also take into account all the peculiarities of each format? Do I think about the users and the added value that the content should have for them? All of these factors go a long way toward determining a successful seed.
Search for influencers
The target group and the finished text, video, image or infographic narrow down the group of possible influencers. To find the right opinion leaders and multipliers, a first foundation is already laid with your own network. However, it is important to always stay up-to-date and to find and analyze new opinion streams. With a constant eye on the media, especially the Internet, you can find influential bloggers, online marketers, PR managers or SEO experts who have access to exactly my target group and have similar topics to mine on their agenda. In addition, it never hurts to think outside the box: occasionally you find influencers this way that you didn’t expect.
If the influencers are not already old acquaintances from your own circles, this means that the content creator has to make contact with unknowns. Careless action can undo all the previous seeding work. No content producer can afford to make a bad impression through obvious mass mailings or poor research into the contact’s area of expertise. In this case, a careful and polite cover letter is recommended, in which the reason for the selection of the influencer is mentioned and possibly its benefit from the seeding action. Of course, renowned companies or websites have a clear advantage over unknown marketing departments.
Make the effort to convince
The easiest way to do this is to have the content itself do the convincing. This means that it has to be content that offers real added value – be it information, entertainment or tips for problems – and that fits the influencer’s target group. If the influencer can even benefit from it, all the better.
Monitor and analyze results
If the seeding campaign has been successful and many influencers have agreed to spread the content, the results of the work must be recorded and analyzed. Did the content spread virally or did it remain manageable? Did the selection of influencers prove efficient? Was the target group correctly defined? Only good monitoring results in an optimal learning effect for the next seed. For this, the content of the campaign should be fully traceable with careful tracking. A database with the most important information about the influencers also forms a good basis for the upcoming campaigns.
The end of a (successful) seeding campaign is no reason to give up on network maintenance or contact with (new) influencers. Even after the initial distribution of my content, I can benefit from my network and should also give something back to it. Mutual sharing of content, exchange of tips and information, and possibly collaborations are important for the development of any business.
Social media & co: on which channels content can be distributed
Content can be sprinkled across various channels, depending on the format. Depending on the company and the campaign, different channels come into question. Whether social media, blogs or forums, a good marketing department should always keep all options in mind.
The big social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are mostly the first port of call when it comes to distributing good content. Right behind are other social media such as Instagram or Pinterest. Here, the more followers there are on the individual channels, the more successful the seed can become. At the same time, the content should always fit the chosen medium. Via social media, it is also the easiest way for the influencer to further distribute texts, videos or images. A like, a retweet or a share is often enough to reach a large number of users.
An expert blog on a suitable topic can bring a large increase in trust. Here, influencers can not only address exactly the right users, they also have a great influence on readers’ opinions due to their expert status. In the case of a recommendation or a positive mention, part of this reputation is transferred to the company that produced the content. For companies, having their own blog is also a source of traffic that should not be underestimated.
The video format is becoming increasingly important on the Internet. Short films – with a valuable message of information, entertainment or support – appeal to many users if they are well made. A dedicated YouTube channel is therefore worth considering for any company.
Forums hold the possibility of addressing a large number of influencers at the same time, as many experts often exchange their views there. Valuable and well-placed content can not only reach a large number of multipliers, but also create a buzz and make the rounds.
Seeding as an important element in online marketing
Seeding is an enormously important element in online marketing. If you don’t want to rely solely on traffic from Google, you should become active and seed your content via social media such as Twitter, Facebook or Google+, but also via blog, video or in forums. To achieve optimal distribution and possibly even create viral campaigns, even the best marketing expert depends on the help of opinion leaders and multipliers. Through clever networking and a good content strategy, the sensible use of social media and other publication channels, a seed can easily increase traffic, the number of interested parties and also conversion.
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