By now, most entrepreneurs are familiar with the principles of content marketing. You write, record, or produce content from scratch, promote it, and then reap the rewards of increased brand awareness and traffic.
But what if someone else develops the content for you?
This is the idea behind user-generated content. Let it work for you and you can take your brand to a new level, but you cannot guarantee success.
What is user-generated content?
If you’re unfamiliar, user-generated content is any content created by your users (including customers, fans, and followers).
These include the following:
- Social content. If someone comments on your brand, makes a comment or shares a video of their interaction with your product, this is a form of user-generated content.
- Forum posts. Some brands explicitly try to cultivate brand communities by opening forums where users can ask questions, post comments, and talk to each other. Sometimes this is to solve the problem. Other times, you just participate in the brand in some way.
- Blog comments. If you write new blog posts regularly, this is a great opportunity to collect feedback and promote more discussions in the form of threads.
- Photos, videos, etc. Visual content, including photos and videos, can be used to promote your best products.
- Reviews and recommendations. Of course, even user reviews and recommendations can be counted as user-generated content and bring you some of the best benefits.
- Why is user-generated content valuable?
- So why is this strategy so valuable to the brand?
- Minimal manual operation. For starters, if users are generating this content, you don’t have to do this dirty work. Instead of paying full-time employees or hiring a content agency, you can recruit users to do the work for you. This is obviously too simplistic, but user-generated content is still very profitable.
- The benefits of SEO. User-generated content also has SEO benefits. Any content you create for your blog and website will serve as a way to increase your authority and get a new page ranking in search engines. Assuming the content is high-quality, new, and relevant, its SEO ranking power can be enormous.
- External trust. Customers are more likely to trust the words of existing customers or fans than the words of a company they are unfamiliar with. Reading reviews posted by previous buyers will be more compelling than reading the ad copy. Therefore, user-generated content can help you build external trust.
- New voice. If you have an in-house content team, even if they are very talented, eventually your work will become stale. The sounds they create can become repetitive and uninteresting to people who follow them frequently. Allowing user-generated content can help you gain new voices and opinions and increase the diversity of your blog, website, or social media platform.
- Community development of the brand. This is also an opportunity to develop a brand community from scratch. By cultivating your top content creators and participating in conversations, you can increase public awareness of your brand and at the same time increase customer loyalty.
Tips for adding more user-generated content
What steps can you take to add more user-generated content?
- This may be the most important element of your strategy because users usually don’t generate content for your brand themselves.
- One of the easiest ways to get more content is to request it directly. Ask your followers to leave a review or write a letter of recommendation for your brand. Open your blog to accept new guest submissions. Tell your fans that you are eager to see the best photos of their products in use.
- A contest is held. You can also try to host a competition on social media to further encourage participation. For example, you can ask followers to post their own photos or videos and enter them into the drawing to get a $100 gift card in exchange for their shipping. This is just a slight form of bribery.
- Motivate with other rewards. Other rewards can also be used to motivate users to participate. For example, you might have a loyalty program or reward program for forum participants.
- Promote your best role model. When you encounter a piece of outstanding user-generated content, such as an interesting video or a great guest post, make sure to promote it. The increased visibility can inspire other users to follow suit.
- Get involved. Finally, participate in the conversation and directly involve your users. You will build a stronger brand-consumer relationship and make people feel more at ease when giving presentations.
With the right user-generated content strategy, you can gain more visibility, build a better reputation, and drive more traffic to your brand. It takes time to build momentum, but as long as you have the right investment and enough patience, you will reap huge returns.
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