Content marketing has been evolving…no, let’s make that exploding…in leaps and bounds.
One of the most important contributions to this growth is because of how businesses are currently creating their content.
Without a doubt, user generated content (UGC) has become one of the most powerful (albeit under-utilized) sources of content available.
So, why are so many brands still hemming and hawing over using this great source of content and data?
Andre Bourque suggests the following explanation in his recent article for Huffington Post:
“User generated content (UGC) can be a brand’s best friend. Or it can fall flat on its face. The difference lies in finding a genuine fit between content and partner that resonates with and compels the target demographic.
…To unlock this potential, marketers need to source content that rises from consumers’ honest love of a brand.“
So there you have it. Maybe brands are a teensy bit worried about what people might think of them?
Well, what happens when your audience and consumers really, really like you?
By failing to embrace user generated content, you may be missing out on even more than useful customer feedback. You may also be missing out on increased website traffic and more sales.
Are you ready to learn more? Okay, here we go…
What exactly is user generated content?
If you are active on image and video sharing sites such as YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest, then you already have a basic understanding of the fundamentals behind user generated content.
When someone likes a brand and/or product, they often make sure that all of their friends – or even the whole world – knows about it.
And in this day and age, people mainly share their thoughts and opinions on the Internet, and especially social media.
On the flip side, many people base their own opinions about brands or products by what their friends – and even strangers – are saying about them on company websites and social media.
Why is this?
One main reason is because of our own basic human nature.
We usually trust the ratings and reviews of “real people,” rather than logos and/or company representatives when researching, and eventually making, purchases.
Interestingly enough, UGC is especially important to millennial consumers.
According to recent information from Amanda Berglove for Brandpoint,
“Millennials increasingly rely on online reviews to discover new brands and make purchase decisions. Studies have shown user-generated content has 20 percent more influence over Millennials’ purchasing decisions than any other type of media, with an average of 59 percent of Millennials trusting UGC.“
So, does user generated content change the way we buy things?
You’d better believe it!
How do I make UGC work for my brand?
Users are now content creators.
It’s not that traditional content creation is dead. Not at all.
But now that consumers are a driving force behind online content, it only makes sense that business owners and marketers tap into this power.
Think of how much potential content is right at your fingertips!
As your consumers post their pictures and videos, publish their testimonials, write reviews about your brand, rate your services…and even comment on your blog and/or social media posts…they are helping YOU.
Having your audience provide this content about your brand is priceless for two reasons:
- It helps improve your website’s rankings when you produce fresh and valuable content.
- It helps you build trust and loyalty – not only for your current clients and audience, but also for the people they influence.
UGC Content Marketing Examples
Are you ready to start tapping into the power of user generated content?
Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Request reviews for products or services.
- Ask members of your communities to send you pictures of them with your product(s), along with a short review.
- Offer prizes or incentives for submissions, pictures, reviews, etc.
- Run a contest.
- Have your community curate their favorite tools/books/sites for your industry or a topic (make this into a checklist, cheat sheet, or piece of content).
- Gain better insights to frequently asked questions (FAQs — see our FAQs here) for your industry through user polls and surveys.
- Allow certain clients to co-author or guest blog (Tip: Look for influencers to do things like this).
Easy enough, right?!
Do you currently tap into user generated content (UGC) as part of your content marketing strategy? Do you think it is useful?I’d love to hear your thoughts – please leave a comment below.