Over the last few years content marketing went from been a buzzword to a near necessity in your marketing efforts. According to this content marketing institute report 70% of North American businesses are creating more content than they did a year ago.
With so much content created it’s natural that sometimes users can feel overwhelmed with the content. This is why smart marketers are turning to a new type of content, namely user generated content.
What is user generated content?
Whenever a user is involved in creating content they can be considered as user generated content. Probably the best example of user generated content is YouTube. Everyday thousands of users are creating and adding videos to YouTube.
Even our diagramming community is powered by user generated content. Everyday thousands of different diagrams are added to the community which in turn inspires and help many others to take part in visual communication.
Like that user generated content comes in various forms. Below are some of the more common ones.
- Videos – They could be general videos similar to the ones found in sites like YouTube or specific brand videos done for campaigns like Coca Cola Open Happiness campaign etc.
- Images – User generated photos of your business locations, products and goods that are shared on sites like Instagram, Pinterest
- Reviews – Review left on sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, AlternativeTo, Google Chrome marketplace etc that can be used in marketing material
- Blog comments/Forum posts – Specific comments talking about a feature, how a feature helped them to get their work done faster and similar ones like that
- Social posts – Facebook comments, Tweets recommending the product or service
- Blog posts/articles –Written about the product or service which highlights its capabilities and how it helped them to get something done
Why user generated content is so effective?
Because people trust user generated content more than brand advertisements. According to Nielsen only about 33% users trust online ads. But 90% of people trust peer recommendations. Although user generated content is not exactly a peer recommendation it’s more powerful than an advert run by a brand promoting their product.
How to include user generated content into marketing channels
The obvious first step is to be vigilant and listen to conversations happening about your brand. This is a must whether you’re going to use user generated content or not.
To track blog mentions and other website mentions you can use Google alerts. For social media mentions you can use one of the many social media dashboards like HootSuite, SocialOomph etc. Most review sits allow you to create a business account so you can gather review as well as respond to reviews. So make sure to create an account with sites that have you listed in their directory.
Repurposing is a very powerful and a cost effective way to amplify the reach of your content. You can do the same with user generated content.
From sharing via your social channels to including them in your landing pages and newsletters, there are multiple ways for you to repurpose user generated content.
Some of them include
- Sharing on social media
- Using them on advertising displays
- Include them in blog posts, landing pages, newsletters
Depending on your business, budget and marketing strategy you might not be able to implement all the repurposing methods, but you can definitely try ones that are relevant to you.
You can take this a step further and encourage users to create content on your behalf. As I mentioned before our diagramming community mainly consist of user generated diagrams and it’s a major traffic source for us.
We encourage this by providing powerful drawing features that make diagramming fast and easy. Similarly you can also think of ways to encourage user generated content for your business or product.
For example you can increase your number of positive reviews by quickly engaging with users who leave positive feedback. Whenever someone tweets us about how they love our product we direct them to review sites where our product is listed. That way instead of just a tweet we have access to a positive user review with 5 star ratings that we can use in our marketing material.