Give Your Marketing Strategy A Boost With User-Generated Content
To compete in a global market you must develop useful, interesting and engaging content. There are times, however, when having to create all that awesome content yourself makes you want to tear your hair out. It doesn't have to be that way! One way to get the content you need without losing your sanity is to utilize user-generated content.
What is User-Generated Content?
The definition of user-generated content is pretty simple. Your audience provides the content to your site. How the content appears on your site depends on a variety of factors like your content development strategies and how much control you give users.
User-generated content has many benefits:
• Engaging with customers
• Fresh content
• Business exposure
• Boosting market strategy
• Saving money
• Future sales
Types of User-Generated Content
Traditional content development consists of articles and blog posts. You may ask users who visit or social media site or website to submit articles ranging from how-to articles to expert information. However, the world of user-generated content involves more than just blogs and articles. Here are some of your choices:
• Images and videos
If you don’t want to request articles, you can have an area reserved for comments. Another idea? Images and videos are a think-outside-the-box option since no text is involved. You can a little fun with them. Have a contest for the best image which uses your product creatively. Do you like direct interaction? Forums are opportunities for users to talk with each you and each other.
You can also set up a page on your website for product reviews. This is a simple way for people to talk about your product or service. Here's a tip: allow negative reviews on your site too. Wouldn’t you become suspicious if there only positive reviews on a site?
Your hands aren’t tied regarding negative reviews. You can comment on them. You want to show customers you care and are willing to talk about negative things. Regardless of what type of user-generated content you use, you must initiate the content such as post a topic. Also, you must monitor the content to make sure it’s not defamatory or illegal.
What Type of User-generated Content Works Best?
Honestly, there’s no specific answer to the question. One company’s content development success may involve social media. Your success may involve forums. Thus, it’s a trial-and-error marketing strategy. Once you find your perfect content strategy, you’ll see how the hard work paid off.
There are some important things to keep in mind when boosting your marketing strategy with unsolicited or solicited content.
Offer the opportunity to participate to everyone. For example, you may be tempted to use social media only. Instead, use other types of opportunities like forums, blogs or post. If you can’t afford to conduct research on your audience’s user-generated content interest, offer it all. Keep track of what is working and eliminate the others.
User-generated content isn’t like the next big social media craze. No one spends hours searching websites or topics to comment on. If it takes a couple months before you notice people posting content, do not become dejected. It may take time before you gain an audience.
You can make it easy for users to become a part of your content development team. Start with an interesting topic or provide an incentive to participate. You may offer discounts on your products or prize to participants.
If you use a contest make sure the rules are specific and understandable to avoid any confusion. Whatever user-generated content development you employ, make it simple. Users shouldn’t have to navigate through the site just to add comments.
Once your user-generated content strategy is successful, you may even learn to enjoy the phrase, “content is king” again!