There’s no denying the power of content.

Content is what attracts people to your site and socials. It’s what educates the masses about your products & services. What’s published is what compels individuals to share (and talk) about your brand to others.

The problem with content? It’s intensive.

You can spend a whole lot of time putting together content. You could dump a bunch of money into content creation.

Or… you could explore user generated content.

What is User Generated Content (UGC)?

User-generated content (or UGC) is content created and shared by communities. Specifically, it’s content typically submitted, tagged, or solicited by a brand from its community. It’s community-driven content marketing.

User generated content examples can include (but not limited to):

Brands small and large embrace UGC as part of their site and social campaigns. This can include a simple use of a #hashtag to share UGC or become something elaborate like a full-scale marketing campaign involving the community.

The takeaway is that you’re creating a culture where people want to participate.

The Advantages of User Generated Content

We all know that content plays an important role in getting noticed online.

The problem with content? You’ve got a business to run.

Site & social content might be a lower priority for daily operations. This is where you’d turn to outsourced content creation so you can focus on the important business tasks (to you). Though, it gets a little expensive especially for a small company operating on an even smaller budget.

UGC offers many advantages for those willing to explore it:

  • It’s free — The content is community-driven and doesn’t cost you anything (besides running the platform)
  • It’s diverse — Creatives of all type come together in creating and sharing neat things to/for your brand
  • It’s fun — Everyone gets to be involved so it’s like one big party, it’s ever-evolving and engaging

UGC is also amazing for boosting search engine value.

Every piece delivered by your community is another that’s indexed and ranked in search results. So, you’re getting new funnels to products and services by way of user submissions. These may work even better than your own content efforts because it doesn’t have an off-putting “sales-y feeling” to potential buyers.

How to Encourage User Generated Content

There’s a vocal part of the community behind every brand. Often, all that’s needed to give them a voice is by offering them the platform you control. Give fans the opportunity and they’ll engage with your business!

Here are a few ways to spur community engagement and user-generated content:

Setup a Knowledgebase

Got intricate products or services that really get users engaged and tinkering? If so, then you’re in a perfect opportunity to get UGC by way of tutorials, guides, and insights. Specifically, by offering and collaborating on a community-driven knowledgebase.

Try this:

  1. Set up a knowledgebase using a subdomain + theme/template
  2. Encourage the community to create tutorials and guides for your products and/or services
  3. Promote and reward participation such as with coupons and shoutouts

Not only is your community answering questions and helping one another. But, they’re also creating content that’s getting picked up by search and social. These helpful pieces can convince and convert visitors into trying your products & services. They also see how open your brand is to the community and how active it is — making them want to be part of it even more!

Repurpose Reviews & Testimonials

Your business is already likely on several local sites and platforms. These tend to include user reviews and ratings. You may also have client testimonials either already published or sitting in a document somewhere. All of this feedback is UGC, and is ready to go to work for your brand and marketing efforts!

Try this:

  1. Collect and prune the best reviews, ratings, and testimonials
  2. Create catchy graphics including the feedback or do clever content formatting when editing
  3. Publish the work and see if those included are willing to promote it

This strategy scales when you begin exploring video reviews and testimonials. Not only do you gain the video format but you’ve now got visuals and sound bites to work with when remixing the content!

Survey the Audience

Got a hot discussion going on in the industry? Want to open your platform to community voices? A survey is a great way to get people engaged while also creating content! This works especially well when there’s debate, new product launches, or big news.

Try this:

  1. Put together a survey touching on one or two main topics
  2. Send an email to followers asking for their opinion and participation
  3. Publish results via blog posts and social media shares

You can turn this into a regular event, too, by way of holding discussions or Q&A’s. Whatever’s the choice, you’re bound to get the community fired up and sharing their opinions by opening the platform!

Hold a Contest

Contests are a fun, engaging, and low resistance way to get your community to submit content. A content-focused contest operates much like any other except the “entry” is the content submission. Whether it’s using a hashtag when sharing a photo or submitting a write-up, this added engagement layer is quite effective in encouraging UGC.

Try this:

  1. Ask users to submit a photo of them with your product + a hashtag
  2. Let the community pick the best submission or do so with in-house voting
  3. Announce the winner and distribute a cool prize + participation extras for all entries

Get creative and see what your team comes up with for the brand!

Connect With Your Audience on a Deeper Level

Building a strong community takes a ton of dedication but is 110% worth the effort. Once it’s there, and people are active, you should have no problem exploring user generated content. Then, the sky’s the limit!

So… are you ready to connect with your audience on a deeper level? Want to build a community that cultivates UGC?

Email marketing makes it possible.

Start your free trial of our award-winning email marketing management system and build your community today!

© 2021 – 2020, Chris Duncan. All rights reserved.