user generated content

Sourcing User Generated Content

One source of content generation you may not have tapped into yet is user-generated content. Content marketing is a critical component of any successful marketing strategy. However, it can take a lot of resources to produce your own content on a regular basis. Even if you’ve managed to regularly generate high-quality content, you should look for other ways to create new content for variety’s sake, such as high quality user generated content.

What Is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content refers to content created by consumers and not brands. Such content includes videos, pictures, reviews, articles, and more. For instance, if a consumer takes a picture of themselves using your product and posts it on Instagram, that’s user-generated content. The following are just a few of the benefits of user-generated content:

  • Free publicity

Your audience is essentially promoting your brand on your behalf. As a result, user-generated content can help increase brand awareness.

  • Free content

Creating your own content requires a lot of resources. User-generated content requires none — your audience is creating the content for you. While you don’t own it, you can share it and reap the benefits of it.

  • Positive word of mouth

Customers trust other customers more than they trust brands. Positive user-generated content can, therefore, help to boost your brand reputation by creating trust.

How To Source Usable Generated-Content

Considering how beneficial this free content can be, you’ll want to do everything you can to encourage it. However, the biggest challenge lies in the lack of control you have over the content. You can’t control the message, format, or quality, after all. But there are a few ways that you can guide your audience to create the content that will benefit you most. The following are a few tips on how to source high-quality user-generated content:

  • Encourage 

Don’t just wait for your audience to create content relevant to your brand. You need to encourage it. For instance, hold a contest on social media in which users vote on the best submission. You can then give the winner a prize. There are many ways that you can encourage content generation.

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  • Provide clear guidelines

If you’re looking for a specific type of content, then you need to provide guidelines. For example, if you want user reviews, consider providing a basic review format. Such a format could list three broad questions that users can answer in order to generate a review.

  • Provide content creation tips

Your audience does not consist of professional content creators. As such, provide tips that they can use to create higher quality content. For instance, if you’re holding a video creation contest on YouTube or on Instagram, provide your users with a list of basic filming tips. Such tips can help cut down on the amount of poor quality content that you might receive.

  • Offer an example

If you’re looking for a specific type of content, then provide an example. When users see what you’re looking for, it will help them create the kind of content you want. For instance, if you’re hosting a picture taking contest, upload a few pictures of your own that would be considered exceptional examples. By providing an example, you also make sure that users understand your instructions more clearly.

  • Identify the channel

Make sure that your audience knows where to send it. The last thing you want is users posting their content on different platforms or sending it to you via different channels. If you’re promoting a contest, specify what platform they should post to or what hashtag they should use. Provide detailed instructions on how to submit content. By making it clear what channel you’re using, it will be easier for you to track and organize user-generated content.

  • Open a line of communication

Provide a channel through which your audience can contact you. This channel should be specifically for users who are creating content. You can do this by providing a specific support email address, a phone number, or a page they can DM on social media.

  • Monitor performance

Track how the content users create for your brand is performing. By doing so, you can identify what types are the most effective. You can then adjust your guidelines and instructions to encourage the creation of that type of content.

Enhance your Strategy Today

User-generated content can go a long way towards boosting brand trust. Not to mention that it’s a great way to expand your content marketing strategy. As such, make sure that you encourage the creation of high-quality user content. You can do this by providing your audience with general guidance and encouragement to drive effective user-generated content creation.

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Nicole Wagner
Internet Marketing Director at Stevens & Tate Marketing
The landscape of the Internet is ever changing and Nicole has the energy and aptitude to keep Stevens & Tate Marketing out in front of the pack. She leads an enthusiastic team in strategic planning, development, search engine marketing, online promotions and advertising for the web.