User-generated content (USG) is a cost-effective means of helping to attract organic traffic and improve SEO, and is a trusted source of information that can be used to attract a highly targeted band of customers.

Part of the reason for this is, increasingly search engines are trying to understand what real audiences are saying and there's nothing quite like the real authentic voice in type created by real users in the form of comments, reviews, conversation in forums, blog post comments, and so forth.

Real users provide a much more objective opinion of what the real deal is with products and services.  Therefore it makes sense for search engines to mine the data from conversations via forums and thriving community website.

It also happens to be fairly obvious the topics which will likely be naturally discussed will be those very much related to your website's theme.

This naturally helps the site to rank higher because of increased relevance to that topic.

Forums provide real topical depth when search engine data miners come digging, so it's no surprise that if you get this right you could say you've a real gold mine from an seo (search engine optimization) perspective.

User generated content is absolutely the most natural language possible.

It's real people giving real opinions, warts and all.

User generated content is also an excellent sign you've really engaged with an audience and you may be well on your way to building a loyal tribal following of brand advocates.

Monitoring user generated content is also a great way for brands to dig into customer service issues and hear about problems they might otherwise never discover if it were not for their community on the ground; their audience.

Get it wrong and it could just go the opposite way if you don't manage it well.

If you need content ideas to help improve customer engagement and boost your search engine rankings, user-generated content might just provide the ideal solution.

UGC (user generated content) won’t work for every company of course, but if you engage in a content marketing strategy, you should consider inviting users to contribute to your blog and social media networks.

Going forward, you will hopefully find you begin to turn users into advocates and partners as they move up the Ladder of Loyalty (providing their experience of your brand is positive).

Here’s a few ideas to get you started.

Offer rewards to encourage user-generated content

In order to encourage readers to participate, you need to give them an incentive.

This could be a small discount on your products, a generous donation to a local charity or educational institution, or an attractive prize.

For example, you might want to run a competition for the best photograph that features your product and award the winning contestants with either a cash prize or a free product or gift.

Competition prizes have to offer a big enough incentive.

You'll also want to get some momentum behind this on social media channels.

Add a hashtag to the campaign to build up even more traction.

Once you've unveiled a winner, make a big deal of sharing the news on a blog post for even further campaign reach.

Run a design competition

If you are considering introducing a new design for your product, why not ask your existing customers to provide suggestions for new features.

Not only will this get your audience interested in providing content, but will help you determine the needs and preferences of your customers which you can use to your advantage moving forward.

Lego were really very successful with this concept of audience engagement involving co-creation.

They developed Lego Ideas platform. Here the audience crowd-sources opinions about ideas for new Lego models and kits.

If the crowd provide enough support for the product Lego commercialize it.

Real-Time Co-Creation Action at Events

Events and exhibitions that relate to your industry are a great piggy-back for businesses to attract exposure.

And inviting customers to post live feeds and social streams of the event directly from their mobile phones enables you to capture unique moments to share with other customers and attract a wider audience.

Furthermore, live feedback alerts you to trending topics you can capitalise on with branded content and social media marketing.

Build up to the event with timely email marketing at set periods in the run-up to the event and build some real excitement along the way.

Challenge customers to embrace your brand/product

The most powerful marketing tool is word-of-mouth advertising and inviting customers to review your product or submit video content of them using your product generates excellent sales content.

This strategy is a prime example of offering an attractive incentive, but if the content is well executed enough for you to use (don’t use low-quality submissions), you can expect to increase your sales revenue.

Invite customers to provide open feedback

Another option to generate content and word-of-mouth advertising is to invite customers to provide feedback by setting up a dedicated page on your website that enables customers to leave comments.

A small incentive may be required, but for some businesses some form of compensation may not be necessary.

User-generated content can have many benefits, but you should also be wary about the quality of content you use. Don’t forget that you still need to publish content your other followers will want to watch.

Poor recordings and badly written reviews should not be used, otherwise edit them to make the content presentable.

Co-Create with customers and your target audience

Co-creation with customers who ultimately become advocates and even marketing partners is considered one of the highest success levels of target market engagement.

Why not organise interviews and webinars focusing on key customers or industry experts, with the focus on the interviewee rather than your brand.

By helping your key influencers to penetrate their own circles of influence further, you're not only creating value for yourself as a brand, but also them.

Could Co-Creating and Growing Sentiment Boost Your Rankings in Organic Search?

The answer is "We can't be sure".  However, at a recent State of Search Conference in Dallas, Texas, Google's Gary Illyes did mention when interviewed by Jennifer Slegg that search engines are constantly looking to understand brand sentiment.

Need Help with Content Marketing Co-Creation Ideation or Fulfilment?

If you're struggling to get the creative juices flowing with ideation around user generated content or content co-creation, why not let Move It Marketing help.

Contact us for an initial consultation on content marketing strategies.