User-generated content or UGC tends to create a conundrum: On one hand, having your customers create your content for free sounds like a great way to save marketing time and money. On the other hand, losing control of your content to the masses sounds like a great way to tank your SEO improvement efforts and create some truly awful web pages.
Thankfully, user-generated content is a broad term. It doesn’t mean replacing your hard-won SEO content with customer creations: It just means tapping into your audience engagement and using it to add momentum to your SEO campaign, the same way that some high-efficiency machinery can use the heat and motion it generates as an auxiliary source of power. Here’s what we’re talking about.
UGC’s Place in Your World
User generated content generally has two important purposes. In the short term, it can be used to advance specific contests or campaigns and gather additional interest in your latest products or deals. In the long term, it should be used to broaden your audience reach and add more convincing brand engagement via relation– helping consumers believe in you because other consumers give you a thumbs up.
This is easier when selling directly to the individual, social consumers, but considerably more difficult in the B2B world. The types of UGC that a B2B industry can produce are limited, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable. So while other companies can invest in “share your photo” contents or “talk about us and get free stuff” campaigns, we’re going to look at more reliable, professional UGC.
Marketers love user-generated content because it works. It gives consumers a second opinion on your brand, tends to be more memorable when people are making a purchasing decision, and is easy to share. Ideal types of UGC include:
- Reviews and Testimonials: Professional, easy to request, and great for brand affirmation – reviews are a great way to use UGC, especially in a B2B environment. However, remember to pay attention to SEO when creating testimonial web pages so that they are easy to find and link to your main brand ideas. Testimonial pages allow you to remove any negative reviews, but remember that these days consumers are more likely to look up Google profile reviews or social media reviews first: Cast a wide net.
- Social Discussions: LinkedIn is probably the ideal platform for this topic, but no matter where you begin, the goal is the same: Create discussions about your products or industry that allow others to chime in. Get the buzz rolling, and in the end, people from all corners of your social media platforms will be adding their own thoughts and giving you a lot of extra publicity without any extra effort. Here is where quality, captivating content becomes important.
- Profiling the Excitement: Do you have an especially thankful client or content related to a recent project, like a client testimonial, photos, video? Don’t let those assets go unused. Ask for an interview, a recommendation, or additional content. Then share “before and after” galleries, posts about your interview, video tours, and so on. Showing excited, content from your clients is a great way to win new customers.
In summation, the more traditional aspects of UGC are bound to remain important for nearly every brand. Thanks to online tools, it’s easier to ask for or find UGC than ever before: This type of extra content should be a component of your newest campaigns – and a consideration when judging conversion rates.
Not sure where to start? Download our Mitten Marketing a step by step guide to creating content that attracts prospects to you at every point in the buying decision process.