How to Leverage User Generated Content

I’ve been writing a lot of content for over 9 years. For those of you who want an average number, I write around 10,000 words per week. That’s a staggering high number but I’m involved in many different projects so my topics are spread out. I’ve written list posts, guides, presentations, guest posts, etc. However, I can honestly tell you that the best type of content I’ve seen is user generated content. Why? It’s a very low-investment type of content and a great way to increase engagement quickly. The more people who add content to my site, the quicker I get indexed generating traffic. For those of you not familiar with user generated content, it’s when others add input in the work and generate the content for you. Here are some popular types…

  • Social media posts (i.e., Twitter, Instagram)
  • User-submitted photos and videos
  • Guest blog posts
  • Testimonials
  • Public and brand forums

Over the years, I’ve dealt with many different types of clients and always relied on user generated content to give them an edge over their competition. Having testimonials, reviews, and even guest posts is a great way to add creativity to your blog and build credibility with visitors. Anyway, let’s look at the popular types of content that don’t require any work on your end, but can generate enormous results going forward.

user-generated-content

Type 1 – Contests

Many of you won’t believe me, but contests are one of the best ways to gain exposure quickly. These contests can be as simple as writing a guest post, designing a logo, or collecting inspirational quotes. Several years back, contests would not be included on this list, but with the growth of social platforms, it’s a strategy that must be utilized. For example, I ran a contest months back where I threw out a topic to my email list and asked them to write their thoughts on it. Because many of my email subscribers are blog owners, I promised to post, share, and reward the winner with $100.00. In the end, I had 150 people respond by submitting content. Why did this work so well?

First, it provided content for my blog and after combining some of the other content together, I had a high quality, lengthy post for my blog. Not to mention, if I had hired someone like a professional writer, it would have cost me more than $100.00. Next, I promised to share the content with my social network, which would have been enormous exposure for a newbie blogger. However, did you know I got much more in return?

Part of my deal was for the writer to share the content on their social profiles. This means enormous exposure for my content and brand awareness. I allowed me to gain an outside point of view on a topic and I received some awesome in-depth content. Next, it freed up an enormous amount of time, which I applied to my other projects. All in all, it came down to this…

  • Exposure on social networks
  • Cost of $100
  • Built brand awareness
  • Added valuable content to my blog

The point is, through user generated content, I was able to capitalize, not only receiving and posting unique content, but their social profiles, with some of them having easily 10,000+ followers.

Type 2 – Business Review

This strategy worked well for all my small business clients because they were able to build credibility through user generated reviews. Whenever I shop, I’m always looking for a credible vendor so I will always check out the review section. If the website doesn’t have one, then I’ll do a quick search in Google. The point is, reviews play an important role in a visitor’s buying decision. As a matter of fact, reviews were responsible for converting visitors to customers for many of my small business clients. To make this very effective, it helps if you have the following…

  • You should sell a product and/or service. This way, they can leave a review on their experience!
  • After the initial purchase, it’s a good idea to send them a follow up email, asking for a review. Many customers needed to be pushed in the right direction to leave a review. Some are lazy and don’t take the initiative.
  • It’s a great idea to ask customers to include photos of their purchases (this works especially well for brands with physical products). Consumers are more likely to trust sources that receive positive feedback from peers.

Type 3 – Republish Content

This strategy used to work well for everyone, however, Google started cracking down on these types of websites because they would republish content hundreds of times throughout the web. However, this doesn’t mean it still can’t be utilized by forming the right partnerships. Many top websites like Buzzfeed.com have joined partnerships with niche targeted websites to have rights to republish their content. Buzzfeed.com screens each website to ensure they produce the best content within their niche. This has allowed them to keep their reputation high and avoid being penalized by Google for low quality content. Many republishing sites also have their own editorial teams, who are in charge of making sure the highest quality experience is offered to visitors.

There are many other websites that followed in the same footsteps and are making millions of dollars by simply leveraging user generated content.

Getting involved in republishing doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply reach out to the newer blogs within your niche and ask to establish a partnership. Buzzfeed.com deals with bloggers all over the web and their editors decide what content will get bumped to homepage. Follow the same concept, allowing bloggers to open an account, then, depending on the quality, give them an incentive. It’s a great way to push people to write only the best stuff for your website.

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