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As businesses continue to put an emphasis on content marketing, it is important to know that there is one type of content that is more valuable than the rest and that is User-Generated Content (UGC). It is the hottest thing in the marketing world right now. Agencies and businesses are trying to tap into the immense power of fan/customer bases and use their authentic and original content to power marketing campaigns.

User-Generated Content refers to the production of content by the general public rather than by paid professionals and experts in an industry. Basically, it is any form of media that was created by users of an online system or service.

User-Generated Content comes from several sources, from product/service reviews to social media posts. This type of content is valuable because it is cost-effective and customers commonly find it more trustworthy than company generated content.

Examples of UGC would include:

  • Blogs
  • Wikis
  • Discussion forums
  • Posts
  • Chats
  • Tweets
  • Podcasting
  • Pins
  • Digital images
  • Video
  • Audio files

Obtaining User-Generated Content can be challenging and sometimes difficult to do – as it requires planning to structure campaigns to get the content you seek, and then frequently, follow-up is needed. By giving customers reasons, encouragement and reminders businesses will soon find themselves sorting through a goldmine of User-Generated Content.

Here are some ideas with these methods:

1. Email

Email is the best way for businesses to obtain product or service reviews from recent customer purchases. To increase response rates for such messages, businesses should provide some perspective and explain why it is important to verify the customer is satisfied with their shopping experience.

2. Tap the Influence of Reviews

We live in a world where customers base product/service and brand decisions on experiences of their peers. Now shoppers can access information about businesses almost instantaneously, including User-Generated Content. And what better way for potential customers to learn about new products/services than from a peer review? There are many Review engines to choose from, including Yelp.

3. Contests

Contests are a great way for businesses to gather some User-Generated Content on social networks – because customers like to interact with brands, and because contest prizes act as motivation to drive participation. Businesses can create photo and video contests that require participants to follow the brand and use a specific hashtag in their posts.

4. Leverage Social Media

Social media is meant to be interactive so don’t just share new content with followers; try asking questions to generate User-Generated Content. Then businesses can share those customer responses with their fans. It also gives fans a tool to promote a brand through positive word-of-mouth directly to their networks.

5. Ask customers

Businesses can also use more traditional forms of marketing to increase User-Generated Content creation. For example, online retailers can include a note in customers’ packages asking them to share a picture or video of them using the item they just purchased. The note should include its social usernames and even a hashtag so the User-Generated Content is easy to locate. Brick-and-mortar retailers can include this same type of information on their receipts.

User-Generated Content fosters a more interactive and open relationship between a business and its customers. And relationships generate leads, conversions and ultimately sales. Don’t be afraid to try this valuable approach to growing your business.

Share your story or ask us a question below. How do you encourage UGC?

photo credit: <a href=”″>Words in Mod Podge</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>