Columnist Jordan Kretchmer discusses the evolving content marketing landscape, touting the benefits of aggregating and curating user-generated content.
The hype around Content Marketing has reached fever pitch lately, and for good reason. With social media’s organic reach plummeting to below 2%, there’s never been a better time for brands to create compelling content experiences that drive audiences to their owned and operated properties.
Not sure where to get started? Don’t panic: Just because you can’t find a freelance Pulitzer Prize winner to write your bylines or scour Fiverr for Scorsese-level Instagram videos doesn’t mean you’re out of luck.
The truth is it’s never been easier for brands to create great content experiences for their audiences. One key is user-generated content (UGC), and here’s how brands can augment any Content Marketing strategy using UGC right now:
- Let Your Fans Tell The Story: UGC is an absolute gold mine for marketers. Besides the activity likely happening in social media around your brand, you can also tap into ratings, reviews, comments and other interactions in which consumers are professing how your products and services are improving their lives. I’d suggest that aggregating, curating and displaying this user-generated content on your own web site, so that it can be a central hub for those seeking information. Sony’s successful Greatness Awaits landing page (disclosure: client) welcomes visitors to “the greatest community ever,” bringing their fans’ user-generated content into the PS4 narrative.
- Create Trustworthy Content: Why do I recommend aggregating and curating consumer-created content? It’s because that’s where people are looking. According to a recent Forrester study, 45% of people go to brand websites to keep in touch with brands that they like or purchase from regularly, almost triple the number that visit brand Facebook pages for the same reason. The catch? People don’t trust boring, corporate site copy when they’re evaluating products and making purchasing decisions. An analysis of what consumers do want from brands shows that content from friends or people in their social networks is the most trustworthy. Wouldn’t it be great for them to find that user-generated content on your site?
Owned & Operated Properties
All of this should be happening on your owned and operated properties — rather than exclusively on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest — where you have a much better chance of creating an engaging content experience. Think about it: wouldn’t you rather content about your brand appear in a showcase you’ve designed rather than next to friends’ selfies or competing with family announcements in a news feed.
You control the context, and since you’re the biggest expert on who your audience is, you can use that knowledge to create content experiences that are truly valuable to them.
Create Graphical Content
While you’re creating content to accompany the UGC on your site, I’d suggest you scrap plans for long-form articles and instead develop succinct content supplemented with simple visuals like charts or infographics.
Not only are these found to spark sharing of your content, but including simple graphics causes a massive boost in believability. This is based on a recent Cornell study showing how the same info in ads becomes more persuasive when represented visually, even when the charts used are quite basic.
Make It Shareable By Learning From Others’ Social Posts
Sharing and engagement metrics are quickly becoming more important than views in the content world. Are you making your content funny or informative for your audience? You should be, as a recent global Ogilvy study has shown this is what’s driving shares.
This is yet another area where UGC can help – social curation tools have made it incredibly easy to find what’s resonating so you can find diamonds in the rough and make them your own through re-posting, re-tweeting or featuring them on your site.
UGC For The Win
Remember the Sony PS4 example from earlier? Sony made its microsite experience all about its fans, featuring official blog posts, exclusive news and content, as well as the best UGC, in order to capitalize on the incredible excitement its audience was experiencing. The result? According to the Forrester Research report Social Relationship Strategies that Work, the company saw 4.5 million visitors to its microsite and, incidentally, outsold its nearest competitor by a 2-to-1 margin.
Thanks to user-generated content, every content marketer now holds the key to creating and hosting engaging content experiences relevant to their audiences. If they’re doing nothing else, marketers should be closely watching conversations already taking place about their brands every day to start unlocking these opportunities.
If they’re doing nothing else, brands should look be closely watching conversations already taking place about your brand every day to start unlocking these opportunities.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)