User generated content (UGC) is a form of content marketing that is produced by the customer rather than developed and paid for by the company itself. It can come in many forms, from product reviews, guest blogs and social media posts to videos, competition entries or question-and-answer forums. It’s a great way of getting your clients to participate in a dialogue and feel ‘part’ of your brand, but there are many other reasons why it makes sense to use UGC as part of your online marketing strategy.
Here are just some of its benefits:
Cost-Effective: Firstly, one of the best things about UGC, particularly if you are a small company with a very limited marketing budget, is that it is generally completely free. After all, creating your own content can be time-consuming and costly if you are paying for copywriters so it’s great to have this supplementary option to draw on. Not all companies can afford to employ full-time copywriters to keep updating their website, but it’s essential you keep your content fresh. Why not, then, encourage customers to create some of it for you?
Building Client Trust: Customers love to feel that their voices are being heard by the companies they buy from. What better way to do this than to invite them to engage in a dialogue with you via your website. Actively encouraging them to post their questions and comments on your forums, or asking them to give feedback on your social media posts are just two ways to do this. In addition to bulking up your website content, you will find that you are much more likely to hold onto your customers if they see you and your employees as real people who listen to their views and respond to them.
Understanding Clients: By getting clients to enter competitions, complete surveys or post queries you can gain a better understanding of their priorities. Once you’ve done this you can think about ways to improve your service and product offering to really leverage every opportunity you have to win a bigger market share.
Improving SEO: The more varied your website content, the more search engine indexing and search visibility you will get for target key phrases. In short, you should look upon UGC as an essential part of your SEO strategy (and as we all know by now, every company with an online presence should have one of these). Also, since your UGC will often be linked to your social networking accounts, it’s the perfect addition to any social SEO campaign.