UGC:You Can Be Lazy and Win (Kind Of. Well Not Really)

by Dave Snyder November 17th, 2008 

Content is King!

Yay for cliches!

Yes. Your web site needs content, in the end the Internet is nothing more than interlinking files containing content housed on servers worldwide.

Claiming content is important to success on the web is redundant.

This cliche does not give people the tools to create content that is meaningful.

Is meaningful content important?

Yes!

What good is content if it doesn't lead to conversion? What good is your message if it is being submerged in your niche?

The problem is that not everyone is a writer.

Not everyone has the creativity to create great video.

But, if you are smart, you will utilize your user base to create some of your content for you.

User Generated Content is SWEET!

User generated content has benefit from a conversion and SEO perspective.

From the conversion perspective, UGC has been proven to be an effective tool in swaying users to buy products.

From an SEO standpoint, UGC has been proven to create fresh and unique content that is advantageous in helping crawl rate, and long tail traffic.

How do you benefit from the Sweetness?

You don't have to change your platform to benefit from UGC.

If you have a travel portal, you do not need to become a travel review site. However, you might want to think about allowing traveler reviews within the existing structure of your site.

Here are some basic tips to kick around:

1) Your blog is your best source of UGC. Create original, inquisitive, or even controversial blog topics, that will cut through the other posts in your niche and get people commenting.

2) Begin to offer a coupon or discount for reviews on products or services. If you have a web site that allows you to have phone conversations with customers, offer those customers the same incentive, and simply write down the positive reviews they tell you over the phone.

3) Check out cool video options like Seesmic.com, that allow for threaded video conversations. This will have less SEO benefit than conversion benefit, but in the end our job is to sell not just rank.

4) Add a Q&A section to your site. Update this section frequently, as you receive customer questions.

Beyond UGC

Monitor all of your UGC efforts.

With the good, will come the bad.

If you are allowing people to post reviews on your site, be ready for negative reviews, and do not silence the voice of those consumers as you may spark something much harder to deal with.

Use analytics and common sense in regards to UGC, and shape it to meet your goals.

Is the project increasing conversion?

In the end, that is the only question that needs answering.

Add your tips on adding user generated content to your site to increase the effectiveness of your campaign in the comments below.

P.S. I just tricked you into UGC. In your face!

Images courtesy of jefield, emarketer.com, and ItzaFineDay

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17 Responses to “UGC:You Can Be Lazy and Win (Kind Of. Well Not Really)”

  1. Utah SEO says:

    On the flip side, bad UGC can lower conversion too if people don't speak highly of the product/service or their experience with it. This makes a lot of company owners weary of UGC or giving their customers a voice.

  2. Provo says:

    ah, but the question is, did you get users to generate this article for you?

  3. Yellow says:

    Cute post. But seriously thanks for the tips. It seems harder and harder to find help online that doesn't just lead to dead ends or is just wrong. I appreciate that your post was very clear and to the point. Thanks again.

  4. I visit a blog called The Junk Drawer. Kathy is a technical support person with a great sense of humor that is great at getting user content. She does regular humorous contests that just keep you coming back. Great example of what you describe.

  5. Dave Snyder says:

    @Utahseopro ,

    Sound online businesses would utilize negative sentiment to improve their product or service, and have a sound brand advocate group in place to stomp those fires for them.

    The conversation is going to happen about you whether you give it a place to live or not. I would rather have the negative sentiment under my direct control rather than on a slam site.

    Business owners weary of UGC just don;t have a good holistic view of how social media works

  6. Nice tips ! thanks ! I will definitely try to benefit form the sweetness too.

  7. Nice way to get the free unique valuable content.I appreciate that your post was very clear and to the point. Thanks again.

  8. SLR says:

    You speak the truth —- UGC has lots of benefits, but it's also alot of monitoring work.

  9. Marc Beharry says:

    indeed Dave, UGC is hot

    users generate all the content for two of my sites which allows me to focus on other aspects of maintenance and marketing.

    it might be hard to get it going, but once you do ….

  10. Metaspring says:

    "Is the project increasing conversion?" You are quite right that is the most important question in the end :)

  11. Negative UGC is bound to appear. However, having a good share of both positive and negative will definitely provide a better review for new potential customers.
    Rif Chia

  12. Marc Beharry says:

    but i just remembered one of the drawbacks: liability!

    the laws on this issue are still unclear and UGC must be scanned for slander, libel and other legal infractions.

    but you should probably be doing this for your content anyway, so just keep in mind that when you have dozens of pages of content rolling you may get swamped, but in a good way :)

    there is even blogging insurance to protect us always remember that real life laws apply online

  13. [...] UGC:You Can Be Lazy and Win (Kind Of. Well Not Really) on SearchEnginePeople. Nice post by Dave Snyder there about the Users Granted Content. Social Media “Rockstars” vs. “Narcissists” on SocialMediaRockstar. There Brett Borders telling that Common people are getting empowered and gaining an international audience by creating and sharing good stuff. But just like digital cocaine, social media can also inflate people’s ego in a nasty way. [...]

  14. you're right. not all of us is a writer. so that using generated content would be helpful :)

  15. I have offered incentives for UGC before and it works well. Many times, if they like what they see, those people come back to contribute in the future.

  16. Judit says:

    Totally agree with you. As content is definitely king, we must find ways to bring it fast and free at our sites. The best way you have mentioned is using that sweetens method which involves visitors to generate content for us. It is something that we shouldn't miss this days.

  17. I totally agree that content is most important, and when you work full time and don't have the time to post every single day, UGC could definitely help. Still, I think I'd rather have approved bloggers guest post rather than let things run wild, since I'm not sure I'd have the time to moderate that kind of site.