User generated content: What is it and Why it is Important in digital publishing

User-generated content is any form of content created and shared by the users based on their experiences, opinions, ideas, or feedback and it is important because of its authenticity.
User generated content: What is it and Why it is Important in digital publishing
User Generated Content

Understanding user-generated content

User generated content (UGC) is content that is both created and shared by users. This is often a result of their interaction with the content on the website, their experience, feedback, opinion, etc. Digital platforms are the hub of UGC.

UGC is usually free content or sometimes even incentive driven content that is based on personal experience of the user. It is more reliable, trustworthy and authentic as the brand has very little control over the UGC. This is also what makes UGC an irreplaceable asset for the publishers.

Many new users may not be familiar enough with the platform to leave their comment which is why UGC is often encouraged by the long term subscribers or users. Publishers can use UGC to create large scale advertisements in place of campaigns as original accounts by everyday users will supersede scripted ads. It also helps smaller publishers and those who are growing to get their service out there. The need for “an engaging story” has risen in social media - people want real accounts of other people.

UGC for Publishers
UGC for Publishers

Why is user generated content important?

It brings exposure:

Remember that your users have a circle - some small and some big. It’s important to ensure that they like your content enough to recommend it to their circle. Reaching audiences through your loyal users is a guaranteed way to find users that could be potential subscribers. User involvement in campaigns can help you achieve your subscription acquisition goals quicker. In social media for instance, a popular tweet directly impacts viewership and relevance, it could be area specific or global. Using hashtags, user stories on brand pages, leveraging retweets are effective ways to encourage positive interaction with user generated content.

You can leverage fresh content:

You can never truly predict what kind of content will come from your users. But given the diverse range of your target audience, you can be assured that you’ll get fresh content on the daily. UGC consists of largely opinionated pieces that are delivered by people of mixed backgrounds ensuring that you get a distinctive point of view no matter what. You get the functionality to leverage this diverse and colourful content across platforms.

The content is always authentic:

In a publishing space, it’s nature for content to go through several checks to ensure it’s perfect. Often, it is what is expected out of content creators however when it comes to UGC people don’t expect perfection - they want the raw files. Video documentation isn’t expected to be studio level - cheaper camera recordings will do - it’s what keeps them authentic. UGC is relevant and resourceful because it’s relatable and authentic.

Don’t let go of social proof:

Popular brands like Burger King and Netflix are seen interacting with their customers on many social media platforms, mainly Twitter. Having social proof is important in this day and age as it impacts people’s purchasing behavior. Any account of positive UGC should not be wasted. Engage people and draw attention to these conversations so that those who aren’t familiar with the brand get to build a positive image. Social media is a platform built for interactions - don’t let a single tweet go to waste!

You get access to unlimited content:

Creating ads and advertorials takes a lot of time and effort. You could always lean onto your existing pile of UGC. This could give you content ideas, promotional messaging ideas and also highlight subjects you weren't previously considering. It’s a sure way of hitting the right spot when it comes to content expectations of your readers.

Giving the Human voice:

This is simply the act of avoiding grey text for stories that move people. With simple content marketing efforts, it’s possible that you come across as preachy or salesy. Using UGC would avoid this perfectly. A person speaking authentically will always garner more audience than flat text - that looks mechanical.

Positive impact on conversions and revenue:

The main goal of content marketing is conversions and revenue - it’s what keeps a brand going. UGC is the most relevant content you will have about your brand for your users and potential users. It increases engagement which directly impacts conversions. There’s also a superior trust factor with UGC - it provides validation and credibility. You can also use it to support the claims you are making to reinforce your ideas.

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