As someone who does not always have the time to write content for my website, I have recently discovered a new trend that might be helpful to us all.
User Generated Content, which as defined by Webopedia is:
UGC is the term used to describe any form of content such as video, blogs, discussion form posts, digital images, audio files, and other forms of media that was created by consumers or end-users of an online system or service and is publically available to others consumers and end-users.
So it is something that the users of your website create for you, which means you have to worry less about creating content. Which is great, right?
Well how do we do it then?
Examples of Successful UGC
When it comes to finding successful examples of user generated content, there are a lot of options on the web. This is one article I found on such successful UGC campaigns. One of the most outstanding was about two guys who were huge fans of Coke and made videos which were posted no Coke’s Facebook page. The result was close to something viral. Here is one of the videos they posted in case you want to see what they did.
The Best Job In the World, produced by Tourism Australia has also been incredibly successful, with millions of people following what other people are doing in Australia. What better way to generate content than to get users to do it themselves. And this resulted in people sharing the content like nothing else I have ever seen.
And there are lots of other examples of things that have exploded when produced by users.
But what kinds of things can we as website owners produce that will get our readers writing on our websites?
Kinds of User Generated Content
There are lots of different kinds of UGC around, but first before deciding on what worlds for your needs and website, you need to know what the options are.
One easy way to get users to send you content today is by allowing photos. Everyone has a camera on their phone now, so everyone is a photographer and loves to share photos of themselves and their friends. So consider allowing photo uploads on your website.
More or less the same as photos, videos are also been shot all the time with smart phones and users are more than happy to share their videos with you. Even ones involving your product. Which can be a great form of advertising on your website.
An oldie but a goodie. Amazon has almost made itself based on this kind of model. Half of their content or more is reviews. And you can use this kind of feedback not only for your products (or those that you sell) but also to generate unique content on your site.
Another idea from the early days of the web is the user forum. If you want to generate a community on your website, and have people share their thoughts and knowledge with your visitors, then this is a great way to go. It can even thrive without much effort from you. The only thing to watch is that you have at least one moderator. As sometimes forums can get out of control.
A more minor version of the forum is the good old blog comment. If you get your users engaging with your content, then you will get lots of comments. And this is a great way to at least start building community on your site.
Again if you are interacting a lot with your community on social media, you can embed some of these discussion in a blog post and bring the discussion to your site. What better way of leveraging some great content you already have.
So will you use UGC?
I am still not sure if I am going to go for a forum model, because it is still a lot of work, or perhaps have some competitions where people submit graphics that I can use in the future. That is always one interesting option for me. UGC and things I can leverage in the future.
What about you?