As originally published by Daily Memphian.
You’ve heard it time and time again. Content marketing is how your marketing will win. When developing your content strategy, there is one asset you can’t ignore – user-generated content.
So, what is user-generated content? In short, it is any content created by unpaid contributors, typically your customers. It can include pictures, videos, blogs or testimonials. What makes it important is its impact on your brand authenticity, social presence and SEO (search-engine optimization) value.
How does user-generated content improve your authenticity? By sharing user-generated content, you are humanizing your brand and showing you value the relationship with those who enjoy your products. Instead of only relying on your business’s claim on products, consumers will see real-life people using your products. According to Nielsen, 92 percent of consumers trust peer recommendations above all forms of advertising.
As social-media advertising has increased, the digital space is getting crowded. User-generated content is one way to cut through the clutter and organically increase your brand’s reach and engagement. Being mentioned or having their content shared is exciting for your customers. And you reap the benefit of getting your brand in front of another audience that may not already be following or engaging with you online. Sharing that content with your own audience also encourages others to share their content in order to earn similar recognition. Not only does user-generated content increase your reach, it will also increase your engagement. Sixty-one percent of people are more likely to engage with a post if it contains user-generated content.
Building trust and increasing your social reach may seem like obvious benefits of user-generated content, but it also improves your SEO. With the majority of customers starting their buying journey on a search engine, leveraging user-generated content is important. One factor search engines are looking at when ranking websites is a brand’s reputation via reviews and testimonials which are seen as truthful content. Because user-generated content is typically focused on products, the caption, testimonial or blog associated with your product will include phrases or links related to that product and organically improve your SEO.
If you don’t know where to start with user-generated content because you currently don’t have any, your first step should be asking your customers for it. Consider making the ask via email, on your packaging, or in a social-media post. No matter how the content is collected, always make sure you have permission from the creator to share.
User-generated content is a way to keep content fresh while aiding in establishing brand trust, increasing social reach and engagement, and improving SEO. It’s a valuable asset you can’t afford to ignore.
Ashley Sullivan, Lead Generation Specialist at RedRover Sales & Marketing Strategy, can be reached at redrovercompany.com.