If your content marketing goal is authenticity, there’s no better bet. The beauty of user-generated content is its function as a top-of-funnel asset for building brand awareness in an authentic and real way. When TINT polled marketing professionals for its 2018 User-Generated Content Marketing Report, the most-cited advantage of UGC was its ability to “humanize marketing,” with 73% agreeing this form of content “makes marketing more authentic.” #2: Building a Community and Boosting Engagement Once others start noticing the presence of user-generated content on your website, blog or social media feeds, it can cause a contagious effect. Organic content in action is a beautiful thing (literally, in this case): #3: Implementing Visuals As we often preach here at TopRank Marketing, visuals are essential to content marketing but often difficult to produce with limited resources. Here are a few for interested marketers to consider: 1. Invite social media users to post about your brand, and curate those posts on your own feed or embed them in relevant content. Run a contest that incorporates your product or service in a creative way. If the promotion catches on, not only you will end up with a bounty of great content to share on your social accounts or elsewhere, but you might even sell some extra t-shirts to people who are adamant about sharing pictures of their cats online (which, by my calculation, is roughly 95% of internet users). Crowdsource opinions and perspectives for your blog posts. Turn customer reviews into testimonials on your website.
Authenticity: it’s treasured, but in short supply.
TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden had it right when he wrote recently that trust in marketing is at risk. The statistics speak for themselves: Edelman’s 2018 Trust Barometer reflects a general lack of credibility for businesses, and one poll from HubSpot found “marketer” to be among the least trustworthy professions.
The commonality among occupations ranking at the bottom of that HubSpot list (marketer, car salesman, politician, lobbyist) is that they all have perceived agendas and motives.
This is where the unique value in adding user-generated content (UGC) to your content marketing strategy lies.
Not convinced? Let’s explore.
UGC: An Avenue to Authentic Awareness and Trust
Even the most well crafted and relatable content is inevitably viewed through a certain lens when it comes from a brand. Developing a genuine rapport with your audience takes time, and even then, there’s an inherent recognition that any public-facing message from a company is strategic and carefully positioned.
User-generated content offers a method to overcome this disconnect, by amplifying the voices of real people and actual customers. If your content marketing goal is authenticity, there’s no better bet.
One interesting section of the aforementioned Edelman report features data around the content people trust most:
As we see, folks are far more likely to trust content from a company they already patronize (60%) than one they don’t (31%) — not surprising, but also not great for businesses looking to attract new customers.
Ranking well ahead of both those sources, though, is “People like me” (66%), an option that’s second only to “My friends and family” (71%).
It only makes sense that a person would put more stock into the opinions and viewpoints of someone similar to them, especially where buying considerations are concerned. Global research from Nielsen famously showed that 92% of consumers trust peer recommendations over ads and branded content.
This is why customer testimonials and case studies are so powerful, but such material sits toward the bottom of the funnel. Prospects are unlikely to encounter it unless already along the purchase path, or actively taking an interest in your brand.
The beauty of user-generated content is its function as a top-of-funnel asset for building brand awareness in an authentic and real way.
Benefits of User-Generated Content
#1: Making the Customer Your Story
Storytelling is one of the most essential tactics in content marketing, and customer-centricity is among the discipline’s central tenets. UGC presents a way to merge these two by actually making turning your customer into the storyteller.
Not only is this an extremely engaging role for the individual whose content is featured, but it makes that content vastly more relatable for those consuming it.
When TINT polled marketing professionals for its 2018 User-Generated Content Marketing Report, the most-cited advantage of UGC was its ability to “humanize marketing,” with 73% agreeing this form of content “makes marketing more authentic.”
#2: Building a Community and Boosting Engagement
Once others start noticing the presence of user-generated content on your website, blog or social media feeds, it can cause a contagious effect. In general, people like to participate in trendy or connective ventures, especially if there is a compelling and creative hook (Ice Bucket…