Learning The Value Of User-Generated Content: A Guide To How And Why It Works

You know how important relevant content is to maximize your SEO efforts. You also know the effort involved to create it.

Maybe you’ve heard about user-generated content but aren’t sure what it is, how to use it, and how it can positively affect your business.

User-generated content is possibly the best-kept SEO secret that any business can benefit from it.

You’re asking:

  • What is UGC
  • Why use user-generated content?

In this article, we will answer those questions and explain why it is so valuable.

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Contents

What Is User-Generated Content?

Without quality content, your SEO efforts could be invain, so you work hard at it.

Did you know there is a way to get your customers to generate content for you?

A good user-generated content definition is any content provided by people rather than the brand and can include text, video, images, or audio.

User-generated content is a great way for business owners, e-commerce businesses, or bloggers to:

  • Build authority
  • Enhance their SEO
  • Create more content without having to do all the heavy writing work themselves

And user-generated content is used in a variety of platforms like:

  • Social media
  • Newsletters
  • Reviews
  • Blogs
  • Videos
  • Forums
  • Podcasts

The Importance Of User-Generated Content

No one can doubt the prominent role technology plays in our culture. 

Everyone uses it — even your 75-year-old grandma. And just like those in your grandma’s day, people today have stories to tell. 

In our 21st century culture, possibly more than any other time in our history, people long to be heard. 

Technology makes that easy.

The importance of user-generated content can’t be understated. 

It can impact your business in the following ways:

  • Increasing your company’s visibility
  • Adding value to your brand by letting others show their vote of confidence 
  • Allowing customers to be heard
  • Giving the business owner an outlet to respond to user comments and make necessary changes
  • Helping the brand know their audience better
  • Decreasing bounce rate because users stay on your pages longer
  • Aiding in building community
  • Providing a platform for authentic and unique content that cannot be reproduced by other competitors

How Can User-Generated Content Benefit Your Business?

Using user-generated content can result in huge bonuses for your company and your online presence. 

Not only that, but user-generated content also creates a win-win framework for both the brand and the client. 

With the shared advantages, there’s no reason not to explore this straightforward and productive strategy to maximize your SEO content.

Gains Trust

People want to be heard.

In 2019, Statista reported that, in the U. S. alone, 107 million people use Instagram, and that number is projected to reach 120 million by 2023. 

These millions of people are telling their stories every day. 

User-generated content gives customers an opportunity to be heard and tell others about their experiences with your business and products.

Promotes Authenticity

There is no doubt that hearing about a product or service from a real live customer can deliver authentic vibes to those who read reviews, see Instagram photos, or watch videos. 

If someone is willing to share their experience, others are more willing to receive what they see at face value, which can result in higher shopper confidence.

Increases Credibility

Every brand makes some sort of promise to their customers through their marketing efforts.

Can those promises be trusted? Many consumers don’t think so. 

“92% of marketers believe most or all of the content they create resonates as authentic, yet 51% of consumers say less than half of the brands create content that resonates as authentic.” 

Seeing real products being used by real people is one way to give proof that the brand is following through on its promises or what it advertises.

Stretches The Budget

Everything has a price tag — even marketing efforts.

Marketing costs can be expensive and may be extreme for the small business owner, in particular. 

User-generated content is cost-effective and stretches your marketing dollar. 

Because the content is coming from a user who is unpaid who wants to share their experience, you are getting quality, relevant, and valuable content without paying a high price. 

User-generated content allows you to spend your marketing budget in more productive ways.

Adds Focus

We are bombarded by ads everywhere:

  • TV commercials
  • Radio advertisements
  • Pop-ups on our computer screens
  • Additions to our social media newsfeeds.

There’s no escaping the constant stream of advertising noise. 

How do we respond to advertising overload? 

We learn to shut it out. 

  • We exit out of pop-up ads without reading them.
  • We mute the TV when commercials come on.
  • We change the channel when the radio station goes to commercials.

If businesses are trusting chiefly in their own marketing content, they may be ignored or disregarded.

User-generated content changes that because it is not a traditional ad and comes across as more genuine and authentic. 

Maybe you’re thinking, “This is all super information, but where in the world do I start?”

Let Portland SEO Growth help set you on the path to SEO success. 

Get started with your free SEO audit.

How To Create User-Generated Content

You’re now convinced about the pay-off of user-generated content, but you’re wondering how to create it and use it for your company’s benefit.

To create and take advantage of user-generated content, it may help to understand the different types of USG and some steps to getting started.

Numerous types of user-generated content can benefit your business including:

  • Reviews
  • Surveys
  • Questions & Answers
  • Submit your story platforms
  • Contests and quizzes
  • Blogs
  • Weekly events
  • Giveaways
  • Social media and hashtags

With so many different options, you’re probably wondering which ones to use and how to get started.

Consider the following steps when getting started with user-generated content:

  1. Choose the platforms and social networks that will best fit your needs. They may not all serve your purposes equally, so choose the ones that work best, and focus your efforts there.
  2. Set goals. Vocalizing your goals upfront will help you know how to reach them. What are your goals? Increasing conversion rates? Building trust in your brand? Saving time on content creation? Stretching the budget? Setting goals is an important early step.
  3. Communicate with your audience. Let them know what kind of content you’re looking for — images, stories, reviews — and ask them to provide it. Most happy clients are more than willing to supply what you’re asking for.
  4. Choose the type of content that meets your needs. The list above is just a start. Once you try out a few ideas, you may find other things that work as well, or you may find effective ways to tweak previously used tactics for better results.
  5. Advertise. If you’re a local business, display a sign with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter logos asking your clients to leave images or hashtags when they use social media.

Does the task of getting started with user-generated content seem a little daunting?

Let our Portland SEO Growth professionals give you a hand and get you on the road to SEO success for your business.

Among other services, we specialize in:

Our free SEO audit is all you need to get started.

User-Generated Blog Content

Including blogs on your website is a popular and effective way to add relevant and quality content for your readers.

It’s also a simple way to take advantage of free content generated by your readers.

Those who read blogs are usually more than willing to leave their thoughts after reading a blog entry, and chances are their blog comments will use keywords that help you rank higher in search engine inquiries.

How do you go about getting people to comment on your blog posts? 

Ask.

Give them a reason to respond by asking pointed questions. Ask them about how they’ve enjoyed your product or services, and ask them to share some personal stories.

Let’s say you are a Health/Nutritional coach, and you write a blog post about how to use summer vegetables from your garden. 

Ask your readers to share their favorite gardening tips in the comments, and voilà —  you have user-generated content with quality and relevant keywords that can help your blog or website soar to the forefront. 

And all you had to do was ask a question. 

Your readers took it from there and did the work for you.

E-Commerce User-Generated Content

If your business is strictly conducted online, you are especially suited to use UGC content to your advantage. 

The options are numerous:

  • Have ongoing competitions – Let those ultra-competitive readers jump on the bandwagon and provide you with some free content.
  • Advertise weekly events – Not only does this remind your readers and customers of ways to take advantage of your services, but it also provides just one more way to use user-generated content for your purposes.
  • Host regular give-aways – During the Christmas holidays, advertise a different give-away for each of the 12 days of Christmas.
  • Solicit stories – Personal stories from your readers not only help with your SEO efforts, but it’s also an effective way to have readers share a review without actually calling it a review. Ask readers to submit their stories and publish a different story each month.

These ideas — and many others —  will benefit you by:

  • Lessening the amount of content your brand needs to create
  • Keeping a steady flow of content moving through your website

User-Generated Content Examples

Maybe you’re like me, and you learn by example. 

When learning how to do something new, showing me how to do it is far superior to merely telling me how to do it.

So, let me show you how to use two popular types of user-generated content — reviews and stories.

Reviews - Chiavaye

Chiavaye is a company launched by Kaylen Easton, an endometriosis sufferer, who wanted to encourage women regarding their health needs and provide a product that was good for the body. 

In her own words, she shares, “Endometriosis, motherhood, menopause, intimacy, cancer — this is real life and I’m proud of Chiavaye’s mission to make sexual health not x-rated but actually about health!”

Chiavaye has seen extreme growth in online visibility and sales since becoming a PSG client. 

Customer reviews are one of the user-generated content ideas that she has been able to put into practice. The benefits are obvious.

Below are two examples:

Share A Story - AKC Reunite

Asking customers to share stories is another popular way to create user-generated content. 

And it benefits both the readers and the brand.

Since readers know they are hearing true stories from real people, they can feel confident in the trustworthiness of the content.

Brands benefit from this type of user-generated content by earning credibility and increasing visibility.

The following example is from AKC Reunite, a lost pet recovery service that my family recently benefited from.

Our dog, Titan, escaped our backyard, and the AKC Reunite chip allowed us to find him. Once we were reunited, AKC Reunite reached out to us asking us to share our story. We were more than happy to do so.

Maybe you’re like me, and you learn by example. 

When learning how to do something new, showing me how to do it is far superior to merely telling me how to do it.

So, let me show you how to use two popular types of user-generated content — reviews and stories.

Instead Of Spending Hours (Or Days) Trying To Create User-Generated Content And Getting Frustrated, Portland SEO Growth Can Help

Knowing how to create and utilize user-generated content doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

We’re here to help.

At Portland SEO Growth, your goal is our mission, and we believe in strategy and hard work.

WIth PSG you are getting a team of professionals who:

  • Are results-oriented
  • Are transparent and honest
  • Celebrate your success

We know that SEO is more than making a few tweaks to your website. We make sure your strategy lines up with your goals.

PSG is what you’re looking for if you want a consultant that:

  • Is ethical
  • Has proven results
  • Displays consistent growth

We never take on companies that we can’t help, and we only work with businesses who:

  • Are ambitious about growing their business
  • Have the bandwidth to support the potential growth
  • Treat their employees and customers well

If this sounds like you, we are poised and ready to help you on your SEO journey.

Let us take care of the SEO strategy so you can take care of your business and your clients.

Rona Kirby

Rona Kirby

Writer

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