Please give a warm welcome to Chris Dyson of Triple SEO! Many thanks go to him for donating this post on UGC and sharing his experiences and learning.
As I have started to build up some of my own niche websites this year I have been studying a lot more about the ways in which I can scale my content production as part of my niche site content strategy.
Time and again I keep coming back to looking in to a way in which I can build a community that can develop quality content for me at an ultra low cost, and no I’m not talking about automation or spinning in this instance.
Content created by users has become increasingly popular; with the advent of web 2.0 properties and social media, and with that, many of the most frequently visited sites on the Internet are now primarily user generated.
- Photo or Video Sharing Sites
User Generated Content Drives Traffic
Not only are there the long tail search benefits of UGC for your site but there is also a growing number of people who are writing entertaining reviews which are then shared on social media and often get attention on large publications (mmmm links).
I don’t think I go a few days online without seeing another top list of funny Youtube comments, Facebook Statuses or Amazon reviews which are being shared like crazy and no doubt delivering more exposure to your online platform.
User Generated Content can increase Conversions
Online shopping is much less daunting when potential buyers know what they’re getting therefore testimonials, photos of your customers using your product or videos are great ways to help people see what they are buying.
UGC also improves the stickiness and interactivity of a website that in turn can increase your revenue depending upon your monetisation strategy.
Why do people bother creating UGC?
To some people it can seem strange that others will spend so much time contributing content to sites such as Wikipedia, Foursquare or Trip Advisor. In this article on Business Insider, Mark Suster, suggests that users of UGC websites fall in to just 3 groups, and I have to agree with him, visitors to a ugc website follow a 90/9/1 rule.
The power user gets enjoyment from being a creator of content rather than just a consumer. They often join these communities and contribute as a way to meet other like minded people (other power users) and also to gain an increased social standing within a community.
A casual contributor is much less interested in achieving any sort of social status. They are still passionate about a topic and want to share an experience – whether it’s good or bad with others. Implementing a registration process which is quick and easy for these people to leave reviews is paramount to tapping into this group.
Finally, there is the lurker, these people are simply here to consume the content, whether that’s watching the videos, pictures or memes other people are posting on Youtube, Instagram or Reddit, this group is where your money is as they are the largest part of your community.
Rewarding the 1%
Rather than focusing on converting the 90% of “lurkers” it’s a much better idea to keep the 1% of your power users happy by offering rewards & perks whether they are physical or virtual. Lots of sites do a great job of looking after their 1% and to be honest you live or die by this group.
SEOMoz are great at UGC as they gamify their community by awarding Mozpoints based on users creating quality content on their site, whether you add a comment, publish a YouMoz blog post or help out in the Moz Q&A forums you can earn varying amounts of Mozpoints.
The Mozpoints can unlock various amounts of swag as well as move you up the ranking pile; SEO’s love rankings.
Whoishostingthis offer their visitors a free domain name if they create a high quality hosting review, which again is a great way to motivate their power users who are going to be avid webmasters or affiliate marketers.
Yelp rewards their top reviewers, the Elite, with free events at local bars or restaurants. Whether the reviews are funny or informative becoming a part of this group is down to the local community manager for your area, who is constantly on the lookout for the best of the best.
By providing a platform that allows power users to connect with their peers, express themselves and earn social or monetary rewards you will create content at a scale whilst earning links, social shares and build a community.