The Benefits of User Generated Content and How to Implement It

This week, we’ve decided to try something a bit different and bring to you our very first ever video blog! In this week’s episode, we explain just why user generated content is so important for a website, especially in ecommerce, and how and where you can implement it on your own website for maximum benefit. Sit back, watch and enjoy!

Video Transcript:

Hi guys, I’m MacKenzie Liptak from Mountain Media and today I’ll be talking about user generated content in the world of internet marketing.

Often abbreviated as UGC, user generated content covers a fairly broad range of words, images and videos that you see and hear on the internet. A great example of UGC is Wikipedia, the human-created encyclopedia.

Why is UGC important? Well, it has the capacity to influence purchase decisions, brand affinity and brand loyalty.

Here at MM, we work with a lot of ecommerce clients, so I’m going to talk about the benefits of UGC in regards to your website. The first benefit of UGC is increased user engagement. When people have a place to speak their mind on your website, they tend to stick around longer. Also, people want to read about what others are saying about your products and services, therefore UGC has the potential of creating a great community for your online audience.

Another benefit of UGC is a more effective marketing strategy. As people, we tend to trust reviews more than we trust traditional marketing tactics. Therefore, if you can get a customer to write a review about your products or services, be that good or bad, it’s going to be a lot more effective than you telling customers how great your products or services are.

The third and final benefit of UGC is improved SEO. Of course, fresh content is good for your website, and your search engine optimization. With UGC, you get new content uploaded daily to your website, and you don’t have to do a thing – search engines like that!

Where do people find user generated content? Well, the number one place people find UGC is on social media. This includes Facebook, Twitter, blogs and review sites. The second most prevalent place people find UGC is search engines – that would be your Google, Bing and Yahoo.

Now that you’ve learned a little bit about UGC, here’s what you can do to include it on your website. For starters, you can make it easier for customers to write reviews on your products or services. You can do this by enabling comment functions on your blog or under your products, you can provide a star ratings system, which will allow people to vote on the quality of your products and you can also create customer forums, where people can post questions daily regarding your products or services.

Another thing you can do in regards to UGC is ask for customer testimonials or case studies. This is a form of supplement user generated content because it highlights a customer’s opinion. It’s still beneficial.

The next thing you can do in regards to UGC is to encourage social discussion. This means using social media to encourage discussion among your fans and followers. Ask people to share their experiences with your products and/or services. Talk about what they like and what they don’t like. Seeing your social network engaging with you will paint you in a very positive light.

Lastly, when it comes to UGC, it’s important to be transparent. Let’s face it, it’s inevitable that people will say something negative regarding your brand. Rather than deleting the comment, take this opportunity to connect with that customer. Respond quickly and in public, stay positive and deal with the details privately.

Thanks for stopping by the Mountain Media blog – I hope you found this video helpful and learned a little bit about user generated content. Stop by daily for some more helpful web tips.

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PR & SEO: A Match Made In Cyber Heaven

MarriageAs of late, SEOs have pointed out the benefits of working with public relations (PR) professionals. More specifically, Ken McGaffin of Search Engine Watch pointed out ten reasons why PR should be on your radar in 2013. As Ken mentions, the latest Google Panda and Penguin updates have put an emphasis on high quality websites that include unique content and powerful backlinks, as well as how partnering with PR is a great business tactic.

I can empathize with the groans of frustration from SEOs around the world. Why would Google do this to us?? The answer is simple: Search engines want to provide the best user experience possible, period. Therefore, sites that offer little value to users or include duplicate content from other websites are going to drop significantly in rankings (as we’ve already seen). Contrarily, high-quality websites that offer original content and useful information to users will see a spike in search engine rankings.

The Power Couple

While many SEOs rack their brains as to how they can overcome Google’s latest changes, the easiest and most beneficial option for everyone would be to develop content that is both human and search engine friendly…hence the collaboration with PR. Many of you are probably thinking how can SEO benefit from PR? Or, you may have a negative perception of PR altogether. For instance, PR practitioners are all liars and spin-doctors (thanks a lot Edward Bernays). However, with a background in PR, I am here to put your fears to rest and tell you that is not the case. PR practitioners are actually skilled storytellers and content generators. And their primary function is to build mutually beneficial relationships.

SEOs on the other hand, have a strong background in coding, keyword research and link building. For the most part, their efforts are done behind the scenes, which can make them, how do I put this nicely? Not the most engaging copywriters. Hey, I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum! But together, PR and SEO make quite the power couple.

Call to Action

The Panda/Penguin updates call for unique content that is linked to by quality sites. Therefore, there is a strong need for quality content that can interest new viewers. There is also a need for authentic and engaging social media posts. In addition, press releases can attract the attention of authoritative websites through blogger outreach and media relations. SEOs must also learn how to build relationships rather than links. By combining the skills of PR and SEO, we can produce engaging, keyword friendly web content and powerful backlinks, ultimately creating high-quality websites.

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