Can User Generated Content Drive Traffic to Your Blog?
Before understanding how User Generated Content can drive traffic to your website or blog, you need to know what it is. In a nutshell its any content that’s created, shared and generated by the user base and not by content creators of the company.
High profile examples of websites that encourage user generated content include social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google plus and the original USG websites including Wikipedia and YouTube. The staff at Wikipedia and YouTube don’t spend all their time creating entries or videos. Instead, their job is to make it easy for other people to create and share their own relevant content.
Other people do, and Wikipedia and YouTube benefit from it.
Other examples include forums and blog comments. Again, these aren’t created by the site owner, but can still draw a lot of search engine traffic.
In fact, if you market to millenials, then you should know that according to research conducted by Crowdtap and the global research company Ipsos when it comes to trust, millennials almost always choose their peers over professionals. In fact they trust it 50% more than other media.
Here are some forms of user generated content:
- Blog comments
- Social Media comments or posts
- Reviews & Testimonials
- User generated videos
- User generated blog posts
Just a few places to find User Generated Content:
- Industry Blog feeds
- News feeds
- Industry News
- Social Media
- Your Target Audience and Following
- Other Websites and Blogs
So how does one encourage people to create and share more content?
Give Them Room to Express Something They Want to Express
It’s very hard to create desire. Trying to get someone to want something they don’t already naturally want is very hard.
On the other hand, giving someone an avenue to talk about things they already want to talk about can be a great shortcut to amassing a ton of user generated content.
YouTube exemplifies this principle. YouTube didn’t create the desire for people to share videos, they just made that desire possible through the internet.
What do your users already want to talk about that they’re not able to talk about yet?
Make Them Feel Like They’re Part of Something
A sense of community and purpose can go a long way towards inspiring content generation.
A forum, for example, often thrives when there’s a sense of people helping one another out. People are more inspired to post their success stories and help other people out in their hardships.
On the other hand, forums where there’s animosity and lack of community tend to die down over time.
Wikipedia also does this really well. People feel like they’re part of a larger purpose and that their time put into generating content is for a good cause.
Make It Fun
Don’t make it feel like work to generate content. Make it fun.
For example, when Gmail wanted to have users create a video for them, they didn’t make it sound like work.
Instead, they made it sound like a contest and made all the descriptions of the video they wanted very bright. They got tons of submissions and had a stellar video to use at the end of the day.
Seeking content creators and asking them to contribute to your website can also encourage them to also share it with their own circles of influence.
If you’re not employing user generated content as part of your web strategy, you’re missing out. The content generated can bring a lot of traffic to your website with little cost and less effort.