Content is king. If you’re sick and tired of hearing that adage over and over again, then you’re not the only one. Despite our being nauseous of the phrase, it’s true nonetheless. Content is imperative to the success of any digital newspaper, blog, social media account and even digital marketer. Without content your publications or ad schemes would be fruitless and dull.
In the marketing world, content is the most important aspect, which is why industry leaders have tried to perfect their content marketing strategies. Content marketing has become the buzzword of the ad world for quite a while now. It’s actually espoused that content marketing is the only form of marketing left. With ad-blocking software, boring display banner ads and viewers skipping the introductory YouTube video ad by clicking the “skip ad,” the idea may be right.
For brands that embrace content, they quickly understand just how beneficial it is to the success of the overall business model. This is why most studies note that brands and digital marketers are increasing their content budgets. It’s a worthwhile investment that pays dividends down the line.
Many small businesses and websites think that you just have to have a website with contact information, a list of services and an “About Us” page, and you’re all set. This is false. The best kind of website is one that takes it a step further by publishing in-depth articles, white papers, blog posts, webinars, videos and any type of content that educates, informs and engages the user.
- It improves your search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns.
- Content encourages readers to engage with the brand.
- Articles, blog posts, videos, and webinars add value to products and services.
- Traffic sees a substantial increase with fresh, high-quality content.
- Most importantly, it generates new leads and sales.
A HiveFire B2B Marketing Trends Survey Report discovered that the last point is the primary goal for B2B firms. Seventy-eight percent of respondents said their main marketing goal for the year is to boost sales and leads. This is followed by enhancing brand awareness; maintaining thought leadership, raise Internet traffic and improve rankings in the search results pages.
Today, social media marketing is the cream of the crop. Social media marketing is crucial to the success of digital marketing campaigns. Of course, a social media marketing initiative is nothing without content; on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and elsewhere, you have to employ content methods. Remember, people do not share advertisements, people block promotions, people do not follow advertising channels and people perceive brands with content as thought leaders.
- A change in the buyer’s behaviors in the Internet world.
- Valuable content establishes an opportunity.
- Content enables a different approach to client communication.
- Producing content is not easy, but it is essential.
In the end, this is why content is king.
Companies may spend thousands of dollars and many hours on content materials. But do you know what is the most valuable form of content, and that is inexpensive to boot? User-generated content (UGC). That’s right, content that is created by the consumer is very, very valuable today.
The strategy of taking advantage of user-generated content is meant to save you money on your marketing budget, improve your return on investments (ROI), increase loyalty, boost engagement and, this is the kicker, utilize the power of free marketing – UGC is a form of brand advocating.
UGC can come in all sorts of forms, such as customer testimonials, user reviews, photo-sharing testimonials, positive feedback on social media and so on. Digital marketers are still coming to grips with just how lucrative and powerful UGC is to any type of marketing campaign.
- Burberry (2009): The British company launched the Art of the Trench website, a web portal where users could upload, share and comment on photos of customers wearing Burberry products. This led to a 50 percent surge in sales.
- Target (2010): The retailer announced that it would donate $500 million to education and double the amount with a college acceptance letter competition. Customers were requested to submit videos of themselves opening up college letters, which were then used a national television campaign to show how philanthropic Target it.
- WWE (2011/2012): World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) loves social media. The wrestling empire started to embrace social media in 2011 and 2012. As part of its social media campaign, WWE invested in a video-sharing website called Tout, where users can upload videos known as a “tout.” WWE encouraged its viewers to upload a tout, which would then be broadcast on its flagship program Monday Night Raw.
- Coca-Cola (2011): You may have noticed people’s names on Coca-Cola bottles now. The beverage titan then asked customers to share a photo of their personalized Coke products. This led to a two percent jump in sales.
- Heineken (2012): In order to reinvent its 150-year-old beer, Heineken asked its customers to share videos, images and ideas to help change the experience through the “Reinvent the Draught Beer Experience.” It led to an immense interest in the brand as hundreds of ideas were submitted.
Indeed, these types of UGC go beyond the standard tweet or online review. But they’re effective in achieving what they were initially meant to do: create a buzz, reinvent the brand and drive sales.
Your business or website’s interest in UGC is likely piqued. You’re probably wondering just how you can use UGC to the best to your advantage. How can you repurpose your UGC? Let’s take a look at some of the ways:
If you’re going all out with UGC, then social media is the likely place to start. Transferring your user-generated content into social media is probably the most effective way because it establishes social proofing. Right away, you build trust, a strong reputation, and awareness as consumers are telling the world how much they love your product or service, and others will soon follow.
There are many things you can do when to integrate your social media with your UGC. You can do anything from sharing images of your customers using your product, retweeting positive comments made about your brand by clients or asking customers for ideas on Facebook.
Any professional marketer will tell you that you should already have your UGC plastered across social media. However, you should also establish collections of your UGC for an array of products, sales or themes that can then be used for specials, promotions, holidays and seasons.
Customer photos, fan videos, client tweets and anything else made by your audience can fuel your next advertising campaign. This can make it unique and not make it appear that your ad campaign was done in a studio. It adds spirit, spices it up and freshens your image a little bit.
At the same time, brands can immediately see a massive ROI on these UGC-fueled ads. The data suggest that Facebook ads with UGC showcase better results than typical ads. Some of the results include a 300 percent increase in click-through rates (CTRs), 50 percent decrease in cost per acquisition (CPA) and a 50% reduction in cost per click (CPC). These are good numbers.
Why are UGC ads so effective? Well, there are a few reasons: the Internet public is wary of brand-sponsored ads, they dislike stoic, and generic online ads and they get influenced by an average person as opposed to someone like Tiger Woods or LeBron James. Oh, and don’t forget about ad-blocking software.
Simply put: UGC ads help your brand blend in as opposed to interrupting online conversations (see: John Oliver talk about this on his hit HBO show “Last Week Tonight.”)
UGC shouldn’t be a one-and-done thing. It should be included in much of your marketing materials, like newsletters and blog posts. UGC not only provides you with free marketing content, but it also engages customers who may want their own 15 minutes of online fame. Moreover, when real people are featured in your marketing campaigns they’re more likely to share it, and thus, a larger number of people will see your brand and become interested.
We all want to be seen by strangers, so you just have to tap into that inner desire we have.
Need help obtaining UGC? It’s simple: ask your dedicated customers and massive fanbase to submit competition that’s part of a giveaway content or a competition. Whether it’s encouraging people on Twitter to tweet photos of your product to win a shopping spree or asking YouTubers to record themselves using a product to get featured in a newsletter, competition-based UGC enhances the exposure to your brand. And it’s cheap. Just be sure to outline the contest rules.
Coming up with a witty slogan or creating an original campaign image can be difficult, and even expensive. The solution to this is to crowdsource ideas for your next marketing campaign. You can test some of your ideas in Twitter chats, LinkedIn conversations, Facebook posts and any other type of online forum where you can spark discussion, debate the merits of the advertising and find out if there is any level of interest in that sort of content marketing campaign.
Content is king, and user-generated content complements any of your marketing endeavors. Making your customers the star of an ad campaign can be accomplished through the power of UGC. All you have to do is understand how to harness this great marketing power. Once you do, you’ll see unprecedented amounts of success in all areas: brand awareness, reputation, and sales.
You have to remember, however, that all of your good content must be produced that is relevant to your clients and written in the same kind of jargon. Otherwise, the content will just be lost in translation.