User Generated Content Tips and Tricks

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User generated content is an effective way to improve community engagement with your brand. Whether you’re looking to increase blog traffic, expand your social media presence or enhance your discussion forums, user-generated content gives you inexpensive content while building brand engagement. But how do you increase engagement while maintaining brand consistency and avoiding copyright infringement? Here’s how you can optimize your user generated content marketing.

What Is User Generated Content?

What best distinguishes user generated content from professional content is the nature of the contributor’s relationship with the brand. User generated content is where users promote your brand rather than the company promoting itself. This could be blog posts, pictures, social media posts and other content contributions.

User generated content is content created by unpaid contributors, but this definition is open to interpretation. If you hold a contest where users get a prize for their content, then they are technically being paid. User generated content could also be defined as content generated outside normal professional routes. Again, though, there is some ambiguity.

Woman contributing user generated content to a blog.
Modern contributor mediums have opened new user generated content marketing avenues.

Unpaid professionals sometimes contribute to build their portfolios and the normal professional routes are dissipating with new freelancing mediums. But one thing remains true: user generated content is an excellent way to promote your brand, if utilized effectively.

Tips to Improve User Generated Content Campaigns

Boost Engagement

Sometimes thorough campaigns created by marketers go mostly ignored. This happens as a result of a general lack of community or low interest in the campaign. Fortunately there are a lot of different ways to increase engagement.

The best way to increase engagement on your first user generated content campaign is to incentivize. The most successful campaigns are those that give users something valuable. One great incentive is a contest with a prize. Gift something useful to the user to boost engagement and quality. Also, giveaways and contests are more likely to be shared.

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User-generated content encourages more engagement and makes it easy for campaign participants to connect with your brand. Pesky tasks like sending huge email attachments is not a great incentive for engagement and hampers campaigns. Digital asset management systems like Canto offer the option to send out upload links to a specific group so they can drag-and-drop into the system. That way, the content is right when you need it.

Group of workers coming up with content tips together.
User-generated content contributors are more likely to engage if you incentivize.

Maintain Brand Consistency

Everyone in your company should understand and easily articulate your brand story. They should have access to the brand guide and refer to it regularly. But how do you ensure externals, like user generated content contributors, have access to the brand guidelines?

The best way to maintain brand consistency with user-generated content is to make your brand guide simple, clear and public. Ensure it contains your brand tonality and style. Create a digital portal and review it on a consistent basis.  That way, your user-generated content will stay consistent with the brand throughout changes.

Pay Attention to Copyrighting

When a company purchases an image from a stock photo provider, they receive a license with specific instructions on when, where and how they can use it. But a contributor might search for images and post what they find without considering copyright infringement and what could happen if it’s violated.

The best way to avoid copyright infringement from user generated or professional content is to understand the ins and outs of digital rights management and make the essentials known to your contributors. That way employees and users who post images on your site or social media channels can clearly see when and how they may use that image. A solid digital asset management system is part of good digital rights management for companies.

Digital rights management protects from legal ramifications.
Digital rights management should be a regular part of content creation.

Facilitate Content Quality Processes

Not every fan of your brand will be a talented writer or photographer. If you decide to post poor-quality pictures or texts on your site, you can harm brand image and diminish good rankings on search engines. You also open up those users who decided to engage to criticism from the community.

Quality control is the key to ensuring brand is protected while allowing users to post on your channels. Make clear community guidelines for content and link to them in your campaigns. Also, in the campaign brief, inform users that their content is subject to editing. That way you can keep the bulk of the content while maintaining brand quality standards.

Make Your Next User Generated Content Campaign

If you follow some of these simple guidelines you can increase engagement while protecting your company and brand. Good luck to you in your quest for a better-engaged community.

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Cory Schmidt - Head of Marketing I Canto

Cory’s an SEO and SEM expert who loves discussing brand management, marketing technology and web development.