Gini Dietrich

User-Generated Content: Tips for that and Original Content

By: Gini Dietrich | August 15, 2013 | 

User-Generated Content: Tips for that and Original Content

By Gini Dietrich

I have a friend who runs a business in Baltimore. It’s a consulting business that provides IT services for little organizations you may have heard of such as National Geographic and the U.S. Marine Corp.

She saw me speak at her Vistage group and often sends me questions about marketing, public relations, content, and social media. And, like I recommend to all of our clients and when I speak, I not only try to answer them, but to do so in a blog post. That whole practice what you preach thing.

This week, I received a handful of really good questions from her, but am going to focus on just one.

She says:

As for small businesses, I’d like to understand if re-posting other popular user-generated content is more or less effective than internally authored content.

Reposting User-Generated Content

There are lots of blogs that repost user-generated content.

MuckRack has their daily newsletter that includes a highlight from their own blog, trending topics, things they recommend you discuss around the water cooler, job openings, and more.

SEO Copywriting does a content marketing roundup every Wednesday that includes not just content marketing, but search, social media, and events you should consider attending.

Mitch Joel does one of my favorite compilations of user-generated content every Sunday with Six Links Worthy of Your Attention.

In fact, we do our own roundup of content every Friday with Gin and Topics. It’s a little bit different because it’s five videos we thought were hilarious during the week and they typically have nothing to do with PR or marketing.

The best part of Gin and Topics? Most of the videos today come from our readers. It’s pretty rare we have to search for videos any more. It’s completely generated by you, which is pretty fantastic.

So, yes, reposting user-generated content works really, really well.

That said, I don’t recommend that’s all you do. While people appreciate the roundups because it leads them to articles, podcasts, and videos they may have missed, they also want to hear from you.

Content Creation Doesn’t Have to Be Writing

In the past my friend said to me, “Some of us aren’t great writers. We’re time sensitive and sitting down to write doesn’t come easily.”

That’s okay!

In fact, it might be preferred. You don’t have to write.

Don’t quote me on this as my concussed brain can’t find the exact stat to link to here, but I think it’s something like 84 percent of us are visual learners. Even if that’s not the exact, right number, I know it’s in the 80 percentile.

That’s a big number. A good majority of us learn by watching. So why not create videos as your content instead of writing?

Here is a step-by-step plan for creating your content through video.

  1. Sit down with your sales team. If you don’t have a sales team, do this with yourself or the people inside your organization who talk to customers. You are going to spend 30 minutes writing down every question you get when people are looking to buy from you. The answers to these questions are content. 
  2. Get a camera. If you have a camera on your laptop, perfect! If you don’t, buy a pocket video camera such as a Flip or a Sony or you can even use your phone. I like to turn my office trash can upside down and stick my Flip on top of that. It’s the perfect height and stability for a quick video. Or I use QuickTime on my laptop, click “create new movie,” hit record, and go to it.
  3. Answer a question. Using your list, answer one question in one video. The video should be no more than two minutes. We do this weekly with Facebook question of the week. Our fans ask a question on Facebook and I answer it in a two minute or less video.
  4. Tag and categorize the video. Make sure you keep your keywords in mind when you tag the video. This will be how Google knows to rank your video when people search for the question you answer. For instance, the key phrase I’m using in this blog post is “user-generated content.” I would tag my video with that exact phrase. I also would use that phrase when I shared it on the social networks, particularly on Google+.
  5. Transcribe the video. I don’t do this with our videos, but I’ve seen it done before. You can buy a transcription service (Google has one) that will create text from your video. You can use this in the description of the video and in a blog post you create.
  6. Embed and share the video. We have a spot for videos in the sidebar of the blog, as well as on the home page of Arment Dietrich. Before we had all of that, though, we simply created a blog post and embedded the video there. If you’re using video for your content, I highly recommend this approach. Then share the video on your social networks.

The rest happens organically. People like your video. They share it. Traffic increases to your website. People begin to understand what it is you do for a living. They want to buy from you. You get more content ideas from your new prospects and customers. And you make more videos.

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • rdopping

    So darn practical. AGAIN. It is getting a little tiring always learning something every time I stop by here.

    • rdopping I just had the best idea! What if I re-ran one of your blog posts here? Then you wouldn’t learn anything new!

      • rdopping

        Awesome idea! Take your pick. Just don’t pick the boring crap.

        • rdopping ginidietrich my favorite post i the one with the orphan, the carrot and the cheesecake.

        • rdopping

          Mine too.

  • John_Trader1

    Sadly, the FLIP cam is no longer available for sale 🙁
    However it doesn’t take anything away from the importance of this post to focus on the visual through videos and even pictures. Our company has stepped up our video production for overseas clients which has proved to be tricky, but effective in markets where people would rather watch a video than sift through copy and data.
    I would love to create a video each week that answers a question from our community, and may give that a shot.

    • John_Trader1 Yes, it is! They just no longer support the software so there are no upgrades or anything. You can still buy it on Amazon. I just bought one for a client on Monday. 
      I think most people would rather watch a video than sift through copy. Which is totally foreign to me. I’ll easily spend hours reading, but if you send me a three minute video, it’ll sit in my inbox for days.

      • John_Trader1

        ginidietrich Holy cow, I didn’t know you can still buy them! Thank you for letting me know.
        My experience has shown me that most people in our culture prefer videos over copy any day of the week. When you start branching out to different cultures, especially those in the Middle East and Asia, they generally prefer to read copy. Just their preference, but at least in my industry (B2B) – people want to hold and touch something (company brochure, etc.) when researching our industry.

        • John_Trader1 ginidietrich I think I am in the “prefers text” minority too. (And I really enjoyed this post …. and I am glad to know I’m not the only one using plain old stuff around the house to stage my occasional videos!)

        • John_Trader1 It’s really interesting to think about the differences in cultures. Maybe I”ll move to the Middle East.

        • John_Trader1

          ginidietrich They can definitely use some energy, enthusiasm, and good will over there. You would be the perfect candidate to spread it like fairy dust.

        • John_Trader1 ginidietrich I didn’t know you could buy a flip cam either!! I want one! Agree with what’s already been said – great, practical tips. I love the video answering questions – not only do you highlight someone in the community, you put a human behind the brand and it’s more relatable. 
          Personally though, I typically prefer the text. Us marketers always have to be “different” from the rest 😉 Lol!

        • yvettepistorio John_Trader1 ginidietrich biggreenpen any comment that has Big Green and Evey talk smack must be a good comment. #justsaying

  • There are kind of two things here.
    1. For decades, user-generated content was the meat and potatoes for small-town weekly papers. That content was VERY popular, and frankly was an edge over larger metro papers. There are a lot of reasons it was popular but one notion I had was the people sending the stuff in felt like they were part of the team or had a bit of a sense of ownership, and that makes a huge difference.
     2. Video. We’re doing more of this in the newsroom. Most of our video is shot with an iPhone by reporters are not TV folks. It’s short – a couple minutes at most – but pretty interesting. But they are doing a decent job and I can attest that it is getting SIGNIFICANT traffic for us.

    • ClayMorgan So are you saying I am right?

      • ginidietrich  Stop echoing my wife.

      • ginidietrich ClayMorgan I love that Clay runs a 24hr dry cleaner and always has marketing insights for us. And I love that Gini works for the National Enquirer and has this blog for us who have been abducted by aliens.

        • Howie Goldfarb ClayMorgan Does the National Enquirer still exist? If not, I’m going to resurrect it.

  • You can do all of that… or… hire someone awesome to do it for you. 🙂
    –Tony Gnau

    • T60Productions so hard to find someone awesome Tony. Do you know anyone? 😉

      • Howie Goldfarb T60Productions LOL Howie!

      • Howie Goldfarb T60Productions Tony: I can certainly think of someone. 🙂

  • 14 comments? That is all?
    My advice is you structure your content. Really simple to do. Get a spread sheet. Have 7 columns. M-Sun. List what you want to post and then intersperse content from your networks/customers/vendors
    The big advantage for sharing user generated content is you reward customers an vendors. Vendors feel your support for them and customers are really flattered.
    I tell clients why should we recreate content that already exists just to private label it?

    • Howie Goldfarb That’s way too organized for me.

  • So true. And people love you for it.

    • Tinu We were just talking about you. Did your nose itch last night?

  • As a B2B, we seem to have a lot less user-generated content. In fact, many companies want NDAs in place to NOT use their logo or their projects as case studies.
    Bummer, because we’ve done some cool stuff for clients – and we can’t tell anybody!
    I’ve used video on my own site to mix things up. I’ll have to see if I can engage more of our Mantis folks in support of our new technical blog. Wonder if a bunch of data architects, software developers, and project managers would appreciate the video format.

  • These are great tips in generating original content. Writers and managers are surely delighted with this article. Thanks for sharing.

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