Last week we talked about how to set-up a user-generated content (UGC) campaign.

Today, we are going to look at how to execute it with the PESO Model™and what to measure.

Often when people think about UGC, they think social media. And while social media needs to play an important role in any user-generated content, it shouldn’t be the only part.

Enter the PESO Model!

<cue Superman theme song.>

To maximize the results of your user-generated content campaign, you need to use the PESO model.

Here’s how…..

Owned Media in a User-Generated Content Campaign

Even if your campaign is completely hosted on a social channel, you must, must, must start with owned media.

Owned media is the alpha and omega.

Start there.

End there.

Send people there in between.


Say it all together kids: YOU OWN IT!

Yay! Gold stars all around.

If Your Campaign is Hosted on Social….

Start with a blog post to announce the campaign.

Do this about two weeks before the launch of the campaign (longer if people need more time to prepare).

Make it an R&R post: rules and rewards.

  • Outline the timeline and what people need to do. If it’s a contest, spell out how winners are chosen and what the reward is.
  • Let people know what they can do to prepare and rally the troops (this is especially true if it’s a contest).
  • Announce the UGC hashtag and what platforms the campaign will be hosted on.
  • Add an opt-in form for people to sign-up to be notified when the campaign launches and updates (because now you are collecting qualified leads and potential influencers who you can get excited and rally to spread the word about your campaign).

And while the rules, logistics, and rewards of the campaign are crucial (logistically and legally) to outline clearly, most important is to tell a story.

Why does it matter? What’s the purpose of this campaign? Why should your community care?

You might even think about doing a video with your team or several influencers in your industry to tell the story.

Once you publish the post:

  • Distribute it broadly through your social community.
  • Especially if your user-generated content campaign is hosted on Facebook or Instagram, sponsor your post and/or do an ad which points to it.

If Your Campaign is Hosted on Your Website…

If your campaign is hosted on your website—your community will submit content to you—follow the same above but direct them to the landing page where they’ll submit their images/content instead.

Outline the UGC Journey

In last week’s article, we looked at the goals and objectives of the campaign.

From that you should be able to clearly map out what you want the user journey to be.

Draw it on a piece of paper.

This will allow you to take a birds-eye view and understand what other elements you need to add to your website to keep that journey fluid and forward-moving.

It will also help you see the role shared, earned, and paid media play to push users down the ideal path.

Distribute and Build Excitement through Shared, Earned, and Paid Media

Shared, earned, and paid media need to play a huge role in how you share, engage, and grow your community.

Way too often organizations fail (or short-change success) at user-generated content campaigns because they don’t integrate them through all of the channels.

Owned media is your operation headquarters, but shared, earned, and paid are your troops on the ground.

This includes both your own work through these channels and the work you coordinate with influencers.

Influencer Success with the PESO Model

Influencer relationships shouldn’t just be confined to the social world.

Your work with them on your user-generated content campaign can, and should, extend across all networks.

Engage with Influencers

It’s a good rule of thumb to pinpoint a few influencers in your community who you can count on to promote your user-generated content campaign.

As discussed last week, finding, engaging, and leveraging micro-influencers is key to success.

While big names can carry their own value and large-scale distribution power, micro-influencers tend to have:

  • Better engagement rates. Makerly found a significant decline in engagement rate as follower number rose.
  • A more targeted follower base. This allows you to target your ideal consumer more specifically.
  • A passion for the product or service. While larger influencers can often be “for hire,” pitching whatever product or service pays them the most, micro-influencers tend to really have a love for the products they push forward.
  • A lower (or no) cost. Micro-influencers will often just organically promote your user-generated content campaign or product because of their love for the product. Small incentives go a long way.

That doesn’t mean you never want to use big-name influencers, but it does mean you should open your eyes and mind to the value of users with smaller, more intimate networks.

Depending on your campaign and resources, you might want to use a bit of both.

But even if you do use big-name influencers as main pillars of your campaign, you should never launch a UGC campaign without a clear plan and focus on micro-influencers.

Once you’ve identified your micr- influencers, you want to do everything in your power to support and engage with them.

This means:

  • Respond to, like, and with permission (when appropriate) share social posts they tag or mention you in.
  • Respond to and like social posts that don’t have to do with you, but are relevant to the industry or what you do.
  • Read and comment on their blog
  • Mention them in your own content in relevant ways.

This seems common sense, right?


Outline it clearly and included in your PR plan.

There are far too many organizations out there NOT taking these simple steps to engage and cultivate micro-influencers.

Influencer Tracking

Just like you might track leads through your CRM or monitor media contacts in media relations software, you need to have a system to track and rate influencers.

This is how you’ll know who is ready for what level of ask, who needs to be cultivated and incentivized more, and where influencer opportunities exist.

A simple spreadsheet will do, or even better a platform such as Iris, which is what we use internally.

You’ll want to group influencers in two main buckets before your campaign:

  • Influencers you want to engage with to motivate ORGANIC promotion and sharing.
  • Influencers you want to partner with in some sort of paid capacity (product, money, or other benefits)

Once you do that, you can make your ask.

Influencer Launch

Once you’ve cultivated and identified the influencers you want to use for your user-generated content campaign, you need to make the ask and motivate their involvement.

Just as you told a compelling story in your launch blog post, you must do so specifically for the influencers you want to spearhead your campaign on social and in their own blogs.

  • Why be involved?
  • What’s in it for them?
  • What are the benefits?
  • How will the campaign work?
  • What are the requests in exchange for benefits?

The most important things here are:

  • Be extremely, extremely, extremely (can I get another extremely here, please) clear in your ask and expectations. When brands are disappointed by influencer partnerships, it almost always comes down to lack of clear understanding and agreement around the ask and expectations.
  • Make sure your influencers know what success looks like. This includes both from the perspective of overall goals and objectives, as well as tactical deliverables.
  • Have a focused ask. Don’t be ambiguous or wishy-washy. This is the ask, these are the tactical elements of the expectation, here is the timeline.

Influencer Execution

How are you going to use your influencers across all four media types?

Push yourself and your team to think beyond just social posts and sharing when you develop your user-generated content campaign plan.

Here are some examples:

  • Interview them for your blog. Discuss the campaign or highlighting some of their own (relevant) work.
  • Create videos of/with them to share on your blog and social properties.
  • Ask them to write a post about the campaign on their blog.
  • Boost or promote the post through paid social ads to the influencer’s community.
  • Share quotes from them in media outreach and interviews. Or, if you trust them.
  • Have them take over one of your social accounts for the day.
  • Ask them to re-share some of the UGC submissions on their account or in their blogs.
  • Include influencer posts, videos or quotes in your campaign emails.

Really think about each media type and how you can leverage the influencer’s involvement through that channel.

Make sure the influencer has a one-pager which outlines the goals and objectives of the campaign, your key messages, your target user, and any important details around wording or voice.

Arm them with the tools to be successful for you.

Your Work through Shared, Earned, and Paid

Just like your influencers, your own work to promote the user-generated content campaign should extend through all social channels.

Some ideas to consider:

  • Create a video (or use one of those created with influencers) and share on your FB page. Then retarget viewers with ads specific to the UGC campaign. Don’t trap yourself in the believe the video needs to be specific about the campaign. Instead, make it something educational or interesting that works along the themes of the campaign.
  • Do the same with some sort of lead magnet-type content on your blog. But instead of gating it, keep it open and put a pixel on it so you can retarget those who land there with ads. Again this should be educational or interesting content that connects intuitively to the campaign but isn’t promotion for it.
  • Tie the UGC campaign into an email drip campaign.
  • Create a specific email campaign around the UGC effort.
  • Do guest posts on influencer sites that keep along the same lines of the video or post mentioned above, and include an anchor link to the blog post or landing page which discusses the UGC campaign. Remember, you need to plan these out far in advance so you can time them correctly.
  • Leverage the power of ego by consistently and loudly promoting and sharing contributed UGC. Don’t underestimate what a powerful incentive it is for people to see other people’s content shared and want the same exposure themselves.
  • Add a pop-up on your site which points directly to the UGC campaign.
  • Add your campaign hashtag EVERYWHERE. Online and off. Any opportunity you have to get it in front of people, take it.
  • Provide the opportunity for people to create and submit UGC at any event or in-person activity you attend.

Don’t Sell Your UGC Campaign Short

The possibilities are only limited by your imagination (not to mention your goals, objectives, and strategy).

Let your user-generated content campaign live up to its full potential by integrating it across all four media types vs. confinement only in the shared media realm.

Next week we will talk about legal issues and measurement.

Watch our FREE masterclass and learn how to implement the PESO model to achieve unparalleled communications results. 

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Laura Petrolino

Laura Petrolino is chief marketing officer for Spin Sucks, an integrated marketing communications firm that provides strategic counsel and professional development for in-house and agency communications teams. She is a weekly contributor for their award-winning blog of the same name. Spin Sucks. Join the Spin Sucks   community.

View all posts by Laura Petrolino