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.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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