Scaling your ‘content marketing’ is a sizeable program to take on, especially if you want to generate business results. However, one efficient and effective way to scale up your content marketing is by utilizing your customer community for content creation.
Now, empowering your customers to create content may seem like a scary proposition. What if you lose the quality of your content? Or it’s not on-brand? But, it should be a no-brainer. According to research by Salesforce, almost 50% of top content marketers are using user-generated content for best results.
User-generated content is content that is created by contributors outside your business — i.e. your customers, super users, fans and advocates. The content can vary in type, from videos to pictures, blogs to FAQs, and more. The beauty of it is using your community to generate content quickly amplifies your messaging and scales your content creation beyond belief. Here are a few reasons why you should think about scaling your content marketing with your customer community.
Putting the ‘trust’ back into marketing
Unfortunately, trust in marketing is at an all-time low. However, empowering community content creation is an easy way to change your content approach. Begone with unwanted marketing spiel and welcome in a new era of authentic, original content.
What modern audiences want are stories, use cases, and original content — all of which can be satisfied by user-generated customer content. Additionally, people want genuine interactions with actual people, not faceless businesses.
That relates to businesses as 92% of people are more likely to trust a real persons recommendation or answer over brand-owned content. And brand engagements rise by 28% when consumers are exposed to a mixture of professional marketing content and user-generated content.
Easily empowering user-generated content
Getting your customers to create content is a relatively easy and extremely effective way to improve engagement with your loyal fans. Armed with customer content from your online community, you can reward those who post content, feature them on your website for added exposure, and so on. For instance, offers a variety of models with virtual currency incentives to encourage and empower user-generated content.
Encouraging user-generated content also increases the chances of a more active online community. It all begins with empowering your customers to create and post content and providing them with a top community platform to actually share their content.
Putting customer-centricity at the heart of marketing activity
Being customer-centric is a competitive advantage. And what better way to put your customers at the very core of your business than by involving them in your content activities. Additionally, their own generated content can be used to help better serve their needs as you’ll better understand what they are looking for.
Utilizing your online community also helps potential customers out too. Prospects are now increasingly likely to turn to forums and online communities for ‘self-service’ channels. According to Forrester, ‘Peer-generated community content enhances and complements the power of online self-service. Question-and-answer community threads create a massive volume of content that a company’s customer service, product, and marketing teams cannot hope to match internally.’
Actually becoming authentic
You’ll read it all over the Internet, ‘to cut through the noise, your content needs to be authentic.’ That, in itself, is a difficult challenge for many businesses, however.
According to Cohn & Wolfe, 63% of consumers would rather deal with a business they consider to be authentic over a competitor. Therefore, those brands who really connect with their customers have a much higher chance of cross-selling, upselling, retaining customers and attracting new ones. Customer content is a powerful, authentic and personalized selling machine.
Closing the gap: fostering an active and inclusive community
Encouraging customer content fosters an ‘us’ mindset, rather than a ‘them and us’. No more businesses trying in vain to constantly impress their customers, and more of a ‘one big community’ approach. Using your customer community for creating content ensures that the community makes people feel inclusive and part of a membership where they share knowledge, experiences, and expertise. It’s all about closing the gap between businesses and customers.
Cost-effectively scale-up your content
As this content marketing method involves using your customer community to create content, it’s easy to see how it’s an incredibly cost-effective tactic. Essentially, you are empowering your customers to create content for you, unpaid. They are instead driven by other motives, such as financial incentives, the desire to share knowledge or to meet likeminded people.
The real business value of user-generated content is that the customers run the show, while businesses don’t need to throw more cash at content marketing campaigns in a bid to ramp up their efforts. And, those who created the content are also more likely to share it on various social channels, meaning your businesses reach will also be bigger — no effort required. Think about your improved organic presence and better SEO performance.
Using your customer community for content can be the answer to cost-effectively scaling your content marketing. Not only will you quickly be able to create more original, authentic content, for very little investment, but you’ll also find the content created will cut through the noise much better as it resonates better with your audience.
The real simple reason for using user-generated content is that some 70% of online adults trust brand or product recommendations from friends and family and 46% trust written online reviews. Comparatively, only 10% trust brand ads on websites and 9% trust text messages from companies or brands. Simply put, people like real, human interactions.
With the right encouragement and the right platform, you’ll find your customer community is an untapped resource of creativity, passion, and knowledge. And content moderation ensures good quality all-around. It’s a win-win.