One of the things that’s fascinated me is how blogs can get their readers to create content for them for free.
It doesn’t take a genius to realize that user generated content (UCG) can be a great boon for your blog. UCG allows you to have more content for less work. Once you start getting submissions on a regular basis, you don’t have to worry about posting frequency.
UCG turns your blog into a community site. This is a great thing because we humans are social creatures. We like to participate in content as well as consume it. Instead of the blog being just about you, it becomes a site about a group of people. You’ll get free marketing because those people are invested in your blog. They will want recognition so they will tell others about your blog.
A couple blogs in my niche have started to get user generated content so I investigated them to see what they were doing.
Many of the blogs I looked at had an active comment section. Getting feedback seems to be one of the best incentives for attracting UGC. Your readers have something say but they also crave interaction with other readers. They want to know what other people think about their content. They want an audience for their posts.
It’s not just the number of comments that matters. The blogs I looked at had a good number of regular commenters. These commenters created a close-knit community. If you were a regular reader, you felt like you knew them as friends. This adds even more incentive for UGC since it’s usually more enjoyable to create content for friends rather than complete strangers.
One blog I looked at has an interesting strategy. They started off as a podcast. As they grew in popularity, they started syndicating all the other podcasts in the niche. Soon, others readers thought creating a podcast was the thing to do, so they created podcasts on their own. They wanted an existing audience for their content so they submitted their podcast to the blog. Now the blog has a thriving podcasting community and the podcasts are getting started every month.
Now you can’t just syndicate written content because of copyright issues, but other bloggers may not mind having their content syndicated on your blog as long as you have a good audience and give proper credit. It doesn’t hurt to ask bloggers if you can syndicate their content.
Social proof is all about generating momentum. Once you get the first couple of people to create UGC regularly for your blog, their content will attract other people to create their own content. So, a possible strategy is to hire one or two writers to demonstrate that your blog is open to UGC.
Ask Your Readers
Some people will need a little bit of prodding to produce UGC. And if your readers don’t know you’re looking for content, they may never offer their help.
Once you have an active comment section and an audience of many repeat visitors, setup a page with your submission guidelines and then blog about it asking your readers to send in their content. There’s a very good chance you’ll get some UGC.
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