Daily Archives: October 7, 2013

User Generated Content: Who’s Doing it Right?

User Generated Content (UGC) is crucial for the success of most blogs and websites, especially those that are community-based. To put it simply, UGC is content that is contributed by non-moderators of a site–it may include images, videos, guest posts, product reviews, and more.

Who’s doing it right?

When creating a blog, you have to establish whether or not you will incorporate UGC. Sites with a large following would benefit from UGC–it creates a stronger sense of community among the followers! Giving your members the opportunity to contribute allows them to feel like they are a true part of the community and not simply reading or watching from the outside. Let’s take a look at some brands and communities who have successfully incorporated UGC into their sites/communities.

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon



What are they doing?
Late Night relies heavily on community interaction via various social media platforms. The show (and website) uses many forms of UGC, but the most prominent is “Late Night Hashtags”. Each Wednesday, Jimmy Fallon creates a hashtag and asks followers to tweet based on that topic. The following Wednesday, his favorite tweets are read aloud in a segment called “Late Night Hashtags”. This content is also posted online.

Why is it successful?
When someone sends a tweet to @LateNightJimmy, his or her followers can see it. With just one tweet, the show is reaching a wider audience than the night before. Also, the use of a common hashtag gives the show the opportunity to trend nationally (which happens almost every week). Now, even more people can see the hashtag and participate if they’d like.

Our book in class, “Buzzing Communities” discussed community blogs acting as local newspapers. Mentioning specific people is a great way to make members feel like an important aspect of the community. The “Late Night Hashtags” segment displays personal Twitter handles which encourages people to participate week-by-week. When followers tweet using the hashtag, they are more likely to watch the show that night to see if they will be mentioned on-air.

Content category repetition is also a great tool for any blog. Repetition allows your audience to know what’s coming. Followers of Late Night can expect a new hashtag announcement every Wednesday.

NOTE: While Jimmy Fallon may be a television show, his community and presence online is very strong. Online brands can learn a lot from his team’s use of UGC.

Free People

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On www.freepeople.com, customers help sell the clothing!

What are they doing?
Free People is receiving high praise for its recent campaign. They asked customers to post photos of themselves wearing Free People clothing on Instagram. Each picture is tagged with the clothing item’s name (given by the website), and the photos are featured on their website underneath that article of clothing.

Why is it successful?
The pictures are linked from each customer’s Instagram profile. When anyone visits the site and “likes” one of the pictures, it gets sent directly to that person’s account. This is a way to reward members for participating and for buying their products. The site promotes personal profiles and the photos promote the site. Everybody wins!

Being featured on the site allows featured customers to feel like they are a part of the brand. They are no longer simply buying the products… they’re helping to sell them!

More UGC-friendly Sites

Check out the following links for more sites I found using UGC to their advantage:

1. Steam – Gaming Community
2. Major League Baseball

Now that you know what to look out for, check out the sites you visit most frequently and see if they are using UGC (and if they are successful)! What are some of the sites you found?


SU Graduate Tackles Blogging

The Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician logo.

The Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician logo.

Sean Keely is a Syracuse University graduate who has a passion for all things Syracuse University sports. He started noticing sports blogs and channels were not covering sub-topics such as soccer. They also did not have the type of content that he was looking for. When it was time for Sean to take matters into his own hands, he decided to just create his own sports blog. Now Sean’s blog, Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician has many readers and brings in revenues.

A popular question that occurs in the blogging space is, “How do you attract reoccurring readers?” Although there may not be a “right” answer, bloggers typically have an idea of how they gained their audience. For Sean, his focus was simply writing for himself. However, using key words and amping up SEO are also beneficial to gaining traffic. There are many factors that are taken into consideration when using SEO. Blogger, Victoria Edwards lays out some key points to enhancing your SEO. In Sean’s case, he puts a focus on key words. Especially when a large or breaking news event occurs.

During our time with Sean, we were wondering if he had a relationship with the University now that his blog has many readers. Sean stated that at first the University was not involved, but he was okay with that. Now, SU is well aware of his blog and will invite him to special events or let him in on new news. Sean reached out to the University himself because he realized that he needed special access. From the panel, we also learned that Sean credits job offers from his blogging experience. One of these jobs includes his teaching position for a blogging course in the iSchool. This tells us that building a community is a valuable asset in the working environment.

At this point, it is safe to say that Sean Keely has built a name for himself in the blogging space. He has readers, access, and a “secret society” (if you know what Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician means, you’re apart of this society). He also has user-generated content, that he calls “Fanposts” and reader interactions. All of this has built a strong community made up of Syracuse University sports fans. Don’t forget to check out Sean’s blog here!