Is User Generated Content (UGC) right for you?


Content Syndication by Chris Heiler.

One thing fans know how to do is create content for something they love.

If you spend ten minutes combing through Tumblr’s search engines looking for anything, and I mean anything, you will find gifs, well-written reviews dissecting a scene, character or entire franchise, hand made drawings and paintings, fan fiction and in some cases, songs composed for a product.

In a similar way to Amazon reviews, Tumblr allows for a space for reviews to be posted and seen by a large audience. With Amazon, the feedback typically stops with a review and with a photograph of the product; whereas with Tumblr, the review can turn into GIFing commercials and dissecting actors.

Taylor Hawes, a blogger for Host Gator, discusses the pros and cons of user generated content (UGC) in his post, “Is User Generated Content Right for Your Website?” In the article, Hawes mentions that sometimes the content that’s generated isn’t always of the highest quality and that one should think about how to address the low quality content or negative reviews but one of the pros to UGC is that it can “significantly decrease the amount of content your team is directly responsible for creating.” Hawes also suggests that if you are going to use user-generated content that you make it as easy as possible for them to contribute.

One of the benefits to UGC not really talked about by Hawes is that if you manage a popular TV show, movie or book series, over time users might create content for you without being asked. Hawes does say that some brands can also encourage fans to create content from scratch but the fans I’m thinking of don’t need encouraging – they do it because they love the product. Tumblr is a great site to find this kind of response. For example, the last Harry Potter book was published in 2007, the last movie came out in 2011 and even though there is no new material, no new photographs from set – fans have been creating their own content based on the books and movies without being prompted by Warner Brothers or JK Rowling.

One thing Hawes discussed that had not initially occurred to me was the legal concerns for generated content. Hawes is referring to a situation where the company will have a user sign a terms and condition statement that releases the company (or brand) from any liability relating to a post that is inoffensive or inaccurate.

One of the last things Hawes talks about is figuring out when UGC is right for you. He acknowledges that all user-generated content is good for business but if you don’t have a strong fan base, it wouldn’t be a good time to launch a campaign asking for submissions.

I will leave you with one last piece of advice from Hawes, “User generated content vastly increases your reach, creates positive buzz for your brand and can be a lot of fun in the process. If you’re looking to increase your web presence, it’s likely that user generated content is a good fit for you. Laying out your strategy and addressing any legal concerns before you get started will allow you to experience this new marketing strategy as a fun, innovative way to promote your business.”

3 comments for “Is User Generated Content (UGC) right for you?

  1. November 23, 2013 at 2:05 am

    First of all I want to say superb blog! I had a quick question that
    I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to find out
    how you center yourself and clear your head before writing.
    I’ve had difficulty clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out there.
    I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to
    15 minutes are generally wasted just trying to figure out how to begin.

    Any suggestions or hints? Many thanks!

    • November 25, 2013 at 3:41 pm

      Hi Martha, thank you for your lovely message!

      Excellent question! I start off small, I annotate the readings (or whatever I’m responding to), write a paragraph or two and then take a break. Then I come back to it and do the same thing again. Then I put it altogether and take another break before coming back and polishing it up.

      Basically to center myself I ease myself into writing. I approach the blog posts like I would an email to a friend. I take my time and make sure I can dedicate at least three hours to write. What’s perfect for me is that this blog is required for class so I can freak myself with the due date. 🙂 I’m also lucky because I usually have one or two cats curled up next to me and it’s hard to get frustrated when they’re purring. 🙂

      With your first ten to fifteen minutes being a waste, I completely agree! My Dad, who writes for NEA, runs into the same problem. I think those first ten to fifteen minutes are perfect because it is wasted. You’re trying to get your thoughts in order and as long as you’re not working under a deadline it shouldn’t be stressful!

      Another way to think about writing is to approach it like you would a paper: write the body first and worry about the intro and conclusion after. This is something I’ve recently started doing because I find myself freaking out worried I won’t have a good first or last sentence.

      Let me know if that helps! 🙂

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