You’ve put in the hard yards, integrated an effective digital experience platform (DXP) with engagement and moderation solutions, and, finally, established a safe space for your audience community. With a community framework in place and a moderation solution in action, use this newfound spare time to give due praise to the golden geese of your flock: the user-generated content (UGC) contributors.
First things first: Who are the high-energy UGC contributors eager to publicly make their mark? Can their contributions be used as aspirational behaviour for other more passive users? If so, what are some ways to go about this that don’t feel disingenuous?
Positive reinforcement is a sure way to encourage users further down your audience funnel and strengthen retention. By putting the contributions of your community on a pedestal, you are not only rewarding those ultra-valuable UGC contributors with recognition, but you also broadcast to your community and beyond the kind of behaviour your brand values and celebrates.
The returns on your efforts once you’ve integrated a solid UGC contributor element to your existing audience-first content strategy will be ample revenue gains (in both ad and subscriptions) and a consistently expanding community of users steadily flowing through your audience funnel.
To determine how best to integrate UGC creators into your strategy, you’ll need to first consider what tools and techniques are available to you, how to optimise the efficacy of UGC content, and, most importantly, how to do this in a way that uplifts your brand and drives its success.
Highlight users’ comments
On a smaller day-to-day basis, implementing a pinned comment strategy is a great way to highlight members of your community as well as set the tone for budding conversations.
In some cases, having your editorial or content team kick off the discussion in the comments section with a pinned comment as a conversation starter can lead to immediate engagement and user contributions. Once those user comments roll in, swap out your comment with a user contribution that endorses your brand values, sets the tone, and encourages others to join in.
Think about where you can reach different audiences at different stages of the audience funnel.
If your editorial team sends out a newsletter, including a piece of UGC in an “editor’s pick” segment is a great way to show you value the contributions of your community members. It also gives registered members a reason to bring their own opinions and perspectives to the table in the hopes of being featured as well.
To reach audiences that may not be signed up for newsletters, building these editor’s picks into readily available on-site content can inspire registered users and connect with as-of-yet-unregistered visitors. Sharing these contributions with a broader audience has the potential to, once again, establish an aspirational behaviour for other users to strive for and improve engagement.
Not unlike highlighting what your UGC contributors have shared, badges are a way for you to distinguish between different types of users engaging with your content and help foster a unique community specific to your site. Rewards beget rewards in this case, as users who have put in the time and energy to earn a badge of their own are far more likely to keep up their efforts and stay active and engaged.
At the end of the day, the audiences that seek out content and invest their time, energy, and money into your publication are the bread and butter of the publishing world. When we take their interests to heart and celebrate their loyalty and time spent on our platforms, we learn more about them through their data offerings and can, in turn, continue to provide them with the high-value, interest-focused content they deserve.