Everyone’s a content creator these days. But who are the editors?

Reviews, photos, videos, mini-stories and quotes from customers are jam-packed in almost every brand and retailer’s website and social media channels. Take a quick look and it becomes obvious that despite the riches of quantity, there is a real issue with quality of content.

And even though the appetite for this content seems never-ending, the variation in quality is an issue for the companies who use this stuff; it is a reflection of their brand after all.

What’s more, in a world of increasing personalisation, what’s great content for one person, isn’t necessarily good for the next – and brands need to know the difference.

So how does a brand or retailer ensure that they are collecting the highest quality content possible?

What’s great content for one person, isn’t necessarily good for the next – and brands need to know the difference. - Highlight to share -

Here are my 4 tips for brands and retailers:


1. Authenticity

Lesson 101 when it comes to engaging an audience with user generated content: it’s got to be real.

The best way to ensure authenticity is to do the collecting proactively. Don’t wait for people to volunteer it, ask your existing customers for content – whether that’s a review, a photo, a video or a story. That way you know it’s come from a customer who has definitely bought your product or used your service.

Doing it this way also gives you the best chance of identifying advocates, and importantly will ensure you have the appropriate permissions to use the content.

2. Purpose and relevance

Don’t rush out a series of hashtag searches to scrape for content from social media. There’s no guarantee of authenticity, it’s unlikely to be exactly what you want, and it can be risky.

Most marketers get this instinctively – it’s not about the volume of content, but ensuring that the content you are collecting matches your campaign purpose and is relevant to your audience.

The easiest way to make this happen is to know what to ask your customers in order to draw out the best stuff. This takes time and experience.

3. Personalisation

Personalising your marketing and advertising will become increasingly important – like, for example – what review you see on top on the product page or the right user-generated video in a YouTube preroll.

This is achieved by combining content and data, whether that’s “internal” data sources such as customer behaviour and CRM or “external” data sources such as weather or GPS feeds. Businesses such as Photospire are at the cutting edge of making this happen.

Ultimately, brands will show different consumers different content, depending on who they are and where they are in the purchase journey. It takes a lot of connecting, but it’s a journey worth being on.

4. Machine Learning and Engagement Optimisation

Every time you or I scan a review, or click on a user-generated image, we’re giving off signals about what we like.

The best businesses will use these signals, in real time, to collect more content just like that one and show it to people just like us. Ultimately a virtuous feedback loop is created based on your and my actions, which will depend on the type of person we are, our moods, the time of day and where we are in a purchase journey.

More of the right type of content is collected – a continual improvement in content quality.

Feeling daunted? Don’t be – the key is to start small and begin asking your customers for authentic, relevant content now. Bringing in a trusted third party will help too. Let the content be your guide.

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4 tips for collecting high-quality UGC