People like to leave their creative mark on a site. They also like to share with like-minded people. Give them the tools to do this and they will become loyal to your site. You’ll attract other users and it will help SEO. Here are five ideas to develop user content. Pick one that resonates with your audience and subject matter and create a simple tool.
Make it really easy for users to upload and tag their photos – and videos. Let them search by tags. Let them rate – and comment – on other photos. Pick out the best and feature editorially. Run competitions for the best picture. www.photoanswers.co.uk does this exceptionally well.
2. Product reviews
Have a simple tool to leave a comment on a product and a rating. Offer drop-down menus if users find it hard to express their views in free text. Allow users to rate reviews for usefulness.
3. Venue reviews
Nothing beats the opinion of someone like you who has just visited that hotel, campsite, hillside, shop or eaterie. Make it easy to rate and offer a structured review, add candid pictures and explain what type of user you are – family or singles, expert or beginner. Trip advisor has all the functionality – you just need to add some warmth and your own brand personality.
4. Tips and answers
People love to help others and share their good ideas. Create a Q & A section that can be easily searched, with links to other related questions. Allow users to rate the usefulness of responses. It’s more friendly than forums. Take a look at www.yourhorse.co.uk for an active community.
5. Lists and logs
We love to compile lists that define our personality and interests. We also like to log where we have been and what we have done. Once we have taken the trouble to add our content to a site, it’s harder to go to a competitor. Last fm captures all the music you have listened to; trip advisor can catalogue where you have been in the world; map my run lets you upload your running routes. Use these as inspiration for your market.
I’d love to hear about how you use these ideas to add user content to your site. Just click on the comment button.
Carolyn Morgan’s consultancy business, Penmaen Media, creates practical digital media and marketing strategies. See www.penmaen.media for more info on how we can grow your business.