Customer-Generated Content is Invaluable

“Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.”  – TPLDrew

There is a famous quote: “Content is king” – agree but would like to add that content also makes ‘business kings’. Well-written and great content drives home a strong message regarding the value your company can bring to its customers. With the information overload and a large number of companies vying for the customer’s attention, only effective and interesting content will capture the mind and attention of the target audience. Content must meet some specific requirements – it should allow the readers to make informed decisions about the company. Since the messages are for existing and potential customers, why not seek customer-generated content – in any case putting together the most appropriate and enticing content is an uphill task. Generating content should be a regular, consistent, properly planned, agile and flexible process – for it to have its desired impact. Customers may or may not realize the importance of great content, and it would be a company’s job to ‘educate’ them as to the importance of content. They must understand which information and content cuts through the clutter, making it useful for them.

Customer-generated content is possibly the best way to ensure that the communication your company sends out is pertinent, effective and highly useful. By making time to get the customer’s inputs and feedback, a company gets customers involved and interested in the business. As they perceive a genuine interest on the company’s part to help their business, they would be more amenable to the idea of contributing towards customer-generated content – which would really translate to content that delivers and gets the attention that would help the business to stand out. A company that has been able to build even a strong but small base of loyal and engaged customers would be better equipped to provide comments as to why your company’s business is tops with regard to customer service, product quality and other business essentials. Customer-generated content are those great testimonials and superlative words they use to refer your company to others. Customers that are exceptionally pleased with your company would be able to convincingly voice why they feel so positive about a company. The power of positive word of mouth is not new – why not get the exact words from the customers such that this customer-generated content yields outstanding results for your company.

By engaging your customers, they would be interested in determining the most relevant topics, bringing new ideas and in sharing their own experiences and successes. Whatever be their contribution, customer-generated content will ensure that the content is rich in quality and lends authenticity to the tone and message. When customers put in actual experiences, the content is enhanced and becomes highly credible for other prospective customers and others that may need the information. We have mentioned in the past too, that prospective customers and users tend to believe existing customers more than they would ever trust the word of the company alone. Customer-generated content is therefore one of the most potent ‘weapons’ a company could use to oust its competitors.

In addition to being more believable, customer-generated content, especially if the customers are market leaders and highly respected. The information generated by them would ensure that the content becomes more relevant, noticeable and more likely to be used by the target audience. The reason for prospective customers and others ‘lapping’ up this information, is because it is real – actual experiences shared by their peers / those they look to for inspiration and guidance. Such customer-generated content would bring out the real meaning of value and effectiveness for those reading it. As your company works more closely with these ‘thought leaders’, they too will find value and use in sharing their insights, which in turn would translate to them feeling connected and having a feeling of ‘owning’ the success of the company. When customers are proud to be associated with a company, they become brand advocates and encourage others to do business with the company too.

Customer-generated content does not necessarily have to be in the form of written content. A great way to add a personal touch to communiqués for target audience is by sharing short videos that feature your existing clients sharing their experiences while doing business with your company. By organizing networking and promotional events, your company can bring together a number of thought leaders and engaged customers together, who would be willing to exchange ‘happy stories’ that came about by doing business with your company. Not only does this lend authenticity, such videos are highly engaging, interesting and serve to attract people to start a business relationship with a company. This therefore is a very powerful and convincing form of customer-generated content and could work wonders for any business / brand.

Some companies also organize webinars for their customer groups. This enhances the feeling of community and encourages each group to provide insightful information to other customers. Webinars with video conferencing allow different sections of people to ‘meet’ each other – they can not only hear each other but also see the faces of the people with whom they are interacting. These discussions often lead to highly useful, creative and engaging information and companies can record them and use them to create highly engaging customer-generated content that others can use to address challenges that they may be facing.

Customer-generated content has an added USP – it is original and unique. By making such content available to others via the company’s website, social media sites and other channels, a company gains the advantage of showing itself as an expert in a number of different areas. People and customers tend to trust companies who are leaders in their chosen field and in other areas that interest them. Companies could request their ‘chosen customers’ to contribute the company website via blogs and articles that they would have written on subjects of their choice. Such informative, original and ‘personal’ pieces of customer-generated content would serve to create interest high enough for people to ‘share’ them and in doing so would be sharing news about your company with a very wide audience. Online information spreads quickly and is visible to innumerable people, which is free yet effective publicity for any company and since happy customers generate these ‘pearls of wisdom’, they are more convincing. A company could also request its willing customers to share pictures that show them interacting with the company or those that would enhance the relevance of your company for its customers. This would be visual customer-generated content that could ramp up the popularity of your company in a very short span of time, especially when shared via the website, social media sites and even via email to a customized customer segment.

While any kind of customer-generated content would prove beneficial for a company, customer testimonials, even though short, could add high credibility and authenticity to a company’s claims. Asking for testimonials makes customers feel valued and important – their name and company would feature on highly visible platforms – free publicity for them and their company too. By making effort to build customer-generated content, not only does a company showcase its capabilities and dedication toward its customers, it also builds and enhances a reputation that any competitor would find tough to match.

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