Content is Currency

Developing Powerful Content
for Web and Mobile

by Jon Wuebben - Founder and CEO of Content Launch

How to Build a Social Media Destination That Attracts Quality User Generated Content

As any experienced search marketer can tell you, one of the most powerful search engine optimization strategies is to focus on building a destination that gets user generated traffic. The rationale here is simple: search is a classic example of a service with “long tail” dynamics — meaning that while there is a huge and growing volume of search queries, the majority of them only happen a few times. From this perspective, the optimal SEO strategy is not necessarily to create a destination that focuses heavily on just a few popular keywords, but rather create a site that can capture the virtually infinite number of queries in a given niche that only occur a few times.

Once you embark upon this line of thinking, it quickly becomes apparent that the best way to realize this goal is by creating a destination that generates user-generated content — meaning a place where others can create and submit their own content. This helps create the massive amount of content needed to pursue long-tail SEO strategies. And if you can get quality, original content from members — you may be on the way to building yourself an SEO gold mine. Wikipedia is the prime example of this strategy being pursued successfully.

So, the question: how best to build a destination that attracts quality content submissions from users that you can use to build your own SEO empire?

It Starts With Passion

What people really love to share, and thus what they will want to share and do a good job of sharing, is whatever they’re passionate about. “Without passion, social media is just noise,” says marketer Rick Stone. Accordingly, when building and running your social media destination designed to attract quality user-generated content, ask yourself: what passion are you tapping into? What type of users are you trying to attract, and what are they passionate about?

It Starts With YOUR Passion

To answer questions about what type of users you want to attract, it first helps to identify what you, the principal operator of the social media destination, are passionate about. Creating a “blank slate” web site that has the functionality to allow for user-generated content is not enough; rather, the site must be seeded — and moreover, it should be seeded with the kind of content you want members contributing. “If your site is chock full of the kind of high quality content you want your users producing, then your users will be more likely to contribute,” says Level Ten Design. To put it another way, if you authentically share your passion, you’ll be more inclined to attract others who want to share their passion. This simple concept can really serve as a powerful construct that helps you focus your efforts on a given niche.

Use Game Play to Reward Members and Retain Control

With any social media site that relies heavily on user-generated content, it’s likely that a tiny minority will do the vast majority of significant contributions. To maximize user engagement and get the most and best out of your contributing members, game play can serve as a powerful tool. Awarding members badges can help them feel appreciated, and can be used to build a sense of culture regarding what is appropriate behavior for your online community. As you are developing your social media destination, considering how you can use game play to get the most out of your contributing members can be quite valuable in your quest to get quality user-generated content from your members so that you build your empire in the search engines accordingly.

Wild Card: Monetization

If there is a one wild card to watch out for when pursuing quality social content, it is the challenge of monetization. Aggressive monetization can turn members off, and it is worth noting that the most successful example of SEO based on user-generated content — Wikipedia — is also a non-profit. Strategies centered around group buying, as well as those that provide contributing members with special discounts, may prove to be more successful. Ultimately, though, remember that the name of the game is passion — and so monetization can best be obtained when the goal of fostering passion is diligently pursued.

This Content is Currency blog contribution was provided by Simit Patel, who is the founder of InformedTrades, a user-generated site dedicated to helping members learn to trade the world’s financial markets. The site was seeded with a free forex course.

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