Website content is still something many businesses struggle with. Content marketing is deemed expensive, hard to scale and in many cases almost impossible to measure (It’s a long-term investment so it’s hard to estimate if it’s actually worth it). These three hurdles scare many brands away.

The truth is, awesome content can actually be both cheap (or even free) and effective in terms of leads and conversions. The only real investment you need is your time and creativity. Here are three examples of how great content can be free while building your brand web presence and trust:

1. Expert interviews with a twist

It has been a popular content marketing tactic lately: Inviting industry experts to share their insights into a particular topic. I’ve done these expert round-ups a lot recently though MyBlogU which makes the process easier.

The beauty of expert interviews is that:

  • Participating experts bring their trust signals with them: Readers seeing familiar faces on your site are more likely to trust what you have to say!
  • The actual content is written for you: All you need is to pack text beautifully for it to spread (Here are some tips for you!)

But why stop there? I’ve seen a few really great examples of how this expert-generated content can be turned into a solid content asset to serve a link- and share-magnet:

  • FirstSiteGuide has turned their expert round-up into a free eBook on how to start a blog. I don’t think there’s a free alternative in terms of quality of material and how well it’s organized
  • Another great example of an expert interview being turned into a digital book is TechWyse SEO Secrets book. It’s also a great example of how MyBlogU works because it has been created thanks to MBU members’ contributions.
  • Finally here’s an awesome example of how an expert group interview can be turned into a popular Slideshare deck. The only way to make it better would be to create both a digital book to host on your own site and a Slideshare version for it to attract more traffic.
Expert interviews into ebook

Here are great way to funnel sales using digital books: How to Create High Converting Lead Magnets for Your Business

2. Guest blogging with a twist

You can invite your users to contribute (You are most likely to be familiar with this trick already), or, smarter, you can invite them to tell their success story with your brand.

That’s what does with their “Publisher Spotlight” open invitation. They invite users to submit their story on how they use Very good idea and genius implementation. Here’s the example of content they create thanks to it.

Showcasing how your customers use your product is a very convincing tactic encouraging more people to follow the trend.

Publisher Spotlight

Feedly does something similar but they are scaling it a bit more. If you want to submit your Feedly story, complete this form and get featured!

3. Testimonials with a twist

Marketing testimonials has been a well-known trust-building tactic for years. But what if we think of more creative ways to use it?

Gordon Diver pointed out this awesome idea to me: Selfie testimonial contest.

Think how much awesomeness has been combined in one phrase: It’s a contest (so there’s an incentive to participate) AND it’s a selfie (something which is very trendy nowadays: People taking pictures of their own happy faces when sharing their love to the brand). Here are a few great examples of this idea being implemented very well.

Testimonials selfie

A selfie contest serves a few very important goals:

  • It spreads easily (Selfies are hot!)
  • It engages customers (There’s a tangible incentive to participate!)
  • It builds trust (When seeing so many people sharing love in so visual and creative ways, it’s easy to trust the brand and its message)
  • It funnels sales very well (What can be more convincing than a happy customer’s face?)

Another great example of engaging readers into content generation process is launching annual awards. Awards are east to brand and promote (ego-bait in effect!). Here’s a great example of annual awards done right (and it’s useful information too!)

Have you ever come across ingenuous ways to amplify user-generated content and use it to market your web presence? Please share them in the comments!

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Ann Smarty
Ann Smarty is the brand and community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas, founder of and co-founder of ViralContentBuzz.

You can learn more
about Ann here.

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