Give a Little to Get a Lot: User-Created Content

About a week ago, I received this tube of public relations in the mail.


So, it’s not actually a tube of public relations, but this is a prime example of a growing trend in fashion/beauty PR companies.

I received this free tube of mascara from Rimmel that’s not even available to the public yet. What’s the catch? Nothing, except that if I wanted to create a YouTube video or blog post about my experience using the product for a chance to be featured in future Rimmel promotions with the added bonus that they’ll send me even more free products.

So I get a free tube of mascara and if I tell people what I think about it I’ll get more products AND be in Rimmel’s promotional material? Sounds pretty good for only having sent them the address of where I wanted my mascara sent to.

What people who receive free products don’t realise is that they are actually becoming ‘workers’ for the sponsoring company– specifically as content creators.

User-created, or user-generated, content such as articles, blog posts, videos and pictures provide PRs and organisations with a multitude of benefits:

  • You spend less time (and less money) on creating promotional materials.
  • Your increased SEO will make your organisation and products more visible.
  • Increase engagement- make customers feel powerful
  • Provide consumers with the information they want.

The last bit of information may be some of the most important. According to Bazzarvoice, a Service (SaaS) company that works with social media commerce, 84% of Millennials say ‘UGC on company websites has at least some influence on what they buy, compared to 70% of Boomers.’

In fact, there are many purchase decisions – big and small – that Millennials won’t make without UGC.  Millenials are also more likely to be influence by UGC from strangers rather than recommendations from family.

Copyright: Bazaarvoice

Copyright: Bazaarvoice

A great examples of how UGC can greatly benefit a company is the Cambridge Satchel Company. You may remember the Google Chrome advert where a mom starts to make satchels like the one she had as a girl and then her business flourished.

The bloggers were instrumental. They were the one big thing. You get a mention in a magazine now and again, but the bloggers were always there. They were always supporting the brand.– Julie Deane, Cambridge Satchel Company

Julie identifies one of the most important element of the commercial- the blogger that reviews her bag. By sending out her satchels to fashion bloggers in the UK, she was able to create a buzz which eventually led her into some of the top fashion magazines. It also created a loyal fan base for her company.

By investing a little, be it a tube of mascara or a satchel, in your customers, you gain valuable material that you can use for your organisation for little cost and time.

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Brett Ashley Bridges

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