Power of User-Generated Content Marketing: Lessons from The New York Times

Melanie Deziel talks about her experience with user-generated content (UGC)  marketing, which  has become a popular strategy for brands to increase organic reach and engagement with their audience. However, there are challenges that come with UGC campaigns, and many brands struggle with creating content that resonates with their audience. 

The Challenges of User-Generated Content Marketing

One of the biggest challenges with UGC marketing is understanding why people would want to talk about a brand. Brands often make the mistake of focusing on what they want their audience to do rather than understanding what their audience is already doing. To create a successful UGC campaign, it’s important to identify organic behaviours that are already happening and tap into them instead of manufacturing content.

Another challenge with UGC marketing is that it can come off as forced or inauthentic.  Brands need to find a way to encourage their audience to create content without making it feel like a chore or obligation. This can be especially challenging if the brand is not naturally part of the conversation or culture that their audience is participating in.

Lessons from The New York Times

Melanie talks about her experience with New York Times as a brand that had successfully navigated the challenges of UGC marketing. When NYT wanted to build the digital footprints of their print product, they identified an organic behaviour that was already happening on Instagram – people posting pictures of their newspaper.

Incentivizing User-Generated Content on Instagram

The New York Times created a dedicated Instagram account called “my NY Times” where they would repost user photos of their newspaper. By doing this, they were able to tap into a behaviour that was already happening and elevate it to create a UGC campaign. 

New York Times’ UGC campaign incentivized their audience to create content. By reposting user photos, they gave their audience a chance to be featured on the account and gain recognition. This was a smart move because it encouraged their audience to create content without making it feel like an obligation.

The key lesson to learn from The New York Times’ UGC campaign is to find out what type of content your users like to create and find a way to elevate that. Instead of trying to make users create content, figure out what content your users are already creating and find a way to tap into that.

Check out conversation between Melanie Deziel & Jasravee Kaur Chandra  on Transforming Content Marketing via Unlimited Story Ideas & Earning Trust 

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