I caught up with Corey Post recently as he prepares for the upcoming Affiliate Summit East in Philadelphia. Corey is a speaker, writer and digital marketer with over a decade of experience working with companies from startup through IPO. He will be speaking on Contest Marketing and hosting an Ask the Experts table on User Generated Content. Don’t miss out on his presentation on Monday, August 19 at 4:40pm EST.
1) You’ve been a fan of ours for a while now! How did you use WRW and what were your favorite tools? Can you give us examples of how competitive intelligence helped inspire or saved you money on a campaign?
Since paid search is so expensive, I found it really helpful to find media buying opportunities, both by keyword and advertiser. I looked for areas where my competitors repeatedly ran ads. Or, even better, I found tangential, or space-related, traffic sources that were undervalued.
2) How do you use competitive intelligence to drive your content marketing strategy?
Competitive intelligence allows me to reduce my content testing costs and better create value. Assuming a similar niche, content that works for my competition will often work for me or my clients. I also look at the competition’s top pages for patterns – use of video, infographics, long form content, short form content, calls to action, etc. For example, if I notice a lot of instructional/how to video in a particular space, I might test a similar video format. Of course, I use my competitors as a guide. The goal is not to duplicate, but to outperform.
On a more general level, I try to answer a few basic questions with my competitive content research such as: What is my competition doing on the content front? How strong/entrenched is their content? How can I produce more powerful/ useful content?
3) Why should advertisers be obsessed with UGC? Please share a few tips on how you do it (ex. contests, polls, social sharing, etc.)
User generated content can remove the bias associated with the profit motive of sellers. This helps you to build a relationship with consumers as they go to your site for trusted information and reviews. UGC can also increase engagement levels as people spend time on a site reading and producing content. In addition, people tend to share the content they create – just look at your Facebook Feed. Further, not only can UGC help you get traffic directly from the social sphere, but also from organic search as the engines increasingly incorporate social signals into their algorithms.
One more thing – UGC lends itself to more natural or non-marketing language. That offers the potential for your site to rank for long tail terms that searchers actually use! I particularly like contests as they allow for an exciting yet structured way for users to create content. For example, if you have a site that sells digital cameras, you might offer a top of the line camera to the entrant who posts “the best” landscape photo. Give the ability for users to share these photos on Pinterest and Facebook, and you can create evergreen content as well as attract thousands of new users.
4) How powerful has the newer social sites like Pinterest, Instagram and Vine been in building brand awareness, connecting with your audience and influencing purchase decisions?
The newer social sites can absolutely drive awareness for a campaign. For example, my team and I ran a contest where users uploaded photos of their messy desk to our site and to Pinterest. We earned thousands of repins and received over 200 messy desk photos that now permanently reside on site. Given the wide reach and inherently viral nature of these social platforms, they offer excellent brand awareness and traffic potential. And as people share your content, they provide a tacit endorsement of your brand, which certainly could influence purchase behavior.
5) What brands have you seen that integrate UGC in interesting/unique ways and do it right?
Amazon does a fantastic job. The product reviews provide a “safe” place for consumers to research a potential purchase. Then, of course, the path to purchase is a lot shorter on Amazon than on a related site. Quora also does a great job with Q&A. They built an extremely vibrant content platform through user participation.
Check out the other experts we’ve featured in our Meet The Media Buyer series.