Your customers and website visitors can be a valuable source of content. And this user-generated content can boost your inbound marketing efforts if used creatively.
What is user-generated content anyway?
The folks over at webopedia.com define it as:
"...any form of content such as video, blogs, discussion form posts, digital images, audio files, and other forms of media that was created by consumers or end-users of an online system or service and is publically available to others consumers and end-users."
A simpler way of putting it is "content that your customers have posted online somewhere."
But it is a bit more complex than that. Not everything your customers or clients post is accessible, nor is it valuable to you. There are, however, huge opportunities for curating some of this content in creative ways that will boost your own web presence.
Just The Facts, Ma'am
Every business has run into questions that customers and clients seem to always ask. For many businesses, the response is often a sketchy Frequently Asked Questions, or FAQ, page on their site. For others, the questions may make up the list of scripted responses used by their customer service reps.
But what if you could do more with that simple source of content?
First, you will want to make sure you even have a list of commonly, or frequently, asked questions. If not, make that your first task: research, discover, and document every question your prospects, customers or clients tend to ask before and after a sale.
If you have sales people interacting with prospects, or customer service folks communicating with your customers, then you probably have a wealth of information and questions right there. The next step is to gather, or curate, all these questions into one location where you can easily access them.
FAQs as Customer Generated Content
Let's say you manage to narrow down your collection of customer questions to, say, 15 or 20 questions with answers. These would technically be considered something like a "hybrid" of user or customer generated content (mainly, the questions) and your own content (the responses, or answers).
So, what can you do with them?
First and foremost, you should create a page (or at least a sub-page) on your company site where these can live. Be sure to insert and services, products, techniques or treatments specific to your business in your various responses. This page can be a huge lift for SEO results.
After you have inaugurated your substantially populated and value-packed FAQ page, give it a catchy name. Simply labeling it "FAQs" can suffice, but it is a bit pedestrian.
Now you can launch into a number of other content properties based on the core content curated in your FAQs.
The Handy Tip Sheet
Create a spiffy PDF version of your FAQs with some added text before and after the bulk of the content. Give it some nice, branded visuals or graphic elements, and offer it as a free download either on your website or as a premium for new subscribers providing an email.
If your product or service is complicated enough to warrant lengthy responses to your frequently asked questions, consider creating a series of short videos - less than two minutes each - that address your top six or seven questions.
A Digital Guidebook
Oftentimes, there can be enough material to warrant a full-blown eBook that can be downloaded as a PDF file. This can be used as a sales promotion, as well as a value-add asset for your clients or customers. The beauty of this format is the potential for links back to your website.
Although this isn't using your FAQs as content so much as creating deriative content, the FAQs can serve as the catalyst. Often there will be a number of questions that lend themselves to much more substantial explanation and discussion than a short-form response can achieve. These topics could be developed into a series of pre-recorded webinars that are based on customer-generated questons or concerns.
High-Relevance Blog Posts
SImilar to the webinar concept, using the commonly asked questions as idea generators can be a qreat way to create a number of valuable blog posts. And if you're not publishing a business blog so coming up with new ideas is not an issue, you should start! In fact, any good list of FAQs can provide fodder for a dozen or more great blog posts that you already know are of interest to your audience.
Content Relevance is Key for Local SEO
Part of the beauty of frequently asked questions is that not only do you know the answers, but your customers want to know them, too. In other words, the topics are relevant to your core audience. And effective local SEO (all SEO, really!) is based on relevance.
While having your content show up on page one in organic search results is a big win in the local SEO game, it isn't everything. There are a number of other tactics and tools that can and should be applied to create a successful and comprehensive local SEO strategy for your website.
If you are considering getting help with your company's marketing efforts, it is helpful to have the insights of a third-party, a marketing professional, to assess and assist with your strategy. BroadVision Marketing offers helpful information on how to create local SEO and content marketing strategy.
You can get free advice during your Free Complimentary Inbound Marketing Session which will help you learn more about local SEO and its place in Inbound Marketing. You can also call BroadVision Marketing at 707-799-1238.
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