UGC, User Generated Content, has been on my mind, lately.
I think it’s going to be the next big thing in marketing – on Social Media platforms.
I totally get this – brands tend to have a hard time creating content on Social so it stands to reason that they should hire their consumers to do so for them.
This makes total sense, to me. It’s good marketing.
This struggle of brands creating content that resonates with their targeted audience has led me to ponder as to why.
So, on this podcast, I want to share with you a few of the observations I’ve picked up over the years – observations on why some brands fail to create content that resonates with their intended audience.
One of the things I’ve noticed when brands seek to create content is that they focus on creating content from a branding point of view.
Brands do branding really well.
This is one of their strengths. Indeed, one could argue that marketing is all about branding.
I wouldn’t be that one, but one could, nonetheless.
And there is nothing wrong with this approach – the branding approach.
It’s important in marketing.
Marketing, as a whole, is a big area. There is plenty of space for all types of marketing, including an approach that’s brand-focused.
However, when it comes to content creation, putting one’s brand forefront does not serve the content.
Now, let me qualify what I’m saying here.
There are several types of content that can be created, including branded content.
If a brand has a product and they create content to supplement that product, you would of course, expect it to be branded content.
However, branded content, minus the content itself being an event, tends not to resonate with consumers.
Because of the fact that the content, in itself, is branded content.
There’s a sort of understanding that a branded piece of content is there to sell to you – almost directly.
So, there’s a sort of defence, content blindness, that consumers have when they see this type of content.
The unfortunate mistake that brands tend to make is they assume every piece of content they create should be branded – and by way of this, they assume it should be a piece of content created to elicit to the recipient, the consumer, the targeted audience, to make a purchase.
This only further raises consumers’ barriers – to the point where they do not want to engage with the content.
They do not want to see it, they do not want to hear about it, they do not want to know of it.
This in turn, influences the brand to only double down and further create more branded content, which is another unfortunate mistake.
It’s a mistake because they push their intended audience away with this approach.
It’s a mistake because they become more aggressive with their content and marketing of it.
It’s a mistake because they ultimately do not create what their intended audience wants – they create what they think they want – i.e. what they, the marketers, want.
What do I mean by this…?
Content creation is a very creative process, and with creativity comes a certain amount of egoism.
Part of the joy in creating content is seeing your creation out there.
There’s a certain amount of self-serving gratitude that comes with content creation.
When brands create brand-led content, the content tends to be very self-serving.
There’s an ego attached with this creation that only grows when the intended audience does not gravitate to it.
This ego is what leads them to create even more self-servicing content.
It’s an ego that doesn’t align them with creating content that the audience wants.
This is where SEO can be very effective for the brand.
This is where keyword research can be the brand’s best friend.
This is where an understanding of brand-led and generic content is imperative to a brand’s online success.
You see, when a brand does content from the brand’s point of view, it tends to be brand-led content.
However, when the brand engages with SEO, SEO is able to highlight what consumers, relevant to the brand, wants.
Why is this important?
Because there’ll always be more consumers than there is an audience for a brand.
And because of this, their wants and needs will always be outside of what the brand offers.
This is why, in most situations, generic keywords will always be higher than branded keywords.
The wants and needs of consumers will always be outside of the reach of any one individual brand.
In other words, a market will always be bigger than the share of a brand.
If the brand keeps creating brand-led content, they are not tapping into the wants and needs of the consumers they aim to acquire.
With SEO, they can tap into this.
Because SEOs are trained to think in terms of both brand and generic content.
This is why branded keywords and generic keywords are a thing!
What is one of the first things we do when recommending content to create?
We carry out keyword research.
We separate branded keywords from generic keywords.
And because SEO is acquisition-led, we, by default, recommend targeting keywords that are generics.
In other words, we recommend the creation of content that will acquire an audience from the wide, yet targeted, consumers.
This in essence, means the content we tend to recommend is content that is not brand-led, and more importantly, content that will resonate with the consumer.
So, you see, once again, SEO is a lot more than optimisation for search engines.
It’s optimisation for users. It’s servicing users. It’s addressing their wants and needs when they require it to be addressed.