"User driven content" and "user generated content" are terms that sound a bit mysterious but really, they are very simple. If it comes from the reader, it’s user driven or generated. This is the essence of networking; a two-way communication that creates a sense of ownership and connection.
Here are 10 ideas for user driven content:
- Reader blog posts
- Voter lists
- Discussion forums
- Twitter feeds
Comments are a classic way to get your reader involved with your site. Some opinions become too controversial, but there’s a spot for that (#8) and the ability to make a quick comment on a page is how many of us start feeling connected to that site. We have a fascination for seeing our own stuff on the screen.
Surveys are an easy way to assess your readership and get feedback. It’s helpful to see numbers and percentages and know they reflect real data.
Contests and crowdsourcing are fantastic ways to get everybody on board. Present a problem and offer a prize for the best solution or hold a regular giveaway for a random reader–all they have to do to enter is say how they use your product in the comment section.
Reader blog posts are similar to comments but they have more weight. You are basically giving a guest blogger a platform and by doing so will bring their contacts into your sphere.
Pictures — are worth a thousand words. With cameras on phones, you have a lot of potential photographers. With their pictures on your site, you’ll get a lot of potential readers. People are visual, we like pictures. And people are funny, we keep going back to look at pictures of ourselves or that we took. Put up an image board and watch it grow.
Video is the picture dynamic multiplied exponentially. There’s a reason YouTube is so popular! If your site has the possibility of video input and you are not using it, rethink that strategy.
Voter lists are ways to register your opinion then see what everybody else said. Fun stuff. Even folks who mock at ‘the top ten’ lists want to see how they fit into the mix.
Discussion forums are ongoing conversations about topics that have come up on your site or with your product. If there’s no way to search your forum, that’s frustrating. If your product can be used to solve a problem then you want a solution-seeker to find it.
Twitter feeds are an ongoing scroll of short, readable comments on the side of your page. Easy to ignore if you want to, but fun to see what people are saying right now. And easy for them to say it!
Facebook has detractors, but they probably checked their newsfeed before they said so. Social media is the ultimate user driven content platform.
You’ll want to moderate the user driven input on your site, because some people are inappropriate. Still, we love the things we invest in, so it’s good to get folks to invest in you.