Category Archives: Content

User Generated Content (UGC) : 3 Reasons You Should Just Do It

User Generated Content or UGC is any content contributed by people (let’s call them fans of a brand) instead of the brands themselves.   Fans create and share a series of videos, pictures or tweets showcasing themselves with the brand through the use of social media and blogs.  Judging by how almost every one of the user generated content goes viral easily and how effectively it captures the attention of a wide audience, UGC is often heralded as the game changer in marketing.

Why should brands use it?

“The next wave of the Web is going to be user-generated content.” – John Doerr, Venture Capitalist.

UGC is such a great way to spark desire among people new to your brand and to build long term relationships with your loyal fans. What ever your goals are, UGC is a powerful tool to create a meaningful relationship between your brand and your fans.

Here are more reasons to look into UGC:

  1. A showcase of your brand 
    Going into UGC, especially through smart online contest and campaigns, opens up a whole new dimension to your brand.  As fans share stories of themselves interacting with your brand, it allows others to see how they could potentially engage with your brand, too.  It plants an idea in their head. It starts a conversation.  It piques curiosity and leads to questions like,  “What is this brand all about? Maybe, I too, can have that much of fun with it?”  It showcases your brand in a new light and personalize connections to your brand. Leveraging on your fans’ stories about your products and services, you get to wow people with a funny, new or distinct features you may have.

    More than that, good reviews about your brand help raise your SEO rankings.  It’s simple.  The more people post and hashtag (read more about Hootsuite’s tips on using a hashtag) about you, the higher chance it is for you to appear on the top of searches.  Being highly visible and trusted by search engines like Google and others, will work favorably to your brand.  It increases credibility, boosts lead generation and shortens your sales cycle.

    All these put your brand at the forefront. Translating, of course, to higher purchases and increase in revenue.

    Key game-changing point:  Leverage on your fans and their amazing stories about your brand. Build a strong platform and align your online contest and campaigns to their contents. In return, you will enjoy greater publicity and receive more sales opportunities.

  2. A powerful community 
    Behind every successful brand, is a community of passionate fans.  They are those who love talking about your products and services.  Take for instance, Apple.  What makes it a brand supremo?   It’s not just the IPhone product itself. More than that, it’s the thriving band of passionate followers who has build their identity around the Apple I-phones and are willing to queue for days outside Apple stores before the release .

    Your brand community provides a platform for your fans to engage with you and others. They are able to connect with like-minded folks and ask questions, share ideas and solve any problems.  Through these interactions, they are empowered to influence.

    In the community, real life stories are shared.  These authentic testimonials about your brand  convinces and converts way better than slimy marketing tactics.  Point is, people trust people more, which is why, a survey found that 92% of people are more likely to trust a recommendation from another person over branded content,

    Seth Godin, the author and marketer rightfully points out that “you only need 1,000 true fans to build a tribe around your brand”.  Start today to build your community.

    Key game-changing point:  Build your strong community today.  It’ll turn fans to fierce advocates of your brand and it is a fail-proof way to convert many more into believers of your brand.

  3. A cost effective strategy
    The wonderful thing about UGC is that it is run by your fans.  Their contributions fuel the conversations around and does the “marketing” for you.  Marketers often save big bucks on ads and other campaigns that may or may not draw the attention it desires.

    Key game-changing point:  Leverage on your fans’ stories but complement it with the right reward system.  This encourages a stream of loyal contributors and inspire new people to contribute their contents towards your brand.

Here are some examples of brands that rock in UGC marketing:

Krispy Kreme

Picture Source: TINT

One of  TINT’s greatest success was to turn the all time American doughnut giant, Krispy Kreme into a visually and interactive brand, appealing to not only their traditional  set of audience, but to the millenials, as well.  Transforming the website, in-store and social media, the campaign gathered more than 36 million impressions and three thousand aggregated posts.

Read more about it from its original source:


Source: Anna, Toronto Canada, Starbucks Stories & News

Who have not heard about the Starbucks’ #RedCupContest? Or the #WhiteCupContest?  Both campaigns invite fans to submit photos of  their creative take on the Starbucks cups in return for a chance to win gifts and have the best entry design be the template for new limited edition cups.  It sent fans (and non-fans) into a frenzied doodling, snapping away pictures of their creative cups and taking over the social media by storm.   The campaigns gathered close to 40,000 photos in just three weeks. A great way to earn publicity, indeed.

Air Asia


This Malaysian low cost carrier definitely has a creative way to increase its followers.  Winner of ‘Best Social Media Engagement‘ award in 2015, Air Asia used Facebook extensively and creatively to increase it’s followers.

One of its most successful campaign, “Air Asia Friendsy” was launched back in 2012.  It invited fans to participate in a challenge to fill up 302 seats of Airbus that flew from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur with friends.  The winning entry will receive free flights for himself – along with his 302 friends, too!

Below is the excerpt from the Social Media Business Performance study on Air Asia’s marketing strategy:

Within the two days of being live, the contest had more than 4,000 users. As of May 15, 2012, there were more than 11,000 completed entries and the contest increased the Facebook page by 20,000 “Likes”.

It grew from local, to national to international news, generating Public Relation (PR) value of $1,627,593 on a $80,000 marketing campaign.

The campaign grew the Air Asia Facebook fan base by 30%. The competition received 12,500 entries and reached 2,291,483 people on Facebook, which is a whopping 20% of Australians using Facebook.

Now, everyone can truly be part of the AirAsia family.

All preceding benefits of UGC leads to one : to influence purchasing decisions.  How have your brand use this powerful marketing tool?  Do share by leaving a comment below.

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Driving Engagements through Interactive Content

Picture Courtesy of Angelo Moleele @unsplash

It was opined, as far back as 1995, that interactive marketing is the future of digital advertising and e-commerce.  Since that significant shift from traditional marketing strategy, interactive marketing made great strides in helping brands engage better with their consumers. 

Not surprising then, that interactive content became the all important elixir to interactive marketing, especially contents that engage, convince and convert the audience. With IoT, 5G, Big data and AI to come, we can only expect exciting times ahead for quality interactive content.

Related: Read about MarTech’s prediction of the top 5 Content Marketing Trends For 2020

Making a Mark 

You probably have seen many interactive content throughout the day. Perhaps some info-graphics while browsing through websites or video advertisements while looking through your news feeds in Facebook. Broadly put, interactive marketing uses any interactive content to enable customers to interact with the brand, including (but not limited to):

  • Interactive storytelling
  • Interactive Info-graphics
  • Quizzes
  • Games
  • Videos
  • Polls/Surveys
  • Email campaigns

These interactions provide the crucial data brands need to journey together with their customers.  The data help brands track their customer behavior, device marketing plans and style their products and services offerings to suit their customers’ wants.  Better understanding leads to greater customer satisfaction and thus, mapping the path to loyal customers.

Many brands engage content marketers to evaluate the right communication channel and create campaigns that will perform well. Content marketers help brands achieve higher SEO rankings, ensure the right balance in the consumption and absorption of content and most importantly, create the right User-Generated Content (UGC) to generate better brand experience.

Exactly, how powerful is interactive content? Well, 64% of consumers say watching video on Facebook has influenced a purchase decision of theirs in the last month.  Plus, people are said to have the ability to recall 65% of the visual content that they see almost three days later.

Here’s a look at some examples of great interactive contents:

Survey / Quiz 
Marriot’s website provided a fun way to families planning for a get-away to Scottsdale, Arizona. Based on their answers to the questions, Marriot’s interactive graphics suggest places to visit.

Interactive Website 
Designed by VGNC company, this website introduced APPS’ flagship product apple cider (liquor) in a cool way. You can create a memorable cider producing experience through few easy clicks. I love this, simply because it’s not an ‘in-your-face’ kind of advert that aggressively  pushes its product.  Instead, it lulls you into an experiential journey of plucking, squeezing and pouring your very own cider.

Related: 20 Best Interactive and Fun Website Examples 2019 

Interactive Email 
A surprising element will do wonders for any boring marketing email.  For example, a pop up box featuring the summer drink menu from the company Pret, is a nice “surprise” as it pops up once the email is opened.  Definitely a welcomed departure from the usual marketing emails we receive.

Or book a ride with Penguin Random House on a journey to find out what new books they have in store.  All it takes is to scroll down the email and click on the respective cities’ button – which makes it low in interaction barrier and delightfully surprising, as you’ll discover different new books in each city.

Related : 5 Ways to Integrate interactive marketing into email marketing 

Developing solid interactive content has become a must for any brand now.  What have your brand been doing to cut through the noise and better engage, educate and entertain your customers? Do leave me a comment below.

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Lessons from a classic advert


Photo by Cliff Johnson on Unsplash

I remembered watching this particular advertisement when I was a kid. They had this catchy slogan- style, quality, excellence– that’s stuck in my head, even till this very day.

Well, never mind that the product they were advertising was highly inappropriate –  cigarettes (gasp!).  But man, do these words ring true! I have, throughout my writing life, often reminded myself, how crucial it is to deliver a top-notch work that reflects these very same words.

So, what is style?
The good news is, one’s writing style is not something you are born with.  It can be learned.  To develop your own style, begin by harnessing what is inside you – your innate personality and capabilities.  Develop your own voice and tone. (This calls for a separate blog another day).  Think about who you are writing for,  imagine what they are like and how you want them to respond to what you write.  Keep your words simple –  free from grammatical,  sentence construction and spelling errors.  Keep it real.  Don’t force another’s style into your writing or you will end up with incoherent ramblings.

Someone once told me to always write authentically.   Be yourself when you write, they said. Right. But, as a novice writer, where (and how) in the world am I supposed to find my own style? Thankfully, after hundreds of drafts, I believe I’ve found my groove; a style that principally identifies with me.  The key is to let the passion inside of you exude into your work and influence your choice of words.  Allow what we write to be enriched by our beliefs, our experiences and even our eccentric expressions.

What about quality content?
Did you read about how Apple is planning to invest over US$1 billion on original content? Or how the other big players Google, Facebook and Amazon are each spending significant dollars on original video contents, too? The future of content marketing trend is all about consistent, original and addictive content!

In writing, original contents are in demand. Organisations look for that special breed of  writers whom understands and turn unique ideas into results. These writers help establish organisations as experts in their niche and help widen their influence.  Original contents garner more mentions, shares, likes in the social media and gets you the attention quicker than any other reshared or copied content.

Excellence- at the heart of every writer
I rarely release any work without first going through my toughest critic – me.  I diligently complete my drafts, rereading and scraping away ideas that didn’t quite made sense after a second read.  I love my readers, so I made a point to connect with them by writing something they’ll enjoy reading.  Facts are researched responsibly and inspirations are caught from reading, interactions and even watching some television. Excellence, too is that incredible willingness to work hard- to have the discipline to sit down every morning to write even when the flesh is weak.

How do you find your style? Where do you find your inspirations for quality content? What habits do you instill to be a good writer? Share by leaving a comment below.




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Beautiful. About what writing should and should not be. Let’s get ready to W.R.I.T.E. better.

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Ranting on social media seems to be the rage nowadays. If you are unhappy about a service, you post it up on Facebook. If you want to push an opinion across, you tweet fervently about it.  Online bashing seemed acceptable to many without much thought of its consequences.

In an article “Social media rants do more harm than good”, the Institute of Customer Service reported an eight fold increase of complaints made on social media from 2014 to 2015. The figures for 2016, will undoubtedly be higher.

For many good years, people used to just communicate personally; face-to-face, to the other party over any dissatisfaction. The embarrassment was contained to just both the parties involved.  Now, with the social media, the whole world gets to know about it! The good, of course, will be keeping service providers on their toes all the time. Thus, ensuring consumers experience top quality service and maximum satisfaction.  The bad and the ugly? Often than not, these rants and slanderous comments cause irreparable damage to one’s reputation.

How then, can we rant responsibly, if there ever was such a thing to begin with?

I read a post by a recruiter recently on a popular networking site on how a prospect snubbed her for offering a much lower pay from his current earnings. Her followers were quick to jump in claiming how wrong, arrogant and disrespectful this man was to the recruiter. But the tone she wrote was equally condescending. How can she dissed her prospect? How can she enjoy reading the callous comments she received from her followers? Did they actually know the other side of the story? Have they given a thought about the prospect’s reputation?

Let’s intentionally be more responsible with what we write, post and tweet. The words we choose and the tone we use reflect who we are as a person.  Be good. Be kind.

The pen is indeed mightier than the sword.

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Writing superpower

apple books

Pic courtesy of rgbstock

I had in my recent assignment been put to a challenge to stretch myself as a writer both technically and creatively. While I am thankful for the nudge towards improvement, I am painfully reminded on how important it is to continue learning and upskill myself.

Apart from picking up reading materials such as magazines, books, journals as well as quality blogs and webs relevant to the industry, I was curious enough to try a quick search on the web on some tips to improve my writing.

Of course the search yielded many results; some really good and some, well, let’s just say, common sense should suffice. I found this blog 9 Essential Books that will transform your writing forever by Marsha Stopa, still insightful albeit being not-too-current when it was published in 2014.  I liked the way the article addressed the needs of the writers from different stages : novice, competent and seasoned. Also, the writer’s list of the only 9 books you ever need to read to become a better writer? That’s really enlightening!

Read on and share with me your comments 🙂

As for myself, time to get my hands on Cashvertising!

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Curate me right!

Search Engine Journal featured an intersting topic “Why You Must Curate Content in 2015” . That curation is a great way to find ideas, share informed insights and support well-written contents of your own, would it replace genuine contents written from scratch?

What is content curation?
“Content curation is a process of consistently finding, organizing, annotating and sharing the most relevant and highest quality digital content on a specific topic for their target market. Enlightened content marketers are using a content mix that is only 65% created, with the remainder being 25% curated and 10% syndicated. ” (Source:

How do we find and organize masterpieces from this already content-saturated world?  Here are some great tools you can use:

This is a simple and easiest way to find, collect and share what other people are saying all over the web on social media. Their tag; “Simple, Social Campaigns”, “Simple, Social News”, “Simple, Social Conversations”, “Simple, Social Memes”, “Simple, Social Events”, “Simple, Social Storytelling”  speaks volumes to what impact Storify has in content sharing and collaboration.

Twitter’s answer to Storify! Twitter’s own media aggregation tool that will match or select tweets and vines into an embeddable collection. Plus, Curator gives you real-time insights (i.e total number of tweets, authors) on all the different topics being discussed on Twitter.

Scoop it
With a catchy tagline (You are the content you publish), Scoop it appeals to thought leaders, content marketers and knowledge managers. With just 3 simple steps to follow; find something awesome, add your fresh perspective and then publish it easily with just a click to your social networks, blogs or Google friendly splash page.

Try it and you might just turn curating into your new hobby.

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