Soliciting and shaping user-generated content


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4 case studies and 7 lessons in soliciting and shaping user-generated content. Geared specifically to magazine publishers, but applicable to other content providers as well.

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Soliciting and shaping user-generated content

  1. 1. Making UGC Work Presented by Kim Pittaway,
  2. 2. My background <ul><li>Magazine writer, editor and editorial consultant </li></ul><ul><li>Have worked with a range of publications on online strategies, from large circ mags to small literaries </li></ul><ul><li>Goal of this session: to equip you to create a plan for generating engaging and cost-effective UGC </li></ul>
  3. 3. Today’s session <ul><li>4 case studies </li></ul><ul><li>7 lessons </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Case Studies <ul><li>48 Hours--an almost instant magazine </li></ul><ul><li> & Yelp--stand-alone UGC </li></ul><ul><li>Ushahidi & the Gulf Coast oil spill--contributing to a larger story </li></ul>
  5. 5. 48 hours <ul><li>Announced April 27-ish </li></ul><ul><li>Website/blog to take users/contibutors behind the scene </li></ul><ul><li>Promoted on Twitter, industry blogs, mainstream media--immediate buzz </li></ul><ul><li>Buzz boosted by having list of high-profile participants already in place </li></ul>
  6. 6. 48 hours <ul><li>Concept: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Editors determine issue theme </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Theme unveiled on Friday at noon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contributors have until Sat at 4 to submit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Team of editors/designers screen and edit and design over next 20 hours </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Files sent to MagCloud Sunday at noon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Digital edition available asap; print edition shortly thereafter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May 7: Theme announced: Hustle </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. 48 hours <ul><li>Blogged process to take users behind the screen; posted “Inspired” clips relating to theme </li></ul><ul><li>Over 1500 pieces submitted </li></ul><ul><li>70 pieces selected; 60-page magazine published </li></ul>
  8. 8. 48 hours <ul><li>Paid all contributors (based on 48 days of sales) </li></ul>
  9. 9. 48 hours <ul><li>Voila! </li></ul>
  10. 10. 48 hours <ul><li>And the PDF looks like…. </li></ul>
  11. 11. 48 Hours <ul><li>Contest-like atmosphere--will you be among the “winning” contributors? </li></ul><ul><li>Tight timeline </li></ul><ul><li>Status of other contributors </li></ul><ul><li>Unique project </li></ul><ul><li>High hip/buzz factor </li></ul><ul><li>Used the web--but created a print product </li></ul>
  12. 12.
  13. 13. <ul><li>Over 44,000 user-contributed recipes </li></ul><ul><li>9-16 million monthly uniques </li></ul><ul><li>3.6 million members </li></ul><ul><li>Since 2008, added local editions for Argentina, Australia & New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Quebec, Russia, SE Asia, UK & Ireland </li></ul>
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  16. 17. <ul><li>As a user, I can contribute in multiple ways: </li></ul><ul><li>Recipe </li></ul><ul><li>Photo </li></ul><ul><li>Review </li></ul><ul><li>List </li></ul><ul><li>I can also customize content to suit my needs: </li></ul><ul><li>Formats </li></ul><ul><li>Quantities </li></ul><ul><li>Shopping list </li></ul><ul><li>Recipe box </li></ul><ul><li>Customize recipe </li></ul>
  17. 19. <ul><li>0ver 10 million local reviews of restaurants, businesses and services </li></ul><ul><li>In US, Canada, UK, France & Ireland </li></ul><ul><li>All reviews are user-contributed </li></ul>
  18. 22. <ul><li>Combines elements of social network and review site </li></ul><ul><li>Users post reviews and photos, rate other reviews, create lists, send compliments & messages to other users </li></ul><ul><li>Reviewers awarded status by Yelp--”Elite”--and by other users through rating of reviews </li></ul><ul><li>Home page “Review of the Day” </li></ul>
  19. 23. Ushahidi <ul><li>Open-source software that collects and displays crowdsourced news submitted via mobile phone or internet </li></ul><ul><li>Originated in Kenya as a crisis reporting tool </li></ul><ul><li>Contributors aren’t crafting “the whole story”--they’re contributing small pieces of it </li></ul>
  20. 24. Ushahidi & BP Spill <ul><li>Louisiana Bucket Brigade (LABB) enviro group and Tulane University class had just launched an interactive map of Louisiana’s frequent oil refinery accidents </li></ul><ul><li>Day of final class: Deepwater Horizon rig exploded </li></ul><ul><li>LABB launched Oil Spill Crisis Map to track BP spill </li></ul>
  21. 29. Ushahidi <ul><li>Users can contribute </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a little or a lot </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Words, images, video </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Using a mobile phone, Twitter or the internet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Users get </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to see their input contribute to creating a bigger picture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To track the development of an on-going story </li></ul></ul>
  22. 30. The lessons <ul><li>Create buzz </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Attach celebrities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Create urgency through time constraints </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Get the message out through social media and traditional media </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Timeliness helps (BP, 48 Hours) </li></ul></ul>
  23. 31. The lessons <ul><li>2. Build in status-building opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>* Did I mention celebrities? </li></ul><ul><li>* Reward those who contribute a lot/high quality </li></ul><ul><li>* Let other users bestow status through rating/voting </li></ul>
  24. 32. The lessons <ul><li>3. Allow different levels of contribution </li></ul><ul><li>* Keeners can do more but slackers can still be in the game </li></ul><ul><li>* AllRecipes--even if I can’t create a recipe, I can take a picture or contribute a review </li></ul>
  25. 33. The lessons <ul><li>4. Make it easy </li></ul><ul><li>* Let people use the tools they have--Ushahidi lets you contribute using your phone or computer </li></ul><ul><li>* Make it interstitial if possible--so I can contribute in the moments between doing other things </li></ul><ul><li>* Understand your users’ level of likely contribution/technological sophistication </li></ul>
  26. 34. The lessons <ul><li>5. Make it fun </li></ul><ul><li>* Did I mention status? </li></ul><ul><li>* Let people collect points, badges, multiple opportunities to win </li></ul><ul><li>* Urgency/time contraints can boost the fun factor </li></ul><ul><li>* Recognize that even adults like to play--can you make some element of it game-like? </li></ul><ul><li>* Recognize what people like to share: there’s a reason “pet of the day” and wacky weather photos are popular </li></ul>
  27. 35. The lessons <ul><li>6. Shape it </li></ul><ul><li>* Recognize that UGC isn’t free: you may still need to shape the content (either in the front end through appropriate templates, or in the back end through testing, compiling, editing, etc--or, more likely, at both ends!) </li></ul>
  28. 36. The lessons <ul><li>7. Think it through! </li></ul><ul><li>* Don’t just put out a call for content: Create a plan </li></ul><ul><li>* Look for multiple platform opportunities--Extend the reach of your UGC </li></ul><ul><li>* Create a promotion plan to get the word out to potential contributors </li></ul>
  29. 37. Thank you!