Build a loyal community with ease…
A user-generated content blog consists of active, loyal, and highly motivated people who are always happy to post new content on your behalf.
This allows for a blog that always feels fresh and highly engaging. Best of all, you aren’t required to do all the maintenance work yourself!
Today we’ll talk about building a fun community consisting of user-generated content, fueled primarily by virtual and real-life perks to spice things up.
This is a fairly underused idea we discussed here a few years ago (now updated with even more strategies). The best thing about it is that not many traditional blogs follow this formula.
So, ready to try this untapped twist on blogging? Let’s get started.
Pick a Relatively Broad or Active Niche
You are probably wondering why I suggest picking a fairly broad market. Simply put, if a website is to be maintained by multiple contributors, there needs to be plenty of topics to choose from.
A video game blog might include:
- Game trailer analysis
- Feature / opinion articles
A dating & relationships blog might consist of:
- Dating advice for men / women by age group (20s, 30s, 40s)
- Breakup-related advice
Style and grooming content
- Dating app reviews
Lists and comparisons between dating apps
- Picture-driven content
- Q&A sessions about dating
A lifestyle blog might include:
- Dating / relationship tips
- Tips for different personalities (introverts, social butterflies)
- Health and wellness topics
- Things to do in particular places
- Self-development content
Same goes for digital marketing and many other niches. You get the idea.
Keep Things Attractive
Creating a user-generated content blog requires that you remove any overwhelming elements. For example, implement some of these:
- Menu items should be in plain English instead of using brandable terms
- Use attractive font and colors throughout the blog
- The website should be fairly simple, yet highly attractive to the end-user
Your blog’s articles should also be easy on the eyes, so break paragraphs and keep them short (no more than two sentences long).
Invite New Contributors
Create a dedicated “Write for us” page, of sorts. But don’t just call it that, as this alone will not attract anyone.
The idea is to give it a great title while also giving people a reason to contribute. Use a more attractive title such as:
Join us! List of benefits
Join our team (awesome rewards!)
Contribute & reap the rewards – Here’s how
Join our blog & earn!
As you probably picked up from the above titles, you need to provide actual perks beyond mere exposure…
Let’s Talk Benefits…
This whole idea heavily implies that it’s all about the people and not merely about yourself. So let’s give contributors tangible benefits that can have a real-world impact:
- An Amazon gift card to the top contributor each week/month
- Money deposited into people’s PayPal account
- Physical items or other digital goodies from various websites
The above items can be a real game changer, considering most people love receiving free things.
It’s also rare to see blogs actively giving things away (aside from a free guide), which means you could easily stand out within your niche (no matter how competitive it might be).
Implement Secondary Benefits
Think of smaller, but useful features that could further attract visitors and potential contributors. For example:
A “Top contributors” widget – The Top 10 WordPress plugin displays your blog’s top posts, most active authors, and even counts all page views.
A “Top commenters” widget – The Top Commentators WordPress plugin handles this like a champ.
A do-follow backlink (for contributors who have their own blogs)
Gamify Your Blog
All of the above incentives are already great, but why not take things a step further? Making your entire blog feel like a game can exponentially increase engagement.
Gamification plugins essentially give points and other virtual rewards to contributors based on specific actions.
For example, a user may earn 5 virtual points for logging in, commenting, or posting an article.
This means you can also give real-life rewards to those with the highest points each month. Pretty neat, wouldn’t you say?
Time to Promote!
Whether your community offers monetary compensation or other virtual perks, promoting it should yield great results if you remain persistent.
Here are some effective ways to promote your new platform…
Rely on popular job boards like Craigslist and our very own at BloggingPro. This puts your website in front of tons of eager writers (be sure to explain the benefits and be transparent in your ad).
Contact blogs that talk about freelancing, making money, and “hustle” culture. Let them know what you have to offer; these blogs are usually eager to publish different ways to make money or gain some type of benefit.
Tip: Don’t just contact other blogs out of nowhere. Read this important article on effective cold emailing strategies.
Instagram, Twitter, and Reddit are great for this…
Twitter: This is great for its simplicity and the use of hashtags such as #contests, #giveaways, #freestuff, and other related ones.
Instagram: Post the occasional contest that’s exclusive to that platform. Then, spend just $5 per month on their advertising platform to get a few loyal followers. These followers will eventually migrate to your blog.
Tweaking & Monetization
Not getting enough contributors? Simply tweak the most inviting parts of your site. For instance:
- Raise your Amazon gift cards to $20 instead of a mere $10
- Implement regular poll questions based around fun, hypothetical questions
- Improve your copywriting techniques to convince people to sign up
Monetization: If contributors are constantly earning actual currency, I suggest you implement various affiliate products that are closely related to your niche. This drives people to spend their earnings via your affiliate link.
Otherwise, remember that services like AdSense tend to work best with a lot of traffic. The above promotion strategies (and the fact that you’re giving things away) means that visitors are far more likely to visit (and revisit) your content.
Build a Thriving Community Today
I have had these types of sites before, and they can be highly rewarding in many ways (not just financially).
If you’ve ever considered building an active online community that partially maintains itself, there’s no better time to get started.