It was 2015, and I remember anxiously grabbing the bottle of Coca-Cola I’d pressured my mum to buy.
Mind you, it wasn’t my love for the fizzy drink that had me on edge. I was eager to see whether this was the lucky day my name finally appeared on a Coke bottle. News flash, it wasn’t 😢. And to the best of my knowledge, none of those bottles ever carried my name (probably because I have a not-so-common name).
Fast forward 7 years later, I’m a B2B marketer and I can see why the #ShareACoke campaign was a huge success.
Consumers felt so special seeing their personalized bottles, that it drove a ton of User Generated Content. It’s why I pressed my mum for one, after all. In Coke’s case, over 500,000 #ShareACoke UGC images got created in the first year alone.
And for a while, it seemed like only B2C companies could wield User-Generated Content (UGC). Other successful UGC campaigns like #ShotOnIphone, & Starbucks’ White Cup come to mind.
But today, UGC is no longer synonymous with B2C.
B2B marketers have found a way to harness its power.
We now repurpose UGC on landing pages, ads, emails, social media, and sales pages with great success. For instance, by sharing UGC reviews on your website, 35% of technology buyers are more likely to purchase your product, according to TrustPilot’s recent survey.
But there’s one B2B marketing medium that hasn’t fully leveraged UGC.
B2B blog posts/articles!
UGC & B2B Blog Posts: The Often Ignored Match
I say “fully leveraged” three paragraphs above because, sometimes, brands repurpose B2B user-generated content into their written case studies.
But what I’m talking about goes beyond that.
I’m referring to a technique whereby you infuse UGC (user reviews & testimonials) directly into articles instead of expanding into standalone case study pieces.
It shouldn’t, especially as it is not a new concept in the marketing world. UGC/short case studies are often infused in email marketing campaigns. For instance, here’s an email from Encharge:
And another from Talia Wolf’s newsletter:
Furthermore, some brands like Hotjar do something similar in their blog posts. Here is an excerpt from one of their pieces:
In another article, they linked to the referenced case study:
But how can you be sure this strategy works?
We employ an advanced version—Product-Led Storytelling—and it has gotten results for our clients and us:
Product-Led Storytelling, as conceptualized by Victor Eduoh , is story-driven SaaS content marketing approach with three building blocks: User-Generated Content, Contextual CTAs, and Product walkthroughs:
Below is an example of how we infused UGC into a client’s article:
The logic behind why this works is simple.
For one, customer testimonials and reviews are powerful.
According to Demand Gen Report:
TrustRadius’ survey further revealed that 59% of enterprise technology buyers used reviews as an information source when purchasing a new product.
These statistics show that nowadays, prospects’ buying journey “looks more like a series of loops than a funnel or a direct path,” in the words of Joe Kevens, PartnerStack’s Director of Demand Gen. Essentially, this pattern means the traditional B2B SaaS marketing funnel is broken
People don’t read in the TOFU-MOFU-BOFU order anymore.
Prospects now seek reviews and case studies early in the buying journey. In fact, most B2B buyers (29%) in TrustRadius’ survey say “check review sites” is their first step after identifying a need.
Here’s what you should take from all these.
If you relegate your case studies or customer success stories to the latter stage (as a BOFU content), you might lose a huge chunk of your audience. Since prospects seek out these reviews, why not make it easier for them?
Infuse these UGC into all your content so that regardless of the buyer’s journey approach, they can see how your product has helped other people like them.
B2B buyers are also fans of customer evidence because it makes buying easier for them. It was even the third thing they mentioned when asked about the top 5 things vendors can do to ease the process.
But that’s not all.
Highlighting your customers’ success stories in your content is a win-win situation for your brand. It makes them feel special and goes a long way in convincing readers to sign up for your product.
How to Infuse User-Generated Content Into Your Blog Posts
The first thing we should look at is how to scout for these UGC.
For a B2B SaaS company, likely places include third-party sites like Product Hunt, G2, Capterra, Social media, Glassdoor, GetApp, TrustRadius, etc. Just search for your company on these sites, and sort through the reviews left by customers.
Next, select the most relevant UGC depending on the context and target reader of the piece you’re writing.
As this piece on Testimonialhero puts it,
“You’ll need to tailor your testimonials to your clients by using specific exact words and phrases which resonate with them specifically.”
Then insert where necessary into your piece. There is no hard and fast rule to this. Include UGCs whenever you make a point about your product in the piece and have a review to back it up.
Here’s a real-life example.
At the start of our working relationship with Kittl, the company had just officially launched. We needed UGC and couldn’t find it on sites like G2 because it was still a new company. However, the company also launched on Product Hunt, and we found tons of reviews there:
One of the articles we crafted for Kittl was a vintage logo design guide. So I knew I had to use a review that touched on elements like vintage logos. And I found a great one which I included in the piece when I saw an opportunity:
The Never-Ending Cycle of User-Generated Content and Product-Led Storytelling
By infusing PLS (and UGC) into your content marketing, you can:
Generate New demand
It is a well-known fact that people are influenced by others. In fact, the 2022 State of User Generated Content by TINT reveals that 76% of people have purchased a product based on someone else’s recommendation.
Therefore, it stands to reason that if your reader sees a testimonial from your customer, they are more likely to sign up for our product.
Retain Current Customers
Another thing a blend of Product-Led Story and UGC does is to show, not just tell readers, how your product works.
A lot of the time, your current customers are not maximizing your product to its fullest potential. So when you use screenshots to walk the reader through how your product works and reviews to back them up, a customer might be introduced to new functionality, stay on for longer, and even upgrade if needed.
By crafting Product-Led Content, Ahrefs can achieve all that, according to Tim Soulo:
While a Product-Led Story is much more than Product-Led Content, it also proffers the results outlined in Tim’s thread.
The combination of reviews, contextual CTAs, and product walkthroughs in content (Product-Led Storytelling) produces an Infinite Customer Acquisition Loop.
The loop goes like this.
UGC contributes to a product-led story to help generate Product Qualified Leads that are likely to convert to users. If your product is solid (which I’m inclined to believe it is), these new and satisfied users are likely to create UGC. This is more fodder for subsequent product stories, which attracts more PQLS, leading to more customers, and on it goes.
As I said, an Infinite Customer Acquisition Loop:
B2B UGC Marketing Best practices
Before you embark on your UGC blog content marketing strategy, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Ensure you have permission to use and repurpose these UGC. You want to avoid any copyright or legal issues. If you obtain your UGC from social media, it is a good idea to reach out to the customers and collect explicit permission from them before reposting. If you’re reposting from third-party review sites, read their trademarks and copyrighted materials policies. Most of them allow for repurposing, but it never hurts to be sure.
- If possible, credit the UGC creator or link back to their profile in your piece. It gives them publicity and makes them feel special, resulting in more UGC.
- Not all reviews received will be positive. There will be criticisms and negative user feedback. In such instances, don’t just gloss over them. Learn, and show accountability.
- Finally, be proactive in encouraging UGC from your customers. There are different ways to do this, among which include challenges and incentives.
Once you have all these in place, infuse UGC into your B2B content marketing execution engine. You can subscribe to our newsletter to learn about other strategies to help generate demand.