What is UGC?
User-generated content (UGC) is audio or visual content created by regular people, customers, clients, or students that can be compiled and used for the purposes of marketing, video production, theatrical performances, podcasts, and much more. When it comes to advertising, think of it as customer-generated marketing. In the age of social media, everyone has the ability to share information in multiple ways. As a result, various companies and brands have utilized user-generated content to market their products, bring awareness to particular ad campaigns, or advertise their particular mission.
To not utilize user-generated content is to miss a great opportunity, particularly as people continue to work and operate remotely due to the pandemic. Even when the pandemic ends, using user-generated content will still be vital because it has the ability to connect people from across the world and give your brand increased exposure. Two types of user-generated content we will be outlining in this blog are: content related to marketing and content created for the purpose of collaborative video production.
User-Generated Content Marketing Examples
Many companies have already discovered the power of user-generated content for the purpose of marketing. One way they have utilized UGC is through ad campaigns on social media. These campaigns have allowed consumers to share content related to the product on various platforms.
For example, Coca Cola launched the “Share a Coke” campaign when they started releasing cans with random first names on them. Coke asked customers to share pictures of themselves with their personalized Coke cans. Coke loyalists were eager to share pictures of themselves on social media enjoying their individually-named sodas. This became a popular UGC campaign around the world.
There is also plenty of user-generated content on Instagram. Adobe created the hashtag #Adobe_Perspective for their product’s users to post their work. Not only does this give Adobe positive exposure, but it also gives content creators an outlet for sharing their original material. BMW has a similar hashtag on Instagram, #BMWrepost, which asks BMW owners to proudly display their vehicles with that specific hashtag. Many BMW drivers have participated in this campaign. Starbucks cleverly launched their #RedCupCampaign, which required customers to first buy their seasonal Starbucks drink in order to post pictures of their wintery red cup. Each of these companies used UGC to engage with their consumers and promote their products. Once prompting their customers to participate, many enthusiastically heeded the call.
As you can see, these UGC ad campaigns end up becoming a viral and self-perpetuating marketing tool. Once it is set in motion, the campaigns continue through user response and social media posts. Think about the time, energy, and money this saves companies. Not only are customers engaging in these campaigns for free, but they are eager to do so either because they are loyal to the product, delight in feeling part of a large movement, appreciate a new challenge, embrace an emotional connection, or maybe they just like a little extra attention. Whatever the reason users choose to partake, it is an invaluable tool for brands to market their unique product or message.
User-Generated Content Video Production Examples
In addition to being a marketing tool, user-generated content is also a useful tool for collaborative video production. Despite being isolated to protect ourselves from Covid, there are still opportunities to collaborate with a video production company like Tailor Made Media in order to produce video content that is high quality, even if none of the participants step foot in a studio.
Here at Tailor Made Media, we have produced several user-generated content projects remotely during the pandemic. We worked with The Shipley School to produce various types of video content that all required students filming themselves. One of the Shipley projects involved dozens of students singing the school song. After providing tips for capturing footage (see below) were able to compile the footage and edit it accordingly so all of the students could shine.
A more involved example of user-generated content with a school was our remote production of Beauty and the Beast with Strath Haven Middle School. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the production was not able to be performed in-person, so the students at Strath Haven Middle School and Tailor Made Media had to collaborate to create the play as a video production. Again, the students were asked to record themselves as they spoke their lines. They were still able to wear costumes and perform as they would on stage, then we were able to add animation, transitions, titles, and other post-production video effects to pull it off as a complete project. The example below is the prologue of the musical.
Another example of UGC at Tailor Made Media is collaborative music performance. We worked with The South Philly Big Band to produce a video of their song, “All Or Nothing At All.” Each musician and a vocalist recorded themselves performing the entire song, then we were tasked with editing these images together, while keeping the audio synced. The result is each talented musician and a lead vocalist joining together to create an engaging performance. Despite performing in separate spaces, the video production of this performance is still delightful to watch and listen to.
User-Generated Content Production Tips
Although the pandemic has not provided an ideal production situation, we have learned the value of being able to put such a project together from a distance. If you hire Tailor Made Media to produce video content, but are unable to connect in person (for Covid or any other reason), there are numerous tips we would like you to keep in mind:
- Choose an appropriate location. Make sure it is a quiet space so you capture clean audio. Also, be sure the setting fits the production. Limit any distractions in the background. If you still have that loud wallpaper up from the ‘70s, try hanging a white bedsheet as a backdrop. Choose the right color of your backdrop so it doesn’t bleed with your costume.
- Use a tripod to improve stability. If you don’t have a tripod, just make sure your camera/phone is stable when you’re recording.
- Consider lighting and how you want to use it. Use a source that’s not too bright or too dull. And try to not mix different light colors because it can be distracting and throw off the color of your skin.
- Audio is super important, so in addition to choosing a quiet space, be sure that the audio is being captured effectively. You may need to project your voice more than you’re naturally inclined. It might be necessary to use a separate recorder to capture solid audio.
- Turn off auto exposure settings so the image doesn’t change suddenly.
- Check your focus. There is nothing worse than recording a great performance and then realizing the whole thing was focusing on something in the background.
- Consider using an app like Filmic Pro to up your game. Filmic Pro gives users multiple cinematic options on their phones, including various frame rates, eight different aspect ratios, manual focus, image stabilization, and much more.
Collaborating with a Video Production Company to Use UGC
If you decide to work with a video production company like Tailor Made Media and plan on using user-generated content, there are few things you should be prepared for. As always, we would want to have a conversation with you about your overall goals and vision for the project, which includes considering what style you’re going for as well as resources available to pull it off.
Once this is established, we will need to agree on some technical details like frame rate, aspect ratio, and size (HD, UHD, 4K, 6K, 8K). These elements are important to maintain a uniform image and to keep files from getting out of control. When you edit 40 kids singing in a musical, you probably don’t need each file to be 4K because it will bog down our computers. That’s a lot of processing! We don’t expect you to be experts on this stuff (that’s our job), but we believe knowledge is power; the more you know about the process, the more informed, realistic, and helpful your creative decisions will be.
We will also want to agree on certain graphic elements and editing tools to make the final product look as professional as possible. Going at it alone as a solo videographer will simply not get you the result that a professional video production company can achieve. At Tailor Made Media, we are experts at light, sound, and visuals. We also know how to avoid certain pitfalls, which saves everyone involved time, money, and splitting headaches. We have top-notch equipment for improving audio and video quality, so remember that it is an investment. Your final product will last forever and you will be able to share it as much as you want.
Once the pandemic ends, there will still be reasons to to utilize user-generated content. The convenience of being able to share and spread content from across the world is an asset not to be underestimated. Whether it’s using consumer generated content for a marketing campaign or collaborating on a video production project, UGC is here to stay and will only grow. If you work with Tailor Made Media to produce this type of content, be sure to follow the tips outlined above. Of course, we will work with you every step of the way to produce the best video possible. Once you have your finished product, you’ll be free to share it with the world. Now that’s the type of viral spread we can all embrace.
For a few more tips, check out this video our Director, Chris Cotter, made for the middle schoolers of Strath Haven. Some tips may sound like common sense because it’s geared toward the middle school age group, but you will still find many good tips for creating your User Generated Content!