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InContext / An inside look at the business of digital content

Feed your UGC community to help your content strategy succeed

December 12, 2022 | By Mark Zohar, President & COO – Viafoura @viafoura

You’ve put in the hard yards, integrated an effective Digital Experience Platform (DXP) with engagement and moderation solutions, and finally established a safe space for your audience. With a community framework in place, and a moderation solution in action, you can use your newfound spare time to give due praise to the golden geese of your flock: the user generated content (UGC) contributors. 

First things first. You need to answer some questions: Who are the high energy User Generated Content Contributors eager to publicly make their mark? Can their contributions be used as aspirational behavior for other more passive users? If so, what are some ways to go about this that don’t feel disingenuous?

Positive reinforcement is a sure way to encourage users further down your audience funnel and strengthen retention. By putting the contributions of your community up on a pedestal, you reward those ultra-valuable UGC Contributors with recognition. However, you also broadcast to your community and beyond the kind of behavior your brand values and celebrates. 

There will be clear ROI once you’ve integrated a solid UGC contributor element to your existing audience-first content strategy. You should experience ample revenue gains (in both ad and subscriptions). You will also foster a consistently expanding community of users steadily flowing through your audience funnel.

In order to determine how best to integrate UGC Creators into your strategy, you’ll need to first consider what tools and techniques are available to you. Then, consider how to optimize the efficacy of UGC Content. And, most importantly, how to do it in a way that uplifts your brand and drives its success.

Highlight user comments

On a smaller day-to-day basis, implementing a pinned comment strategy is a great way to highlight members of your community as well as set the tone for budding conversations. 

In some cases, having your editorial/content team kick off the discussion in the comments section with a pinned comment as a conversation starter can lead to immediate engagement and user contributions. Once those user comments roll in, swap out your comment with a user contribution that endorses your brand values, sets the tone, and encourages others to join in.

Editor’s pick

A useful strategy is to think about where you can reach different audiences at different stages of the audience funnel. For example, if your editorial team sends out a newsletter, including a piece of UGC in an “Editor’s Pick” segment is a great way to show you value the contributions of your community members. It gives registered members a reason to bring their own opinions and perspectives to the table in the hopes of being featured as well. 

To reach audiences that may not be signed up for newsletters, building these Editor’s Picks into readily available on-site content can inspire registered users and connect with as of yet unregistered visitors. Sharing these contributions with a broader audience has the potential to, once again, establish an aspirational behavior for other users to strive for and improve engagement.


Not unlike highlighting what your UGC Contributors have shared, badges are a way for you to distinguish between different types of users engaging with your content and help foster a unique community specific to your site. Rewards beget rewards in this case, as users who have put in the time and energy to earn a badge of their own are far more likely to keep up their efforts and stay active and engaged.

Harness the unique value of UGC

At the end of the day, the audiences that seek out content and invest their time, energy, and money into your publication are the bread and butter of the publishing world. Now more than ever their involvement in the content creation process could easily be considered a collaboration. Not only do their unique data offerings help publishers steer nearer to providing pitch-perfect content, but their content contributions have the potential to help boost subscription and ad revenue. Not to mention their enthusiasm has proven to be contagious and drives abundant audience growth.

When we celebrate our audience members’ loyalty and contributions, we demonstrate how much we value them, and strengthen our connection. That, in turn, allows us to learn more about them so that we can continue to provide them with the high-value interest focused content that they deserve.

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