There are countless benefits to having an abundance of customer reviews. This feedback increases trust, drives brand authenticity, and offers you the opportunity to engage with your customers. But did you know customer reviews can also fuel your content marketing strategy?
Content marketing, a form of marketing focused on attracting an audience by publishing relevant content, has long-relied on full-time writers that will own the creation of content from research to publishing.
While we don’t expect that to change any time soon, there is something that most content marketers don’t know. There’s another goldmine of potential content right at their fingertips — user reviews.
You can use ‘User-generated content’ (UGC) in many forms. It can be to spark content ideas, inspire guest blogs, shape case studies, and a lot more. Let’s start, shall we?
How To Use Customer Reviews To Fuel Your Content Marketing Strategy
Whether your team is a content marketing engine or you’re just getting started, the following shortcuts will put you well on your way to creating pieces that resonate with your audience.
Spark Ideas For High-level Topics
One of the key areas of content marketing revolves around top-of-funnel (also known as TOFU) content. TOFU content, which focuses on high-level topics, isn’t necessarily meant to sell readers on your product. Instead, it wants to engage, inform, and delight readers, with the end KPIs and goals of establishing brand awareness, increasing site traffic, and generating leads.
While this isn’t necessarily the type of content in which you would actually feature customer reviews (we’ll get to that later), you can certainly use reviews to generate potential blog topics. To think like a content marketer, you simply need to identify some review’s primary talking points. From there, ask yourself: how can you turn this one-time event into a topic that resonates with the audience?
For example, say you’re the owner of a small restaurant and a particular Yelp review mentioned a server who took the night from good to great. While you wouldn’t write a TOFU article on that specific experience, it could spark the idea for a high-level article about the importance of customer service in the restaurant business.
Topic ideation is one of the toughest parts of content marketing. This easy shortcut will help you build your topic pool so you get straight to the fun part.
Identify Opportunities For Collaboration
One of the biggest trends in content marketing is guest blogging, where companies will publish articles on their blog written by an author who does not work at their organization. There are countless benefits to guest blogging, for both the host company and the guest blogger. It will increase publishing and traffic numbers for the host. Moreover, it’ll help the contributor build their personal brand — a true win-win.
That said, finding the contributors is no easy task. Some candidates will deliver content that needs to go through multiple rounds of edits before it’s even close to ready. Worse, some contributors will simply want to plug their own products.
Here’s where customer reviews come in. Reviewers are clearly experienced with your product or service, and the larger industry surrounding your organization. This makes them ideal candidates for guest blogs, with the first stage of the vetting process practically completed for you.
As an example, let’s say you’re a B2B software company selling a social media marketing tool. A reviewer who spoke to your software’s scheduling capabilities could be a perfect fit for a guest blog on the importance of keeping a social media content calendar.
Not only will this tactic increase your publishing numbers, but it will help you continue building a relationship with the people who matter most — your customers.
Fuel Your Social Media Marketing Content
At smaller companies, content marketers may wear a lot of different hats. They’ll need to be familiar with search engine optimization, social media marketing — you name it.
Moreover, it’s easy to let that social media ad copy fall to the back burner when you’re already swamped with writing long-form content. Enter: customer reviews (again).
Social media ads need to be concise and attention-grabbing at the same time, which is why snippets from your happiest customer reviews or earned badges are ideal content. What better way to attract new customers than by showing them what your current customers are already saying?
For example, Exago Inc. used the G2 badges they earned from their customer reviews to create the following social media ad.
Set The Stage For How-To Videos
Video has become increasingly demanded in recent years, and for good reason. It’s entertaining, consumable, and perfect for the more visual learners.
How-to videos are especially sought-after, as some of the world’s biggest brands take after Youtube stars and provide their audience with step-by-step content. That said, before content marketers jump on the how-to video train, they have to determine what it is exactly the audience wants to learn about. What do they struggle with? What processes could use some clarification?
So far, we’ve focused on using positive reviews to drive your customer marketing. Not anymore.
Negative reviews may seem like a marketers worst fear, but they shouldn’t be. If you want to make a how-to video, then it’s actually the not-so-good reviews are what you should look for. Negative reviews help you understand common pain points, or identify areas where customers aren’t using your product most effectively.
When you identify a problem, you can offer a solution. In this case, it’ll take the form of a how-to video.
Inspire Print Materials and Ads
Today, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a restaurant that doesn’t boast a “Users love us on Yelp!” sticker in their front window. Displaying customer's accolades for all to see has become commonplace.
It’s time content marketers start taking after these restaurant owners.
If you’re interacting with customers in person (at a conference, a brick-and-mortar store, etc.), you can consider using review content when thinking about your ad design. For example, say you run a clothing boutique that also maintains an online presence. You can consider featuring a particularly well-rated dress as a printed advertisement in the store.
Additionally, some review platforms offer electronic badges to signify different milestones. If it’s allowed, you could go as far as to print these out and display them on your booth at a conference, or even frame them in your organization’s headquarters!
Discover Ideal Case Study Candidates
If you’re a B2B marketer, you’re likely familiar with case studies — printed or online documents that highlight a particular customer and how they used your product or service to solve a problem, implement a new strategy, or ultimately, push the needles on company goals.
When done correctly, case studies can be an invaluable resource and play a major role in turning a prospect into a customer. When done incorrectly, however, you’ve spent time and resources on something that may never even make it to the printer.
A determining factor in whether or not your case study is successful is the customer you choose to feature. Are they engaged with your team? Do they have a good story? More than anything, are they willing to take the time to make this case study the best it can be?
Ten years ago, finding this perfect match was no easy feat. Today, with the plethora of customer reviews out there, your ideal fit may be right in front of you.
By reading through your company’s positive reviews, you can easily identify a customer who used your product successfully and was already willing to take the time to share their experience. Now, not every customer writing a review will be willing to devote extra time to a case study, but some will. And finding those advocates the first time around will get you that much closer to creating the perfect piece of marketing collateral.
So, What Are You Waiting For?
Content marketing is more than just blogging. It’s more than just understanding how Google’s search algorithm works or knowing how to write a case study.
Content marketing is about engaging with your audience and creating the unique content they want to read. In a world where consumers trust one another more than they trust any brand, using customer reviews to drive your strategy is a perfect way to create content that will resonate with and excite your readers.