While you may be locked up and working from home, unable to go out to do your job as you used to, there is a still lot of content out there that you may be able to use for your reporting.
Here are a few tips and ideas on how you can use the UGC.
There are two main sources of the User Generated Content:
- Content people posted and you found online
- Content you asked the members of the audience to send you
Both have huge potential to increase and the volume and add a new dimension to your output.
Here is what to keep in mind when you are thinking of using the UGC:
- Videos you found on the social media.
Think why and how you would want to use it – there may be different reasons:
- Purpose 1: “Fun” videos: Add humour, entertain the audience, get more clicks.
It is important to remember who your core audience is and what is their expectation of you. If you are usually writing for the middle-aged conservative people, be careful what joky videos and photos you will post. You can go a bit further on the social media platforms, but still don’t cross the line of what they will consider appropriate and good taste. Depending on the nature of the video, you may decide to only use it on your social media platform.
Here are two good examples where UGC videos turned into viral content on the BBC website:
Parents pretend to run a smart restaurant for children:
— @bigbenmoore (@bigbenmoore) March 28, 2020
How it was used by a local newspaper:
How it was used by the BBC:
Or for a Live Corona coverage on the website.
Restaurant dinner for kids:
- Purpose 2: Using UGC adding to your news coverage
Second type of UGC is editorial content that will add to your news coverage – will allow you to have video or pictures you would not be able to gather in the current situation. This is a very good example of such content:
BBC: Clap for carers
- As you cannot be 100% sure about the origin and the circumstances of the content, stick to the stories that are not editorially sensitive
- Do your best to authenticate the photo or video – find out who posted this content first
- If children or other vulnerable people are in the video, follow the same editorial guidelines and rules you would normally have
- Whenever possible, get permission. Ideally, you want a short exchange with the person who filmed and posted the content (DM, email etc) where you clearly stated where and how you will use it and they give you their permission without asking for money. Save that screenshot!
- Be careful when you edit the videos or change the photos – best to keep it as it is so that people don’t feel like you are lying to them
- Content you ask for:
This is a type of UGC content that you are actively looking for and commissioning from the audience.
You can call on your audience to send their own stories, photos, videos.
Guardian: Anywhere but Westminster – they asked their readers to talk about specific aspects of being in quarantine: health, worries, shopping, loss of income – Guardian curated and moderated the topics and clearly communicate with the people who are producing it for them.
- Make clear from the very beginning that you ask people to volunteer this content, for free.
- Curate this content editorially – set clear and understandable parameters – what you are asking them to fil, photograph or talk about and why.
- It might be helpful to send people some basic instruction of what you are after: How long they should talk to, what you would like to see, how they can record the video and the sound so that you can use it. This way you have a good chance of getting consistently usable content without asking people to re-do it.
- Remember to send them a link once it has been publish and thank them for their time.
Need to learn more on working remotely ? Here are two other articles by Zoya Charles :