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Lessons from UGC in 2020 – and How it Can Help You in 2021



lessons from ugc in 2020 and how it can help you in 2021

As consumers battled to get used to the “new normal” in 2020, brands were also faced with finding new ways to stay connected with their audience.

Not only that, but the last twelve months have completely destroyed the concept behind big advertising campaigns. Social distancing meant camera crews weren’t able to gather, while many brands faced content production limitations. 

But there was one type of content that was particularly pandemic-friendly: user-generated content (UGC). 

In 2020, we saw a dramatic surge in customer-created photos and videos, across all different industries. Brands were able to collect and share content under tight budgets, with short deadlines, and without going all out on production. 

More importantly, they were able to share content that tapped into a growing need for human connection – which will remain a key element to consider in your 2021 approach.

Why UGC Connected Consumers Around the World in 2020

‘Connection’ was the buzzword of 2020. 

People were forced to stay home under strict lockdowns, as part of the COVID-19 mitigation effort. We were separated from family and friends, and the whole ordeal left a lot of people searching for connection anywhere they could find it. 

The pandemic has brought a sense of “we’re all in this together” with it and brands, are able to use this to maximize their own connection. 

Take Michigan Medicine, for example. They encouraged people to share drawings, photos, and words that recognized the sacrifices that medical workers have made. 

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Understandably, people didn’t want to feel alone, and the internet brought comfort in the form of UGC. It brought people together, and created communities around brands, while also giving people hope and uplifting stories to focus on. 

The Power of UGC – Why It Was the Most Needed Form of Content in 2020

UGC wasn’t just the easiest type of content to create in 2020 – it was needed. 

Here’s why: It facilitated a surge in ‘globally-focused’ content

Brands that attracted a local audience pre-pandemic found their doors blown wide open to a global customer base. As stay-at-home orders forced people to, well, stay at home, large numbers turned to online shopping. This enabled brands to focus on optimizing their online stores, and serving customers that weren’t just in the local vicinity of their brick-and-mortar store. 

UGC helped bring all of this together, enabling brands to connect with customers wherever they were in the world. 

Essentially, UGC fostered human connection – and that connection is more important than ever during a global crisis.

As humans, we want to feel a part of something, and a pandemic is a scary time for everyone. UGC helps bring like-minded people together, inject a sense of community, and create more “human” campaigns instead of polished, branded offerings. 

Mastercard’s “Apart, but united” campaign is a great example of a brand doing this well – they pieced together real footage from customers into a short, docu-style video that was emotional and connective. 

Consumers were actively seeking inspiring, uplifting, and relatable content during the pandemic. In fact, one study showed that 70% of people wanted brands to share positive content.

They especially sought content that acknowledged the turbulent situation we were all in, but that did so in a sensitive way.

UGC bridges the gap between brands and buyers and increases the sense of belonging.

Oreo’s #stayhomestayplayful cross-platform campaign shows this in action. It reminded their audience that happiness can still be found, even in the hardest of times. 

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that anything can happen at any time. No one expected last year to turn out the way it did, and it shows that being able to successfully pivot is a must-have for brands. 

The fast-paced nature of UGC, and the rawness of content from real people, means that brands are able to be far more flexible. This was vital when the state of the world was changing so fast – the last thing brands wanted was to spend two months working on a campaign, only to find it completely out-of-date after a couple of weeks. 

UGC enables brands to gather and share content quickly, and create in-the-moment campaigns based on current needs and trends. 

Jack Daniel’s did this through their “With Love, Jack” campaign. Using real footage from their audience, they edited together a short video showing people at home.

It increased trust at a particularly untrustworthy time 

People were hurt, confused, and skeptical in 2020. Many people had their livelihoods destroyed, millions lost their jobs, and even more had sick family members. There was a lot of bad news all round. 

As such, trust was absolutely crucial for brands wanting to attract and maintain their customer base during the pandemic, and UGC is key to building trust. In fact, 70% of consumers trust UGC more than branded content, while 75% think UGC makes content more authentic. 

What This Means for the Future

I think we can be pretty confident that many of the trends in 2020 will carry over to 2021, including the surge of UGC. Instead of waiting for the “new normal”, we should accept that we’re already experiencing it, and in this new normal, trust, community, and connection are absolutely crucial. 

Brands are now serving a much wider audience, and that audience is often sprinkled all over the world. To maintain these new customer bases, businesses will need to continue building trust, and cementing customer relationships. UGC is the perfect way to do this through social proof and community building. 

What UGC Will Look Like in 2021

The State of UGC Report states that UGC will still be huge in 2021. The effects of the pandemic continue to ripple throughout the world. That won’t change anytime soon.

However, we can expect brands’ use of UGC to develop and evolve as they settle into this new groove of customer-focused marketing. 

In 2021, brands will:

Use UGC to provide deeper social proof

Instead of sharing UGC as and when it becomes available, it will become an integral part of every marketing campaign. Positive customer reviews will be critical for brand success, and social proof will expand to include real-life customer stories told through different content formats. 

Encourage employee content creation

Employees have been stuck at home too. In 2021, more brands will loop their staff members into content creation to bring together dispersed teams.

Personalize UGC campaigns

Most consumers today expect personalized campaigns. In fact, they’re happy to hand over their data in exchange for personalized product recommendations and individual journeys based on their needs. 

Tap into nostalgia

According to one study, nostalgic feelings make customers more willing to spend their money. As people strive for “things to go back to normal”, we’ll see more brands tapping into the past. 

Weave UGC into other marketing campaigns

UGC has proven to be an integral part of marketing in 2020. Next year, we’ll see it popping up in other types of campaigns, too.

Take White Plains’ ‘Virtual Oktoberfest’ event, for example. The main campaign is a virtual event, but the organizers turned to UGC to generate increased buzz around it. 

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Share more live-streams

Live-streams were incredibly popular during 2020 – which is not surprising really, given consumers were stuck at home and craving connection. 

2021 is likely to propel video-based UGC campaigns into the limelight. Sephora started to increase their IGTV output during quarantine, and it looks like they’ll be doubling down on that over the next few months. 

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Integrate UGC into Your 2021 Marketing Plans

At this point, you’ve probably mapped out your marketing plans for the next few months, maybe even the next year if you’re particularly organized. But have you included enough UGC in the mix? 

We can’t predict what will happen in 2021 (and we wouldn’t want to, if 2020 is anything to go by), but we can learn from things that worked in the past. And UGC was definitely one thing that worked well in 2020. 

In fact, it was the perfect marketing tactic during the pandemic. It brought people together, instilled a sense of “we’re all in this”, and helped brands cement trust with an increasingly skeptical consumer base.

So, if you haven’t already, it’s time to start thinking about how you’ll inject a hearty dose of UGC into your marketing campaigns.

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12 Proven Methods to Make Money Blogging in 2024



Make money blogging


Make money bloggingThis is a contributed article.

The world of blogging continues to thrive in 2024, offering a compelling avenue for creative minds to share their knowledge, build an audience, and even turn their passion into profit. Whether you’re a seasoned blogger or just starting, there are numerous effective strategies to monetize your blog and achieve financial success. Here, we delve into 12 proven methods to make money blogging in 2024:

1. Embrace Niche Expertise:

Standing out in the vast blogosphere requires focus. Carving a niche allows you to cater to a specific audience with targeted content. This not only builds a loyal following but also positions you as an authority in your chosen field. Whether it’s gardening techniques, travel hacking tips, or the intricacies of cryptocurrency, delve deep into a subject you’re passionate and knowledgeable about. Targeted audiences are more receptive to monetization efforts, making them ideal for success.

2. Content is King (and Queen):

High-quality content remains the cornerstone of any successful blog. In 2024, readers crave informative, engaging, and well-written content that solves their problems, answers their questions, or entertains them. Invest time in crafting valuable blog posts, articles, or videos that resonate with your target audience.

  • Focus on evergreen content: Create content that remains relevant for a long time, attracting consistent traffic and boosting your earning potential.
  • Incorporate multimedia: Spice up your content with captivating images, infographics, or even videos to enhance reader engagement and improve SEO.
  • Maintain consistency: Develop a regular publishing schedule to build anticipation and keep your audience coming back for more.

3. The Power of SEO:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ensures your blog ranks high in search engine results for relevant keywords. This increases organic traffic, the lifeblood of any monetization strategy.

  • Keyword research: Use keyword research tools to identify terms your target audience searches for. Strategically incorporate these keywords into your content naturally.
  • Technical SEO: Optimize your blog’s loading speed, mobile responsiveness, and overall technical aspects to improve search engine ranking.
  • Backlink building: Encourage other websites to link back to your content, boosting your blog’s authority in the eyes of search engines.

4. Monetization Magic: Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing allows you to earn commissions by promoting other companies’ products or services. When a reader clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you get a commission.

  • Choose relevant affiliates: Promote products or services that align with your niche and resonate with your audience.
  • Transparency is key: Disclose your affiliate relationships clearly to your readers and build trust.
  • Integrate strategically: Don’t just bombard readers with links. Weave affiliate promotions naturally into your content, highlighting the value proposition.

5. Display Advertising: A Classic Approach

Display advertising involves placing banner ads, text ads, or other visual elements on your blog. When a reader clicks on an ad, you earn revenue.

  • Choose reputable ad networks: Partner with established ad networks that offer competitive rates and relevant ads for your audience.
  • Strategic ad placement: Place ads thoughtfully, avoiding an overwhelming experience for readers.
  • Track your performance: Monitor ad clicks and conversions to measure the effectiveness of your ad placements and optimize for better results.

6. Offer Premium Content:

Providing exclusive, in-depth content behind a paywall can generate additional income. This could be premium blog posts, ebooks, online courses, or webinars.

  • Deliver exceptional value: Ensure your premium content offers significant value that justifies the price tag.
  • Multiple pricing options: Consider offering tiered subscription plans to cater to different audience needs and budgets.
  • Promote effectively: Highlight the benefits of your premium content and encourage readers to subscribe.

7. Coaching and Consulting:

Leverage your expertise by offering coaching or consulting services related to your niche. Readers who find your content valuable may be interested in personalized guidance.

  • Position yourself as an expert: Showcase your qualifications, experience, and client testimonials to build trust and establish your credibility.
  • Offer free consultations: Provide a limited free consultation to potential clients, allowing them to experience your expertise firsthand.
  • Develop clear packages: Outline different coaching or consulting packages with varying time commitments and pricing structures.

8. The Power of Community: Online Events and Webinars

Host online events or webinars related to your niche. These events offer valuable content while also providing an opportunity to promote other monetization avenues.

  • Interactive and engaging: Structure your online events to be interactive with polls, Q&A sessions, or live chats. Click here to learn more about image marketing with Q&A sessions and live chats.

9. Embrace the Power of Email Marketing:

Building an email list allows you to foster stronger relationships with your audience and promote your content and offerings directly.

  • Offer valuable incentives: Encourage readers to subscribe by offering exclusive content, discounts, or early access to new products.
  • Segmentation is key: Segment your email list based on reader interests to send targeted campaigns that resonate more effectively.
  • Regular communication: Maintain consistent communication with your subscribers through engaging newsletters or updates.

10. Sell Your Own Products:

Take your expertise to the next level by creating and selling your own products. This could be physical merchandise, digital downloads, or even printables related to your niche.

  • Identify audience needs: Develop products that address the specific needs and desires of your target audience.
  • High-quality offerings: Invest in creating high-quality products that offer exceptional value and user experience.
  • Utilize multiple platforms: Sell your products through your blog, online marketplaces, or even social media platforms.

11. Sponsorships and Brand Collaborations:

Partner with brands or businesses relevant to your niche for sponsored content or collaborations. This can be a lucrative way to leverage your audience and generate income.

  • Maintain editorial control: While working with sponsors, ensure you retain editorial control to maintain your blog’s authenticity and audience trust.
  • Disclosures are essential: Clearly disclose sponsored content to readers, upholding transparency and ethical practices.
  • Align with your niche: Partner with brands that complement your content and resonate with your audience.

12. Freelancing and Paid Writing Opportunities:

Your blog can serve as a springboard for freelance writing opportunities. Showcase your writing skills and expertise through your blog content, attracting potential clients.

  • Target relevant publications: Identify online publications, websites, or magazines related to your niche and pitch your writing services.
  • High-quality samples: Include high-quality blog posts from your site as writing samples when pitching to potential clients.
  • Develop strong writing skills: Continuously hone your writing skills and stay updated on current trends in your niche to deliver exceptional work.


Building a successful blog that generates income requires dedication, strategic planning, and high-quality content. In today’s digital age, there are numerous opportunities to make money online through blogging. By utilizing a combination of methods such as affiliate marketing, sponsored content, and selling digital products or services, you can leverage your blog’s potential and achieve financial success.

Remember, consistency in posting, engaging with your audience, and staying adaptable to trends are key to thriving in the ever-evolving blogosphere. Embrace new strategies, refine your approaches, and always keep your readers at the forefront of your content creation journey. With dedication and the right approach, your blog has the potential to become a valuable source of income and a platform for sharing your knowledge and passion with the world, making money online while doing what you love.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?




Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

In a recent announcement, Snapchat revealed a groundbreaking update that challenges its traditional design ethos. The platform is experimenting with an option that allows users to defy the 24-hour auto-delete rule, a feature synonymous with Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging model.

The proposed change aims to introduce a “Never delete” option in messaging retention settings, aligning Snapchat more closely with conventional messaging apps. While this move may blur Snapchat’s distinctive selling point, Snap appears convinced of its necessity.

According to Snap, the decision stems from user feedback and a commitment to innovation based on user needs. The company aims to provide greater flexibility and control over conversations, catering to the preferences of its community.

Currently undergoing trials in select markets, the new feature empowers users to adjust retention settings on a conversation-by-conversation basis. Flexibility remains paramount, with participants able to modify settings within chats and receive in-chat notifications to ensure transparency.

Snapchat underscores that the default auto-delete feature will persist, reinforcing its design philosophy centered on ephemerality. However, with the app gaining traction as a primary messaging platform, the option offers users a means to preserve longer chat histories.

The update marks a pivotal moment for Snapchat, renowned for its disappearing message premise, especially popular among younger demographics. Retaining this focus has been pivotal to Snapchat’s identity, but the shift suggests a broader strategy aimed at diversifying its user base.

This strategy may appeal particularly to older demographics, potentially extending Snapchat’s relevance as users age. By emulating features of conventional messaging platforms, Snapchat seeks to enhance its appeal and broaden its reach.

Yet, the introduction of message retention poses questions about Snapchat’s uniqueness. While addressing user demands, the risk of diluting Snapchat’s distinctiveness looms large.

As Snapchat ventures into uncharted territory, the outcome of this experiment remains uncertain. Will message retention propel Snapchat to new heights, or will it compromise the platform’s uniqueness?

Only time will tell.

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach



Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

While it is tempting to try to appeal to a broad audience, the founder of alcohol-free coaching service Just the Tonic, Sandra Parker, believes the best thing you can do for your business is focus on your niche. Here’s how she did just that.

When running a business, reaching out to as many clients as possible can be tempting. But it also risks making your marketing “too generic,” warns Sandra Parker, the founder of Just The Tonic Coaching.

“From the very start of my business, I knew exactly who I could help and who I couldn’t,” Parker told My Biggest Lessons.

Parker struggled with alcohol dependence as a young professional. Today, her business targets high-achieving individuals who face challenges similar to those she had early in her career.

“I understand their frustrations, I understand their fears, and I understand their coping mechanisms and the stories they’re telling themselves,” Parker said. “Because of that, I’m able to market very effectively, to speak in a language that they understand, and am able to reach them.” 

“I believe that it’s really important that you know exactly who your customer or your client is, and you target them, and you resist the temptation to make your marketing too generic to try and reach everyone,” she explained.

“If you speak specifically to your target clients, you will reach them, and I believe that’s the way that you’re going to be more successful.

Watch the video for more of Sandra Parker’s biggest lessons.

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