There is a school of thought that peer-sourced content marketing – that which has been produced by people outside your brand – will become more prevalent.
The truth is anything could happen. The content marketing sector has and is seeing a massive shift in terms of take-up. Cut-through is just one well-documented issue to arise as a result.
Peer-sourcing could simply be a fancy name for it. Another description is user-generated content. In a B2B situation this could mean customer reviews or success stories rather than product information put out on behalf of the sales team.
One might argue that this encourages greater sincerity and builds trust. Real stories resonate with potential customers. Furthermore, fewer things foster greater engagement than evidence that other people are engaged as well.
There is nothing new in this approach. Amazon is a good example. Yes, it might be spending $4.5m an episode on The Grand Tour. but where would it be without myriad reviews spread across its product pages.
It’s a chicken and egg problem. You have to cajole people on to your site to make those comments in the first place. Consider why people are made to queue outside bad nightclubs. No one wants to be the first one inside, unless it’s happy hour and you’re a lonely alcoholic.
Secondly, an oft-forgotten fact is this: just because something is created by the user doesn’t mean it is well written. Editing is always required. In fact, it is probably better to take the writing off of them and give it to someone who knows how.
Whether you call it peer-produced content, user-generated content or simply customer testimonials, it will always have a part to play. However, there is a reason why the likes of the FT, Economist and Washington Post have not been put out of business by the Huffington Post or Mashable and it’s this: people will always go for quality content produced to high editorial standards. It is the central trunk around which other elements, such as user-generated content, will hang.
Quality has always been key. Sometimes the future is a throwback to the past.