We love print, but we want to grow our businesses, too. We want our customers to understand the value of print, but we want to show that we understand the power of digital channels and multichannel engagement, as well. What if there were a way to combine the two? This gave me an idea.

Stackla, a visual content engine that aggregates and licenses user-generated content (UCG) for use in brand marketing, just released a report on what types of content are most likely to engage consumers and influence their purchasing decisions. Its study, “The 2017 Consumer Content Report: Influence in the Digital Age,” surveyed 2,000 adults in the U.S., the U.K., and Australia, examining the content being created and shared online and what influences consumers’ purchasing decisions the most.

What characteristic did Stackla find that makes content the most influential? Authenticity. According to the study, 86% of respondents say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support. More than half (60%) say user-generated content, specifically, is the most authentic form of content, and respondents were three times more likely to say that content created by a consumer is authentic compared to content created by a brand.

The Stackla website has a variety of use cases that show how brands can put UGC in action, such as encouraging customers to create videos of themselves using their products or licensing UGC relevant to the brand’s products, then allowing people to vote for “best of show” on the brand’s website or Facebook page.

How can we apply this concept to print marketing? I think back to my previous post on why people love print. The post was based on comments from people in the print industry, but it got me thinking: What if printers got their customers to do the same thing? Ask them why they love print. Have them produce videos, submit comments, or fun images of themselves with their favorite printed product? Then use that content to create competitions, award prizes, and populate their websites, social media accounts, and email newsletters?

Using UGC in your marketing could have multiple benefits. First, it maintains engagement with your own customers. What could be better for your brand than having your customers compete by talking about how much they love your product? Why be the only one telling the story of the value of print when your customers can help do it for you? Second, sharing that content as part of a competition or other social media campaign establishes authenticity that helps customers trust you and want to engage with your brand and your products.

What do you think?