User generated content is extremely important to hyperlocal blogs. The readers of this kind of blog are often those who generate content for it.
People are always interested in what’s happening in their area. Equally if something interesting happens in a local area be it a car crash or a street party, people seem to like to talk about it and connect with other people to see if they know what’s going on.
Blogs and websites can either have simple comments sections to allow people to generate content or they can actively seek user generated content and news using plugins like the box shown below.
Battersea people is a hyperlocal website that focuses on news and events in London’s Battersea area. They have an area on their homepage dedicated to asking its readers about what’s happening in the area:
As you can see someone called “ex-teacher” has just sent in something.
And what are the advantages of asking your readers for UGC?
- people in the community can be original sources for stories
- they often know more about what’s happening at a local level than journalists
- they will be able to comment on the real life situation as it happens
- they can send in pictures/videos which is especially good if your journalist can’t be there
- people like to be members of communities so if they see their content being used they are very likely to continue sending in information which maked them a reliable source
- it can be a great source of case studies
I talked to Anisa Kadri,, the Community Publisher of Battersea People, about how the site uses UGC. She told me that some of the advantages to UGC are finding original stories, getting feedback from readers, and adding value and information to stories that they might have missed.
When I asked about how they regulate their UGC she said that the main regulator is the readers themselves. Anyone can press “report as abuse” on a comment or post and it will be immediately sent to the site administrators who can decide if it should stay or go!
Many people are scared by UGC being on their websites, but in the end a lot can be gained from it. As long as there is some form of content regulation that means that abusive comments or content can be removed it should be ok.
One of the big problems is when people start to say things that could be against the law. People might say something defamatory or libelous. We’re working on a post to explain all about this right now!
Click here to listen to the interview with Anisa. Or follow the link below:
Here are some other websites with interesting articles about UGC and Hyperlocal websites:
By Kirsty Malcolm @kirstymalcolm