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User Generated Content: Pros, Cons, and When to Use a Video Crew

Posted by Debbie Camper on April 24, 2019

For better and for worse, we live in a complicated digital age. No matter where you go, almost everyone will have a mobile device capable of shooting high-definition video (even 4K!) at a moment’s notice. Combined with social media giving any individual their own platform, and it’s no surprise that the amount of user generated content is on the rise.

For brands competing in an ever-crowded landscape of content, particularly video, the right direction to take when it comes to user generated content can be a little complicated. While there are definitely some positives to consider, there are an equal number of risks and negatives that pop up as well. Let’s take a look at some pros, cons, and why outsourcing a video crew will always be a safe bet.

Pro: An Increased Volume of Content

Consistently producing great content is an endless challenge for brands at every level. It takes time, money, and a great deal of effort to create content that truly works. Competition mixed with the extensive amount of content present on the internet means that it’s increasingly difficult to be truly original.

What’s tempting about user generated content is that it’s basically an endless well of information from ideas, to discussions, to physical photos and video. It can also alleviate some of the time-sensitive pressure to constantly produce something new.

User generated content of food.

Con: Risk of Negative or “Bad” Content

On the flip side, diving into the pool of user generated may also undermine quality. Think about it, relying too heavily on user generated content is essentially a gamble.

Realize that a lot of the content found in those public, digital social media spaces is not necessarily developed by professionals. It doesn’t really matter how good an individual’s camera is if they don’t know how to properly operate it.

Additionally, you also run the risk of running into content with a more negative spin. This can be detrimental to your brand’s core values, voice, and approach to a particular project.

Pro: Increased Audience Engagement

Pulling your audience in and making them feel like a part of your brand should be a huge part of your marketing. Especially when it comes to video. And there’s almost no better way to achieve that direct engagement than through user generated content.

For instance, let’s say a particular video or campaign puts out a call for user submissions. Those submissions can be reposted or collected to use again in a future project. Now your audience is directly involved and actively participating. They’re immersed in your brand narrative.

That kind of engagement can create a unique sense of trust and authenticity that is otherwise difficult to capture.

Con: Increased Need for Monitoring

Once you open the floodgates of user generated content, be prepared for anything. And that includes the whole spectrum: the good, the bad, and the ugly, if you will.

If you’re allowing users to comment or engage in discussions on your website, or post photos and videos, then there will undoubtedly be a greater need to monitor that activity. And unfortunately, the internet can be a harsh, unapologetic place.

Proper monitoring also serves to combat any spam, which can devalue how your brand is perceived. Always remember that while a lot of good may stem from user generated content, in unintended ways it can create more work and complication to your content curating process.

Mobile phone camera on a tripod capturing user generated content.

Pro: Promote Organic Discovery

One of the more tempting aspects of user generated content is that it can essentially provide another means for advertising. On top of that, it’s usually free. By creating a direct means of audience interaction, no matter what industry you’re in, your brand’s reach can potentially grow larger than any digital marketing plan can take you in a shorter amount of time.

Most content is extremely easy to share these days. And sometimes all it takes is an organic endorsement from a popular social media influencer or a viral piece of content that somehow has a foothold within your brand.

But if you’re banking on a particular campaign or piece of content to go viral, there are most likely larger problems at the root of your video production and digital marketing approach. However, there’s no denying the powerful reach and potential for audience discovery (which equals growth!) that can accompany the use of user generated content.

Con: Potential Legal Issues

Aside from the ethical and practical issues of utilizing user generated content (i.e. “bad”/negative content, increased need for monitoring), there are potential legal ramifications to consider. While user generated content provides more sheer volume of content, it doesn’t mean it’s rights-free.

Even though most content is uploaded to a “public” space like Youtube, Instagram, or Twitter, and may have even been done at the encouragement of a company campaign or #marketingeffort, the content still belongs to the user. And that ownership means you’ll need permission from individual users while also directing credit back to that user in some cases.

That creates some potential for legal issues. Brands have fallen into hot water for attempting to pass off viral video content on their own, without attributing credit or any kind of financial accommodation to the original user.

Modern digital spaces have made copyright laws a little blurry. The sheer number of people sharing the same content complicates things enough. And while standard ethical approaches to content should keep your company safe, there will always be some risk as far as user generated content goes.

When to Use a Crew

So, what have we learned? For one, user generated content definitely isn’t going anywhere. And in many ways it now holds a huge place in how we interact with brands, other people, and the world around us. Many brands are finding new ways to utilize user generated content. And while it can be a convenient way to source authentic content, it’s not without big legal and ethical risks.

One of the greatest assets in video production is control. And that’s something that’s often lost when it comes to user generated content. From script writing and pre-production, to actual shoots, post production, editing, and release, there’s no safer bet than working on an original project with a creative team you trust.

And when you’re ready to find that crew for your next project, look no further than Crews Control. We’ll connect you with the right production team for your project, no matter where you’re located. If you’re ready to take your video production to the next level, and maintain the consistent voice of your brand, reach out today for your free quote. From pre-production to final cut, with Crews Control you’ll always have the best crew for your company’s vision.

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