How to get the most out of content loops: the ultimate guide
14 min read

How to get the most out of content loops: the ultimate guide

How to get the most out of content loops: the ultimate guide

Content has long ceased to be just entertainment. Now, it is a tool that allows you to attract users, increase profits, and grow your business.

However, creating that content is only a small part of the task. If you want your content to spread like a hurricane, you need to make a real effort. But trust me, it's worth it.

In this blog post we will talk about content loops: what they are, what different types there are, and why you should use them. You will also receive a step-by-step guide to help you create a content loop for your business.

What is a content loop and how does it work?

Content loops involve publishing and sharing media, which is then shared by the business, its users, or partners. That action triggers signups, activations, and user engagement, which leads to more sharing of the media. This completes the loop or cycle.

A basic content loop looks like this:

  • New users sign up and try the product.
  • Content is created by users, companies, or partners.
  • Content is distributed by users, companies, or partners.
  • Content attracts new users who sign up and try the product.

For example, a user signs up for Pinterest. He adds his photos and pins them on a board. Algorithms show this board to those who might be interested in it. Another user finds a photo on Google, follows the link to the site, registers, and creates his/her boards.

General content loop

The primary constraints of content loops are the costs and volume of content being generated and the return per piece of content. If the users are creating the content, the cost is lower, so you don’t need a big return per piece of content to make a content loop. But if the company is creating content, the cost is higher, which means you need a higher return for every piece of content.

Depending on these indicators, four types of content loops are distinguished. Next, we will analyze them in more detail.

4 types of content loops

The content loop varies according to who creates the content and how it is distributed:

  1. User-generated, company-distributed (UGCD);
  2. User-generated, user-distributed (UGUD);
  3. Company-generated, company-distributed (CGCD);
  4. Company-generated, user-distributed (CGUD).

UGCD Content Loop

Users create content through product usage that attracts more users. Search engines are most often used for the distribution channel.

In general, the scheme of UGCD content loop looks like this:

  1. New users sign up.
  2. Some users create unique content.
  3. Search engines index content.
  4. People find content by keywords.
  5. Some of them sign up.
User-generated, company-distributed content loop scheme

Yelp is a website for local services, such as restaurants or hairdressers, with the ability to add and view ratings and reviews of those services.

A user signs up for a product by selecting a restaurant for a Friday night. He looks at the ratings of nearby establishments, reads the reviews, and makes reservations. During dinner, he takes a photo of his dishes and after that he rates the restaurant on Yelp and writes his review. On Saturday, another person Googles restaurant reviews, sees the positive comments on the site and signs up as well.

Yelp — UGCD content loop example
Yelp Content Loop example

Let's consider one more example. Medium is a social journalism platform. The user decides to start a travel blog and signs up for the product. He writes an article on how to organize a self-guided trip to a nearby town. Search engines index the content. People find it on Google via the keywords “how to arrange a trip.” They go to the site, read the articles and also sign up for Medium.

Medium Content Loop example
Medium — UGCD content loop example

Companies like Glassdoor, Quora, Airbnb, Moz, Houzz, and G2Crowd work on the same principle — only the format of the content changes. It can be done with photos, videos, articles, testimonials, and salary information, etc.

UGUD Content Loop

Users create content through product usage that attracts more users. Social channels are most often used as the distribution channel.

In general, the scheme of a UGUD content loop looks like this:

  1. New users sign up for the product.
  2. Some users create unique content.
  3. Some users share content externally.
  4. People find content via social channels.
  5. Some people sign up for the product.
User-generated user distributed content loop scheme

Instagram is a social network for sharing photos and videos, live streaming, and messaging. A new user signs up for the app, uploads a funny cat video and reposts it on Facebook or Twitter. His friends see the preview link and go to the site to see the full version. Then they sign up for Instagram to make their own content.

Instagram — UGUD content loop example
Instagram Content Loop example 

Now that we’ve figured out user-generated content loops, let's move on to the next view – company-generated content loops.

CGCD Content Loop

Company-generated and company-distributed content is typically distributed via email or search engines as a channel.

In general, the scheme of a CGCD content loop looks like this:

  1. New users sign up for the product.
  2. The company creates the content.
  3. The company distributes the content to search engines or other channels.
  4. People find the content via searching.
  5. Some of them sign up.
Company-generated, company-distributed content loop scheme

HubSpot is an American developer that sells software products for inbound marketing, sales, and customer service. The company has its own blog.

Users find a big ebook for marketers, download it, and leave their email. Some of them become clients of the company. With the money received from them, the company creates new useful content and distributes it through social networks, email newsletters, etc. This brings new visitors to the site, some of which download materials again.

Hubspot — CGCD content loop example
Hubspot Content Loop example

Now, let's consider a situation where users distribute companies' content.

CGUD Content Loop

A company creates content, and users distribute it through product usage that attracts more users. Social channels are most often used as the distribution channel.

In general, the scheme of a CGUD content loop looks like this:

  1. New users find content and sign up for the product.
  2. The company creates content.
  3. Some users share that content externally.
  4. People find the content on social channels.
  5. Some people sign up for the product.
Company generated user-distributed content loop scheme

Let’s take a look at The New York Times, an American daily newspaper. People find content, and some of them sign up for subscriptions. The company invests this money to create new content. Subscribers share content via social networks where other people find it and become new users. Сompanies like BuzzFeed, Gainsight, CBInsights and Axios work on the same principle.

The NYT — a CGCD content loop example
The New York Times Content Loop Example

We’ve studied how content loops work and how they differ from each other. In the next block, we will tell you how to develop content loops for your product.

A step-by-step guide for creating content loops

It's no secret that companies like TikTok and Airbnb are using the content loop with great success. But if you repeat the same process for your product, it may not work.

The fact is that each product has its own characteristics. And it is important to take them into account when developing a content loop so that the content goes viral and makes money.

In this article, we suggest you use these five steps:

How to create a content loop

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