By now, most of you are well aware of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s alleged crack addiction.If you’re familiar with this news story, you’re probably also familiar with the crowdsourcing site which has successfully raised the $200,000 needed to purchase the alleged video depicting the mayor smoking what appears to be crack-cocaine. The success of this campaign got me thinking about how crowdsourcing can be applied to content marketing.
Crowdsourcing works to obtain ideas and content from a large groups of people as opposed to employers. Probably the most famous example of crowdsourcing is Wikipedia. Instead of the website hiring writers and editors, Wikipedia relies upon user generated information in order to formulate their entries. For businesses, crowdsourced workers come from potential markets and various online communities. The outsourcing approach to content production is often utilized by transnational corporations who wish to connect with their target audience and save time on content curation. Since tasks are distributed to a large number of people, crowdsourcing also results in an array of ideas and content to choose from.
Crowdsourcing has become an increasingly popular way for companies to formulate innovative and fresh content without paying the high price for writers and editors. In turn, crowdsourcing content can help drive site traffic and increase brand awareness in a creative and fun way. So how exactly can crowdsourcing improve your content marketing strategy?
Two Brains Are Better Than One
One of the benefits of using crowdsourcing websites such as crowdspring.com, which specializes in outsourced logo and web design projects, is the number of options it can create. Crowdsourcing participants come from a number of different work and cultural backgrounds which can contribute to different perspectives. In turn, this results in a number of creative ideas that come from outside your immediate team. For example, each year Doritos holds a contest and asks their consumers to produce a Superbowl commercial. This approach saves Doritos both time and money on shooting a commercial, and gives them plenty of conventional and unconventional options to choose from. Bottom line: the more minds the better.
Speed up Content Curation
In a perfect world, you would have the ability to type 300 words per minute, however no matter how hard you try there never seems to be enough time in the day to produce and disseminate all the content you want to. Sites like CrowdSource.com allow a wide array of skilled workers to create content for you. In the end, the more content you have to choose from, the better. Remember that crowdsourcing can sometimes take a lot of moderation and feedback, however it does help with writers block and helps bring fresh new ideas to the table.
Get your target audience invested
Crowdsourcing helps to get your potential clients and target audiences invested in your marketing strategy. Because your audience is now involved in the production process, they are also now invested in your brand. Garden State (2004) star Zach Braff recently started an online crowdsourcing campaign to raise funds for a Garden State sequel. Depending on the donation amount, donors were promised goodies such as a production diary or a speaking role in the film. Due to monetary contributions, audiences are more likely to support the film upon its release. The same goes for your brand; once audiences are invested in your marketing strategy, they will most likely promote your brand by showing off their (or your) work to friends and coworkers.
HOW TO CROWD-SOURCE: A BRIEF GUIDE
Okay, so you get how crowdsourcing can benefit your content marketing, but what are some ways to actually go about actually doing this whole crowdsourcing thing?
Social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook not only allow marketers to engage with their target demographics, but also are commonly used as a tool for crowdsourcing. Brands such as Mountain Dew, Pepsi and Starbucks have all recently utilized social media as a way to crowdsource ideas for new products. Asking a simple question on Twitter can generate new and refreshing ideas from your target market. Holding contests that require participants to like or follow your social media pages also helps create awareness surrounding your brand and more traffic to your site.
Add Some Friendly Competition
Transnational brands like McDonald's have recently used contests as a way to get consumers excited and engaged with their brands. In 2007, McDonald's held a global contest to get people to submit images of themselves to be used on McDonald's cups and bags. Over 13,000 entries were submitted and McDonald's chose a total of 24 faces to be displayed on packages worldwide. This saves McDonald's money on photography and works to integrate the consumer into the production process Of course in the end, people always love to win contests, especially if it involves their work being displayed.
Specialized Crowdsourcing Websites
Lastly there are of course many crowdsourcing websites that focus on different areas of expertise. For instance, there is Crowdspring, which specializes in logos and graphics. The site currently has over 130,000 talented designers and writers that actively participate in projects. For content creation, you may want to try Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, which allows you to choose from a workforce of over 100,000 people who will quickly and accurately complete the tasks you need done. If you’re solely in the market for new ideas and perspectives, try Kluster. This crowdsourcing site specializes in supporting group discussion to help brainstorm new and creative ideas for your business.