As content marketing matures, marketers continue to identify appropriate channels where their investments will pay off with content that sells. Content creation remains a huge undertaking, however, and as Jay Baer puts it, the opportunity costs are significant. The drivers behind a potentially long sales cycle involves content created and distributed over a broad array of social media channels that need to be measured against business objectives.
But if your company’s resources and budget are stretched to the limit, what else might you leverage? Crowdsourcing, when done properly, can play a pivotal role with your content marketing. Below are five ways crowdsourcing is impacting the future of content marketing:
Crowdsourcing speeds up the content creation process
(and frees you up)
You will never have enough time in the day to create the amount of content you want to create. If you’ve been writing blog content for any length of time you’ll realize it can be difficult to get a regularly scheduled article published. Writer’s block, vacation, major deadlines, and other business emergencies can get in the way. With sites like CrowdSource.com, you can employ a scalable crowd of workers to create your content. No matter how many articles you write each week, more is better. With scalable labor, the only limitation to posting 5 articles per day is your budget. Keep in mind, however, that crowdsourcing projects do take a lot of moderation & feedback. But it does help the content creator get around the “writer’s block” problem.
Crowdsourcing gets your customers & potential customers involved
Invaluable crowdsourcing systems build in options for your community to produce work, not just paid crowdworkers. Letting your target audience get involved is like handing out the mic at a conference. People love to step up and give their opinion. Customers and prospects providing input are not only valuable for your market research team, but is now being used as content marketing to attract others who feel the same way. Plus, giving your followers their 15 minutes of fame creates a bond that’s hard to break, making them naturally more loyal to your brand.
Crowdsourcing gets your target audience invested
Not only do your customers and potential customers get involved and actually tell you how to sell to them, but because they were involved with the process, they’re also now invested. Do you remember the last time you helped make something, or were involved with a big project? How many people did you tell? Everyone! Imagine if you were to get a guest post on Forbes, or a video on America’s Funniest Home Video, or a shot on American Idol? You would tell everyone you know to tell everyone you know because you’d be invested in it.
Crowdsourcing offers you diversity and creative choice
One of the main draws of using a site like Genius Rocket to crowdsource a commercial or viral video is the number of options to choose from along the way. Imagine what your video would look like if you or your internal team created it. It wouldn’t necessarily be bad, but over time, your videos would begin to look similar. The scripting, filming, acting, and even editing would begin to take on a uniform appearance. Once you turn this over to crowdsourcing, you begin picking from 30 different scripts, written from 30 different individuals from several different countries, cultures, & backgrounds. The diverse perspectives these individuals bring to the table is invaluable. And this is only for the first step in the process.
Now apply this benefit of diversity to the earlier benefit of drawing input from your customers and potential customers. Your target audience will begin to show you all the different ways they want to be approached – They’ll essentially be giving you your ideal digital marketing strategy.
Crowdsourcing inherently atomizes your content marketing process
By its nature, crowdsourcing does not atomize the process. In fact, it’s quite common on your first few tests of crowdsourcing to assume the crowd will simply do the tasks you don’t want to do, verbatim. Only after you get unsatisfactory results will you start to break processes down so small that “no one can mess them up.”
It always starts out this way because crowdsourcing is not natural. In a country where everything must be bigger and better, reports were due yesterday, and quantity & quality must be equally outpaced, it’s tough to imagine that projects need to be broken down into steps that could take no more than seconds to accomplish. However, to effectively use crowdsourcing, every project must be atomized as small as possible.
Consider the task of moderating your forum. As an alternative to hiring a forum moderator, every single post could be fed through MTurk with a simple Yes or No question: “Is this post offensive?” Any Yes responses could be removed or reviewed. By atomizing this process, crowdsourcing can keep your forum (or any UGC Content) valuable and problem free.
As you sit and think about your content marketing strategy, engage your community and solicit their input. Each industry and community is different, offering quality analysis and creative ideas. Content marketers will be able to accomplish their objectives by using crowdsourcing as a means of better engaging and growing their social networks.
About David Bratvold
David Bratvold is the founder of Daily Crowdsource, an open-format website that aims to educate the public on the topic of crowdsourcing and a producer of Crowdopolis 2012, a major crowdsourcing conference teaching the future of crowdsourcing in advertising, technology, and content marketing scheduled this July 19. You can follow David on Twitter at @TDCrowdsource