Crowdsourcing content is not only an incredibly efficient way to publish more pages, it can also help to increase the quality of your work. By accumulating knowledge, ideas and work from others you can influence your own posts and publish articles from another point of view.
For businesses that are operating in an industry with evangelists and enthusiasts crowdsourcing can cut your creation costs greatly because your customers are interested in contributing to the community rather than earning a buck.
What Does ‘Crowdsourcing Content’ Mean?
Crowdsourcing is the practice of engaging a ‘crowd’ or group for a common goal – often innovation, problem solving or efficiency. In this case we are interested in having others either write content for us or having them involved in the process.
The purpose of effective content crowdsourcing is three-fold; it allows for another person’s point of view, brings expertise to your articles and removes the need for you to write. These three benefits are significant for any brand looking to improve the quality of their blog and scale their content production.
Ask Your Audience to Contribute
As an existing brand with an audience you have a goldmine at your fingertips. Among your audience there are a few fanatical fans who would love to contribute a piece of content to your website, all you need to do is ask.
Countless companies have done this in the past and as long as you implement a simple screening process to remove people it can be very effective. The people who would contribute are likely to be knowledgeable as well as enthusiastic, the perfect combination for this type of work.
Whether you pay these contributors with cash or not is up to you. Many brands do well without any payment while others might offer a non-cash reward in the form of a discount or a cheap product.
To ask your audience to contribute it’s best to create a dedicated page on your blog for guest writers. This page should include a form to streamline the process and you can email this page out to your list.
A pro tip which some blogs use is to create a list of topics and titles that contributors could pick from. Offering these can reduce the number of submissions which aren’t a good fit while simultaneously increasing the quality of those that are.
Encourage Staff Members to Write
Your fans and customers might be one of the best sources of content but it’s not always necessary to look outside of the office. In fact, getting all of your employees involved in writing can bring a unique perspective to your blog that can drastically boost its quality.
A member of staff working in customer service likely has a different point of view than a marketing director. By crowdsourcing content from your team you can spread the workload around rather than dedicating a single person to the task of writing.
Build Upon Existing Data and Content
Getting completed posts from others is awesome, but you can’t always rely on external people to write for you. Instead, crowdsourcing ideas, data and existing content can make coming up with new article topics easy and writing them far simpler.
Effective content crowdsourcing shouldn’t be about just getting fully finished work from others, it should center around taking whatever you can to make your job easier. For the purpose of content creation this means building upon what is already out there.
For example; you might find that another publisher has already done a fantastic study on a particular part of your industry but they didn’t attack the problem from a specific angle. Rather than replicating everything you can crowdsource data, taking from other people’s studies to create something superior.
Adding another dimension to a single piece or simply putting multiple pieces together in one cohesive post can create something greater than its parts. In this way you are adding value without having to put in a huge amount of work.
Pay Attention to the Community
Finally, you must pay close attention to the relevant communities in your industry. Within these forums and Reddit communities you will find hundreds of experienced people taking time out of their day to help others and to answer questions.
It’s not unrealistic to think that many of these people will have more expertise than even your own staff. Many of the biggest news agencies crawl through Reddit every day to try and find new perspectives, stories and analysis that they can use on their own websites.
You can do the same. Most of these people create these posts for the sake of helping others and by asking nicely you can get the rights to use that work on your own website. By crowdsourcing ideas and content directly from these communities you can cut down your workload significantly while bringing in the thoughts of many experts across the web.