No matter the scale of your business or the specific nature of your target audience, content marketing has a huge role to play in your overall advertising strategy. However, you may not have unlimited resources to allocate to content marketing, or maybe you may want to integrate your customers or employees into the content itself.
Enter crowdsourcing, a new way to market your brand and attract an audience through relatable and down-to-earth content. While it may seem abstract at first, crowdsourcing is a unique and contemporary way to approach marketing, no matter the niche you operate in. Let’s take a look then at how you can use crowdsourcing in your existing content creation strategies without disrupting what already works.
Benefits of Crowdsourcing
People usually trust testimonials and quotes more than typical advertising calls to action. Crowdsourcing can help you establish a clear and strong precedent for your campaign’s message.
Since crowdsourcing is based around voluntary reviews, quotes and social proof, there is virtually no cost involved in the content creation process itself. While you will have to set aside a budget for paid advertisement or the design of your content, the gist of it will come with low cost and very lucrative RoI.
Once you put the word out, there are no limits to what crowdsourcing can bring to your table. People outside of your company and those with a clearer image of your brand will be able to craft unique, creative and fresh messages for you to publish.
Crowdsourcing doesn’t have to target third-party stakeholders or customers at all. You can target your content at existing employees, future job candidates or even students who might want to work in your company one day. However, it’s important to set very concrete goals for your crowdsourcing campaign before you get started.
Chris Barkley, content marketer at TrustMyPaper had this to say on the matter: “Without concrete goals, a marketing campaign will provide you with no actionable data afterward. It’s important to at least set aside some time and discuss the potential PR response of your content before you publish it with your brand’s name on it.” Make sure that you know what KPIs you will strive to fulfill as well as what the general message of your campaign will be.
Usually you would develop a customer profile and work your way backwards when it comes to traditional content marketing. In terms of crowdsourcing however, you should create a profile of your source personas first and foremost. What kind of people do you want to interview and ask for testimonials, reviews, social proof or word-of-mouthk approval?
Do you want to publish content with corporate managers in front and center? Or do you prefer to showcase your interns and show the world that you are building a better future for your company through youth programs? The people you showcase in your content will directly determine the type of stakeholders you will attract and engage with your content in the coming weeks.
Once you know who you want to feature in your crowdsourcing content, you should put the word out. You will undoubtedly receive plenty of useful content from all around your company or customer base depending on the route you chose to take. However, it’s important to remain selective and set a high bar for quality of the content you will use.
Not every quote or statement will be 100% adequate for the general message of your campaign or brand as a whole. In that respect, it’s good practice to start small and target your trusted channels of communication first and foremost. Nearby places like social media groups, chat rooms, lunch break talk and so on should be first priority. If you don’t receive the desired response through local channels, expand until you hit the jackpot.
Create Content Based on the Proof
Given that you have now gathered enough materials to work with, you can start producing your new content. The content you create should be varied in type, length and medium it is applied to. For example, you can create social media posts with static images and text in quotation marks. You can similarly create short video clips with your crowdsourcing volunteers in which they will say the words themselves for added credibility.
Another great idea is to implement the gathered testimonials in your blog posts in highlighted spots in order to drive a point forward and market your products/services in this way instead. There are no limits to what you can do with crowdsourcing content, so make sure to experiment and see which content types fit your brand and target audience the best.
Crowdsourcing can provide the much-needed breath of fresh air for your content marketing strategy. Take every testimonial into consideration once you start receiving potential quotes and statements based on your requirements.
While some of them may not be perfect for the here-and-now, you can still use them for future campaigns and cover your bases for the next several content plans as a result. Take crowdsourcing into serious consideration if you are out of content ideas and want to spruce your brand up to be more trendy and appealing.
About the author: Marie Fincher is a digital content director at Trust My Paper company with a background in marketing, technology, and business intelligence. She frequently writes about data science, BI, new marketing trends and branding strategies. Marie gradually changed her focus from working in marketing to writing about it.
Originally published at crowdsourcingweek.com on January 3, 2019.