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The More the Merrier: Using Crowdsourcing for Your Content Marketing Efforts

Skye Schooley
Skye Schooley

Crowdsourcing can be a great way to provide valuable and relevant content to your audience. Read these four strategies for content crowdsourcing.

While the concept of relevance has always driven successful marketing efforts, it is a core requirement for effective marketing in today's cluttered and hypercompetitive marketplace. In fact, the premise of every search engine is to determine the relevance of any one website to a submitted query, and match it to the searcher.

Instead of guessing what your audience wants, you can turn to content crowdsourcing to stay relevant. There are several strategies you can implement to use crowdsourcing to enhance your marketing efforts.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is a marketing strategy that consists of creating relevant and valuable content for a target demographic. This can include blog posts, e-books, videos, podcasts, webinars, interviews, case studies and educational tutorials. The content is optimized using best marketing practices and distributed to the target audience through a multitude of channels. For example, one company might best reach their audience through their company blog or website, whereas another might thrive using social media.

Did you know?Did you know? One way to ensure your content marketing efforts succeed is to automate some marketing tasks.

What is content crowdsourcing?

When you create content for your business, you might choose to produce it in-house. Another option is to elicit help from your target audience, otherwise known as content crowdsourcing. While there are several ways to crowdsource content, the general idea is to have your audience participate in creating your marketing materials for you. Examples include posting on blog forums, sharing their experience with your product, and offering advice on product improvement.

For modern business owners and managers, there has never been as inexpensive and powerful a tool for developing content for their users than crowdsourcing. The strategic use of content crowdsourcing can position a business as an authority figure centered among a group of engaged customers. With such insights, various strategies for using crowdsourcing can produce relevant and proprietary content.

How to use crowdsourcing for your content marketing

There are numerous examples of companies creating content today through crowdsourcing techniques. Many large companies, such as Coca-Cola and General Mills, have pioneered the use of modern crowdsourcing approaches. However, many businesses, regardless of size, can now take advantage of the same concepts and methods.

Here are some strategies you can use to reap the benefits of content crowdsourcing:

1. Allow others to provide content and create value on your website.

The internet produced one of the most used and visible crowdsourcing projects in history with the creation of Wikipedia. Thousands of individuals have provided and continue to generate information accessed by millions. While virtually anyone can submit information to the site, the real crowdsourcing value comes from a large base of volunteers who vet and moderate the massive amount of information.

This project is more like a large small business than a corporate undertaking, thanks to the power of crowdsourcing. Your industry may need an ongoing point of information and reference that will create a broad following. While it doesn't need to be as broad as Wikipedia, you can replicate something similar by allowing your audience to provide guest content on your website or blog. Another way to do this is to create an online community forum so users can contribute to industry- or brand-focused conversations on your website.

2. Use social media to crowdsource your content.

Social media is advantageous in digital marketing. Facebook has 2.9 billion active users alone, and photo platforms like Instagram (1.4 billion users) and video platforms like YouTube (2.3 billion users) and TikTok (1 billion users) aren't far behind. Consumers spend countless hours on social media, making it a great way to reach them.

With active participation from social media followers, a company can solicit and collect a wide range of information and contributions on topics relevant to its market space. This material allows the creation of proprietary intellectual property and an ongoing process of customer engagement and entertainment.

Consider an area of experience and participation in your industry that is of interest to all participants. Create a project, contest or community of contributors on social media who will provide the personal content to create a worthwhile final result in a predefined area of focus. Note that this allows repurposing of the content in multiple formats and media.

TipTip: Before using social media to crowdsource your content, make sure it aligns with your overall social media marketing campaign.

3. Use your followers as a source of R&D and market research.

Depending on your product or service, you may want to turn to your market space to seek customer feedback on product modifications, changes and new introductions. Use active social media participation to conduct research from actual and potential customers. That will move you one step closer to realistic and actionable data. Make the effort innovative, fun and creative to gain both increased participation and greater market visibility.

For example, Lay's found great success in its #DoUsAFlavor campaign. This crowdsourcing campaign called on consumers to submit ideas for new potato chip flavors and then vote on the top suggestions. This strategy not only informed Lay's on which new potato chip flavors its customers wanted, but also had the bonus of heavy media coverage and free advertising.

4. Use crowdsourcing to make wise strategic decisions and changes.

The two-way nature of crowdsourcing is one way to break down corporate silos and combat management's ivory tower syndrome. If your company faces changes in your market, you can smooth the eventual process – and avoid some potential pitfalls – with a crowdsourcing approach.

Whether you are testing a new name, brand, or product line, involving both customers and employees will produce far more actionable input than you might get from a traditional third-party research effort. In some cases, it will make sense to combine both efforts to produce the optimal results.

The benefits of content crowdsourcing

Although determining the right content crowdsourcing strategy for your business takes some initial development, it can result in many benefits for your business.

  • Content relevance: Crowdsourcing your content marketing is an easy way to create relevant and valuable content at scale. Instead of struggling to keep up with content trends in-house, you can be assured of high relevance when your employees, customers and clients are all involved in the process of generating that content.
  • Market visibility: Choosing the right crowdsourcing techniques and approaches can increase your market visibility. This strategy allows you to keep high engagement among your customers and overall market space.
  • Product improvement: If you use content crowdsourcing for research purposes, you can improve your overall products or services. For example, allowing your audience to weigh in on new feature ideas gives you clear insight into what they want. Improving your product and overall brand is great for increasing sales. 

Mark Gadala-Maria contributed to the writing and research in this article.

Image Credit: FlamingoImages / Getty Images
Skye Schooley
Skye Schooley Staff
Skye Schooley is a staff writer at and Business News Daily, where she has written more than 200 articles on B2B-focused topics including human resources operations, management leadership, and business technology. In addition to researching and analyzing products that help business owners launch and grow their business, Skye writes on topics aimed at building better professional culture, like protecting employee privacy, managing human capital, improving communication, and fostering workplace diversity and culture.