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​What is content crowdsourcing, and can it benefit your business?

The internet is made from content. Without content, the internet would not exist.

Similarly, your online presence, marketing, PR, branding, and sales techniques rely solely on content to function. As content becomes more and more prevalent for businesses, what with the search engines rewarding the brands who create high quality content for their visitors and consumers expecting quality content from the brands they follow, businesses just like yours are looking for new ways to deliver a consistent brand message and gain access to a wide and diverse writing talent, a writing talent which can fuel content requirements in the future.

One option available to you is content crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing can deliver a consistent brand message and gift your business access to an immense pool of writing talent. But what is content crowdsourcing, and can it really benefit your business?

What is content crowdsourcing?

If you're familiar with what crowdsourcing is, you will be able to guess what content crowdsourcing is. By crowdsourcing content, you are obtaining needed services and ideas by soliciting contributions from a large group of people – often, this large group of people is an online community, rather than employees.

So for example, if you owned a fashion blog and your blog was light on make-up tips, you might like to ask your community to contribute to the creation of content surrounding make-up tips, whether those contributions be ideas, sources, or actual blog posts. The beauty of this is that you are effectively outsourcing the content creation process to your own community.

Content crowdsourcing benefits

Crowdsourcing your content has several potential benefits for your brand:

  • Cost-effective: It costs nothing to ask for help and you could make considerable savings on idea generation and content writing.
  • Engagement: Asking your community for their ideas increases brand engagement and gets your community talking to one another.
  • Buzz: If this process is set up right, it will be an enjoyable experience and one that is shared by your community outside of your brand circle.
  • Insight: You can collect information about what really interests your community and focus on creating content that will really engage them.
  • Ideas: Ten brains are better than one. By asking for contributions, you are opening the door to other people's ideas and they might just be incredible.

Content crowdsourcing in action

Crowdsourcing can be immensely powerful. Wikipedia is a fantastic example of a website and service which has been created through content crowdsourcing. Another example is the WhatGas mobile app which relies on user updates to showcase accurate petrol station prices.

But perhaps most successfully of all, there is Google. Google relies on other people to create and recommend their website to be listed in the search engine. Google does find all websites eventually, but it relies on other people to put their websites out there. If people didn't do that, Google would not exist because they would not have anything to return to searchers. The same thing can be applied to Bing, Yahoo, Lycos, and every other search engine that's ever existed.

So can content crowdsourcing benefit your business?

Absolutely. But, in order to crowdsource ideas, sources, and content effectively, you're going to need an online community. This might be made up of email subscribers, frequent visitors, Twitter followers, Facebook fans, or LinkedIn connections. The more people you have in your community, the more feedback you'll get from a crowdsourcing campaign. For medium-sized and large-scale enterprises, this shouldn't be problem, as an online community will no doubt already be established. But for small enterprises this can prove tricky.

Stay tuned for our next article which will discuss content crowdsourcing ideas. 

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