In recent years, businesses and marketers have turned their attention to crowdsourcing as a valuable source of user feedback. For a minimal cost, a business can gain feedback from multiple users that can help it refine and perfect its ideas.
Crowdsourcing is spreading into other areas, as well. As content has become a more integral part of marketing, professionals are realizing the power of the crowd for generating high-quality, versatile content for each of their online channels. Here are a few tips for using crowdsourced content to ramp up your content marketing strategy.
1. Invite Reader Participation
Instead of trying to come up with yet another blog post, consider populating a post with comments from your very own readers. Post a question on your company blog or social media sites, letting the readers know that the best answers will be featured in an upcoming post. You'll be surprised how many great quotes you get, plus you'll make your brand loyalists feel as though they're part of something special.
2. Host a Contest
Nick Haase from popular app Loot suggest "One of the best ways to get great crowdsourced content for free is to host a contest". Simply let your customers know about the opportunity and watch the content roll in. You can offer a prize for the best video or photo of a customer interacting with your product. If customers post the photo on their own social media accounts and tag your company's username, all the better."
3. Start a Conversation
Instead of simply asking readers to post a comment or snap a picture of themselves interacting with your product, invite them to share a story. You can even post the story on your own blog or social media sites. Kick the conversation off by posting a story of your own and invite your customers to share the same. You could have them recall a childhood memory, write about the first time they used a particular product, or ask them to share a story about what a concept related to your product means to them.
4. Hold a Survey
Surveys are a great way to get to know your customer base better, serving as a helpful tool as you prepare new product releases. You can post a survey to your social media pages and use the responses to create content of your own. This content could include a whitepaper, report, or blog post. You'll still have to create the content, but you'll have a large part of the research done for you, thanks to your customer responses.
5. Customers as Creators
It takes a lot of work to come up with a new idea or marketing concept. Instead of going it alone, ask your own customers to help out. You may find your customers have great ideas for your next jingle or product flavor. Whatever prize you offer to the contributors whose ideas you use, customers will likely be enthusiastic about helping out. When the new product or marketing campaign launches, they'll be avid supporters because they were part of the development process.
6. Use Influencers
Influencers can be the best resources for content, since their vast network of followers will give you exposure to people who might not have known about you. If you are a locally based business, find local social media users with a large follower base in your area through a geographic search of social media sites. If geography isn't an issue, there are many tools you can use to locate influencers who might be able to help you grow your reach, including Traackr and BuzzSumo.
As your content grows, you'll find your customers appreciate being included in the process, whether it's through providing feedback or uploading their own posts about your brand. You will create a community of loyal followers who consider themselves a part of your business's growth, giving them a vested interest in your continued success.