Crowd-sourcing your content

Rachael Reid
Jan 25 · 3 min read

There are a few ways crowd sourcing can make your life a little easier when it comes to content creation. Here are just a few ways it can help:

  1. It can give you a fresh perspective.
  2. It helps you engage directly with your target audience, and gives you insight into their challenges and goals.
  3. It saves you time and effort in the content creation process — particularly when it comes to content ideation!

Granted, this might not be the best approach for all organizations, or all audiences! Start slowly — carefully evaluate your brand voice and your target audience before ‘going for it’ with crowd-sourcing content. If you decide that this is a useful option for your brand, here are a few approaches to consider!

A few ways you can ‘crowd-source’ your content!

  • Host a #chat thread. I was a big fan of this when Buffer did their Q&A’s on twitter. Once their weekly chats were done, Buffer would always turn them into a recap that would be posted on their website & across social channels(yay! Content!). Consider your target audience when asking questions in this way — make sure you ask open-ended questions. You can have one main question, or a series of questions, but make sure they are all within the same vein. (Click here to see some of Buffer’s #bufferchat content!) This method is probably most useful when you have an active social network full of people who like to contribute to conversation. However, it can also be a great way to build engagement if you want to boost that on your channels! Once complete, find a way to compile the information gathered, and share it to a wider audience.
  • Gather informal data with social media tools. Often, simple data collection tools are used primarily to gain audience insight or prompt engagement. However, this data can also help you generate content that your audience will find valuable and interesting. Across social platforms there are lots of quick polls & question tools you can utilize to gather data from your audience! Things like Instagram story questions, Facebook polls, twitter polls, etc). Some members of your community may be busy people, less likely to click through to any surveys you send out via email. Polls or short answer questions can be a simple way to encourage feedback from your target audience on your product or services, and can easily be turned into a simple info-graphic or blog post.
  • Invite guest posts from your community. This is another great way for your community to contribute to your content — lots of people are more than happy to have their work published by a brand they care about.
  • Engage your internal team as well! Crowd sourcing doesn’t always have to come from your external target audience — there might be someone within your organization who has some great ideas for content, but maybe they don’t work as a part of the content or marketing team. Pushing out a prompt, poll, or hashtag on your internal platform (like a new Slack channel) can be engaging for your team members, and can generate content creation ideas. Utilize your internal resources!

Of course, don’t forget to give credit where it’s due when you eventually utilize any crowd-sourced content ideas or guest articles!

This article was inspired by Buffer, some of the most savvy crowd-sourcing content marketers out there. Buffer used their weekly twitter#bufferchats, (which I miss!) as a way to connect with their audience & generate content. Those hashtag chats have ended, but they were always engaging, educational, and fun!

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