Content Creation – How You Crowdsource Your Efforts

Crowdsourcing is a new portmanteau word that means soliciting community participation in the creative process.  The internet has allowed input from people far distant places, often not known personally to one another, to many enterprises.  This is an amazing facility, and has had some astonishing results in a variety of fields, like coming up with the funding for new documentaries and charitable efforts.

crowd-source

However, it can seem a bit intimidating for some bloggers.  After all, one of the reasons that many people start blogging is to take control of a subject.  To share control is often counter to the temperament and aims of you, the writer.  However, this might be exactly the answer to meeting your readers’ needs.  This, in turn, could be the key to the success of your blog.  How can you tell whether crowdsourcing might be helpful, and get started on it yourself?

You need to have a track record:

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This is not something to do in the first month of your blog, unless your purpose is to make it a community blog from the start.  You should post enough articles to create some buzz, and garner some followers.  You want to build an image of yourself that makes your set of interests clear, and generates credibility.  This takes some time, and you cannot readily avoid this initial period of foundation building if you want to succeed long term.

You need to decide whether you want to crowd source ideas or the writing itself.

One way to crowd source is to have a virtual suggestion box.  You can offer a chance for readers to propose topics and sub-topics that you can address in future posts.  This is a great way to get a sense of the character and orientation of your devoted readers.  Even if few people submit suggestions, it gives readers a sense of connection, and a warm fuzzy sense that you care (which you do, of course).  It gives readers a sense of control as well.  Of course, you have to comply, somehow, with suggestions, or you will have a disappointed readership instead of a happy, engaged passel of followers.

Your own command of your topic needs to be absolute:

The message sent by opening your blog to the ideas of others should not be that you are lacking in expertise or new ideas.  That is just lame.  Instead, you are asking for the input of others because you know that people love to put their two cents in.  You are trying to build a virtual community around your subject area.  You are offering a forum for discussion of issues that are open to debate.  The usefulness and gravitas of your previous blog posts will counter any proposal that you are somehow floundering.

Your own writing needs to be competent.

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If not, you might need some help to edit the ideas of others. Otherwise, you may be stuck with interesting ideas that are expressed fuzzily and unprofessionally. Unless you have a way to prune and polish the submissions of others, you will be stuck with unusable material.

You cannot be a copycat

A completely different issue is the widely prevalent problem of copy/paste composition.  You also need to have access to a plagiarism checker that will catch problems swiftly, efficiently and cheaply.  You need to know how to distinguish deliberate or lazy copying from the inevitable result of there being only so many words in the English language.  Then you need to have a way to deal with incidences of obvious and clear-cut plagiarism politely and non-confrontationally.

You need to set the ground-rules clearly.  Here are some suggestions of parameters you could consider:

Nothing off-topic,

No plagiarism,

You get the right to edit it for-

Language

Content,

Grammar,

And…  basically anything else that you need to.

You also need to decide whether you want people to be able to promote their own sites, products, and services.  This can even, under some circumstances, permit you to make some money from this activity.

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You also need to consider about whether you want to allow deeply conflicting ideas to be published.  That choice will have far-reaching consequences.  It could embroil you in a never-ending struggle to keep your blog site family-friendly, and appropriate for all audiences.

You need to decide on a schedule:

Is this something that you want to do as a one-off – a one-shot deal that gets you some instant attention?  Alternatively, do you want to have a guest post every few days, weeks, or months?  Whatever schedule you pick, you should try to stick with it.  If you have to change your timing of guest posts (or, in fact, if you have to change any significant way that you do your blogging business), courtesy demands that you let folks know.

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You need to be in communication with people who go to the effort to communicate with you.  Follow up is key.  If you ask for crowd-sourced input on your content, submissions should not disappear into the ether, never to be heard of again.  Acknowledge what people send you, even if it is only with an automatic email response.

Outsourcing some of your web content to the (hopefully massive) crowd of readers can be a great way to increase the diversity of ideas you feature.  It can involve a significant amount of work for you, so please don’t assume that this is a way to make things easier for yourself!

Back To You:

It looks like Alex have said so much about so much on our today’s topic, Now let’s pass the keyboard to you guys…

Do you have comments, questions and thoughts you’d love to share with us? then please do by using the comment box below. Remember that your comments, questions and thoughts are highly welcmed and much appreciated.

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Comments

  1. says

    Hello,

    Wonderful and unique concept mate, Crowdsource seems really perfect and easy way to produce great content. I never thought lot of ideas can be compiled and converted in to one articles.

    Seems like social media is a great source for crowsource.

    Thanks

    • says

      Thank you for reading!

      Yes, social media is definitely a great source of inspiration. I found LinkedIn to be a great source for relevant industry-specific responses from people. While other networks like Facebook are less engaging, since people are there to have fun, more than anything.

      Definitely check out LinkedIn. It’s also great for networking.

      • says

        I agree with you Alex; not completely though. One can effectively crowd source from FB groups that are highly targeted and still receive relevant results to the task at hand.

        What do you think?

        Terungwa

        • says

          Hey,
          Well I never found Facebook to be useful.

          Only if you’re able to find the most relevant groups with the most active crowds, then yes.

          If you’re looking for great professional blogging discussions – go to LinkedIn and try engaging people there.

          Good luck!

  2. says

    Hi Alex, and nice to meet you at Babanature’s blog :)

    Honestly speaking, I’ve never heard of crowdsourcing, just about outsourcing, so are they really both one and the same thing in general?

    Yes, I agree that with your points, and it’s not very easy for bloggers or writers to outsource their posts to others, because they can never do the same justice, nor would anyone want to put in the effort the blog owner puts into any post, project, or anything else. I’ve never tried outsourcing anything so far, but I understand that with time, as your business increases, perhaps it’s required.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice weekend, both of you :)

    • says

      Thank you for reading, Harleena!

      Crowdsourcing and outsourcing are different thing.

      But in essence – they are the same: you give other people your ideas and check out if they work and/or ask them to provide you with ideas.

      Crowdsourcing is a must for writers with a great work load. Sometimes you run out of ideas and inspiration and crowdsourcing is the way to go in this case:)

      You too have a nice weekend!

  3. wale says

    Pls boss…i tried showing thumbnail on my mobilepress theme but the image is too big….pls how do I make it small the way urs is….kindly help asap

    • says

      The reason the image is large was because of the way the designer designed the mobilepress. The problem is from the single.php. You should work on that area.
      P.S. It would be nice if you ask such questions in the appropriate place. I have a wordpress category, you can comment on that area.

  4. says

    Hello Alex,

    Great tips mate, Yup I’m also on the list of people who never heard of crowdsource and I must say it is really cool idea to produce awesome content and I’m sure it will go viral.

    Thanks

    • says

      Hey Ashish,
      It already is “viral”, if you can say it like this. A new breed of crowdsourcing is rising – crowd funding. Just look at the projects like Kickstarter!

  5. says

    Hi Alex,
    Nice to see you at Babanature’s blog.
    Came to know about a new term for me at least ,crowdsource.The goodness of this post for me is to accept that taking idea and inviting suggestions from the subscribers can be a great idea.And yes I do agree that the regularity of the guest post is also important.
    Have a nice time!

  6. says

    Hi Alex,

    Thanks very much for this informative and helpful post. Crowdsourcing is a term I’ve only come across recently, and although I had a vague idea of what it meant, your definition was a welcome clarification.

    I haven’t used this strategy yet on my blog in a formal way, but I have incorporated ideas from people’s comments in some of my posts, always crediting the source.

    Thanks so much for these helpful tips – lots of food for thought :)

    • says

      Hello Susan,
      Thank you for reading the article – I’m glad you found it to be useful.

      What I noticed is that the more I’m doing with the help of crowd sourcing, the more I’m trying to experiment with it.

      Every time I get a new task and/or a new project I always ask myself “How can I crowdsource this?” :)

      Good luck!

  7. says

    Hi Alex,

    I’ll be honest-this is one of the better blog posts that I have come across lately. Like anything that is worthwhile, blogging is a process, and hence all the basics need to be covered, just as you listed above.

    I think one of the best ways is to work in several small groups of bloggers and non bloggers, so that from every “crowd” something can be learned on how to get better and create authentic content (and not the same recycled stuff).

  8. says

    First of all I would like to thank you for sharing wonderful and unique idea to produce awesome content which I wasn’t tried. In blogging it’s really important to come up with unique ideas so that readers love to get something new.

    Now indeed Crowdsource will be great something new to try these days.

    Cheers!

  9. says

    Hello Alex,

    Crowd sourcing is a great way to get content that is ‘user relevant’ and actually serves your readers.

    However, before you crowd source as a web content producer, know exactly what you are doing. Your website is a business and the ultimate decisions need to be taken by you if the site is to rise to any reasonable height.

    The concept is great anyway…but it sure isn’t for newbies!

    Always,
    Terungwa

  10. says

    Good tips regarding Crowdsource and it’s efforts. I’d say one must try this great method to produce content to attract more readers. Specially sharing it on social media profile will make it go viral.

    Thanks

  11. says

    Hi Babanature,

    Content creation has to do with being creative and shun copy and paste altitude. Crowdsource effort with the act of using a suggestion box is a very nice idea that every blogger will have to buy since we are working tirelessly because of our readers and they can as well ask us for what they need and what their targeting while visiting our blog

  12. says

    Thank you very serious Alex ,crowdsourcing is one of the major and important way to create an astonishing content of which it cannot be under rated in this context . Please Alex ,i would recommend if you outline an indebt analysis of this subject.

    • says

      Hey,
      I suggest checking out Hubspot.com and ContentmarketingInstitute.com for more crowd sourcing tips (go to their blog and search by relevant keywords).

      They definitely have more experience:)

      Good luck!

  13. says

    Very good topic dude and the creation of content is very important as good content is the main source for the success of the site. Thanks for the share.

  14. says

    Thank you for sharing such wonderful idea to produce awesome content which I wasn’t tried yet It’s really very important to write unique article so readers will love it.Any way great post .Keep it up

  15. Stephen Zimmett says

    A completely different issue is the widely prevalent problem of copy/paste composition. I’ve set up two blogs so far and they both are copy and paste. Am I guilty of plagiarism if I use this concept. I just trying to get people to read important news articles and also some worth while information. Thanks for any response

  16. Enstine Muki says

    Many people say Content creation is not that easy and I used to think they same until I read this post of yours, yes, I think there are some points which users need to know and which they will always consider.

    Regards.

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