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Three Steps to More Original Content for Your Website: Crowdsourcing Matures

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In this article, you'll learn:

  • How to crowdsource content creation for your blog and website
  • Why crowdsourcing can bring higher quality, and greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness, than in-house or outsourcing

Although content marketing continues to prove its effectiveness, and it's used by nearly 90% of marketers across all industries, creating relevant, fresh, and intriguing content that engages your community remains as difficult as it has always been.

Or does it?

You might say that outsourcing is a possible solution. Although that may be true, outsourcing presents many well known challenges and disadvantages. When you outsource, you are limited to the talent, schedule, intelligence, and ability of contractors. You are also limited by how quickly one worker or a team of workers can complete your project.

But the outsourcing movement has evolved.

The concept of "sending work out to an outside contractor to cut costs" no longer means hiring established agencies and expert contractors. Instead, businesses are now sending work to the crowd—made up of millions of people, from every part of the world, who are eager to work online. Crowdsourcing is an industry that grew 496% in 2010 and continues to grow.

By choosing to use crowdsourcing to hire the labor necessary for content creation, you not only open your workflow to an enormous amount of talent but also gain the ability to create systems that check for quality and relevance in a systematic way not possible in traditional outsourcing.

Those are the benefits. Here are three steps to get you started.

1. Identify your needs

What do you need for content? Do you need product descriptions that are compelling? Do you have an image library that's not showing search results because it has no keywords or just bad keywords? Or do you just need more blog posts?

Depending on your needs, you need to start thinking about, and writing directions for, exactly what you need. Try to be clear in your writing, and be as granular in your description of expectations for the content as possible.

2. Evaluate and select a platform

To reach your crowd, it is best to go to a labor pool and a work community that is already established. For example, has 500,000 on-demand workers. It is a full-service platform. That means you can go to the company with the work you need, and it will develop a solution for breaking up your work into small tasks for its workers. It has responsibility for managing the crowd to deliver results to you, the client.

Another example is Amazon's Mechanical Turk, also known as Mturk, which describes itself as "a marketplace for work." It is not a full-service solution. Rather, you design your own tasks for workers, and you manage the results you receive. Doing so can be both challenging and time-consuming; however, if you are a small business, the effort may be justified. In the case of a blog post, for example, it could mean paying a few dollars for a post versus paying $20.

Where you want to spend your time and money is up to you, of course, but the differences lie in the time spent and the quality of work received. Full-service solutions often guarantee their work, whereas do-it-yourself microtasking may not.

3. Incorporate microtasking into your regular workflow

Creating content with microtasks does not have to be a one-time thing. You can use it every day, and you can integrate it into your everyday workflow.

You can even hire a programmer to integrate an API, like Mturk's API, allowing you to create an environment on your own website, or in the software that you use in-house, to engage workers on the platform. So instead of having to request similar work over and over again on a crowdsourcing platform, you can have it work seamlessly with your current workflow and project management software.

For example, every time you add an image and product to your website's inventory, the task can be automatically submitted on Mturk for workers to properly tag and write descriptions for the product, making it more searchable and giving your clients more information.

In the end, you will be creating a system for obtaining content that will serve as a critical resource for your business, and your content will never go stale again.

(Photo courtesy of Bigstock: Teamwork)

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David Bratvold is the founder of Daily Crowdsource, an open-format website that aims to educate the public about crowdsourcing. He is a producer of the Crowdopolis 2012 crowdsourcing conference (July 19) on the future of crowdsourcing in advertising, technology, and content marketing. Reach David via Twitter at @TDCrowdsource.

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  • by Rishi Tue Jul 10, 2012 via web

    We believe outsourcing, although cheap, might not be the best way to approach content. Firstly, the people writing your material might not be subject experts. Second, if you outsource internationally, there might be gaps in english literacy.

    Your content should have two goals:
    1) Help people understand your business and its products.
    2) Create keywords that will be indexed by search engines for SEO

    Get access to all our marketing cheat sheets including "Content Development for SEO" at

  • by Francis Waller Tue Jul 10, 2012 via mobile

    Content for people to learn about a topic is essential. Teach them about your company later in their Buying Cycle.

    By posting 1 specific question on a few related Linkedin groups, I was able to collect over 250 responses and thread comments. Those provided excellent raw material for blog posts, give-away checklists and more.

  • by Michele Alise Wed May 1, 2013 via web

    I'm really disappointed at this article on MarketingProfs about crowdsourcing. The concept of expecting quality services for next to nothing diminishes the value of talented and experienced people, right along with their earnings. Outsourcing to the third world takes this a step further by sending dollars away instead of back into our economy. Pretty soon the US economy will have no axis to spin on and topple into oblivion. Profitability is one thing, but taking advantage for profit and then disregarding the profitability of others leads to nothing good.

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