Why Crowdsourcing is the Future of Content Marketing

By {grow} Community Member David Bratvold

The reason I enjoy crowdsourcing so much is because it’s about solving some of the world’s toughest challenges.

One of the most famous applications of this concept is how Burt Rutan and his team at Scaled Composites launched SpaceShip One into orbit to win the $10 million Ansari X Prize. The aim was to build and launch a spacecraft with three people into space twice in two weeks.

So if an online community can help build and launch a rocket, couldn’t it also solve your content marketing challenges?

Crowdsourcing doesn’t just focus on solving problems in the fastest, cheapest way possible.  Done right, it drills through the heart of complexity to find the absolute most effective solution.

Imagine a traditional scenario of putting out an RFQ for a new web video or commercial.  You interview a handful of agencies, find the one that promises you the right metrics, pay your $200,000 and watch your video air on TV or the web. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t.

Now, here’s the same scenario going through a crowdsourced production company like GeniusRocket, for example. You tell your community the goals you’re trying to achieve and then dozens, maybe hundreds, of workers provide their insights and ideas. Multiple finished products are delivered in steps along the way, for probably $50,000.

While the obvious difference between these processes is cost, that’s not the part that excites me. You are going to get a radically more effective product because literally crowds of engaged people are getting involved, providing feedback, and producing finished content for you.

Think about that difference. Would you rather produce a video that you (or an agency) envisioned? Or would you rather create a video that your target audience told you they wanted and then produced with passion and creative energy?  I’ve found that it is quite amazing to see the results you get when you engage your audience during the development of a video, book, blog article, or nearly any form of content.

The irony is that results are generally not only better, but it can be easier to roll out, too.  In the case study of Audio-Technica, they received more than 30 unique crowd-sourced concepts before they produced this sharable piece. Watch the crowd-sourced Audio-Technica video here.  (Note: you will go deaf):

GeniusRocket’s President Peter LaMotte sums it up well: “It used to be that crowdsourcing was only an alternative for production – a great way to get affordable productions. What’s happening now is companies are merging crowdsourcing with traditional processes. There’s a creative director, validation models to make sure we have input prior to production, and TV & online distribution services.”

Although LaMotte speaks specifically towards video production, the exact same attributes apply to blog creation, book development, or any other forms of content marketing (Want to let the crowd translate your blog?  You can!).

What opportunities do you see for crowd-sourcing marketing content?

David Bratvold is a leading expert on the topic of crowdsourcing. David’s company is producing Crowdopolis, scheduled July 19 in Los Angeles, California. Crowdopolis will teach the future of crowdsourcing as it’s impacting content marketing, advertising, and technology.

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  • Here’s a very simple… VERY SIMPLE… example of why crowdsourcing is an amazingly valuable process.

    I’ve wanted to publish a Podcast for a while. Have the content ready to go the format, the tools, the outline… What’s holding me up? The damn name.

    I was struggling with exactly what I wanted to call the thing for like two weeks… How did I finally fix this problem?

    I posted the name options on Facebook and Google+. Within 2 hours I had over 40 responses and drilled down to a name that I love. Podcast now created and rocking it!

    I vote Yes for crowdsourcing.

    Thank you,

    Ryan H.

  • Great points. I think crowdsourcing has suffered from critics calling quality into question. The reality is that you can ensure quality with a crowd better than you can by hiring someone to create content for you. It’s all about curation, qualification tests, quality assurance, and an open, intuitive, efficient, & creative environment.

  • Thanks for the post. Makes perfect sense. We create web applications, and what better way to do it than with crowd sourcing. Not only does it make the application better, but it creates tons of engagement.

  • Great observation, David. More frequently, we’re seeing brands leverage crowdsourcing for marketing projects that are definitely more on the content end of the spectrum than simple ad production. One of my favorite examples of this is how Buick crowdsourced stories from former NCAA athletes turned community leaders, featuring and promoting the content on an interactive microsite during different sports seasons.

    It’s an exciting time for our industry and we look forward to contributing to the innovation that will make crowdsourcing a better solution for content marketers. ^MB

  • Yes, brands are definitely leveraging crowdsourcing for content marketing creation of all kinds. It’s been great to see big name brands adopt this so early on. NCAA, Audio Technica, eBay, GE, ….

    What’s been the biggest brand you’ve seen?

  • Well put. And the engagement along the way increases your chances of success once you launch, tremendously! It makes me wonder how we never realized this years ago.

  • Ryan, great example. What name did you end up with? And what were some of the oddball suggestions you got?

    And did you find better results with Facebook or G+ ?

  • Quality will definitely have ups & downs throughout a crowdsourcing project, but that’s the beauty. You can sift out the low quality results & focus on just the top shelf input.

  • I had toyed with Ryan Hanley Radio (most of my stuff is Name branded) and Social Media Barstool was another one… Which I still like.

    There were a bunch thrown out there by people but nothing great.

    I finally came back around to a name I had originally thrown out:

    The Content Warfare Podcast – An Epic Guide to Marketing, Social Media and Getting Found Online…


    If you want to check it out…

    Content Warfare is a concept I throw around quite a bit on my site…


  • This is exactly why I am so enthusiastic about list.ly which is evolving to become a marketers delight. Disclosure = I am not an investor/consultant/employee just a user who enjoys the crowd sourcing 🙂

  • Costs are often misunderstood as the value of crowdsourcing when it’s really not about you and not about the money. It’s all about the crowd and their emotional investment in your outcome. Well said.

    I Crowdsourced content for my board game @gifttrap back in 2006. It’s now in 12 languages and has won 20+ awards. I put the success down to the crowd. Many people cared about the outcome because they were part of the experience.

    I had many conversations with photographers who got mad thinking I was taking from their revenue. They missed the real value of crowd sourcing.

    I’m now co-founder of @listly which is all about building emotional engagement in the Crowdsourcing of content.

    Crowd’s input on everything is still in the rise. We’re still only at the early adopter phase, but for no good reason. This stuff is so well proven.

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  • Love it!! Looking for guests?

  • haha. I like Content Warfare. The full name is a mouthful.

    Social Media Barstool sounds cool too. It sounds inviting. Like pulling up a barstool, grabbing a drink, & chatting about social media.

  • I wonder if Crowdsourcing Barstool would sound as smooth & inviting. 😉

    I was at Mashable’s Social Media day on Saturday with 300 others in SD & it brought up an old thought: I don’t think crowdsourcing has the potential to be as sexy as social media – allowing for huge parties.

    Oh well, although it’s not sexy, it still delivers a lot of value.

  • impressive. I hear it’s hard to break into boardgames, let alone make an award winner. Getting many people to care about your outcome is smart thinking & a perfect use of crowdsourcing.

    I’ve found a lot of “artistic” communities truly miss the mark on business, entrepreneurship, & crowdsourcing. It’s quite sad. I got started in crowdsourcing several years ago trying to help designers. They get overprotective & lash out at crowdsourcing, rather than embrace it, so I know what you mean.

  • Mark… it would be an honor to have you as a guest… We’d put together a killer show.

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  • Crowdsourcing is the future for content marketing, but also for video content –> http://wemixvideo.com/index.php?lang=en
    It’s more a community video service, but depent if you use it for some street marketing event, it could be turned into a crowdsourcing marketing service.
    We just launch it few days ago, so it’s still beta, but already functionnal, if you have some video and would like a free test, I will be delighted to grow up our portfolio, just drop me a line

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  • Kelly

    What are your thoughts on bringing it through to sway political votes, eg Finland

  • Runescape gp

    Do you a game player? If you have the same interesting like me you can come to our company

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