22. November 2012–
SEO and Social Media Expert Wahid Rahim, CEO and founder of Ranksider.com gives us the six golden rules on how to make the most of the crowdsourcing phenomena - from selecting the right platform to creating a meaningful campaign...
But first: What is crowdsourcing, and why do I need it?
Crowdsourcing is a compound term made up of the words "crowd" and "outsourcing". Delving deeper: It refers to the process of outsourcing a project or tasks to a distributed group of internet users (i.e. "the crowd"). One of the keys of crowdsourcing is the so-called "Power of Many". This means that tasks are usually performed elbows-out in a competitive environment, which leads to a ramp-up of motivation and thus; better results (compared to the well-known and commonly used form of outsourcing). Another plus is that it provides access to a global community, so that experts with profound knowledge can be found in the most specialised fields.
A widely held misconception about crowdsourcing is that it merely serves as a means for cutting costs. Although this can be a side-function, its main benefit is that a crowd of people usually find more innovative solutions than one person alone.
Crowdsourcing is typically used in fields such as product launch, branding, customer care, market research, increasing fans, or in search of innovation. Different types of crowdsourcing platforms have been founded; focusing on a variety of thematic areas. Ranksider, for instance, is specialised in increasing the visibility of young (mostly internet) startups via SEO and social media marketing campaigns. The key factor in this area is sustainable content marketing and link building - for only those who are seen to get noticed.
However, addressing each and every blogger individually – asking them to blog or tweet about your company is very time-consuming. This problem can be solved very easily by drawing on "swarm intelligence".
A typical use case: You launch a campaign with your new company. RankSider informs the contractors (usually publishers of topic related magazines or blogs) about your campaign. The contractors then make bids offering to write articles about your company or platform. You just choose/accept the most appropriate offer(s). Then all contributions will be spread via social networks and short message services such as Facebook, Twitter etc.
Six Golden Rules for Crowdsourced Blog-Marketing
Crowdsourced projects are not a one-way street, and despite all its advantages there are still risks involved. So, to implement your project successfully, there are some rules you'll need to follow first...
1. Define your goal
If you're looking to crowdsource a project, be mindful of what you hope to achieve and, above all, what problems you're looking to solve. In principle, it's simple: There's no solution without a problem!
2. Choose your Crowd-Community carefully
For achieving the optimal result, crowdsourcers need to choose the appropriate community or platform. Not every "crowd worker" who lends themselves to your project is necessarily a suitable fit.
On the flipside: Approach your candidates like a job interview; obviously, they should have much more pros on their side than cons. Ask the candidate to send in work samples and study their CV carefully.
3. Treat your community with r-e-s-p-e-c-t
Treat your chosen community not as if they were your employees, but as partners at eye level. As a crowdsourcer, you need to show your community how significant their input is for you and/or your company. Create a fair business environment which include rewards and conditions.
4. Extend the reach of your campaign
In order to spread the word on your campaign in the best possible way; use and take full advantage of all your social contacts. Doing this helps to recruit more participants, who in turn will help your project's reach.
5. Clarify all that boring legal stuff!
From the "get go" make sure that your campaign doesn't violate third-party rights and that intellectual property rights are transferred to you, respectively. Doing so well help you make major legalities clear from the start and save you from potentially sticky and costly situations.
6. Create a meaningful campaign
For a successful crowdsourcing campaign, creating a meaningful description of the project – your "eye catcher" – is an absolute must. With a strong campaign, you might even strengthen your brand sustainably. It is not uncommon for successful Crowdsourcing campaigns to be mentioned in the media – a perfect and inexpensive way of advertising for companies and products.