When people think of crowdsourced campaigns the things that frequently come to mind for most are super bowl ads, contests, PR stunts and fan-generated content – basically all gimmicks. Meanwhile, crowdsourcing has quietly become a legitimate business solution, allowing companies to increase creativity and productivity while decreasing costs. Technology has allowed crowdsourcing to grow quickly with a variety of applications – logo creation, copy writing and fundraising to name a few.
Though contests and fan-generated content can create buzz they also require a lot of resources to conceive and promote the program – it’s a big investment of time and money to manage and for most companies is not a sustainable plan. Gimmicks and stunts just do not make a complete strategy. Not every crowdsourced project is a giant production, they range in scope from executive speech writing to large advertising campaigns. Tech platforms have created user-friendly crowdsourcing solutions that are practically instantaneous and seamlessly connect companies to experienced talent using a professional brief.
Perhaps the most successful use of crowdsourcing is the acquisition of the beat behind the record-breaking song “Old Town Road’ by Lil Nas X. The Atlanta-based rapper optioned the rights to a beat from a Dutch musician on a tech platform. It wasn’t a PR stunt or fan engagement contest, it was a business transaction on a digital marketplace that lead to a historical milestone in the music industry (and a pretty catchy song).
Other examples of successful crowdsourced work include greeting card companies expanding their pool of contributing writers, radio networks generating scripts for their advertisers and grocery chains creating regional ads using locally sourced writers. Many companies also use crowdsourcing to create social content, directly reposting content from fans and followers as well as building plans through crowdsourcing platforms.
Crowdsourcing solutions are sometimes considered a threat to existing business models and employment, but they can co-exist with strong results. Some tips to make crowdsourcing work for your company:
- Create a detailed brief
- To get the best results, make sure your brief goes beyond a basic description of the project. Tell the story of your company and give as much information as you can about your overall business objectives.
- Bring in diverse voices
- With a large pool of people from all over the country and around the world, take the opportunity to create a diverse team that will add new points of view.
- Build relationships with your contributors
- The stronger your connection, the more invested they will be in providing good service. Get to know them and reward your top contributors.
- Provide feedback
- Just like any working relationship, feedback will help you get the best results. Just because you are working with a crowd doesn’t mean you can’t refine the submissions.
In addition to content creation, crowdsourcing platforms offer business solutions for customer service, programming, testing, data collection and a variety of other needs.
More and more companies are harnessing the power of crowds to reach their business goals. You probably don’t realize it, but you’ve seen plenty of crowdsourced projects without knowing it. There is no need to have a contest or create giant fanfare announcing crowdsourced work – it’s just another way of doing business.