As a marketer, feeding the ceaseless demand for more content can feel like going toe-to-toe with a hydra. Slash one infographic from your to-do list and two more blog posts take its place.
And no matter how fast we move, how many we take down, there will always be more to do. After all, content production isn’t a marketer’s only responsibility.
Despite repurposing old content (which you can only get away with so many times) and hiring freelance writers (who may or may not know your business or audience), you might still feel like you could do more still to alleviate the burden of content creation.
But crowdsourcing, especially to fuel top of the funnel content demand, can be an effective way to scale content production.
Beyond the benefit of saving you time, crowdsourcing also:
- Offers a virtually limitless pool of content ideas.
- Taps into other networks every time a contributor shares (new authors mean new audiences).
- Gives you access to new expertise, experience and perspectives that keep your blog fresh.
- Incentivizes contributions with the promise of exposure (the bigger your blog’s current reach, the better).
Here are a few ways to take your content engine to the next level, so your marketing team can start focusing more on developing premium content, building campaigns and focusing on higher-impact efforts.
Open the floor for submissions
Your audience probably knows better than you what kind of content they want to read. Why not ask them to write it then?
97% of B2B buyers trust content more when it includes user-generated content in the mix. Without a real stake in your business, your audience is in the best position to preserve their unbiased perspective for top of the funnel content.
Not only are you mobilizing your community, you’re making them a part of your brand.
Like I said, the larger your blog’s audience, the more likely you’ll be able to solicit submissions. If it's compelling enough, advertise your blog's reach on your submission guidelines page to entice contributors looking to expand their online presence. After all, who doesn’t want a moment in the spotlight?
Be sure to establish clear guidelines to control the quality and scope of submissions so they’re as on-target as possible. Don't forget to include a disclaimer that only those who meet the guidelines will be contacted, so you're not spending your entire day sifting through emails.
Ask customers to become contributors
Customers are great. Beyond your bottom line, they contribute a wealth of ideas to improve your business and have a finger on the pulse of your product as actual end users.
Why not see if they’re also open to contributing content? If they work at a B2B company in a similar space, tapping into each others’ audiences can prove mutually beneficial.
Inviting your customers onto your blog lets you show them off in the spotlight, deepen your relationship with them and create new co-marketing opportunities.
Try reaching out to companies, if they're in a similar industry, to find those who are interested in contributing and pitch content ideas at the intersection between your businesses. Consider incentivizing participation with rewards, perhaps even using a solution like Influitive to tap into your most loyal customers.
Crowdsource content internally—call on your coworkers
Writing is a soft skill—as soft as it gets. And as Ann Handley puts it: Everybody writes.
Everyone has it in them to be a content creator, and many will be willing if they know they have the support to do it successfully and the chance to get exposure.
While some might not call it "crowd"sourcing per se, you can insource content across your entire organization, from other members of your marketing team and beyond:
- Sales talks to prospects—they know what they care about.
- Customer Support helps customers—they know where they need it most.
- The C-Suite is involved across the organization—they have the most established networks and the best idea of how to project the company vision through thought leadership.
Insourcing might not work at every organization, but it is a strategy we use here at Uberflip. Over a quarter of our company has contributed content to our blog—and that’s not including our Dev Blog, where the entire dev team writes, or our Knowledge Base, which is managed by our Success team.
It starts with creating a company culture of content, where everyone understands the value of blogging, and assigning someone—an editor or content manager—who is responsible for streamlining the entire effort.
You can ensure these pieces are a success by implementing a staggered process:
- Have others pitch ideas and angles first before writing.
- Establish the rough structure and outline of the post with the writer.
- Let them write.
- Remove the burden of editing so they can focus on their primary role.
- Let them approve the final product before you publish.
- Advise and assist with distribution—the better their content performs, the more likely they'll be to do it again ;)
I’ve heard it argued that Sales shouldn’t write content, they should close deals. That’s what they were hired to do. But the above process let’s them do both and leverage their firsthand experience with buyers. Case in point, our own Sales team contributes content to our blog.
Need to sell them on it? Publishing gives your reps a chance to start conversations and builds their own personal brand through publishing. Any content they create becomes a permanent asset that supports their expertise when leads decide to look them up and the prospect-ers become the prospect-ed.
And in an era where "Always Be Closing" doesn’t quite cut it anymore, buyers would rather talk to a rep who knows what they're talking about, who can act in a more consultative capacity.
You can never have enough content
Ultimately, we want to maintain control over our content strategy to make sure it doesn’t deviate from its course.
But by incorporating crowdsourcing processes, smaller marketing teams can free themselves up to do more with their time, focusing on more targeted middle/bottom of the funnel efforts.
We might never truly be able to slay the hydra and its unrelenting hunger for more content, but we can try to tame it by approaching content demand a little smarter.