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Mob Rules: Crowdsource Your Way to Better Content

Out of ideas? Call on your crowd for fresh, relevant content.

The Internet is littered with the best intentions, blogs that start out with a bang and regular posts. Then the next thing you know, they haven’t been updated in months. That’s no way to build engagement, people, let alone online traffic and SEO. For that you need to produce, consistently and often. Yet coming up with fresh and compelling content day after day, week after week, is hard.
Here’s a neat trick to refill the well: crowdsourcing. By calling on the experts and thinkers in your community of users, or in the office pod down the hall, you can acquire a flood of new content ideas that are also relevant, insightful and targeted. They may not be the experts in the space, but even input from a few deeply invested amateurs can give some insight into your content – and your business.
But it’s not always easy to get there.The first step is to figure out exactly who your “crowd” is. Start by looking within your organization, whether it’s Bob in accounting (who didn’t approve your expenses, but whatever) or Liz in the desk to next you. Thought leaders and industry veterans in your company can lend a degree of gravitas to your content and pump up its value. You can also look to academics or top bloggers in your field to provide content or guest blog a post.
Once you’ve compiled a list of candidates in your crowd, create a plan for approaching your potential contributors and getting a “yes.” With busy coworkers, appeal to their expertise, how important it is for your company’s content strategy, and why it will help your organization stand out. Send out a call for ideas and work with individuals to develop polished posts, which means simplifying the process for non-writers.
For industry influencers, you need to build a relationship with them on social media before contacting them outright. They need to who you are and what your blog is about. The more active they are online, the more they understand the value of a digital presence and the more open they’ll be to exchanging content for the exposure.
Finally, tap into your network of customers, especially those loyal followers who write comments and offer opinions on your posts. You can reach out directly to these users, or cast a wider net by posting surveys or contests in exchange for content.

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