How Crowdsourcing Can Take Your Content to the Next Level

19 Nov 2015 | by Ian Blake

Discover how great B2B content marketing gets produced and shared when you ask clients to contribute. Ask and you shall receive.

There’s a little secret in the content marketing world that a lot of people don’t know: you don’t have to do it all yourself.

Not only that, but when it comes to the most successful content marketing tactics, crowdsourcing material is actually one of the most effective things you can do.

Why? Because it does three things that are absolute gold when it comes to producing top content.

  • It gets you into the head of the people you’re trying to sell to
  • It’s a perfect way to put yourself on the radar of people in your industry without trying to sell them something
  • It gets your ideal audience emotionally invested in the thing you’re creating

Let’s look at this in more depth. We’ve said time and again that the most effective way to find out what people want, what the top problems and pain points are that they need to solve, is to ask them.

Second-guessing your clients leaves you open to misjudgements that can be cleared up in a ten minute conversation. Asking straightforward questions about their needs and concerns will throw up all kinds of insights and points that you’ve probably never thought of – things that you can only know by working in their role, in their sector, in their environment. Seeing things from their perspective means that you can tailor your pitch in incredibly specific and effective ways that have the potential to seriously impress people used to generic marketing that doesn’t quite get their needs. But starting that conversation can feel tricky if you don’t have and clear and purposeful reason to do so. That’s where crowdsourcing for content comes in.

If you’re conducting research, contacting potential clients and asking them for their two cents is far, far easier to do. Perhaps you’re surveying companies in their field for a whitepaper or eBook. Perhaps you’re interviewing CEOs for a video series on the future of their industry. You’d be amazed at how quickly people open up when you start asking what they think – and really listening to the answers. As Dale Carnegie famously (and accurately) wrote in How to Win Friends and Influence People, “you can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

This is just as true in a business context as it is in a personal one – and it’s a welcome break for companies used to having salespeople and marketers talk at them, instead of listening to them. Plus, by making it clear that you’re contacting them because they are an important player in their field and you really value their insights, you appeal to their sense of pride and the buzz that just about everyone gets from feeling important and useful.

It might sound counterintuitive, but it’s actually better to ask for more, rather than less. That doesn’t mean subjecting someone to interminable phone questionnaire, but it does mean getting a dialogue going for long enough that the conversation sticks with them; you don’t want to be forgotten.

The greater depth that you go into – the more effort you ask of them – the more emotionally invested they will be in the final piece of content you create. The more interested they’ll be in the conclusions you draw. The more likely they’ll be to share this content with others in their network. And, of course, the more open they’ll be to talking to again when it comes to start selling.

As content marketing tactics go, crowdsourcing has to be up there with the best.  

Want more great tips and advice to make your mark in the content marketing world? Download the B2B Content Creation Masterclass below.

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