If you have been paying attention, you will see a trend that has become all the rage these days: crowdsourcing. This is the process of designating a task that might have once gone to a single person or team to a large group of people through an open call. Basically throwing the request out there and seeing who decides to take part in answering it.
News sites have jumped on board in a big way, with asking readers for their opinions, thoughts, photos and experiences. Local reporting has been especially beneficial in area where journalists are limited in access, such as some of the stunning information and tragic first-person perspective coming from non-professional sources in areas like Syria and Libya right now.
Blogs have also been getting on board with this concept, not just in a journalistic way but in one of socialization and general communication. They are asking their readers for content, such as designs or articles, or opening up their sites to guest bloggers. They are even using crowdsourced interviews, though not nearly as much as they should be.
What Are Crowdsourced Interviews?
This is an interview that works by giving a single question or set of questions to a number of people. You then organize and provide their answers to show how they are similar or how they differ, offering a wide range of opinion from several different experts. It really provides an expanded insight and will be of greater value to the reader than a single interview with just one person.
We see these a lot on marketing, SEO or technology related blogs. For whatever reason, these industries seem eager to spread into crowdsourcing whereas others have been much slower on the uptake. Perhaps because they are niches that inherently known the value of such interviews, and how they can go further by giving different view points all in one place.
How To Conduct a Crowdsourced Interview
First, you need to tell the experts asked that it will be crowdsourced to several relevant experts in the field. Make sure you tell them why they were selected among the group, making it a point to praise their expertise. You don’t want them to feel that they are being selected for such a platform because you don’t believe in their ability to stand up to their own interview.
Second, you should already have the questions prepared. Even if they do not give the answers right away – and you should allow them plenty of space to respond in their own time – it is nice to show them what they will be asked to answer before they agree to do so. This will avoid complication in the future, as occasionally it will turn out an expert in the field is not as well versed in certain aspects of it, instead having focused on learning about another element of the niche.
Third, assure them that they will have a full byline with link and bio as part of the interview. Each expert should have a section along with their answer that says who they are, what they are known for, a link to their site and how they can be contacted. Offer to let them provide this byline themselves, if they choose.
Once you have the full collection of experts agreeing to the interview, set a date for publication, give them the deadline to send the answers to your questions, and being then edit them all into a single article. See? It is that easy.
How to Get Crowdsourced Content
This is usually done through an open call. Ask readers of your blog if they have an relevant content they would like to share, such as projects, photos or opinions. Once they start coming in you can filter the ones you wish to use, publish it with full credit to the user and contact that user with a link to the post.
I have always found it helpful to have a submission form on the actual site for people who wish to send in content. That way I can ask for their name, email address, a link to any website they might want to share, and a check box giving me permission to use their content on my blog. It is much easier than having to go back and forth with each person to get the necessary information.
There you have it, a guide for using crowdsourced content or interviews for your own blog. It isn’t nearly as difficult as you might think, and can be incredibly helpful. So what are you waiting for? Start your own crowdsourcing today.