Surfing the Crowd

As a content creator, it’s your job to continually produce compelling content across blogs and social channels for your followers to consume. But the content you publish cannot just be appealing to you — it must resonate with your many followers. One of best ways to publish content that speaks to your followers is by curating the content they’re already producing. Your followers follow you for a reason, they share similar interests, tastes and beliefs. These inherent shared qualities mean that your followers are likely posting some content on their own channels that is highly relevant to the content that you’re producing. Re-gramming, re-tweeting and re-purposing their original thoughts and images (with attribution, of course) on your blog is a fantastic way to maintain their engagement.

Ask FirstSend DMs or personal messages to your readers to officially ask permission to use their content. Even if you do attribute their work in your post, it’s important to make sure that your readers are ok with their work being publicly seen by all of your followers. Some social media users tend to be more private with their content, and you do not want to make the mistake of leveraging content from a reader who is uncomfortable with any level of publicity. Failing to ask for permission could cost you a valuable reader relationship.

Engage Often  – Simply re-publishing your followers’ content for the benefit of your own post or engagement rates does not contribute to authenticity. Approaching crowd-sourcing simply to appear as though you are tuned into your followers does not contribute to last authenticity. Instead, crowdsourcing should work in tandem with consistent, back and forth engagement. Take the time to look at some of your active followers’ feeds, like and comment on their posts to build up a genuine rapport. Additionally, once you have re-purposed content from individual followers, don’t leave them in the dust. Continue to engage with them across platforms and forge a deeper relationship. Regular communication with active readers can lead to new inspiration for content or, potentially, impactful collaborations.

Create Context with ContentCrowdsourced material will (likely) already share a strong relation to your original content. However, just dropping one of your followers’ photographs into your blog post may not enhance your content to its fullest potential value. Incorporate your followers’ work into your blog and social media feeds in meaningful ways. If you’re re-purposing one of their photos within your Instagram feed, describe them and their work in the caption to give your other viewers the chance to get to know them. If you’d like t feature their original photography or text within a blog post, include multiple examples of their work to give your readers a well-rounded glimpse into their unique points of views and aesthetics.

When you crowdsource content it can connect you to your community on a deeper level; it evens the playing field, in a sense. The followers who create the crowdsourced content are no longer just readers, but active contributors and you are no longer the sole content creator. Crowdsourcing can deepen your connections to your community, however, a crowd-sourced piece must be executed in a way that benefits both parties and maintains the authenticity of your digital content properties.

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