Have you ever heard the buzzword “crowdsourcing?” It’s popular among bloggers and business start-ups that create tech products or content for mass consumption. Even Microsoft uses this method. Basically, they put out a beta version of whatever product they have created and then use the minds and input of 1000s of software engineers who volunteer to improve the product. Some may call this “the wisdom of crowds,” which is also the title of a book by James Surowiecki.
Developers and users of software may use the term “open source” for software that is free and is continually being improved by 1000s of volunteers, aka the “community.”
For every major piece of software or framework that has had a huge impact in the last 20 years (Windows, Adobe Photoshop, easy FTP programs, blogs, website builders) there is usually a premier open source alternative to the most popular paid one. The most popular content management (CMS) systems or website builders are open source, or free to those who know how to use them: WordPress, Drupal and Joomla.
The opposite would be having to pay a website company monthly for access to a custom CMS or proprietary system to manage content and create pages. For the slightly less technical, he/she may just generalize this to thinking they are just paying hosting fees.
How to Use Expert Sourcing to Blast off Your Blogging Efforts
How does this relate to improving your content? Content is currency on the web, which takes time, energy, and thought to create. You may have heard the more common term “user generated content.” Major social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter have this as their business model.
Only their framework would exist if users were not constantly adding content, and there would not be much value. The value AND the growth come from users propagating and interacting, by, you guessed it, creating content.
I remember hearing a joke a few years ago that went like the definition of a social networking website business is, “We create all the content, they keep all the money.”
I’m not a big fan of being considered someone else’s user generated content. Similar to I don’t like how a specialized expert or subject matter expert in business is called a “resource.”
I’ve coined a term in blogging and content creation which I hope will take hold. I feel is much more respectable for achieving the same results and more accurate. I call it Expert Sourcing.
In my method, EVERYONE benefits in a win-win for all parties: the blog owner, the contributor, and the audience. By targeting key people who have their own agenda or want to build credibility in their respective field and need exposure, writing quality content may be a small price to pay.
Five Types of Expert Sourcing that Make Your Content More Sharable
1. Email Interview with Experts
2. One Question, Multiple Experts’ Opinions
3. Collaborative Guest Posts
4. Article Augmented with Two or Three Quotes from Different Experts
5. A pure guest post
Why do these make your blog post more sharable? It’s simple. Value. There’s value in an expert’s opinion, there is a multiplier effect in having several expert opinions in the same article. This makes the article’s value greater than the sum of its parts. The higher value, the more likely it will be shared.
Case Study: Expert Sourcing for Blog Content Using Collaborative Guest Posts
Some of you may know, I am the Co-founder of a hyper-local digital magazine called ILiveInDallas.com, or ILIVE as I will refer to it for this example. Three months ago, I had the idea of creating a collaborative article. For every collaboration (or confabulation : ), there needs to be a story leading to why something was done.
Having a “reason why” is one of Robert Cialdini’s's minor weapon of influence hypothesized and thoroughly tested in his book Influence:The Psychology of Persuasion. Here was my story, which subsequently opened the article.
“It started with an email and a mission. After hearing the news that one local Dallas magazine had proclaimed that Bolsa was the “Best Restaurant in Dallas in 2009,” I had to do an investigative search of my own. When I realized Dallas has nearly 7,000+ restaurants I’d have to try, I thought a faster and possibly more accurate alternative to make my 2011 “have to try” list would be to ask five local Dallas foodies for their five best restaurants in Dallas. None of these foodies saw each others’ list before this article was collaborated and one restaurant made two of the foodie lists.”
The article then proceeded to have five sub-articles written by the foodies. Key points:
- Each foodie had a blog, or a reason to want to participate.
- It was a fun, subjective, topic in which there could be several valid opinions.
- There was a team attitude about the whole thing, which made the participants feel like he/she was contributing to a bigger idea (and they were).
The organizer of the post takes on the burden of adding images, consistent formatting, and making sure all elements are in place (bios, author photos, links).
Side Benefits For Expert Sourced Articles for the Blog Owner
- Contributors or interviewees will promote the article to their own network outside of yours.
- You’re more likely to be asked to guest post, or to be interviewed by doing so first resulting in links and better SEO for your website.
- Constantly creating content is tough, you get to take a break for a day.
The first benefit mentioned above was one huge key to the success of the article. This article resulted in a the highest two day traffic rush from social media ever experienced on the site:
- 2500 visitors in 48 hours
- Over 340 Facebook Shares
- Over 100 Retweets on Twitter
-40 backlinks in two weeks
The article continues to bring traffic from keyword referrals/people finding it on search engines for Dallas restaurant-related terms. That’s the power of Expert Sourcing.
This post is a part of a series called Better Business Blogging & Audience Building Secrets you can get free by subscribing here. You’ll receive exclusive email & member’s only content on the latest audience building techniques. You’ll also receive updates on the state of search, social media, and Internet Marketing for more customers. Neil Lemons is a Dallas Internet Marketing Consultant who has been blogging and creating SEO content strategies for businesses since 2006.