Crowdsourcing Content to Cut Marketing Costs

July 30, 2014

Ronny Elkayam

Ronny Elkayam is a serial entrepreneur and veteran of the Israeli startup scene. Moment.me is his fifth company as an executive and second company as a founder.

Content, as we know, is not only king, but also the cornerstone to any marketing strategy. But creating a large amount of dedicated content for each and every event can be time-consuming, strenuous, and ultimately costly.

What’s needed is a way to leverage content that already exists, and what better way to do that than crowdsourcing? Crowdsourcing content means taking content being written about your event, from your event or related to a participant in your event. It’s created by your event audience and is therefore the best way to get their attention.

Like many brands today who let their users or fans tell the company story, this content is more authentic, and will be better received by your audience. Not only is this likely be an effective driver of engagement, but it will also dramatically cut down on effort and cost.

So how do you leverage that content to make it work for you and your event? Below are some helpful tips for how to integrate and take advantage of the content your attendees create.

1.       Integrate social media.  The most obvious pool of content to draw from is social media, since your event audience will be posting to and checking various different platforms anyway. Finding a platform that has integrated social media is therefore the essential first step in harnessing attendee-created content. Whether it’s integrated onto the event site for promotion, or within an event app itself, or linked to your event website, social media is a necessary component for engagement and content generation.

2.       Using Competitions. Competitions or giveaways always spur engagement, but when they are transferred to the digital world they also work as an incentive to prompt attendees to create more content. Attendees are much more likely to upload their Instagram or Facebook photo if the event is promoting a “Best Selfie of the Night” challenge, and more likely to tweet often if the attendee with the most retweets is able to win an exciting prize. Running competitions incentivizes attendees to engage through media sharing, and also creates the opportunity for attendee content to go viral reaching a much larger audience.

3.       Get your engagement started early. Encourage your attendees to get involved and weigh in on your event early. Check social media to see what your participants are saying about the event before it happens, then invite them to make suggestions for the speaking agenda, or for workshops, or even on what free gifts should be offered, and then implement one or two of the best ones. This will not only make sure your attendees get the experience they are looking for at your event, but it starts a conversation with them where they feel heard.

4.       Engage with remote attendees: Another way to use attendee-created content is to interact with people who want to be part of your event but couldn’t attend. By bringing together the social media content attendees are posting to every different social network, you are effectively crowdsourcing coverage of the event and giving remote viewers the chance to see every angle. Not only that, building an aggregated social media view of the event has the added bonus of enhancing the live event experience for those actually in attendance, giving them all the perspectives on the event even as they experience it.

5.       Partnership Blog Posts: For longer-form, more in-depth content, consider reaching out to bloggers or social media influencers who are attending your event, or might be interested in coming. While you won’t be able to control what they write, you can offer them value by giving them an exclusive look at things – like backstage access to a band setting up before a concert, or an interview with a keynote speaker. Featuring this content on your event website, mobile site or app not only gives them access to a larger readership, but also adds more objective content to your event marketing.

6.       Make a promo video out of attendee testimonials: If the event technology being employed includes video integration or aggregation, use the video content from your event to make a promo spot for your next event to release on social media. The attendees at the original event will want to watch and share the video because it covers an experience they were part of, taking care of half of the promotion for you. For those you are trying to convince to come to your next event, nothing looks more convincing than video testimonials of satisfied previous attendees.

7.       Data, data, data: Finally, whatever outreach or promotion you use your content for, it’s vital to choose a social media solution that also gives you access to measurement and statistics on how your audience are reacting to different outreach efforts. In order to refine your strategy to make it more effective, you will need to know how people are interacting and engaging with your content – exactly how many attendees viewed each post, or clicked on each link, how many created their own content and what kind of content it was, and how many shared the content of others. Without measurement tools you are flying blind, so make sure to optimize any effort you make by informing yourself to the greatest degree possible.  

The content event planners use to engage attendees should be as dynamic and diverse as their audience. Intuitively, it makes the most sense that what attendees will find the most intriguing are pictures, posts and content they’ve actually taken the time to upload.

By utilizing attendee-created content, you’re able to tap into a significant source that can be used to promote your event, increase engagement, and effectively reduce the time and cost investment content creation generally takes. 

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Partner Voices

Until recently, the opportunity to have a celebrity attend an event, attach themselves to a name-brand or endorse a certain product or idea was untouchable. The thought of paying a person to promote a product was seen as something only Fortune 500 companies could afford. Social media has changed all that with brands and businesses utilizing celebrity influencers to connect directly with their demographics and increase sales and profits.