How to use video crowdsourcing to supercharge content marketing

Content marketers do not use enough video. Even though it is the most powerful marketing medium, video has traditionally been too expensive, complex and time-consuming for marketers. As a result they haven’t been able to use it as much as they would like.

Not anymore.

Crowdsourcing your video harnesses a dynamo of global creativity – at a manageable budget - that can transform your content in its authenticity, diversity, virality and impact.

How does it work?

Crowdsourcing can be a nervy experience for a first-timer. A marketer used to discussing ideas in private with a chosen agency, has to take a deep breath and put a brief out to (shock, horror!) a bunch of…customers!

a good creative crowd contains thousands of high quality filmmakers

But there is no need to worry. The results will not be the same as a scattergun plea for random UGC. Yes, indeed crowdsourced content is grass-roots, but a good creative crowd contains thousands of high quality filmmakers – enthusiasts, film students, pro videographers, even award-winning directors and animators.

Some advertisers tap into the genius of the crowd by asking for treatments or ideas. They select their favourite idea and its creator is rewarded. Meanwhile, the idea is then turned into a video, usually by a crowd filmmaker.

However, it’s more exciting when the crowd produces fully executed videos to a given brief. With a vibrant crowd, this can yield hundreds of engaging videos, with a remarkable range of creative approaches and executions.

How do marketers need to adapt to the new opportunities presented by crowdsourcing platforms?

Open your mind

Be curious and willing to learn about your own brand from real people who live and use it every day. It is banal now to acknowledge that a brand is what consumers (not marketers) say about it; crowdsourcing means being prepared to actually take that plunge.

Give your product to creative people and let them play with it

The results can be amazing. Yes, some of the crowd’s films may not respect your guidelines, but you do not have to use those videos, and you will certainly see fresh approaches – something that your agency would never dare produce.

Postpone creative control

Traditionally, creativity is narrowed down very quickly at the start of the project when working with an agency. With the crowd, you control the initial brief, then at the end of the project you have a kaleidoscope of original creative options.

Unlike putting all your eggs in one agency basket, some crowds even give you the option to run a number of their videos to see how they do in the real world before selecting the best performers.

Evolve your idea of “quality” in video

Yes, the crowd can produce polished content, but quality these days is more about a video’s power to engage than it is about production values.

quality these days is more about a video’s power to engage

The authentic, inclusive storytelling of the crowd can build real emotional connections for your brand far superior to the artificial lustre of so many TV commercials. Take this Mother’s Day video for a jewellery brand; simple, unpretentious, but it struck a chord and has racked up over 15 million organic views…

Think of using video at scale

Thanks to the crowd, video is no longer a high-cost, complicated process indulged in once in a while. Content marketers and social media teams need to adapt to the potential of using many videos, rather than just text and static images.

In any case, we have now passed the era of one expensive TVC representing a brand for six months. Marketers need multiple, cost-effective videos, relevant to different customer types, campaigns and times of the year.

Embrace true diversity

The creative elite team of comms gurus is increasingly becoming “excluding”. For true insight and genuine diversity of gender, orientation, age, ethnicity and ideas, you need the open, limitless variety of the crowd who can truly depict a more realistic picture of society.

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