The Cons of Crowdsourcing Content – Part 2

In a previous article, we looked at the advantages that crowdsourced content offers to brands, specifically those focused on reaching moms. Today, we take the opposite viewpoint and explore the downsides of crowdsourcing.

Crowdsourcing is a content marketing tool that uses free, consumer-generated content for promotional and product purposes. It has become a wildy popular practice for many brands, but there are many naysayers as well. Crowdsourced content can mean that brands spend more time editing and screening content, as well as accepting unwelcome feedback. And, even though it’s easy to think there’s never such a thing as too much content, there actually IS such a thing. Just because free content is available doesn’t mean it’s quality or even correct for your audience

What downsides do other companies need to watch out for when considering this marketing tactic? Let’s explore these 5 cons of crowdsourced content:

1. User-generated content is cheap: Yes, this was also number one on our list of Pros, but all that is cheap is not always good. Brands can run into trouble if they trust their consumer too much with creating content. User-generated content should be consistent, relevant and edited. Unfortunately, all of that requires a human being (or two or three) to ensure what is ultimately shared with consumers is in line with the brand’s image and ultimate marketing goals.

2. Risk of the negative: For moms especially, a negative experience with a brand can be extremely damaging in the way they perceive that brand. If you open yourself up to user content, you have to be ready to handle the negative content that comes your way. Sometimes it’s useful to make the product better but sometimes it brings to light serious problems or can create a firestorm of more negative attention if not handled properly.

3. Too much or too little: It is risky to depend on content that isn’t financially outsourced. You risk getting too much content that isn’t useful or too little that can’t be made to be useful. One customer review isn’t going to impact a product as much as fifty qualified reviews with lots of relevant information.

4. Crowdsourcing is a commitment: Spending the time and energy on a crowdsourcing marketing plan can make or break it. What is important is to make the commitment to sticking with it. Consumers come to rely on the user-generated content and you risk alienating them if it suddenly stops or slows down.

5. Creativity is key: Just because you can successfully capture crowdsourced content, doesn’t mean it will be interesting to the consumer. In order to make the content you’ve collected compelling, creativity has to come into play. It’s one thing to collect customer feedback, it’s a whole other ballgame to transform that feedback into an innovative campaign. For example, Doritos launched a user-generated commercial contest for the Super Bowl and required participants to “…break a bunch of advertising and marketing rules. Stop trying to break through with advertising and instead become the content this audience actively seeks out. Second, break the rest of the rules.” The result was over 2,000 video submissions and more than one billion impressions.

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For brands that focus on the mom market, it’s becoming increasingly more important for them to focus on cultivating the consumer. Mom bloggers, brand influencers and advocates and moms who use social media are creating their own content and other moms are listening. Rather than spending time and money on creatives that don’t work, experiment with crowdsourcing and user-generated content to make your brand stand out in a sea of competition.

Check our more unique and creative content marketing ideas in our free white paper.

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