Businesses are constantly trying to grow by creating innovative ways to market their products or services to the public. This is where crowdsourcing comes into play, allowing businesses to reach out directly to consumers for ideas, feedback, and even design of certain products.
If you’ve never run a crowdsourcing project before, it can seem a bit daunting. The fears are real around leaving it to luck, and raises common questions such as - What if you don’t get the response you hoped for? How do you collate and make sense of the responses? What happens if you don’t attract the right demographic?
Read these concerns and reality should be kicking in that running a crowdsourcing project is more than just posting it online and getting strangers to input their ideas. It’s important to understand just how communication helps your crowdsourcing project. Communicate the task and actions wrongly and you could end up wasting everybody’s time. You should be able to maintain consistent communication with your contributors and provide them regular updates, regardless the type of crowdsourcing platform you use. Having a one-way channel of communication with the community manager, especially when you leave it until the end of a project, is a recipe for disaster.
How communication helps your crowdsourcing project
So how should you handle communication? Let’s look at the importance of crystal-clear and ongoing communication for your creative outsourcing projects.
Planning a brief for your next creative crowdsourcing project
When you invite people onto a platform to share their ideas to solve your creative problems, the success of the outcome hangs on your ability to communicate clearly and effectively at every stage of the project. Contributors to these platforms often perceive the topic as personally important and are willing to give substantial effort to contribute to the achievement of the stated goals. But it’s all for nought if they misunderstand the objective of their role. How communication helps your crowdsourcing project depends on how well you define precise and inclusive objectives that appeal to many contributors. We can’t stress strongly enough that these need to be clearly communicated.
Always keep the contributor in mind as you write your brief. Are you giving them a compelling reason to help you?
Use their language - Crowdsourcing for early-stage ideas often involves a community made up of a diverse group of people. Take care to avoid jargon and acronyms here and communicate with them in everyday language. You want them to understand what to do so that they can take the action you need them to.
Let your one big problem motivate them to help – Giving too many tasks and objectives will only confuse your community. Let them focus on the one main task that will move the needle for you. Share why the problem is such a challenge for you and why they should care enough to help. What are you developing that could ultimately make a difference in their lives? Read your brief through before posting it to make sure it’s clear and emotive, that it makes people want to help and be part of the solution.
Make yourself available – Depending on the platform you use to crowdsource, you may have limited ways of engaging with your crowd. But let the community know that they can contact you if they have questions. Be available to provide ongoing guidance so that you can get the best feedback possible. However, take care not to project any desired outcomes onto them. That will defeat the whole objective of getting independent minds working on the problem.
While each brief is unique, it helps to have a loose template to guide you. Feel free to use our toolkit here for your next crowdsourcing project.
Slow and steady, and clear and consistent, does it
Start small. Crowdsourcing is an experiential process that requires some pilot-testing in a noncritical environment. Continuously monitor and adjust by reviewing quality and quantity of contributions, project runtime and efforts needed for conducting your crowdsourcing project.
How communication helps your crowdsourcing project ultimately is by being clear and consistent. Make sure you maintain a two-way channel of communication. The more time you invest in communicating with contributors and following up on their progress, the faster your project will be completed. Leaving contributors feeling as though they aren't being heard or acknowledged will result in a loss of motivation, which will eventually kill your crowdsourced project before it properly starts. So don’t leave communication updates to the very end. Keep communication of expectations clear and open, and provide updates to the community throughout the duration of the project.
Managing a crowdsourcing project is no easy feat and by no means a “side hustle”. Let us help you get the most out of your investment.