For years, brands have struggled with how to create content based on a lack of resources, experts, budget or time. However, as social media has become an increasingly more useful as a marketing tool, brands embraced crowdsourcing from customers and brand advocates as a way to create free user-generated content about products and services. From customer feedback to contests, crowdsourcing is a great way to engage the core audience and create excitement. Heck, even Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer used crowdsourcing to name her newborn son! 
 
Of course, there are downfalls to content created by users as well, such as poor quality, inconsistent voice and tone, and more. In this two-part series, we’ve outlined the pros and cons of crowdsourcing, particularly for mom-focused companies. Brands like Kimberly-Clark, Coca-Cola, Toyota and Doritos tried this content marketing strategy and understand how to maximize exposure in a multi-channel media world. What lessons can be learned from crowdsourcing mavens? In the first part of this series, we highlight 5 key pros of crowdsourced content: 
 
PROS
 
1. User-generated content is cheap: For most brands, this is a huge plus. There may be some back-end work to build the infrastructure that collects crowdsourced content, but once that is taken care of, their is the opportunity for the collection of content to become a well-oiled and affordable machine that benefits especially from organic traffic. 
 
2. Moms like to share knowledge: According to iMedia Connection, 80% of content in 2013 is user-generated. Inside the mom market, that content consists of parenting and kid advice, recipes, party and entertaining ideas, health forums, lifestyle commentary, etc. A recent study by Clicks and Cravings says that moms would rather crowdsource recipes than get them from their mothers. 
 
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Food52 is a crowdsourced site that collects user recipes to be published in real cookbook and was founded by two Brooklyn food writers. 
 
3. You’ll get brand feedback: For a lot of brands, customer feedback is the primary way they make their products better. User reviews, customer forums and social media provide insight into what customers are really thinking and that is invaluable to brands that value customer satisfaction and take pride in their products or services. 
 
4. Create a connection and advocacy: Consumer-built content on a blog, social media site or within an article has the benefit of directly relating to other consumers. A mom shopping for diapers is more likely to take the advice of another mom rather than a blurb written by an inside marketing professional. In turn, the content contributors begin to feel a kinship with the brand as they are a part of how it’s perceived. 
 
5. Crowdsourcing is fun: Crowdsourcing - done correctly - can be extremely interesting to watch and develop. For example, Lay’s launched a crowdsourced contest, “Do Us a Flavor,” to come up with the next big potato chip flavor. Between the celebrity-laden commercials and diverse chip ideas (Chicken & Waffles?!), customers had fun seeing the ideas evolve and picking the winner. 
 
crowdsourcing content
 
Like all things, crowdsourcing has its disadvantages as well. Check out the follow up blog post that talks about the downsides of using crowdsourced content from your consumers, and then decide for yourself if it's a marketing tactic you'll use for your brand. 
 
Posted by Jess Noble
 

 
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