People are jumping into crowdsourcing assignments with a delightfully increased regularity, which is great for all of us in the crowdsourcing business. But not everyone on the client side is doing a great job of executing on these projects or assignments. Here are five tips for marketers, agencies, or other clients to use to successfully execute crowdsourcing assignments more effectively, and with greater results. I call them my Five C's!
Keep in mind that your audience (or crowd, in this case) may not be as professional or high-level as you are used to working with in "traditional" approaches to areas like logo design, video production, writing/story-telling, programming, and other areas oftentimes associated with crowdsourcing. With this in mind, it is imperative that you keep your directions concise, focused, and not open to conjecture or opinion. Your directional documents or statements will be the primary guides to your producers, and they need to know exactly what you want, or you'll get results that won't be on-target, and you'll be wasting time and money for all involved. If you do want to get a broad spectrum of results from your crowd, you can certainly include some open-ended requests, but limit them to particular areas of your brief, not the entire project.
Be careful when you outline considerations or suggestions to your crowd, such as "I'd like to see a couple of submissions that include an Asian male portrayed in the photo or video." What typically happens is that 90% of your submissions will then include the Asian male, and you may not be as thrilled with the results you get, and then you're stuck. You'll get better results if you include a copy of your company Style Guide to your team of crowd creatives. Sharing with them the broader "do's and don'ts" will help ensure a strong finished product and excellent results without painting you into a corner.
A lot of clients simply dump their creative briefs or directions out on the crowd and disappear. To get the best results, clients need to continue to be available to their crowd, answering questions, providing insights and direction, even offering encouragement. Some of the best results we've seen have happened in situations where the brand is an active participant, and even critiquing some of the early submissions to help members of the creative crowd/community know what is being sought, and what is not.
It's easy for a client to think that their assignment can be slammed out in just a week or so, thanks to the crowd and their huge numbers and apparent availability. However, I caution you to give your crowd plenty of time to properly execute an assignment. Oftentimes, individuals that make up a crowd are gainfully employed during the week, and address crowdsourcing endeavors in the evenings and weekends. Giving them a little more time will help get you the results you need, with the quality you expect.
Take care of your crowdsourcing participants. More often than not, they are working on spec, and just need a little love along the way. Only a few participants benefit financially by having their work purchased, so to keep the other ones engaged longer for your next big assignment, pass out the love at the end by sharing honorable mentions or finalist recognitions in your selection process. Even better, provide feedback. It will keep those who addressed your assignment around for the next big opportunity, ultimately benefitting your company.
Before you launch your first (or your next) crowdsourcing assignment, strive to keep the Five C's firmly in-mind. You'll get better results, with a more engaged and motivated work force.
[Neil Perry is president of Poptent, the global leader in crowdsourced video production, connecting top brands with a powerful social network of more than 50,000 independent filmmakers in 140 countries to produce commercials and other video assets for online and offline use.]