According to research by AOL and Nielsen, consumers are spending 30 percent of their time on social media and more than 50 percent of their time looking at the content that’s shared on those platforms. The scariest part for content marketers: there’s a total of 27 million pieces of content shared across social channels every single day. And as those numbers continue to increase, content marketers must understand that distribution is fundamental to their overall strategies.


This writer’s most recent post discussed the importance of the vehicle, or message delivery system, that drives your content marketing distribution strategy. But as technology changes, content marketers will likely be forced to consider other variables.

With an amplified distribution goal, crowdsourcing is a dynamic strategy to consider for steering that vehicle. Author Jeff Howe originally coined the term in his 2006 Wired Magazine article, “The Rise of Crowdsourcing.” But the concept can apply to content distribution as well. As marketers put consumers in the driver’s seat and encourage authentic engagement with the public, they can also creating content awareness and amplified distribution.

As marketers, we need to encourage the best-qualified and most creative participants to join in helping solve a problem. Below are two strategies for the application of crowdsourcing content distribution.

Helping reporters—and content marketers

HARO is an online community that helps reporters find sources and by doing so provide visibility to influential sources. A writer can put a call out, and qualified, creative participants can help with content development. By publishing the completed piece the writer empowers—or even ego-strokes—the source, which can lead to a desire to share content they were included in. Since the source is an influencer with an active audience, it’s likely that the article will be seen, consumed and shared by a percentage of that audience.

Community influencers have valuable reach. In addition, the content can be perceived as more authoritative because the influencer is sharing the content. Consumers are less likely to be skeptical about the content itself in this situation.

Leveraging online communities: Quora

Quora is another great tool for crowdsourcing content distribution. The site is a community for people to ask questions as well as get answers. This is a great platform to consider in the earlier stages of research and content ideation—but most importantly, it can help with content creation and distribution.

First, determine your goal before asking questions. When users respond, pay attention to how they’re referring to the question. Also pay attention to what other questions are being asked in relation to the original question. This will help determine if the question needs some redirecting.

Once responses start trickling in, consider some of those respondents for the content crowdsourcing process as well. The value of crowdsourcing lies in the responses; they will offer invaluable insight into the individual consumers thought process. For example, if the question originally uses the word “hack”—“What are your best everyday life hacks for personal electronic devices?”—pay attention to how the consumer responds. If people aren’t using the word “hack,” this insight can help you change the language and enhance communication with your target audience.

These insights will also allow you to speak the target market’s language when you begin distribution from your own channel. The search results may even be enhanced with this insight because the consumer language will be used within the content.

Finally, when the content is complete, be sure to contact the people who interacted with you and your question on Quora. They clearly have interest in the subject and may be a potential source for additional promotion efforts.

Quora can be used to build the kinds of relationships that can be valuable for any content promotion and distribution plan, but there are other crowdsourcing tools available online as well. Are you using crowdsourcing in your content distribution strategy? Do you have any secrets to steering your content distribution strategy? Tell us in the comments.