Running a successful crowdcourcing project.

If you are a developer or producer working in the Digital Marketing industry, crowdsourcing has become a popular way to help get projects done faster. From technical projects like systems administration and development to creative design and illustration there are now a wide range of crowdsourcing service providers such as Elance to 99designs that allow you to outsource your project to the crowd.

Even though in theory crowdsourcing is a more efficient way of getting work done, managing crowdsourcing projects can be a challenge and if not done properly can be less efficient than working with talent directly.
Here are some simple tips to help ensure greater success and efficiency in the execution of your crowdsourcing project.

1. Brief: The brief to the participants in your project is critical. Spend the time to specify what you expect from the start. If you provide participants in you project a detailed brief from the outset, all of their energy throughout the contest will be focused on reaching the goals you have set. Giving creatives a detailed brief from the outset can have a huge impact on the trajectory and outcome of your competition and spending the time to get it right from the start is worthwhile.

2. Feedback: Giving feedback to competitors in crowdsourcing competitions is crucial. Even though the reason most people hold a crowdsourcing competition is to save time, you will find that the amount of time required to give feedback to competitors can be high. In many cases the budget allocated to your project will determine the level of talent that participates which can effect the amount of feedback required. In most cases though, the more feedback you give participants the better the outcome will be.

3. Let stragglers go early (politely): You will find in every environment where there is competition for crowdsourcing money there is a mix of both talent and a pool of stragglers hoping by way of luck to win a competition. Sometimes it can be good to support the stragglers and push their ability to help them get better at what they do. In most cases it is best to cut them off early and politely eliminate them from your project. If you spend your time giving feedback to participants who’s work is far below the quality of the competitions leaders, it will be to the detriment of your projects outcome.

4. Manage your expectations: You can find a lot of talent by using crowdsourcing and this often means you get amazing work for reasonable budgets. But you don’t get the best result every time and sometimes the exact talent your project needs doesn’t materialise. When you launch your crowdsourcing project don’t take success for granted, sometimes you hit and sometimes you miss.

5. Refinement: The greatest benefit of running a crowdsourcing project is that you get to refine multiple different designs or product concepts from multiple different participants. Make sure you take advantage of this and work closely with the most talented participants in your project to refine their concepts.

6. Fairness: Be fair to all participants in your crowdsourcing project! Some crowdsourcing competitions are held in private, and some allow all contributors to view other peoples submissions. If you feel participants are copying others work or not playing fair, eliminate them from your competitions and ensure that the winners of your project won for the quality of their own work.

Crowdsourcing is a new way of getting things done. In many cases it can provide amazing cost and time efficiencies to your digital marketing project. Crowdsourcing itself isn’t an instant recipe for success though. The more time you invest in your own crowdsourcing projects and the better you understand how to run a crowdsourcing competition, the better the outcome of your competition will be.

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