How to Create Engaging and Authoritative Content – Part 4

As we have discussed in the first three articles of this series, if you’re looking to create a long-term career when it comes to producing profitable and engaging website content, raw talent alone will not guarantee you success. 

To truly become a professional, you need to develop a comprehensive tool kit, and some of the key tools we have thus far discussed include the 80/20 Rule, creating a hybrid niche/authority blog, becoming proactive within your niche by attending seminars and conferences, becoming a multi-faced content creation strategies, as well as enhancing your authority by becoming a premium content curator within your industry.

In this article, we will discuss another key strategy to creating profitable content – crowd sourcing.  One off the greatest benefits to this strategy is that you are able to kill two birds with one stones. 

First we go back to what successful internet entrepreneuers understand about monetizing your web traffic. Regardless of how you’ve decided to monetize your website, whether it be through advertisements, affiliate programs, or selling your own products and services, a successful sales conversion is a reward given to you by your client in recognition for the quality content you have provided them.

The objective is to create a sustainable, long-term relationship that transforms each of your readers into an email subscriber, repeat buyer, as well as a word-of-mouth advertiser that will bring me new clients and strengthen your brand’s reputation.  What’s one of the way’s you can achieve this objective?  By making your website an interactive, two-way platform where the opinions and ideas of your readership are not only respected, but also singled-out and rewarded for their quality and originality. 

Second, if properly utilized, crowd sourcing can provide a boon for your website’s long-term content by yoking your readership’s research, ideas, work experience, and writing talents.  Try incorporating these seven strategies into your content strategy in order to enhance website web traffic, readership response, and long-term profitability.

I) Don’t be an absentee landlord, ask for your customer’s feedback and be sure to answer to people article responses.  You should always remember that that Google’s primary mission is to provide unique, quality content, and the more responses an article receives, the more Google will reward you with increased page ranking.

Not only should your articles be well-researched, well-cited, and have discussed in our first article, also contain comprehensive bibliography, you should also end every post with an open-ended invitation such as, “What do you think?  Sound off in the comments section!).

Additionally, try to avidly respond to reader contents (preferably within 12 hours of posting, but at the latest 24 hours), as well as trying to stimulate debates within comments section.

You should also include a “Posting Policy” page on your website and be unapolegtic about deleting comments from abusive trolls who either try to derail discussion threads or who harass other commentators on your site. 

An easy way to further enhance readership engagement is to…

II) Highlight an outstanding response and then build an entire article around it.  Reward you best comment providers by publicly complimenting them on the quality of their responses and then building an entire post around them.  If you’re looking to strengthen the relationship you have with those readers that have signed up for your email subscription service, this is an incredibly potent tactic.

III) Harvest content topics by doing bi-weekly or monthly open thread posts.  This strategy has several advantages to it.  While you want to establish an authority site with well-researched and well-cited articles; you also want to incorporate tactics in your business model that help to cultivate client engagement and participation.

Second, ask you readership to be honest with you.  What do they like about your site?  What is that they can’t stand?  Are the graphics and page layout pleasing or annoying?  Where do they think your website needs improvement?  Use the feedback to tweak and fine tune the overall quality of your site.    

Finally, asking your readership what areas of your niche they would like you to focus on can also provide a boon for article topics and website content.  Give special attention to those readers that have college degrees, work experience, businesses, and websites that are related to your industry.

IV) Create writing contests and incentives competition through industry-related products or cash prizes.  Be sure to “tweak” this tactic by bluntly stating that “canned” articles or presentations will not be accepted, and that all submissions will also be thoroughly vetted for plagiarism.  If you have clients that have professional experience or college papers that can be converted into case studies for your website, that’s perfectly acceptable and should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. 

But the long-term objective is to make your competition something that your entire niche and industry knows about and anticipates, and the articles need to be original articles that have been individually-researched and written for your specific website in order to qualify.

You can further incentives both the number of competitors as well as your niche reputation by embracing two tactics.  First, don’t simply give recognition to first place.  Embrace the precious metal rating system of Bronze, Silver, and Gold, or even better, Honorable Mention, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum (the opportunities for recognition and prizes, the more people might be tempted to participate).

Second, create a two-tiered competition for your readership that incentivizes them to joing your email subscription list.  Offer one competition that awards prizes for your general readership, but then offer another competition offering cash prizes for those that sign-up for your email subscriber list.  People love prizes, but they love cash even more.

V) Always reserve the right to “polish” and “sharpen” submitted content, and that fact should be perfectly known as both a website policy as well as a competition guideline.  Regardless of how you crowd source your content, always remind your readership that at the end of the day, it’s your website and you reserve the right to have the final say on content being posted.

Much like reserving the write to ban abusive trolls in your Public Posting Policy, reserving the right to alter readership content is important for several reasons.  You’ve now become an editor, and as most editors will tell you, writers can be a finicky group when it comes to altering their work. 

A writer might give you an article that’s a “diamond in the rough.”  It’s an outstanding topic and highly engaging, but the spelling, grammar, and content flow leaves something to be desired.  A writer might give you an article that’s well written, but the title is severely lacking and could also use the inclusion of a couple key words to help it rank better.  Finally, a writer submits an article that turns out to be a plagiarized fraud, and if stolen from someone well know within your niche, it could cause seriously problems if you publish it.  This are just a few of the reasons why it’s smart to have publicly posted editorial guidelines.

Conclusion  Crowd sourcing content is an outstanding, long-term business strategy for several reasons.  The first is that it could provide a boon of quality content by yoking your readership’s professional knowledge and expertise on your niche.  Second, while wanting to create an authority website through well-researched content, crowd sourcing content also helps to personalize your website and convert impartial readers into devoted clients.  Third, hosting crowd sourcing functions such as writing competitions are a great way to both boost readership as well as establish a brand and reputation within your niche.       

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