Crowdsourcing – Contests for Content

Blogs are interesting creatures.   When they start out, it’s often with great enthusiasm.  You have lots of ideas to share –  vision, direction, purpose!

The first articles come easily.  They flow.  You are inspired.

Then comes disappointment in one of two forms.  Sometimes, you have no audience.  Even with great promotion, that initial blip of interests fades.  You look at your visits and hope that the one visit today wasn’t you.

Or it can be successful in getting an initial audience — that audience might even grow.  But sooner or later, after a hard day at work or on what could be that lazy Saturday morning, you drag your sorry butt to the computer and you just don’t feel like it.  Excitement becomes unpaid work.  You now understand what columnists who do weekly columns do with the rest of their week.  And you gain a new respect for anyone who publishes daily.  Your content dwindles and the audience drops off.

To paraphrase the poet T. S. Eliot – this is the the way most blogging ends, “not with a bang, but a whimper.”   Sounds kind of sad, doesn’t it?

Maybe one of the reasons why this happens so frequently is that blogs are often lone wolf enterprises. It’s a single person with a single vision in a world and a medium that facilitates and rewards collaboration.   I produce an online radio show, Game Changing – which is actually a blog and podcast every week.  How do I manage that with my schedule?  I’m not sure.  We’re actually going to launch a second show.  I could not do this without the collaboration of my co-hosts.  It’s an interesting irony.   The internet gives the lone wolf an easy way to launch, but in all too many cases the lone wolf may get all the credit, but the collaborator gets success.  It’s an interesting variation on the “give it away and grow rich” philosophy which powers so much of the internet.  If you get it, you can prosper.  If you don’t – the odds of your success are lessened.

Sure there’s someone out there who bucks this trend, but if you really check that one person that you see probably has staff and resources.

And it is easy to find collaborators if you have money, time and resources.  What do you do if you have no budget?  Andrew Ballenthin has been seeking that answer for some time.  He built his Community Marketing Blog on the principle that he was going to find out if you could build a successful blog with no cash investment.  In doing this, he’s come up with some really interesting and creative solutions.  One of these is the Blog Off contest.

When Andrew Ballenthin did his initial Blog Off contest on his Community Marketing Blog he not only generated interest, he inherited a number of new writers who continue to add exciting content to his site. But he wasn’t the only one to benefit. The participants loved it and during and after the initial contest, the group stuck together and has started to form their own community around the blog. This year the contest is bigger, the prizes were valued into the tens of thousands of dollars and a much larger group of contestants participated.

In the spirit of crowdsourcing, our own radio show/podcast Game Changing is pleased to bring in the winners of Blog Off II – three astounding bloggers: Sean Nelson, Sam Diener and Tim Ruffner Want to make YOUR blog a winner? Come on and get some tips from these winners. We’ll also explore the contest and find out about the experience of crowdsourcing from the crowd’s eye viewpoint.

Change the game!

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