PLEASE SHARE

You’ve seen the posts. The ones that get the top expert’s opinion on a variety of topics. Experts love giving their opinion, which is perfect to generate free content.

29 Experts Reveal The Best Link Building Tools For SEO

49 Expert Traffic Generation Tips – How To Generate Traffic Today

43 Expert Social Media Marketing Tips To Increase Traffic Today

You’ve probably thought about writing posts like these for your own website. You probably thought it would be easier than coming up with a long-form piece of content on your own.

But then, you discovered it’s not as simple to compile as you thought it would be.

What You Will Learn

In this post, you’re going to learn the ins and outs of crowdsourced blog posts to create free content. Specifically, you’ll learn:

  • Why you need to start doing crowdsourced blog posts.
  • What tools to use to simplify the process.
  • What tactics to use to get the best results.

So even if you’re not sure whether you want to do crowdsourced posts, take a moment to read on and I will show you how to create free content. You’ll be glad you did!

ATTENTION: Unlock My Award Winning Blogging Resources Instantly

How To Create Free Content With Crowdsourced Posts

Here’s how crowdsourced blog posts work in a nutshell.

You come up with a great question that relates to your niche that you want answered by the experts.

You find 50 top experts in your niche and ask them the question. 32 experts respond with an answer.

You compile the 32 answers into a blog post and publish it.

How does this differ from you providing your own answer to your question? Simple. Instead of just having you to promote your blog post, you now have 32 experts that not only created the free content – but they also promote it for you as well.

You get the chance to rank your content in search engines for the names of the niche experts that participated in the post.

You get to create a great list post. Like them or not, numbered lists always perform well when it comes to social virality.

list posts go viral

And last, but not least, it opens the door of communication between you and the top experts in your niche. These are relationships that can be beneficial for you in multitudes of ways in the future.

Who knew that creating free content like that was so lucrative?

How to Simplify The Free Content Process

Crowdsourced blog posts can take more or less time to develop, depending on your process and your tools. Do it right, and you’ll feel like you’re cheating the system by creating an amazing piece of content with minimal effort.

What you’ll need to simplify your crowdsourced blog posts are the right tools and the right process. Here’s mine.

1. Find the niche experts most likely to answer your question

Do you want to send out 100 emails and get a 75 responses, or do you want to send out 100 emails and get 20 responses? The former, I’m sure.

How do you guarantee more responses for your free content? Start by asking the right people.

To find the niche experts most likely to answer your question, start by asking the experts who already answer similar questions. For example, if I want to ask a question related to SEO tools, I would search for all of the crowdsourced posts about SEO tools and write down the people who responded.

experts search 1

Next, I would find lists of experts in the industry. I wouldn’t target everyone on the list, but just those that engaged with the list. In particular, I would aim for the experts who said thank you for being included.

experts search 2

Those experts are the most likely to be flattered by being asked to participate.

Depending on your niche, you may have 100 people to ask just from these two research tactics. If not, you can use tools like Followerwonk to find more popular people in your niche. Use the Followerwonk search to find people with your niche keyword plus blogger or writer.

experts search 3

Targeting bloggers and writers allows you to reach out to people who like to write, and therefore will be more likely to respond to your question.

As you are compiling your list of experts, I suggest doing it in a spreadsheet. Include the name of the expert and their email address, or a link to their contact form.

This spreadsheet will come in handy the next time you do crowdsourced posts so you don’t have to start the research process from scratch.

You can also request access to this great new tool called ContentMarketer.io. You can enter the URL of another crowdsourced post / expert roundup and it will look for contact information for each participant for you.

Create free content with content marketer

If it doesn’t get you an email address, it will at least get you a Twitter handle, cutting your research time in half.

2. Create a Google Drive Form

Next, you will want to create a Google Drive Form for your question. Not only is Google Drive free to use, but it also allows you to compile all of the answers you receive in one spreadsheet.

This step is a vital part of simplifying the crowdsourced free blog content process. Otherwise, when you go to compile your answers, you will have to open email after email.

Plus, using the Google Drive Form will allow you to collect answers in a standardized format instead of a free for all of information and formatting that the email replies would produce which then makes it easy to create free article content to publish.

So what should you ask in the Google Drive Form, besides your main question? I like to add fields for the following.

Name – So I know who answered the question.

Email – In case I need to follow up with them about their answer and so I have their direct email for next time instead of just a contact form. Include a tip in the form that says that their email will not be published – it is for internal use only.

Twitter – Good place to grab their most current photo in a standardized size, for the most part. Ask for the Twitter handle only.

One-Sentence Bio – Let’s people know they can promote themselves with their answer, but prevents them from writing a paragraph. Also saves you from having to create something that they will inevitably want to change.

Website – The one website link they would like included with their bio.

Recommendation – An optional field that lets the expert suggest someone that they recommend you contact to answer the question.

Once you’re finished, the form should look like this one we used for our upcoming crowdsource post.

crowdsource survey form

When you save your Google Drive Form, you’ll get a link to share the form with others. A spreadsheet for the responses will be automatically created. Once you start getting answers, it will look like this.

create free blog content from these answers

And now you’re ready for the next step.

3. Create outreach templates.

With crowdsourced blog posts, you will need to create at least three outreach templates.

The first template is the first email you will send to your expert. It will invite the expert to answer your question and, most importantly, include a deadline for the answer.

I like to send the email on Monday and have a deadline on Friday – it gives people plenty of time to answer, but not too much time to forget.

Hi EXPERT,

This is Matthew from MatthewWoodward.co.uk. Because you are a highly-respected member of the SEO industry, I wanted your opinion about SEO tools. Not just your favorite tool, or the one you use the most, but the one that helps you get your best results in search.

If you’d like to be featured in my post, please answer this question by Friday the 13th using the following form.

[LINK TO FORM]

When the post goes live, I’ll let you know and send you the link.

Thanks so much,
Matthew

The second template is the second email you will send to your expert if they haven’t answered by the deadline. It’s a reminder email that the deadline has arrived, but there is still time to answer.

Hi EXPERT,

This is Matthew from MatthewWoodward.co.uk again. Because you are a highly-respected member of the SEO industry, I wanted your opinion about SEO tools. Not just your favorite tool, or the one you use the most, but the one that helps you get your best results in search.

A few people are on vacation this week, so I’ve extended the deadline to answer this question to Monday the 16th. If you’d like to be featured in my post, please answer this question using the following form.

[LINK TO FORM]

When the post goes live, I’ll let you know and send you the link.

Thanks so much,
Matthew

Alternatively, or in addition to the second email, you may want to tweet the expert just to ensure they’re getting your emails.

Gmail users who use Sidekick by HubSpot will be able to check who has opened their emails and who hasn’t and customize their second email or tweet accordingly.

The third template is the thank you email that you will send to experts who reply to your email to let you know they’ve submitted an answer.

Hi EXPERT,

Thanks so much for submitting your answer! When the post goes live, I’ll let you know and send you the link. It’s going to be EPIC!

Thanks so much,
Matthew

The fourth template is for expert recommendations that you begin to receive from the first people you contact.

Hi EXPERT,

This is Matthew from MatthewWoodward.co.uk. EXPERT recommended that I contact you about your opinion on SEO tools. Not just your favorite tool, or the one you use the most, but the one that helps you get your best results in search.

If you’d like to be featured in my post, please answer this question by Friday the 13th using the following form.

[LINK TO FORM]

When the post goes live, I’ll let you know and send you the link.

Thanks so much,
Matthew

Once you’ve got your templates in order, start sending them to the email addresses and contact forms you’ve collected for your experts.

On the deadline, be ready to send the second reminder email to those that haven’t responded.

4. Create content from your answers.

Once you’ve hit the final deadline, you’re ready to start compiling the answers into your crowdsourced blog post.

First, you’ll need the images for each expert that answered your question. To get it, you can simply go to each expert’s Twitter profile, click on their profile picture, right click and save as, and you’ll have it.

create content with expert photos

When you save the photo, save it with the expert’s first name and last name as the filename. Keep these pictures in a specific folder on your computer as they might come in handy for future roundups, unless you want to repeat this process to keep pictures up to date.

Next, you’ll need to copy and paste the information from the spreadsheet into your post and upload the photo for each expert alongside their answer. When you add the ALT text for the photos, you can enter John Smith’s Favorite SEO Tool, or similar.

Once you’ve written a good introduction, compiled all of the answers, and written a conclusion that invites readers to share their own answer, you’re ready to publish.

5. Send the “It’s live!” email to all of the experts.

Once the post is live, you will want to let the experts know that it’s ready for full-on promotion. But you don’t want to just send them a link to the post and let them figure out what to do from there.

Start by creating a ClicktoTweet link that will allow the expert to share the post immediately with a custom message.

clicktotweet promotion

In the above, you’ll want to copy the http://ctt.ec/7ArcY URL to share in your email.

If you can get your crowdsourced post submitted to sites like Inbound.org (or a similar popular voting network for your niche), grab a direct link to the Inbound.org submission so experts can vote on it.

In the end, your email will look like this.

Hi EXPERT,

Thanks for one of the 29 awesome experts who shared their favorite SEO tool. The post is live at the following URL.

If you want to share it quickly with your Twitter audience, just click on the following link. It will create a tweet you can share with your audience as is, or you can edit it and then share it with your audience.

http://ctt.ec/7ArcY

Also, let’s make this post hot on Inbound.org. If you’re a member, be sure to give it a vote at the following URL.

http://inbound.org/articles/view/discover-the-link-building-seo-tools-these-29-experts-rely-on

Thanks again for participating! I’ll reach out again when I have another SEO-related question for you!

Thanks so much,
Matthew

This email lets the experts know where the post has been published, gives them the ability to tweet it with minimal effort, and directly links them to a place where they can vote on it.

It’s a win-win for you to boost promotion of the post, and for them by making it super simple.

6. Share it on your social networks.

Don’t forget to do some promotion on your own and be sure to tag everyone that participated.

For Twitter, you could do a round of tweets over the next several days that includes a few experts at a time, so that after a week, you have included everyone in a tweet.

tweet promotion

For Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn, you can tag all of the experts in one post for each network. Or as many experts as you can tag at least, based on your connections and their settings..

facebook promotion 2

If any of these experts miss your email about the post going live, chances are they won’t miss the Twitter mentions or tags. And it may give them more ways to share, such as sharing your Facebook or Google+ post.

ATTENTION: Unlock My Award Winning Blogging Resources Instantly

The Results? – Free Blog Content!

Once you’ve completed your first crowdsourced blog post, you will have an amazing piece of content that you, the experts, and your audience will love – and will love to share.

You will also have made new, influential connections in your niche.

And the best bit? You just created market leading free content for your blog!

48 Responses

  1. 6.15.2015

    What is the viability of this strategy in non-marketing niches? In your opinion could a site like http://cdfdistributors.com use it in the steel door industry?

    • June 15th, 2015 at 8:34 am

      Yes you could do something like What Is The Weirdest Thing You Have Seen In

      • June 15th, 2015 at 9:31 am

        That’s a good point – maybe some of the benefits of their product could produce a related field of experts… Thanks for the inspiration 😉 Who says it’s ahrd to work for “boring” industries!

      • Brad
        June 15th, 2015 at 9:52 am

        I had the same question as Jeremy. I like this idea a lot but the niche I’m in doesn’t have a lot of people on Twitter. I know I could find experts but I would be worried about how much promotion they would be able to do. For example, one huge expert in the field has a youtube channel but no website/twitter/facebook/etc. I might get a quote from this person to include in a post but I doubt I would get much traffic from this person unless I could get them to give me a shout-out in one of their videos. But that seems a whole lot harder to get than a tweet.

        Similarly, there are a lot of experts in my niche who are well respected on various forums but they don’t have massive social media followings. In this case, I could always drop a link in the forum and get traffic that way, but I likely wouldn’t get much social media traffic.

        Any thoughts on this Matthew?

        • June 16th, 2015 at 9:41 am

          Well which networks do they hang out on then?

          Why not offer to provide a contribution to their YouTube channel in exchange for their contribution?

    • June 15th, 2015 at 10:48 am

      Jeremy, I’ll go even further than Matthew. I think this strategy is even MORE viable in non-marketing niches — precisely because if it’s a small niche you’re likely going to be the only one doing it.

      You have a line of products people install: doors and locks. Most of your customers are probably B2B. If you were going to try something like this, I would focus on using experts at the manufacturers.

      Convincing a marketing department at a door manufacturer to promote content featuring their people won’t be tough.

      (BTW — your custom quoting system on your website is awesome!)

    • June 15th, 2015 at 2:43 pm

      I’ve found it to be very useful in non-marketing niches.

      I’ve got a client in a relatively new niche. Not many influencers. Not many people trying to cross-promote content. Most of the sites are affiliates trying to cash in on the industry.

      So it can be a tough landscape to drive traffic, get social shares, etc.

      But we used a crowdsourced article to get a couple hundred shares (a lot for this niche) and get our highest traffic day at the time. The power is in the inherent promotability of these articles.

      The more people you feature, the more traffic you can drive. And you don’t necessarily need to feature people with large followings to get a lot of shares/traffic.

      • June 15th, 2015 at 9:42 pm

        I had the same experience. Even bloggers with only 5,000 Facebook fans can drive significant quality traffic. And the best part is that it’s so easy to get them to share it since they’re featured in the article.

  2. Roy
    6.15.2015

    Matt,

    I just wanted to say I have a big fat MAN CRUSH on you sir. I actually look forward to your emails because it’s so honest and helpful.

    I’m just starting out and I find the contradictory information so confusing but I always find your posts so clear.

    Just wanted to say thanks

    Roy

  3. Richard Taylor
    6.15.2015

    Great post Matthew, as well as the traffic you get from these types of posts, another benefit is the implied “authority” it gives the author, in as much as whenever I read one of these posts I always assume that the author must also be an expert because they “know” the experts in the article … a brilliant tactic… I’d not really thought about all the traffic that comes from their promotion of the article … will definitely be using it on my blog …

  4. 6.15.2015

    Love this idea; content is done for you, and the authors promote it for you.
    It’s a win-win-win.

    2 thumbs up!

  5. 6.15.2015

    Awesome post Matthew, the templates are epic.

    For a Tweet template for inviting expert contribution does something like “@EXPERTHANDLE, I’m compiling a list of best __ from highly respected ____ industry members, deadline Friday the __ (FORM) to be featured. Thank you!” look good? Or if you have other Tweet format recommendations.

    Thanks a lot!
    Drew

  6. Dave Ledoux
    6.15.2015

    Jeremy, I want to echo Matthew’s comment. I had an article last week get shared nearly 900 times in 72 hours from getting 40 experts to share their best idea on growing tomatoes.

    Great actionable content Matthew!

    • June 16th, 2015 at 9:41 am

      Wow – that is awesome, fancy taking part in a post here to share your results?

  7. 6.15.2015

    Hi Matt, every time I see your mails in my inbox I am sure that you have something fresh to share. And you never disappoint. Thanks.

    Your suggestion to use Google forms to gather the feedbacks is something I never thought of. Its a time saver.

    Have a lovely day.

  8. tipu
    6.15.2015

    Thanks for sharing such great ideas.

  9. 6.15.2015

    Hey Matthew,
    Will experts answer a new blogger at all? I mean I don’t have the best blog in the world but I am starting to take things seriously. Will they answer for a post on a blog with not very good metrics? I can obviously follow the procedure in your article and check out but still want to know your answer.

    If it is “yes” then you are the first person I am reaching out 😉 Lolz

  10. 6.15.2015

    Another keeper. Who’s Jason? :))

  11. 6.15.2015

    Thanks for sharing Matthew, I was looking for something like this.

    If you don’t mind please tell me about the first image of this post “list-posts-viral.png” which tool is this ? I have read about this on your blog but can’t find the URL of that post ?

  12. 6.15.2015

    Hi Matthew,

    Thanks for the article. The Google Form idea is genius! When I applied this strategy it was all in email and kind of nightmarish.

    I wrote a mega list of my top 201 India Travel Tips http://www.asherfergusson.com/india-travel-tips/ and got an expert tip for each of the 15 sections. It worked great and I’ve gotten a lot of social media traffic and a few links as a result. So I know this strategy definitely works.

    Cheers,

    Asher.

  13. 6.15.2015

    I’m going to implement this on my blog. Thanks for the guide Matthew

  14. 6.15.2015

    This is a fantastic post, Matthew. How long, on average, do these epic posts take to write?

    • June 16th, 2015 at 9:37 am

      It depends, sometimes I’m just sharing case study results with a mini tutorial other times its an all out beast with videos – anywhere between 6-20 hours really

      • June 16th, 2015 at 9:41 am

        That’s incredible.

        I’ve never read a post on your blog that wasn’t 100% worth my time.

  15. Bill
    6.16.2015

    Crowd sourcing is a powerful marketing strategy. Personally am in a personal finance niche and i did one last month and it was great. In the coming weeks am doing an other one infact I’ve included one of your income report as an inspiration. Matthew you rock!

    • June 16th, 2015 at 9:35 am

      Thanks Bill :) Perhaps you would like to come back and write a case study on your results?

  16. 6.16.2015

    Great post Matthew! This tactic can be ulta-powerful and great to network to oif you ever want to make an expert do a guestpost for you or a webinar or interview.

    PS: do you know how come I am listed as visitor here without a profile picture? I would love to set one up.

    Keep up the good work Matthew. Loving it !

  17. 6.17.2015

    Hi Matt. How does ContentMarketer.io compare to Buzzstream? I noticed in your screenshot that the same email address appeared under all 4 people, but I guess that’s because the source URL from from the roundup site?

    • June 23rd, 2015 at 8:26 am

      Its coming along leaps and bounds – its certainly one to watch

  18. 6.17.2015

    This tactic is very interesting… Crowd sourcing is definitely one of the best way generating content for free.

    Keep up the awesome work.

  19. 6.22.2015

    Dig the post! These are great nuggets to include in a campaign or for a site you are running. It seems like to get more organic value these days it is creatively engaging. I think the main reason SEO is considered dead by many is because they aren’t being creative enough…of course the main reason is the time involved. Saw this through growth hacker email and decided to click. Good post

    • June 23rd, 2015 at 8:16 am

      Thanks Cody :) Well I think that people forget that SEO is only 1 part of an IM strategy.

  20. 6.11.2016

    I love the concept! I will try to implement it in one of my niche blogs/sites. That said, I would call this neither free nor easy. It takes quite a bit of time and effort, and each work hour is worth money (to me, at least).

    That’s perfectly ok, of course. That’s what creating great content is all about and I think this idea has a LOT of merit (for networking and marketing as well as in creating valuable content for our readers).

    Thanks!

    • June 13th, 2016 at 9:57 am

      Well, free as in financial cost – everything costs time :)

What are your thoughts?

* Name, Email, Comment are Required