04 Feb 2014

Relationship Building Too Expensive In Staff Time? Crowdsource Your Links And Content!

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–>Why spend your valuable time or your staff’s valuable time when you could get better relationships (read: links) and better contentwhile paying other people less money? That’s what I’ll show you how to do in this post, part 2 of my notes for my SMX Israel presentation that I gave January 26 here in Jerusalem. Part 1 dealt with crowdsourcing your persona creation / market research.




Crowdsourcing your relationship building as a pre-cursor to link building

The most time consuming part of any SEO campaign is relationship building. You need to show interest in others – typically bloggers – by reading their posts, by commenting, by emailing and tweeting and complimenting them, by linking to them… Plus you likely want to track the activity with something like Buzzstream. Assuming you’re paying your agency or inhouse staff competitive wages in today’s market, that’s a very expensive process, not to mention that it remains slow when you’ve just got one person at a time working on the relationship building.

What if you could pay other people to do those tasks for you? Wouldn’t they also require SEO specialist salaries?

You can crowdsource the relationship building for a lot less than you’re paying your SEO staff. The processes I listed above just require basic social and literacy skills possessed by the average 18 year old. And you don’t need North Americans for most of this, because again it’s just basic literacy skills that are required.

Here’s what you can do. First, make a list of 10 bloggers from whom you’d like to get links. Then, create a task on Amazon Mechanical Turk for people to read 2-3 of their recent articles and summarize them. Have each article summarized by 3 people so you can compare and see if someone just BSed a summary to get the payment (i.e. control quality by comparing aginst others’ work).

Filipinos usually speak, read and write English fairly well. Their GDP/capita is only about $2400, or $200/mo or $50/week. So you could pay people $3/hour - over 3x  average earnings - and still save a hefty amount vs what you'd pay North Americans.

Filipinos usually speak, read and write English fairly well. Their GDP/capita is only about $2400- $200/mo or $50/week. So you could pay people $3-$4/hour – over 3x average earnings – and still save a hefty amount vs what you’d pay North Americans. Photo: Plant Trees

Next, write a blog post (or crowdsource this, too), along the lines of “10 Awesome Bloggers In Niche X That You Have To Follow … But Aren’t.” Use the summaries of their posts to pay them genuine compliments on insights or other interesting things you gleaned from them. Quote liberally to show you ‘read’ their posts. Link to them.

You’ve just made a big investment in your relationships with 10 bloggers in one fell swoop.

We don’t expect compliments – especially in today’s self-centered culture – and so offering them is in itself remarkable. (And you paid others to do the prep work so the compliments could be genuine, which is obviously a pre-requisite for this to work.)

And linking is obviously appreciated by any blogger who cares to be read.

But wait – there’s more! :D

Create another task on MTurk. Ask people to visit your blog post (perhaps searching Google for it, first?) then click through to each blog and leave a value added comment on 1-2 recent posts.

For this to work you
- need to define a value-added comment in clear terms.
- can ask for their IP as a means to verify that they didn’t just open the post directly (e.g. thanks to another MTurk friend who told them about your task), but actually visited from search (based on your web analytics or web logs)
- will need to follow up and check the quality of the comments they left. It might be a good idea to test this first with other blogs you don’t care as much about about to make sure that the quality is good.

So let’s review. You’ve complimented them. Linked to them. Sent them traffic. And that traffic made their blog mroe valuable and enjoyable for them by leaving genuine, value-added comments. You just sent them to blogger heaven — on an economy ticket!

p.s. The crowd can also act like a human scraper bot, collecting prospective linker’s contact info.


Crowdsourcing your content creation: reviews, pics, video

Did you notice that in my presentation I stated that the MTurk population is representative-ish of the US population? That means that they know a whole lot of stuff, have collectively bought a massive amount of products, taken lots of photos and videos etc.

TD Ameritrade stock brokerage is just one of many stock brokerages online... and the affiliate commissions in this niche are big! What if you built a genuine review site, unlike the junk out there today?

TD Ameritrade stock brokerage is just one of many stock brokerages online… and the affiliate commissions in this niche are big! What if you built a genuine review site, unlike the junk out there today?

So you can get them to review products, upload photos and video, write based on their personal knowledge (i.e. not more garbage ‘keyword articles’ but actually knowledgeable material like you’d find on the web’s best forums).

I’ve personally tested this and gotten great review content in competitive niches, including stock broker reviews. Definitely suggest you give this a try. If you got slapped by Panda for being a thin site, here’s your solution.

‘nuf said :).


Crowdsourcing your campaign with social media participation

Why do marketers get a bad rap on social media? Typically it’s because of our natural tendency to want to do the least work possible in order to get results. So we come in and drop links and self-promotion before contributing value to the community. Bad marketer!

Problem is, participating in all these sites takes time. You have to vote on stuff, leave comments, flag spam (lazy marketers or bots submitting links) and trolling, PM others etc.

Guess what? This work also just requires basic literacy/social skills that don’t require a bachelor’s degree to do. So you can crowdsource participation.

Note: Amazon Mechanical Turk won’t let you ask people to register for a site. So you can’t use this to create lots of puppet accounts that you then get to vote for you.

You can, however, otherwise create lots of accounts. Then crowdsource participation for each of these. And on occasion call on them to vote for your stuff. You’ve just made an end-run around spam filters with a really devious trick … providing real value to the social sites.

Misc social

As with SEO, you can also use crowdsourcing for content creation, such as crowdsourcing initial participation in your forums or other social network. (Pay for it till you make it.) And once more, you can have the crowd scrape social contacts/targets as per your needs.

If you found this interesting or have any questions or suggestions on making this post better, I’d love for you to comment below and/or tweet me: @GabGoldenberg. You might also want to read part 1 about crowdsourcing personas and market research.