Need Answers, Content, or Funding? Take It to the Crowd
There are times when even the most competent individuals come up short. Whether it’s a case of marketers who can’t come up with new taglines, bloggers not having enough content, or startups failing to gather enough funds, not having sufficient resources to complete a project can be a vary daunting experience.
But thanks to the Internet, not having enough resources is becoming less and less of an issue. Gone are the days when you need to have a lot of money in your pocket if you want to build a product. And in this day and age, you don’t need to be a walking encyclopedia or know a lot of “experts” to come up with a good article or a book.
So what makes all these things possible? One word: crowd. More and more people are using the power of the crowd to gather ideas, gain inspiration, and even raise money for their business.
This blog post will discuss crowdsourcing and crowdfunding, two types of methods that people use to gather resources. The former pertains to posing a question or problem to a group of users in order to garner answers and insights. The latter on the other hand, refers to allowing a group of individuals to pool their money online in order to make a project or idea a reality. Think of it as fund-raising, Web 2.0 style.
Thanks to the power of crowdsourcing and crowdfunding, entrepreneurs can move forward with their idea even if they don’t have funds in the bank, reporters can find great sources even if they don’t have a lot of connections, and bloggers can come up with useful content even during slow news days.
If you’re thinking of harnessing the power of the crowd, below are some of the best resources that can help you get the ideas or funds that you need.
If you’re a blogger or marketer that needs to come up with content on a regular basis, you know how difficult it can get when you’re all out of ideas. For times like these, the best way come up with something is to use Q&A websites to gain answers from various individuals. Post a question about the topic that you’re writing about, and wait until the answers come in. Once you have sufficient answers, you can then take their insights and weave them into a blog post or article.
When you do this, be sure to cite your sources accordingly, and make it clear that the views that you provide aren’t your own.
Quora – Established by former Facebook employees Adam D’Angelo and Charlie Cheever, Quora is filled with early adopters and tech-savvy users. It’s a great crowdsourcing website especially if you’re looking for content relating to tech, social media, Internet marketing and the like. Quora’s database of questions and answers is rapidly expanding to other topics as more people find out about the site, so you should still check it out even if you’re not in the tech industry.
Signing up is easy, as you can do so with a Facebook or Twitter connect button. Quora is also a social network in itself; aside from allowing you to create a profile, you can also follow other people and topics on the site.
LinkedIn Answers – This is probably one of the best places to head to if you have a question about business, marketing, or anything else related to the professional world. LinkedIn Answers allows you to tap into its wide network of professionals and you’ll be able to receive advice, insights, and answers from hundreds of thousands of experts.
LinkedIn Answers offers a wide range of categories, including, Business Operations, Finance & Accounting, Health, Human Resources, Nonprofit, and more.
Yahoo Answers – Quora and LinkedIn are usually meant for those looking for more professional views. However, if you’re looking for more casual answers, Yahoo Answers could be the way to go. Do remember though that the answers that you find may not be as accurate or verifiable as the ones that you’ll receive on Quora or LinkedIn.
If you’re a developer, entrepreneur, or visionary who has a great idea, but no funds to make it a reality, then consider using leveraging the power of the web to get your idea out there. There are several crowdfunding sites that let you post your idea online, and users can contribute funds if they like the concept.
Crowdfunding sites have raised hundreds of millions of dollars helping people from all over the world make their ideas become reality. The following sites below are some of the best ones:
Kickstarter – With more than 22,000 fully funded projects and over $214 million pledged, Kickstarter is definitely one of the most established crowdfunding sites on the web. The site is home to some of the best projects out there, including the Elevation iPhone dock, PrintrBot (3D Printer) and the Pebble E-Paper watch for iPhone and Android. Kickstarter projects come in various categories, including fashion, art, technology, games, and film.
Posting a project on Kickstarter is simple. Simply submit your idea, and include videos, photos, and other descriptions to let people fully understand what it is. People can then view your project and pledge to contribute funds if they like it. You’ll need to set a funding goal, which is the amount of money you need to complete the project. A deadline also needs to be set, and your funding goal must be met before the deadline. Do note that Kickstarter implements “all or nothing funding” which means that every “project must be fully funded before its time expires or no money changes hands.”
Indiegogo – Similar to Kickstarter, this website also allows people to projects and ideas into the site to gain funds. Indiegogo’s main difference with Kickstarter is that it doesn’t have an “all or nothing” policy. The site gives you flexible funding option that will let fundees keep the money they raised even if their goal wasn’t met. However, this will impose a 9% fee. The other option is fixed funding, but like Kickstarter, this option entails that you need to meet your funding goals before you can take the funds.
Appbackr – This crowdfunding site is specifically made for mobile apps. Appbackr lets mobile app creators gather money to create their apps, while funders (known as “backrs”) can buy copies of the app at wholesale prices, and get a return when the app goes live. The developers receive the funds into their accounts right away, and funders will able to make return on their money once the app actually sells.
Image credit: cambodia4kidsorg on Flickr