I love all kinds of sports, but now is NFL football time in the US and although my team isn’t in the running, I’m looking forward to watching the big game. While I was watching the playoff games and yelling at the screen, I realized something: championship football is just like content marketing.
Content marketing is a lot like a championship sporting event – you still have competitors and need to find the right formula that gives you an edge over your opponent. Once that mix is in place, you have what you need to bring home the trophy and more fuel for your content fire.
For every successful NFL team that’s won championships and done it more than once, they have a formula that works. Although there’s no magic recipe, the required ingredients for success in football give each team their own edge. This is the same edge your content marketing efforts need, too.
With that, I want to go over some of the most important elements championship football can teach us to make our content marketing even better:
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Starting With Goals
Every time I watch an interview with a winning football team coach, I hear some similar words, like: “Our goal here was,” or “Our plan was to.” To create winning teams, coaches know they need to first sit down and lay out their plans with goals and objectives.
For any NFL team, the goal is to get to the big game and win, but to get there, a consistent set of planning needs to flow with each game of the season. To accomplish this, so much goes into research, training and finding what works for the team.
This principle holds true for effective content marketing – if you’re going to succeed in your efforts, always start with the right goals and objectives to succeed. For me, this starts with every New Year, quarter, month and even week. I know what I’m looking to accomplish before I expend energy into something that may or may not work for me.
For instance, in your editorial calendar, be sure to have the goal of each piece of content and how it relates to others and how you could even expand its reach with creating new content based off of it.
Content marketing takeaway: Start with goals and objectives for your content and how it’s going to get you to and win your own “big game.”
It’s funny for me to hear how some NFL players don’t bother showing up for training camp or try some shortcut to get results – only to either face suspension or worse, fines and legal troubles. Yes, some are naturally gifted and just “make it happen,” but for the rest, it takes hard work and doing it on a consistent basis.
I mean really, all the training and planning of the coaching staff of each team is there for a reason – not to look at and decide IF they want to join in the activities. By staying consistent in training and doing what they do, players get better and build a following from other players and fans, not by fame, but by always showing up and doing what you say you’re going to do.
The same goes for content marketing – if you’re sporadic and wonder why you’re getting such inconsistent results, try showing up when you’re supposed to show up. When I say showing up, that might include your blog posting schedule, email newsletters, social network updates and other places you’re expected to “show up.”
Content marketing takeaway: To succeed you need to do what you say and show up when you’re supposed to. Keep your content marketing consistent and watch how your efforts will pay off with more loyal fans, leads and sales for your business.
Find Content Marketing Opportunities in Challenges
Each NFL team have their own strengths and weaknesses and some will do better as they play other teams, but it’s the great teams that find opportunities at just the right time – this wins games and ultimately, championships.
This is shown true in games where a team finds themselves down, but notice an opening in their opponent’s defense – great teams find that opportunity to rally and win the game.
Just like an NFL game, your content marketing can benefit from watching for key opportunities. It doesn’t need to be a dramatic opening, but an opening that gives you a better shot at your goals. For instance, I came up with the idea for this post based on watching a playoff football game – another opportunity that presented itself at the right time!
Other opportunities that present themselves might include:
- Timely news stories to add your own viewpoint to
- Ideas you get while away from your computer
- Partnering opportunities that you never thought of, but leads to something like a book publishing deal.
Content marketing takeaway: Don’t overlook opportunities, no matter how small. That could give you an edge over competitors and lead to a win for you and your marketing efforts.
Championship Quality Content Marketing
At the beginning of the season, each NFL team starts with a clean slate and chance to get into the playoffs, then the big game. It’s the teams that lay out goals, stay consistent and find opportunities that win the games to get into the postseason. By following the same guidelines as winning NFL teams you too will find success with your content marketing efforts.