A couple of days ago I came across a fascinating statistic published by the Wall Street Journal about the NFL. It said that only 5.76% of the total TV coverage of an NFL game showed the actual game action. The obvious question of course, is what do they show for the rest of the 94.24% of the coverage?

The answer, not that hard if you think about it. Replays, shots of coaches, the crowd, cheerleaders, shots of players standing around and of course – commercials. For those of you familiar with NFL games, this probably doesn’t come as a massive shock. For those not too familiar with the NFL worldwide, it was a stunning stat.

Fans of soccer and basketball are used to watching a lot more of the game during a TV coverage, and only 5.76% of action during a broadcast sounds extremely… bizarre. Stretching beyond the obvious, and putting on a marketer’s cap – the reason this is bizarre is because the type of content that fans tuned in for is not in the majority of what they received.

So what does that tell brands online about their content strategy? Stretching my imagination, I tried to come up with a correlation of what each category of the shots shown in the NFL TV coverage would equate to for the content of a brand on social media.

Translating NFL TV Coverage into its Social Media Equivalent.

How did I come up with these equivalents? Here’s my thought process:

The Game Action:

This is what fans tune in for. What they want to see. The actual content that they want to follow from your brand, the type of category that you have some expertise in and they come to you for insights. This is the majority of what your followers want to see.


It would be foolish to say that fans don’t enjoy watching replays of a play in the game. The difference however, is in the way that you package this for your fans. Replays are slowed down, show different angles and show reactions from other players, the crowd and coaches. Similarly, the replays of your “content” on social involve infographics that you might create, tabular reports, analysis that you might conduct and any way in which you re-package your original content to be consumed in a different manner than you first presented it.


This is what interests the NFL the most, because it’s revenue generating content for them. For you – your posts and tweets around sales – your products and services are encapsulated within this. That’s how I looked at it.

Shots of Players Standing Around:

Fans don’t mind watching superstar NFL athletes standing around and being human. While this was hard to equate to for a brand, I decided that this tied back well with the contextual posts that you post from your brand’s identity. Something that Oreo does very well. They talk about a current event or a current happening and try and generate engagement and discussion around that particular topic.

Shots of the Coach, Crowd and Cheerleaders:

The coach is the one who pulls the strings from the sidelines and makes it happen. The cheerleaders keep the crowd going and the crowd – well the fans are the ones who create an ambience for you. This section, when direcly correlated back to social media content, for me, meant talking about the people in your organization, the employees and hard-working souls who make everything happen. Posts about new hires, job openings, promotions or just cover stories. They’re important to add a human touch too after all!

So after equating these, I took a look at the percentage split for each type of content. 32.98% of sales related content? 18.32% of posts around the team and employees? Nuh-uh! Not an ideal split, is it?

Since infographics are a much easier way to consume content (replays!) – I put together an infographic with the help of Beta21 to showcase the right content split:

Deriving the Right Content Strategy Split.

So there you have it.

Everyone might have their own type of content split, but for me – the one above is what would work optimally on a generic brand.

  • 40% of your content should be fresh, new and spark some unique conversation and thoughts.
  • 25% of your content can be replays, or re-hashing the original content to provide deeper insight or to present it in a new manner.
  • 20% of your content needs to be hardcore sales stuff (Gotta make some money!)
  • 10% of your content should be contextual, talking about news or events that tie back directly to your brand
  • 5% of your content should be around the team, the people of the brand to add a human touch to it.

A split that’s too heavy on sales, too heavy on the company or contextual content can brand your organization as boring, not providing enough content and insight around what’s truly shareable and what fans truly want.

What does your content split look like?