4 Winning Content Marketing Tips from Fantasy Football
Fantasy Football wasn’t created by a marketing “guru” or in an “ideation” session. In fact, Fantasy Football was started over 50 years ago by an Oakland bar manager. But since then, it has evolved into its own industry that is worth over $1 billion as of 2012 and it creates the kind of buzz and engagement that marketers dream of.
With more than 30 million people in the US managing their own imaginary pigskin franchise every year, Fantasy Football in many ways serves as a giant piece of content marketing for the NFL and all of the companies that benefit from the success of the sport (ESPN, sports blogs, apparel retailers etc). It keeps people thinking about and engaging with the sport and their favorite players, indirectly contributing to a wide variety of purchases being made. Yahoo Fantasy Football didn’t try to directly sell me a Peyton Manning jersey, but since he single handedly won my Week 1 matchup by scoring 7 TD’s, I’m certainly considering it now.
I’m not going to lie to you and say that your next content marketing initiative has the potential to explode into fueling a multi-billion dollar, interactive experience like Fantasy Football overnight. You know it doesn’t. But there are some things that Fantasy Football does very well that we can apply to our own content marketing efforts.
People love Fantasy Football because they get to play it with their friends. It’s an activity that sparks online and offline conversations, which is an ideal outcome for any marketing effort. Fantasy leagues have message boards, in-game trash talking, live chats during drafts and integrate with social networks.
Do whatever you can to encourage users to interact with each other while they’re using your blog, website, game, or app. See if there is a creative way that will let people either involve their friends or at the very least easily share content with them. Conversation and engagement among users keeps them interested and keeps them coming back.
Give the Power to the People
Fantasy Football gives users a great deal of control over their league experience. Owners and commissioners create their own team names, draft all of their own players, make their own rules and can control pretty much everything except the plays being called on the field.
User control and user-generated content give people a feeling of ownership and pride when they’re interacting with your content. Some of the biggest winners in content marketing rely heavily on customers and members of their online community to generate content (like American Express's OPEN Forum, the Moz.com blog, and Pepsi)
Go Beyond the Experience
For fantasy owners, the experience goes well beyond their own league and team. There are websites, commercials, books, magazines and marketing campaigns galore that feed everyone’s interest in playing Fantasy Football.
Don’t let your next big content marketing piece live on an island by itself. If you create something truly awesome and engaging, it should always be coupled with a larger campaign and some complimentary pieces of content. Leave some of your budget around to actually focus on driving interest and attention to your content. That could include more content on a website you work with, or seeking out partnerships and other other content outlets and advertising opportunities for your campaign
Mobilize the Experience
A good mobile app is now synonymous with Fantasy Football leagues. And I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I spend more time managing my fantasy team on my phone than on my computer. This should go without saying, but don’t forget to consider how people might interact with your content on mobile phones and tablets.
Creating a website? Make it responsive. Managing a blog? Make sure it’s optimized for mobile. If you provide a content experience that people want to use across devices that means more engagement, more active users and more interest in your brand.
Whether you're a Fantasy Football fan or not, there's no denying the engagement and buzz that it creates. Content marketers everywhere should take some time to learn a thing or two from the Fantasy Football experience and put some of these lessons to work in their next project. Has the Fantasy Football experience taught you anything or sparked any fresh ideas for your own marketing efforts?