Optimizing Content Marketing Goooooals: 4 Takeaways from the World Cup

Every four years, a strange thing happens in the summer… In offices around the world, people are ducking out or disappearing at certain hours of the day to back rooms or nearby bars where even from a distance, cheers, chants and sounds of excitement randomly erupt.

For anyone initiated into the world of this beautiful game, you know exactly what we’re talking about… Heck, you could be using this post to cover up a live streaming game right now while your boss walks by, but hey, it’s the World Cup, anything goes as the world unites in football. What’s more, as marketers, we can actually justify these soccer-spurred distractions because they’re value-packed with useful lessons and tactical takeaways if we know where to look. Here are just a few useful insights gleaned from the World Cup for hitting our marketing goooooals.

Winning a Chance to Compete: For the 2014 World Cup, a total of 203 international squads squared off to earn just 32 qualifying spots to compete for the ultimate prize in football. No country just randomly pops into the World Cup tournament; every team must win their right to compete for the cup. The same goes for content marketing. Just because we have content doesn’t mean we’ll be in the running for our target audience’s attention. We need to tactically win in-roads through social media, partner channels, and even effective outbound campaigns to earn an inflow of leads and business. When we see teams playing in the World Cup, we can be reminded of the work that goes into earning opportunities to win attention and even revenue for our organizations.

Content Heroes Take Chances: It may have been a hockey player – albeit, “the Great One” – Wayne Gretsky who said, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” but in what could become the signature goal of the 2014 World Cup, Dutch striker, Robin van Persie proved the point in dramatic fashion. Flying out in a diving header that could make even the most respected footballers look foolish if the move had failed, van Persie deftly dropped in a glorious, arcing goal that was nothing short of inspired. If van Persie doubted, even for a second, that he had a chance, then this inspired moment would’ve never happened.  In content marketing, we too have moments when inspiration strikes, but fear of looking silly or falling short stops us in our tracks. To drive change, build wide reaching awareness, or create the kinds of content that rules throughout the marketing / sales funnel, we need to have the boldness to dive out, take a chance, and see what drops.

Overcoming Costs of Winning: In their debut game against Ghana, the US National Team scored one of the fastest goals in World Cup history, but soon after, lost a key player, Jozy Altidore, to injury. From then on, the game got gritty, challenging, and rather uncertain. When Ghana tied in the 82nd minute, a US win seemed out of reach. Like the situation for Team USA, when we get into the thick of content marketing projects, campaigns or initiatives, we may often feel as if we’re fighting a losing battle. Even when getting things done is in reach, getting the results we originally aimed for might still seem beyond our grasp. Like the Team USA, though, when we know what we need to do to win, and we keep fighting, we earn moments like John Brook’s late game go-ahead goal where everything comes together. It can be challenging and costly in the process, but winning games, like winning conversions or customers, can make it all worthwhile.

A Culture of Excellence is Infectious: Already, in the first 11 games of this 2014 World Cup, there have been 37 goals tallied – a scoring pace unseen in the World Cup for over 50 years. It’s not just a random free-for-all frenzy of goals either; many of the strikes have either come directly from top-tier names like Argentina’s Lionel Messi, Italy’s Mario Balotelli, and France’s Karim Benzema, or have been inspired by the on-field magic of others like the Ivory Coast’s Deirdre Drogba. In our own content marketing efforts, we can channel this sort of intangible infectious excellence that has produced so many goals by so many talented players in this year’s World Cup a very tangible way. Just as the best footballers seem to be feeding of the greatness of their peers, we too as marketers can be fueled by the success of our own contemporaries – both inwardly in our own organizations, and outwardly in our connections to our contemporaries in content marketing. If we aspire to be the best content  marketers we can be, and we learn from the best content marketers we know, then we play perfectly to a culture of excellence in content marketing.

Do you have any inspired marketing insights from the World Cup? Please share your story in the comments below.

For more information on content marketing best practices, download our free guide, 5 Habits of Highly Effective Content Marketers.

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