Our first full year at the Online Sports Marketing Guy blog is in the books, so I figured what better way to celebrate than by offering our version of a year in review. I know it’s that time of year and there seems to be a countdown, countup, or rankings for just about everything, but a lot can be learned by reflecting on the year that was. I want to share these lessons with fellow online marketers out there, so along with the 8 most read stories at Online Sports Marketing Guy in 2011, I’m providing the biggest takeaway.
You would be surprised how many people search for this exact topic. Apparently I’m not the only one that wishes MLB would restore the competitive balance to America’s original pastime by implementing a salary cap.
Lesson: Frequency. Updating the standings on a weekly basis kept this page hot in search engines and allowed me a reason to mention the article across social media platforms several times per month during baseball season.
A preseason tour of Kansas City’s new soccer-specific stadium, LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, uncovered a Google sign next to Sporting’s HD videoboard. The sign turned out to be a thank you to Google for choosing Kansas City as the first recipient of Google Fiber, but the article caused quite a stir in the sports sponsorship world as Google does not currently have any partnerships with teams.
Lesson: The power of breaking news and viral content. Simply being aware of your surroundings can sometimes lead to your own news story. Keep an eye out for things right under your nose that aren’t being talked about in the mainstream press.
A mention on ESPN.com will help any article crack a top 8 list…
Lesson: Focus on page titles to get picked up very quickly in search engines. You can repurpose content if you are better at marketing it. The NBA commentators Google+ commercial could have been picked up from several other sources, but the most straightforward, descriptive title won the day in SEO.
After my preseason tour and breaking the Google sponsorship story, we provided a closer look at the stadium from a digital perspective. We had some great insight from LIVESTRONG’s VP of stadium construction, Rory O’Conner, as a result of participating in an online chat.
Lesson: Participate in social media. This article would not have been nearly as enriching without Rory’s input. Don’t just stop at Facebook and Twitter. Dig a little deeper and you may get the opportunity to engage with influencers in unique ways (such as a live online chat).
This was a fun commentary I wrote during last year’s NCAA Men’s basketball tournament. I discovered that a quarter had just as good a chance of beating you at bracketology as your 8-year old niece, your 92 year old grandmother, an octopus, etc…
Lesson: Other than a quarter being better than me at sports gambling, we got another unexpected surprise in the form of site traffic. Believe it or not, a large portion of the visits to this article were a result of people searching for “quarter”. Quarter is a keyword throughout the article, but it was the SEO-friendly image of a quarter that was driving the traffic. Don’t forget the details and remember that even images are optimizable.
This was the first infographic ever released from Online Sports Marketing Guy. Several authors and analysts have looked at the social media popularity of sports teams around the world, but we wanted to know how engaged those teams followers truly are.
Lesson: Spend some extra time graphically illustrating your ideas or concepts. While not optimal for search, the images are much more consumable and can help your content go viral much easier than a long post.
We compared and contrasted the sports sponsorship practices of European soccer and their North American counterparts.
Lesson: Think global. We often get stuck thinking inside our local box, but there is a huge opportunity in producing content for a global audience or even culture-specific content outside of your own.
The NBA has certainly had their moments when they seemed to be just about as real as the WWE, but last year’s playoffs were not one of them. In fact, we calculated that the NBA lost over $142 Million by having a nearly record amount of shortened series.
Lesson: Original commentaries work. If you have a topic that you are passionate about or a unique way of looking at something, share it. I found that the key this year was to be balanced. Not everybody will like all of your content, but some will find value in facts, some will find value in your opinions.
Good luck to all of you with your online marketing efforts in 2012. See you next year!