Win at Content Strategy and Fantasy Football
A winning content strategy and a winning fantasy football strategy: at first glance, these two things might seem to have little in common. As our Fusion Fantasy league gears up for its draft over Labor Day Weekend, I’m struck by how, at a high level, fantasy football strategy and content strategy have quite a few things common. The goal is to win, right? In fantasy football, you win your weekly head-to-head match when your players score more points than your opponent’s players. Or in points-only leagues, you march up the standings based on your team’s points in relation to the other teams’ points. With your content, you “win” when you tell your story with compelling, on-brand, on-message, accurate content that’s useful to your users.
Your team’s players make or break your fantasy team, just as they do in the NFL. Think about it: what do people pay to see when they go to an NFL football game? No matter how enthusiastically the cheerleaders cheer or how splendid the half-time entertainment is, people pay to see a winning team. The same is true of your website content. No matter how user-friendly, mobile-ready, aesthetically pleasing, and intuitively navigable your site is, people visit and revisit your site because of its content. So let’s look at how winning fantasy football strategies and content strategies are similar.
Draft winning players and content
If you’ve ever seriously played in a fantasy football team, you know that some amount of research is involved in ranking and selecting your players prior to the league draft. When it’s your turn to pick, you obviously want to select the available player who you believe, based on your pre-draft research, has the best potential to score significant points. You wouldn’t waste a high draft pick on a player with low projected fantasy points, and you definitely would avoid a player who’s on injured reserve.
Your website content, both existing and proposed, should be researched, evaluated, and drafted the same way. Do you know who your users are? What are competitors doing on their websites? Do you know what the content for a page or section is supposed to accomplish? Does the content score points with your target audience by being accurate, useful, clear, concise, and current? Is your content SEO optimized so that potential users can even find it? You have little time to engage your audience, just as you’re “on the clock” when making your fantasy pick. Don’t waste a “draft pick” on content that doesn’t serve your users. For example, how many people in your target audience really come to your site to read your mission statement?
Fine tune your roster
When the dust settles after the league draft, you look at your roster with a critical eye. What were you thinking when you drafted that oft-injured quarterback? (Never again, Michael Vick.) If you had a hosting service autodraft for you based on your rankings, what convoluted algorithm selected a kicker in the fifth round? Time to propose a trade or look to the waiver wire to see which players are available to fill in the gaps and improve your team’s chances.
Make similar tweaks to your content roster. If your analytics are telling you that people aren’t visiting a particular page of your site despite a clear navigation path, or that a page has a high bounce rate, then fine tune the content to provide value for your user or eliminate it altogether. Every piece of content on your site, just like every player on your fantasy team, should serve a specific purpose.
Manage, manage, manage
Drafting and tweaking are just the start. The long-term key to success in both fantasy football and content strategy is governance. Waiting until just before the first weekly game to adjust your fantasy football lineup can lead to unpleasant consequences, such as noticing that both your quarterback and backup quarterback have bye weeks, or that a star receiver who was questionable earlier in the week has been downgraded to doubtful. Team managers who finish at the top of their fantasy league—or who win it—don’t neglect their teams until just before the weekly kickoff. They proactively scan the waiver wire for players who will improve their team; they pay attention to promising players such as rookies overlooked in the league draft. In short, they effectively govern their teams.
In The Elements of Content Strategy, Erin Kissane puts it simply: “Publish no content without a support plan.” Too often in the rush of getting content “out there,” nobody plans for its long-term sustainability. Effective governance keeps web content accurate, on-brand, on-message, and useful to users. Tactically, that means clearly defining and documenting roles and responsibilities, content workflows, information and messaging architecture, SEO guidelines, taxonomy and metadata guidelines, style guidelines, and editorial calendars—and managing to make sure all of these things happen. Effectively managed web content meets business and user goals, which is a winning strategy.
So there you have it. Winning in web content and fantasy football begins with drafting, improves through refinement, and is truly successful only when effectively governed. At Fusion Alliance, our content strategists can help you achieve your business and user goals with a winning content strategy. And I personally wish you much success in fantasy football—unless you’re in my league.
SOUND OFF: What strategies and tactics have you used to “win” the content game? Or your fantasy football league? I’m always looking for a new angle.