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Scoring Big With Sports Content Marketing


Thanks to their diversity and widespread popularity, sports are more than just passingly entertaining. They’re also great vehicles for content marketing. One Gallup poll found that six out of every 10 Americans identified as a sports fan. On the global stage, some estimates say that sports like soccer have fan bases numbering in the billions.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be a team owner or star player to engage these massive audiences. Here’s how content marketers can leverage sports mania to make a lasting impact.

Exploring the Many Types of Sports Content

Event Reporting

Sports fans love up-to-the-minute news about their favorite teams and players. If you’re not too keen on hiring a permanent journalism team to run your sports news desk, however, you can refine your focus and still deliver what audiences crave.

Sports event reporting

The Power of Social Media Updates

Sports reports don’t have to include exhaustive play-by-plays or complete game rundowns. They can be everything from Twitter tweets to Facebook posts and Instagram shots that your CEO took from court-side seats at pivotal moments during a match. By working with a talented writing group that can provide quick turnarounds, you can establish a rapport that brings people closer to the game and your brand presence.

Analysis and Opinion

Sports commentary is often combined with journalistic writing, but there’s an important distinction. While reporting is about dispensing the facts of what went down, an analysis is about portraying a human reaction to the events. Needless to say, it’s great for branding.

Sports Blogging: No Such Thing as a Bad Opinion?

One of the nice things about sports analysis is that you can publish interesting content without drawing a line in the sand or making enemies. For instance, imagine that a service company wanted to appeal to fans of the local college team. Discussing the prospects and background of an up-and-coming rookie whose family members were longtime clients might be a smart move that would appeal to supporters on both sides of any rivalries.

Sports Blogging

Sports blogs are extremely powerful. By telling a story, such as how your company contributed to a regional team’s charitable youth program or got an endorsement from the founder’s childhood sports idol, blogs make it easy to insert your brand into the narrative.

Going Beyond the Game

Publishing sports-related content also gives you an opportunity to review related developments that take place off the court or field. For instance, a cellphone company might discuss the new 5G fixtures being installed in a nearby stadium. A restaurant that runs a food truck could talk about the big-game party traditions that go on near a venue and segue into its new tailgate menu offerings.
Articles, social media posts and press releases all make excellent places to self-promote and appeal to sports lovers. Expanding the scope of your content further might also let you portray your business as a fixture of the community.

Interactive Engagement

Interactive content helps audiences feel more involved in spectator sports. By publishing such content, you capitalize on the phenomenon and prompt people to associate your brand with an enjoyable experience.

Quizzes

Trivia and quiz activities are great because they entice more than just sports fans. Yours might highlight broad-appeal topics like

Engaging with sports content


  • The origins of a sport or historical rule changes,

  • Celebrity gossip about high-profile players, or

  • Uncertainty about how long to spend on the water

  • Local facts and figures about the communities that support teams.


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Key Components of a Good Quiz

With quizzes, you can get away with quite a lot, so really flex your creative muscle. The connection to sports doesn’t have to be grounded in statistics or hard facts, and inserting questions about other topics can actually make a trivia activity more exciting. Remember these tips:


  • Use Strong Titles to Entice
    The title gets people hooked, so it needs to be powerful and intriguing. For instance, a company that sells tour packages might post a quiz with a Buzzfeed-style title, like “What Does Your Favorite Sports Team Say About Your Ideal Vacation Destination?”

    In some cases, your quiz titles don’t even have to relate to your services. Questions like “Which 2020 World Cup Soccer Star Are You?” or “How Much Do You Actually Know About Your Favorite Sports Team?” are fun in and of themselves.

  •  

  • Flesh Things Out With Visuals
    Images are critical for quizzes. Since they’re sparse on content, they tend to let the eye wander, so why not keep people focused? Vibrant, topical photos are the ideal complements to questions, and they make the quiz experience more fun.
  •  

  • Pose Well-crafted Questions
    Your sentence structure should vary from problem to problem. You’re trying to create a fun activity and not a school exam, so work with a sports freelance writing expert who can pose challenging riddles in unique ways.

    Rethinking the way you write lets you do more with your chosen subject matter. For instance, instead of asking “What year did James Naismith invent basketball?”, you could try “The unrelenting winter of 1891 kept a lot of people cooped up indoors. What sport did James Naismith invent to pass the time?” The meaning is mostly the same, but the second question gets the reader hooked with a more interesting story.

  •  

  • Tie It All Up With Shareable Conclusions
    Since sports quizzes are highly shareable, they expand your advertising reach by getting people to participate and send others back to your brand via social media. What’s more, most quiz formats make it easy to guide the conversation. For instance, your quiz author can help you create a default social media post that pops up automatically when someone clicks the “Share my score on Facebook” button. This is also a golden opportunity to add hashtags and backlinks.

 
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Engage the Community and Guide People Through the Right Marketing Experience


Want to get people to stop by your store and take a look at the new stock? Offer arena tickets to customers who check in at your physical location on social media, or award fan memorabilia at random based on purchase histories.

The right written accompaniment makes such contests go much more smoothly. When paired with appealing prizes, press releases and social media posts help spread the word and heighten participation rates. These sorts of digital content can also highlight aspects like the fact that your business is making charitable contributions as a part of a contest. At a fundamental level, good content is essential for explaining the contest rules and lowering barriers to entry by clearly demonstrating how to take part.

 

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Rich Audiovisual Media

Fans are changing the way they view games, and if sports teams themselves have taken notice, then you should too. Just as sports marketers are adapting to accommodate young people and other consumers who don’t want to sit through entire games, your marketing strategy needs to shift. Creating videos and podcasts is a good way to get with the times.

 

2

Go Behind the Scenes

Got an “in” with a local sports club? Ask if they’ll let you take your customers into the locker room for a virtual tour the next time you drop by. Or, make your own excitement by having someone record your annual company golf tournament. Like written blogs, videos can tell stories that are fun to watch and offer a humanizing break from regular marketing content. If you’re having trouble fleshing out your content calendar, then these fun videos can definitely help fill in the gaps.

 

3

Edit Judiciously

The secret to exciting sports video content lies in editing, and this idea is borne out by professional broadcasts. Whether they’re watching baseball, soccer or football games, most fans only want to see the thrilling highlights. Your content is no exception.

 

4

Stick to a Script

If you’re planning on shooting a video, have someone write a script in advance. If you want to use footage that you’ve already prepared, then seriously consider hiring an author who can help you come up with a story or narrative to tie everything together.

Rambling content tends to get boring, but a written outline or script can keep things tight and trimmed down. This is especially true for podcasts. Although natural dialogue makes things interesting, you need to work from a framework and write out your ad reads ahead of time.

 

5

Let Viewers Know What to Expect

Your video isn’t the only piece of content that viewers want to look at, so remember that you’re fighting for their time. In addition to focusing on a key theme, such as how the company softball league underdogs came back from the brink of defeat against all the odds, accompany your video with juicy teasers and previews. Find a writer who can create a complete marketing package to help people overcome their doubts and click on your video.

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Pick Your Channels Wisely

Where should your sports content live? It honestly depends on the tone, but here are some excellent ideas:


  • Articles about your company’s participation in sports might do well on your blog or website. These items are formal enough not to detract from your professional brand image, but they can help personalize your marketing voice.
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  • When sharing sports marketing content on social media, keep it short or break it up. While things like quizzes are right at home on these platforms, long-format think pieces about your CEO’s favorite team might feel somewhat dry amidst tweets, Facebook posts and Instagram photos.
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  • Consider the road less traveled. LinkedIn and other professional networking sites can be good places for publishing blogs about subtly promotional topics, such as how you landed an advertising partnership with a sports talk radio show or created a community outreach program with the help of a hometown star. This kind of sports content is inspiring, and it can establish you as an authority among your business peers.
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  • Videos, podcasts and other rich media can be hosted on platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Vimeo, but don’t play favorites. You’ll attract more attention by posting on multiple platforms, and you should also embed the content on your normal site inside blog posts.

 
Need help creating unique, high-quality content for your sports content strategy?

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Choosing Your Format: Options for Creating Sports Content


Should you produce your own sports content or ask for outside help? This question plagues many marketers, but it’s easy to figure out by comparing the options.

 

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Do It Yourself

Creating your own marketing content lets you decide on a unique, personal voice and tell your story in your own words. On the other hand, it’s a time-consuming process that carries a lot of risks.

If your writing isn’t polished, it will lack the impact you desire. If it’s riddled with errors, then it could even result in bad PR. Creating content also takes time, and if you’re trying to keep an entire company or outreach campaign running, then you might be hard-pressed to maintain high-quality output.

 

2

Work With an In-House Team

Working with an in-house team is a bit easier, and if you’re already used to delegating, then it should be no sweat. Your staff can help you take on the critical steps that go into creating all good content, such as
 


  • Setting marketing goals and translating them into an organized briefing,

  • Coming up with interesting creative ideas,

  • Researching the topic to find new insights and facts that make it more engaging,

  • Writing the script, blog, quiz or other content,

  • Shooting the video,

  • Editing the written content or rich media, and

  • Publishing the content and engaging with viewers in the comments or on social media.


 
The downsides of doing it all in-house are similar to those you’ll face with the D.I.Y. approach. These tasks demand focus, and they take your staff away from the usual routine.

 

3

Hire Someone Who Specializes in Freelance Sports Writing

Using a freelancer lets you get the best of both worlds. Professional writers and creatives who specialize in producing high-end content can inject new life into the material. Because they have unique outsider perspectives, they tend to be a lot better at identifying unexplored aspects of the material to give it enhanced depth. They’re also pros at inserting keywords into text so that they feel natural instead of forced.

 

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Tips for Working With Freelancers

Where should your sports content live? It honestly depends on the tone, but here are some excellent ideas:


  • Sit in the Director’s Chair
    Working with a freelancer doesn’t mean that you have to relinquish control of your project. As long as you take a few minutes to create a detailed briefing of what you want the piece to entail, you can rely on finding someone who will execute it in an attractive, effective way.
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  • Expand Your Available Talent Pool
    Freelance markets like Textbroker also help you attract the right type of writers to your project. Since there’s a massive pool to select from and no shortage of work opportunities, authors are free to choose assignments that they feel comfortable writing. Freelance writers who are already passionate about sports tend to pick up these types of jobs, and their enthusiasm comes through in their work.
  •  

  • Observe and Refine
    Those who maintain a degree of separation from the writing process may end up more pleased with the results. The creative process is markedly different from standard business communication, so professional expertise comes in handy.

 
Need help creating unique, high-quality content for your sports content strategy?

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Putting the Results to Work: How to Utilize Your Sports Content


After some effort, you’ve created an article that should pique people’s interest and get them invested in your brand. Now what?

Just as great sports plays are grounded in locker-room planning, you need a marketing playbook. Publishing is just as important as ordering the sports content in the first place, especially if you want your work to gain traction. In addition to choosing the right channels, you should consider:

Timing

Some sports content is less evergreen than other types of marketing. If your project consists of a single item related to a specific event, set up your publishing platform in advance so that you can deploy the work as soon as it’s ready. When creating campaigns, try to get all of the material prepped in advance. Then, release it in stages to build up hype.
 

timing
 

Dispersion

Sports fans are hard to pin down since they make up such a large cross-section of the population. Using a multi-blogging platform to publish related materials, such as main articles and accompanying social media teasers, can make it easier to reach out to wider audiences without getting mixed up.
 

Dispersing Content
 

Follow-up

Even the greatest posts might not pick up steam right away, so don’t use everything in one go. Your Twitter, Facebook and other cross-promotional campaigns should include some reserve content that you can deploy to boost visibility a week or two after the initial publication.
 

follow up
 

Metrics

You don’t have to be running an extensive campaign to benefit from metric analytics. Tracking data points, such as how many people visit your sports content, where they come from and what they do when they arrive, is a highly advisable practice that can inform your future marketing efforts.
 

metrics
 

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Creating Something Unique: How to Find Amazing Freelance Sports Writers

Where can you find the best writers for your next content project? A great way to get started is to create a brief that describes what you want and put it out there.

Choosing a tool that grants you access to many different writers is a critical step. Although it’s hard to guess how an author will complete your assignment if you haven’t worked with them before, the hallmarks of quality usually shine through in their past work. Compare their samples, bios, self-descriptions and number of assignments completed to find out how they write and where their skills lie.

Think of vetting authors the way a coach might think of selecting players for a new team: Looking at each prospective freelance sports writer’s stats is a convenient way to see how they’ll perform during the regular season, or, in this case, your project.

 
Need help creating unique, high-quality content for your sports content strategy?

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Comments

Dan Olujinmi 4. November 2019 - 16:29

Awesome post. I’ve been using some sports and movie references in my emails for better open rates. It really works magic for emails. Thanks for such an in-depth post, presenting more use cases. I guess there are many ways to make money from sports.

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