I recently re-watched "A League of Their Own" for the 500th time. I relate to this movie in different ways each time I watch it.
Now that I’ve been in the SEO game for six years now, I realize marketers can learn a lot about content creation from this movie. According to AdWeek, 71 percent of business-to-business buyers get their information online.
Taking it a step further, 94 percent of search engine users’ click on organic results compared to paid listings. Creating content is a great way to get your message out to the masses and help boost your SEO program at the same time.
It doesn’t matter if you have been in the content creation game for a while, or just getting your feet wet—the following takeaways can take your game to the next level.
Search High and Low for the Right Topic
When the All American Girls Professional Baseball League formed, scouts searched high and low for women to try out. They needed the best athletes for this new concept to take off. Content writing is no exception.
Put on your SEO hat (or work with your SEO team) to find topics with high search volumes. You can use Google’s Keyword Planner to do this. For example, let’s say you want to write about baseball. A quick search in Keyword Planner and you’ll find the following:
Off the bat (pun intended), you’ll see people search for baseball games, fantasy baseball and baseball scores. What type of content could you write around these topics? Maybe a how-to on fantasy baseball or the top five baseball games of all time. Taking the time to research topics helps open the door for new ideas.
Practice Makes Perfect
Dottie and Kit lived and breathed baseball. They were constantly practicing and getting better at their craft. They didn’t just wake up one day and became great baseball players. They worked for it. The same goes for writing. You have to work at it.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 83 percent of B2B marketers have a content strategy. Not every piece of content is a hit. It takes practice to create compelling content. When you finally take the plunge and hit “publish,” take the following things into account:
- Was it well received? Sometimes what you think is great information may leave others wanting more. Make sure you take the time to learn what works and doesn’t work with your readers. They might already be well-versed in the land of fantasy baseball—so what tips can you give to them? Get creative and go for it!
- Are you consistent in your publishing schedule? If you publish a blog post every Wednesday, stick to it. Over time readers will expect to read it at the day/time they usually do. If not, they might not come back as often.
- Try different forms of content. There are many ways to get your message out there. You can write articles/blog posts, post videos—or you could do something like an infographic. What medium works best for your audience? You won’t know without practice and testing.
Amplify Your Content
When Wrigley started the women’s baseball league in real life, people were skeptical. Who would watch women play baseball? (Remember this was the early 40’s.) The movie really depicts the struggle of getting people to buy tickets, and at one point almost had to shut down. So they decided to get their message out there.
After writing great content, you must make it findable. That’s where social media and SEO come in. Baseball is a team sport—and so is content creation.
Social campaigns are a great way to do this. Make sure there are social share buttons on all the content you create so it’s easy for readers to share. It should be as easy as possible to share. Don’t make the reader have to work for it, because if they have to, chances are they won’t.
For key pieces of content, reach out to social influencers to partner with. Not sure how to find them? One way is to go to your social network of choice and search for the topic your content will cover.
Pro Tip: Go to the social network your users engage on the most to find influencers for that particular network.
Going back to our baseball example, a quick search on Twitter shows a few users who know their fantasy baseball.
You also don’t need to reach out to someone who has a million followers. Things to look for are:
- Are they engaged with their followers? In other words, are they just tweeting out their latest blog post, or do they talk to their community? The more they communicate with their followers, the more engaged their followers should be (i.e. read your content if shared by them).
- Is their content shared/commented on? Another way to measure engagement is to take a look at their content. Are people sharing their posts? Are people commenting on their content? Remember people can buy followers—they can’t buy engagement.
- Would your content be useful for their community? The fastest way to get ignored or shut down from key influencers is to not be relevant to their community. Why would they want to share your content? Make that case and let them know.
Don’t rely solely on others sharing your content. The more you share your content the more people can find it. It’s ok to share an article more than one time—not everyone is on social media at the same time each day. You don’t want them to miss out on your content because they missed your one share.
If It Was Easy, Everyone Would Do It
The iconic scene where Geena Davis tells Tom Hanks she decided to quit right before the World Series because “it just got too hard,” prompts Hanks to reply, “it’s supposed to be hard. If it was easy, everyone would do it.” Writing quality content isn’t easy and it shouldn’t be.
How can you create quality content? Make content that evokes emotion. This could be an “aha” moment where the writer is giving informative information that makes you so excited you have to share/link/shout from the roof top: This is the best!
Don’t just write content to write it—have a point. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What should the reader take away after reading my article?
- Have I researched information and answered pain points people need to know?
Asking these two questions can get the creative juices flowing, and get you started on the right track.
Not Every Hit is a Home Run
Spoiler Alert: at the end of the movie, the Peaches don’t win the World Series—they lose to Racine. It’s a bitter sweet moment, at least for me, because you want them to win but it’s great seeing Kit finally get her moment.
Not every piece of content you write is going to be a home run and that’s OK. The more content you create, the better you will get. As you produce more content, you’ll start to understand what your readers want from you and can tailor your message accordingly.
Content creation is something businesses need to do. If you are lost on how to do it just remember these great takeaways from "A League of Their Own." And don’t forget, there’s no crying in content creation.