First Published: September 13, 2014


Last Updated: August 9, 2020

The Gist: you can think of your content marketing strategy like a football team. The quarterback is your company blog, supported and protected by the rest of the lineup.

Last Sunday, surrounded my purple-clad family, I was watching the Ravens season opener when something clicked. The sportscaster said something that made me yell, “football is just like content marketing!”

I needed to leave five minutes ago in order to avoid getting caught in the “game’s over” traffic in Baltimore on my way back to Delaware, but I figured I’d remember the idea. So I came back to my apartment, opened up WordPress, and…blankness.

How many times has that happened to you?

All week, I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure it out. I knew I wanted to relate content marketing and football, but I couldn’t remember where I was going to go with that. But a few hours ago when it all came back to me! 

So what was my idea?

How content marketing is like a football team’s offensive unit. 

You have a ton of different players, and they each do something different. But they all come together to form a unit focused on conversions.

They work together to gain yards, first down after first down, until the ultimate conversion happens: the touchdown of a new customer.

What should your content quarterback be?

It really depends on your individual content marketing strategy, strengths, and personality.

For example, if your email marketing list has thousands of subscribers but you can’t remember the last time someone commented on a Facebook post, then Facebook probably isn’t even out on the field. It’s benched (and if it’s not, but you’re seeing very little engagement, maybe it should be).

But one thing remains certain: your blog should be your quarterback.

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The Quarterback: Your Company Blog

People (including me) frequently relate content marketing to a spoke and wheel, with a blog at the center. Well, isn’t the quarterback at the center of an offensive unit? Others may do the running, catching, and scoring, but the ball starts with the quarterback.

Just like a content marketing conversion will likely start with the blog.

At the beginning of the inbound funnel (below), someone reads a blog post. They’re not interested in your company, just what your company’s writing about.

inbound methodology

Image via Hubspot

You’ve just gotten possession of the ball – the visitor has landed on your site. But how the play goes from here determines if they leave forever, if they come back, and if they convert. And that all depends on how the quarterback performs.

If the blog post is engaging, they might subscribe, download an offer, or browse your site. That’s where the pass comes in. If the blog post is boring or too self-centered, you’ll fumble.

The Supporting Players: Email and Social Media

Social media and email marketing can be seen as all the players that protect the quarterback. The content quarterback needs to pass the visitor down the funnel, but that can’t happen if there are no visitors in the first place. Just as the blockers’ job is to support the quarterback, your email and social media should support your blog.

Make sure you’re social posts promoting your blog are optimized and engaging enough to drive visitors. In marketing emails, make sure the call-to-action that links to your blog stands out and really encourages clicks.

Guest blogging and link-building are also important blockers. Anything that will get people reading your blog posts are a member of that team.

The Receivers: Your Lead Magnets & Offers

Like I said before, your marketing offers are your receivers. When you have CTAs on your blog for free ebooks, whitepapers, and other pieces of content, and readers fork over their email addresses for them, that’s a completed pass.

This brings the reader further into your sales funnel. But now the receiver is running the ball. All the obstacles between the catch and the goal are the other team’s defense – something you can anticipate but not control. The reader may not be in the market for what you’re offering. You may exceed their budget. These get in the way, and you can react to them, but you can’t always change them.

Touchdown!

So what’s the lineup of your content marketing team? Share the positions in the comments.

Which pop star will save your content strategy_
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