5 Similarities Between B2B Content Marketing and the 2018 World Cup

Before I start talking about the World Cup as if I’m an international soccer expert, I must add an important disclaimer:

I am one of those American World Cup viewers that only pays attention to soccer every fourth year.

With that out of the way, let’s get to why I’m writing a post about the 2018 World Cup if I’m just a casual fan. As I was relaxing this weekend and watching a few of the matches on TV, I couldn’t help but to notice some striking similarities between the World Cup and something I am much more familiar with – B2B content marketing strategy.

2018 World Cup

While there are likely many more similarities, here are five that stood out to me and could benefit B2B marketers as they think about refining an existing or starting a new content strategy.

1. Budget and Resources

World Cup: According to sources, the 2018 World Cup will be the most expensive soccer competition in history, costing more than $14 billion. To host the competition, Russia has had to devote more than $6 billion to transportation infrastructure, $3.45 billion to stadium construction, and $680 million to accommodations, just to name a few of the eye-popping dollar amounts. The bottom line is, Russia was committed to their bid to host the World Cup and has put the money and resources behind it to make sure it’s a success.

B2B Content Marketing: If you’re thinking about implementing (or improving) your B2B content strategy, you too should consider investing the necessary resources to make sure it’s a success. In fact, according to the CMI’s B2B Content Marketing 2018: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America report, “The average percentage of total marketing budget spent on content marketing is 26% (among all respondents); the most successful, however, spend 40%, while the least successful spend 14%.” Without the budget and resources behind your strategy, it will be tough to compete with the content universe and truly experience success.

2. Qualifying

World Cup: Prior to the 2018 World Cup, 209 (member of FIFA) nations applied to enter the qualification process. Qualification tournaments began back in 2015 and ended in 2017, taking place across the six FIFA continental zones (Africa, Asia, North and Central America and Caribbean, South America, Oceania, Europe). FIFA establishes a set number of teams from each zone based on numbers and the strength of the teams participating. When the qualifying tournaments concluded, the 32-team field was set for competition.

B2B Content Marketing: When beginning or refining a content marketing strategy, you must first select a core set of keywords that will be part of the “competition.” Here at KoMarketing, we commonly take what we know about our clients and begin assembling robust keyword datasets that cover all aspects of the business. These lists are very commonly comprised of 1,000 or more keywords and keyword phrases (think of these as the 209 FIFA nations). However, as we know is true with the World Cup, not all the keywords can advance in the process. Like the World Cup, we look at this massive set of terms and start picking out the ones that should be a core focus of the strategy. From there, we can begin crafting content to support the terms and establish search engine visibility.

3. The Participants

World Cup: The 32-team 2018 World Cup field is comprised of some perennial powerhouses, such as Germany, Brazil, and Argentina. However, there are also 12 nations that did not compete in the last World Cup, and two first-timers in Iceland and Panama (the smallest country in terms of population to ever qualify). Italy (a four-time World Cup champion), the Netherlands (three second-place finishes), and the United States all surprisingly failed to qualify for the trip to Russia.

B2B Content Marketing: The similarity between content and the World Cup I see when thinking about the participants in the 2018 event is the fact that the assets you use to fuel your content strategy should be diverse, and often times, a blend of old and new. What I mean by this is to make sure you are creating new content (Iceland and Panama) while also remembering and respecting existing legacy content (Germany, Brazil, Argentina). You don’t always have to create a new asset to have content marketing success – a simple refresh of an existing asset may perform ahead of all others.

4. Don’t Overlook the Underdogs

World Cup: While there will almost certainly be other surprising results in the 2018 World Cup, Mexico’s 1-0 victory over Germany in the two teams’ first matches of the competition will likely stay at or near the top of the list of biggest “underdog” wins of the event. As I watched this match, I kept hearing the announcers compliment the Mexican coach and team on their preparation and execution of the perfect game plan to pull off the big win over Germany. This once again got me thinking about content marketing strategy.

B2B Content Marketing: Oftentimes, here at KoMarketing, we work with clients that might not be the largest entities in their industry. However, this does not mean they can’t compete with industry giants in the content space. Like Mexico’s victory over Germany, with some proper research (game planning) and executing on the findings of that research, smaller sites can outrank industry leaders in search for competitive terms. When creating content as a smaller entity in the industry, be sure you are writing for the audience, answering the questions they need answered, and understand how Google and other search engines are displaying the content in search results. Appearing in the Google Answer Box (featured snippets) is one quick way to jump ahead of the competition and pull in an abundance of qualified website traffic.

5. Broadcasting

World Cup: As you can see in this list, there are many countries and channels broadcasting the 2018 World Cup around the globe. By doing so, FIFA (and Russia) will be on the world stage for weeks to come, and soccer fans from around the world will have access to the tournament from a variety of devices.

B2B Content Marketing: As you create content, you too should be thinking about how you can “broadcast” it out to your audience to maximize exposure. Here’s a list of blog posts we’ve written that may be helpful as you think about content promotion:

Final Thoughts

As the 2018 World Cup plays out, it will be exciting to see who comes out on top hoisting the iconic golden trophy. While you should sit back, relax, and enjoy the competition, don’t forget about the similarities between the World Cup and B2B content marketing, and what lessons you can take from it to better inform your strategy.

Feel free to drop a comment below or connect with me on Twitter if you think there are other similarities!

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