6 Content Marketing Lessons to Learn from Monopoly

A few weeks ago, I was with some friends and family and we decided to dust off the Monopoly box for some old-fashioned fun. I moved my piece around the board, bought some properties, made some trades, and eventually paid all of my money to my opponents.

While I lost the game and sat at the table watching it finish, I came to the realization that the strategies behind Monopoly and content marketing were very similar (yes, these are the types of things digital marketers do when we’ve been eliminated).

Monopoly board game

From start to finish, there are a number of lessons content marketers can learn from a game of Monopoly. Here are a few:

1. Choose Your Piece and Stick With It

Monopoly is a game that calls for a number of decisions to be made throughout. However, the first decision a player must make is choosing what piece they will use and be identified as. Anybody that has played multiple games of Monopoly with me knows the Scottish Terrier piece belongs to me. By remaining consistent with my piece choice, friends and family can easily locate my position on the board, even if they are coming to check out the game halfway through as a bystander.

Lesson for Content Marketers

Before an organization launches a content marketing strategy, it is critical that it first establishes a voice that will remain consistent. The voice of the brand plays a large role in determining how customers will perceive it. Additionally, a consistent, unique voice will allow organizations to differentiate themselves from the competition.

In June, I had the opportunity to attend Skyword’s Content Rising Summit, where Ann Handley spoke as the keynote for day two of the conference. She explained how important it is for brands to rethink the way they communicate to their audience, with a focus on “differentiating the message.” To solidify her point, she highlighted how organizations like ChubbiesHumane Society Silicon Valley, and even a can koozie maker (Freaker) have leveraged a consistent (unique) brand voice to improve their standing.

2. Know the Board

As your piece travels around the board, you’ll notice the property value increases from Mediterranean Avenue all the way up to Park Place and Boardwalk. That’s the easy part, but it gets more complicated. Have you ever found yourself saying, “Wow! Everyone keeps landing on those properties!” If yes, there may be some reasoning behind it. While playing experience might be enough to tell you which properties are landed on the most, there is actually statistical evidence behind it as well. Based on stats, Illinois Avenue is the most important piece to own on the board (sorry, Boardwalk fans).

Lesson for Content Marketers

Much like understanding the Monopoly board, it’s crucial to understand content marketing trends and numerical reasoning prior to executing a content strategy.

As a member of the content team here at KoMarketing, it’s part of my job to understand the words and phrases that are most likely to drive qualified traffic to our clients’ websites. While there are many ways to effectively identify opportunities prior to writing content, I typically start by analyzing search results for the various keyword sets. Are there a lot of homepages appearing for a specific keyword? Blog posts? Whitepapers? These are some of the things I will ask myself. Understanding the trends and the overall landscape gives me a good idea of what is being valued by the given search engine and what will be required to “own” that term/phrase.

Next, I will typically leverage keyword tools to see how much they are searched (or at least a ballpark understanding). If a term is searched for thousands of times per month and seems competitive, it may make sense to build a robust strategy around it. However, if it’s a term that seems to be less competitive (typically long-tail keywords fall into this category), we may be able to rank on the first page by simply executing a well-targeted blog post.

3. Diversify Your Assets

One of the biggest mistakes a Monopoly player can make is focusing on one set of properties, hoping they roll the dice to land on them before their opponents. While this strategy might (if you’re lucky) result in ownership of one color set, you’ve put all of your eggs into one basket, limiting your chances of having opponents land on your assets. Instead, you should buy as many pieces of property as your budget allows, especially early in the game. By doing so, you will expand your chances of earning rent (easy wins) from the other players. Additionally, you will likely have valuable trade pieces later in the game.

Lesson for Content Marketers

As a content marketer, I’m often faced with the challenge of improving our clients’ standing in search for highly competitive phrases (think Boardwalk and Park Place). While ranking first for these broad, competitive terms (ex. “freight shipping”) might be the “ultimate” win, it’s important to remember associated phrases as well.

Let’s take a closer look at our freight shipping example. While freight shipping might be the “core” focus, it’s important to also own some of the long-tail variations and associated phrases like “LTL freight shipping” or “expedited freight shipping.” These terms are typically less competitive, making it possible to generate a piece of content (blog post, whitepaper, etc.) that ranks highly and draws qualified traffic back to the site. Much like in Monopoly, owning more real estate (keywords/phrases) will likely increase the number of visitors to your property (website).

4. Build on Your Assets  

Owning a full color set of properties in Monopoly means you can start building houses and hotels on those spaces. As a result, anybody who lands on them will be paying you exponentially more money for rent than they would if you hadn’t built on those properties. As you continue to collect these high rents and build even more houses and hotels, you will notice your stack of money growing (and opponents dropping out of the game).

Lesson for Content Marketers

Once a page has begun to gain some traction in search for a specific keyword, don’t stop feeding it. If you’ve gotten to page two, try to get to page one. If you’ve gotten to the bottom of page one, get to the top. Remember, just because Google has started moving your page up in its rankings doesn’t mean you should stop creating content around it. Propelling the page to the top spot (or retaining its presence there) by continually producing valuable content and crosslinking will result in a noticeable spike in visitors as well as satisfied clients.

5. Connect Your Properties

The winner of a game of Monopoly typically owns not only a color set of properties, but most likely, an entire side or corner of the board. Owning and building houses and hotels on multiple sets of property in row makes it almost inevitable that opposing players will be paying in some way. This is important to think about as you start to collect assets. If you can target properties that belong to colors close to each other on the board, you will increase your chances of being hard to pass by.

Lesson for Content Marketers

Much like aligning your Monopoly properties in a row, content marketers should be thinking about tying social media, SEO, and content together. While each of these entities remain separate, their common goal of achieving relevance for the audience unites them. It’s essential to think about SEO and social media best practices when creating content. By doing so, the content will be able to spread across social networks and “stick” in search results.

6. Avoid Jail

In my most recent game of Monopoly, I went to jail more times than anybody else by far. This meant my poor Scottish Terrier had to sit behind bars the majority of the game while others passed Go and swiped nearly all the properties on the board. By the end of the game, I found myself unable to dig out of the hole that my jail visits dug me as I owned a fraction of what my opponents did.

Lesson for Content Marketers

Stay out of digital “jail.” While there isn’t much that can be done to avoid jail in Monopoly, content marketers and SEO professionals can ensure they are keeping up to date with Google’s changing algorithms to understand the search landscape and avoid penalties. Much like in Monopoly, being hit with Google penalties can drop your site’s standing in organic search or remove it from the index altogether. After all, missing out on organic search traffic means missing out on 51% of website traffic.

Final Thoughts

While a Netflix binge-watching session might seem tempting, bust out the Monopoly board next time you’re with your friends or family and think about all the ways it relates to SEO and content marketing. Treating content strategy like a big game of Monopoly might just have you sitting atop the search engine rankings, absorbing an abundance of organic search traffic.

“With little digging, you can see that KoMarketing’s team is frequently educating the SEO industry on best practices through articles, blogs and presentations. If you’re considering hiring an agency you want talented people collaborating to bring you the best search results possible – that’s what you’ll get with KoMarketing.”

— Katie Meurin, SEO Manager at Southern New Hampshire University

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