Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics: What’s In It for B2B Content Marketers?

Olympic Flag

Olympic rings

With less than a month until the opening ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, the countdown is on (if you’re a fanatic like me, you’ve been counting down since the last Olympics). Many would argue, in light of the recent terrorist attacks and human rights controversies surrounding the games, this isn’t exactly cause for celebration. And they would be right.

Then again, the Olympic Movement symbolizes something much larger than just the games themselves. In fact, the intertwined Olympic rings, which represent the unity of the five inhabited continents (Africa, America, Asia, Australia, and Europe), inspire a spirit of togetherness, if only for the duration of the games.

Okay, I’ll step off my soapbox and get to the actual point of this blog post: content marketing! What does B2B content marketing have to do with the upcoming Olympics anyway? If you’re in the business of creating content, there are a number of lessons you can learn from the Olympics. Here’s a look at a few:

Storytelling Matters

“Jamaica, we have a bobsled team!” If you don’t immediately get that reference, then you were either: a) Not born in 1993, or b) Living under a rock when the greatest movie of all time, Cool Runnings, came out. If that’s you, then do yourself a favor and go watch it. Immediately.


India’s Shiva Keshavan will compete in luge

As I’ve written about previously, good storytelling is essential in “hooking” the reader and having that individual consume your material. Who can forget Hollywood’s rendition of the four-man bobsled team heading from Jamaica to the 1988 Olympics in Calgary? (It’s worth noting that the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics will boast a real-life version of Cool RunningsIndia’s Shiva Keshavan has overcome considerable obstacles to be able to compete in luge—I know who I’ll be rooting for!)

Social Media Today predicts “short attention span storytelling,” including VINE videos, Instagram photos, and motion GIFs, will take center stage in the year 2014. They also maintain that the story matters most in terms of cutting through the “noise” of so much existing online content marketing. “Without a coherent story to bring together the message,” writes Social Media Today, “all [readers] have is more disconnected dots, more noise, more confusion.”

Content Curation Matters, Too

As one blogger writes, “the Olympics remind us that bringing together information and curating it for your audience is critical in not only entertaining the audience, but also in helping them understand what they’re watching in a new way.”

speed skater

Dutch speed skater Sven Kramer is determined to win triple gold

The same can be said for B2B content marketing. In a recent KoMarketing post about including third-party quotes and references to build out a comprehensive resource for readers, Derek discussed the merits of providing our audience with collaborative, well-curated content. Indirect benefits of such an approach include catching the attention of the individual or business you’re referencing, improving your chances of a social share, potentially acquiring a link in exchange for linking to said individual/business, and more.

At the end of the day, it takes more than simply “publishing content to move the needle,” as Social Media Today previously noted. Curating different sources of information not only provides your audience with valuable material (and increases the likelihood that they’ll return for more in the future), but it also showcases your company’s expertise and awareness of the industry.

Audience Above All Else

According to Mashable, NBC will offer viewers more than 1,000 hours of live streaming coverage once the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics begin. Whoa. This includes coverage across channels (live streaming via satellite or cable TV, the NBC Sports Live Extra App available for both iOS and Android, the NBCOlympics Twitter handle, and so on).

While effective storytelling and content curation factor into audience engagement, social sharing, and the like, content marketers need to devote just as much attention to audience development as they do to creating content. ClickZ recommends that content marketers build out specific content that answers customer questions. “[Doing so can help] build brand authority, ensure that you are being informative and useful to your audience, and draw more readers to your publishing channels,” reports ClickZ.

During a recent KoMarketing team training session focused on blogging, we discussed Google’s “Hummingbird” algorithm and the fact that it’s set to give people answers to questions. Casie suggested that anticipating customer questions (by way of surveys, live chat, Q&A sites, etc.) and including those questions in the title of a blog post may help drive traffic to a piece in light of the new algorithm.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re an Olympics aficionado like me or you’d rather just avoid the whole $50 billion affair (I’m serious—it’s crazy), if you’re in the content marketing business, you can learn a great deal from the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. So, this February 6, tune in (to any of the above channels—sounds like it’ll be pretty hard to miss it!) and get thinking about the ways in which your B2B content marketing needs can be inspired by the games.

For related B2B content marketing posts, check out:

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