I’m part of an informal league that plays ultimate Frisbee (if you’re cool you’ll just call it “ultimate,” but whatever) every Sunday. Last week I had a silly thought.
I wonder if I can manufacture a handful of ways that this game is like content marketing. Wouldn’t that be ridiculous? Chuckle, chuckle.
But it wasn’t.
Because it’s true!
- It’s harder than it looks.
In ultimate, you don’t run with the disc. That often makes newbies think it’s a low-impact sport. Just catching and throwing? My grandma can do that, is what they say (verbatim). Then they realize in their first game how much running there is when you’re not holding the disc, and their eyes are opened. Content marketing looks like throwing together listicles between commercial breaks in front of the TV, but most of the work is happening when you’re not actually typing. Researching your client’s subject matter is where you spend most of your time, and it’s what takes the breath out of you.
- Shorter is often better.
Long bombs might be fun, but the longer the shot, the lower your accuracy. Overly long content is a long shot because you’re hoping the reader will care as much about the content as you do. They almost never will. Readers will not afford you the luxury of exploring the subject matter. They’re busy. They need you to get to the point.
- There’s a lot of back and forth.
Sometimes you can get the disc to the end of the field in a single drive. More often there will be multiple turnovers before you get the job done. Clients often step into the helpful role of devil’s advocate and point out what doesn’t make sense or what doesn’t accurately represent their voice. You lose some ground but you’ll improve on your next approach.
- Momentum is everything.
When you’re on a roll in ultimate you become an unstoppable force. You throw with more confidence; you run a little faster, jump a little higher. When writing content you can get into a zone that feels pretty similar. One solid piece of content often begets another, and blog quality often gets better with each new post as you further develop your client’s story.
- When you connect with your target, it’s glorious.
No matter how beautiful the throw, it’s the catch that tells you whether it was on target. There’s nothing like a play-making toss in both ultimate and content marketing. Views, comments, likes, shares … reader responses that indicate they understand something about the subject they didn’t before … that’s the game. That’s what it’s all about.
- It’s the flashy title that draws you in.
I always thought “ultimate” was a little dramatic. We don’t need modifiers for other sports, though “awesome baseball” and “radical football” might impress some non-sporting types. You can’t deny that it sounds fun, though, even if it is a bit of an embellishment.