How to Create Great Content – from the world of sports

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Reading the New York Times sports section this weekend, I was struck by how content marketing is reshaping the world of college athletics. Instead of telling you what the article said, let’s go back and examine HOW it happened.

Let’s say you just got a new job heading marketing – for a Big Ten university like Penn State, Michigan, Purdue, Ohio State, Iowa, etc. Cool! Revenue is rolling in and football and basketball are very popular. Don’t you have a great job?

One day the President of the University comes to you says “We have a big problem. The cost of sports is rising faster than revenues. (By the way, spending on sports for colleges in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) (top teams) jumped by 28% last year.) What can you do to add new revenue streams for us?”

Uh oh.  What do I do now?

You have remarkable content – programming like football, basketball and other  sports. You also have alumni all over the country who love your university. How can you share your content with your customers to drive revenue?

Their answer: The Big Ten Network.

You might say, “Hey, we know nothing about running a TV network.” Maybe you don’t but folks like Fox Cable Networks does. Make a phone call. The Big Ten did.

7 years after its start, the Big Ten Network is exploding. In its most recent filing, the Big Ten Network paid the conference $72 million.

Unexpected results happen too:

  1. New shows like “Big Ten Icons” are popular
  2. A top running back from Texas commits to Northwestern – without ever visiting the campus. (His mom can watch him play on your network.)
  3. They get a platform to share good works or televise events, like President Obama’s visit to Michigan.

What are the marketing takeaways?

  • People love high quality content
  • Share video content. If you cannot afford a TV network, services like YouTube and Vimeo are fine.
  • Be patient. This is HUGE. The Big Ten Network is an overnight success – in 7 years! (Hey business owners like Warren (Greenlight Search in London) and Chuck (Aplicor in Florida), marketing does not happen in 30-60 days. Get a clue!)

What do you think? We love comments and people who share our content.

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