Wimbledon’s SEO Strategy – Top Tennis Tips
The final two weeks of June usually signal the start of an annual feast of strawberries and cream washed down with a jug of Pimms, but this year, like every four years, the precious British sporting fixture, Wimbledon, has faced stiff competition, for public viewing, from the World Cup.
Last year saw Andy Murray win the Wimbledon final and was the 6thmost watched UK TV event of the year – this year saw England defeated by Uruguay in the World Cup group stages and was the most watched TV event since London’s 2012 Olympics.
So what can SEO learn from this?
Major sporting events have given us some particularly interesting examples that we can apply to our own online marketing strategies, and Wimbledon is one of them.
Although it may still be competing for attention, there is plenty we can take away from its 2014 strategies, which shouldn’t be doubted just yet...
While the BBC will have broadcasted more than 150 hours of tennis, in addition to web and radio coverage, by the time the tournament has finished - many fans will have consumed their viewing and updates of the sport online – this (if you look at #hashtag trends on Twitter) also extends to social media.
It is here where the big battle for viewers takes place and it is here where Wimbledon organisers, players and marketers have paid most of their attention, particularly in their communication among fans in the build up to the tournament.
Although Football’s core fan base extends far wider than Tennis’, considering target audience was instrumental to extending their outreach.
This is not dissimilar to niche businesses who, with a small client base want to attract the attention of those unaware of their brand.
Wimbledon commentators, broadcasters and marketers created engaging and original content on social media such as videos and competitions which were novelty and would engage direct fans enough to want to share among their own followers– by doing this, AELTC (All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club – the venue for Wimbledon) made casual spectators of the sport aware of the tournaments arrival and built up hype around it.
By encouraging these shares Wimbledon was able to create social awareness around its brand aimed at casual spectators who were not directly following the event.
The addition of a new social command centre by the AELTC, which enables them to understand social media debates around the tournament, also reveals that the organisers are starting to take social media strategy more seriously.
- This is something that every business serious about SEO should be doing – monitoring shares, retweets, consumer engagement and recording follower’s activity.
- You’ll need to keep track of how well you’re performing, what’s worked well for you and what hasn’t – keeping your game strong will mean more hits next time
- By creating better content on offsite formats such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus (among other usual suspects) you will be building confidence and trust in your brand, business or product.
Keep to your brand
Rather than competing with the bright colours of the Brazilian World Cup, Wimbledon has celebrated its unique brand.
Although it is a tournament heavily submerged in tradition, its prominent white clothing rule, strawberries and cream and Pimms as the icons of Wimbledon, are all part of its appeal.
In a world where brands, sports and fashion houses can become homogenized easily, Wimbledon’s attraction lies in its differences.
- Embrace what makes your brand or products unique – concentrate on this and make it your unique selling point to target the right people – don’t copy competitors campaigns or duplicate their efforts – ask what they aren’t doing, and go forth and conquer.
At the start of Wimbledon, 128 men and 128 women met to battle it out with one another – while direct fans of the tournament and casual spectators are already familiar with big names such as Nadal, Murray and Djokovic, some of the hype around the tournament online has been around some of the fresher and younger talents which have attracted a newer, wider audience.
Rising stars such as Grigor Dimitrov were used quite early on in the build up and still are by marketers on online web campaigns, social media and Wimbledon blogs – this is clever, because not only does he happen to be dating Maria Sharapova, which can’t be bad for his appeal to males and females alike, but he is also ranked as one of the upcoming stars of the tournament.
- By creating links between your products and consumers interests you will engage them, whether this is through content, links or social media.
- Ensure you are promoting your new products but not simply stating what they are and how much they are – appeal directly and think who you are targeting and associate them with news, events, and hot topics of the moment for further outreach.
Tactics > Content Marketing
When professional tennis players arrive on court, they’ve already thought tactics; they’ve planned ahead knowing the big names that they are likely to face.
Have you planned ahead with your content strategy?
Do you know your competition?
A win in tennis can take time and is a battle of attack vs. percentage play – similar to the content marketing game because you’re in it for the long haul. While it’s not easy, you will want to win through quality game play.
So how do you win a game of content marketing?
Ace: (noun) A serve by one opponent toward the other where the tennis ball is not touched by the recipient, this is often because the serve is too strong or fast for the receiver.
- When writing content try to shatter the barriers that confine your industry, business or sector.
- Be hot off the press with your chosen topics creating relevant, engaging and content that is relevant to the time. If you do this successfully and often, readers look to your website for the latest updates and visit again.
The All-Court-Player: (compound noun)a tennis player who uses incorporates varied styles including the offensive baselines, counter-punchers and serve and volleys, bringing the opponent into uncomfortable and unknown territory in a match.
- You’ve rallied your opponent and tired them out so now it’s time to hit with the big shot. This is a great strategy for content, keep posting regular content and every so often ‘attack’ with a big and quality piece of content, whether it be a video, sound clip or guest blog.
- React to industry changes – writing regular content isn’t always enough it needs to be compelling, you won’t be able to be an all-court-player all the time which is why you need to attack and make it appear when the time is right.
Racket: (noun) a piece of equipment used to hit a tennis ball made up of a net which is fixed firmly to a frame with a long handle for grip.
- The type of equipment that you use can affect the success of your content strategy from gauging which social media platforms are right for your business sector through to the correct pieces of analytics programs which measure how your content is received.
- There are a great deal of tools out there – many of which are free, make sure you experiment, read around and listen to what other people in your industry may be using.
Deuce: (noun) when both players have 40 points but one player has an advantage. Should the player with advantage lose the next point, deuce, remains, if the player with the advantage wins the next point, they win the game.
- Try to avoid creating the same type of content continuously – rushing due to time constraints is often the cause of this, in which case mixing things up with a refreshed content strategy could be the key
- Try to get the ADVANTAGE over competitors – employ a guest blogger who answers questions that other blogs from your sector don’t. Create a competition which builds up your audience.
Although it only takes place over two weeks, Wimbledon took a lot of preparation to build up an audience in order to make it all worthwhile – and there was no place where this was more evident than the internet.
While SEO strategies can be long and tough it is important that you enjoy the aspects that you are focusing on and recognise that although it is an uphill struggle you will get somewhere.
Just like a game of tennis you can progress with just one shot.
The game is never really over in tennis just like in SEO and patience is always the key. Committing your time and the right resources now will set you out to win in the future and your confidence will build as soon as you start to see the results in Google rankings and sales.
Just like a good game of tennis, SEO strategy can take time – don’t rush it.