4 Marketing Lessons From Rugby Union

womens rugby

This year’s Super Rugby championship, the largest rugby union tournament in the Southern Hemisphere, recently drew to a close (with a win for the Chiefs, if anyone was wondering).

Let’s take a look at this full-contact sport to see what lessons marketers can glean from it.

Don’t Be Afraid to Try a New Target Audience

Historically, rugby has not been a particularly popular sport in the United States. It’s massively popular in the Southern Hemisphere, particularly Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the surrounding island nations, as well as in the UK, but we Americans have typically preferred our sporting events to involve padding, poor tackling technique, and stoppage of play every four seconds. (Did I mention I play rugby in my spare time? It’s my obligation to take digs at American football whenever possible.)

Anyway, my point is this: in more recent years, there’s been a big push to bring rugby to the States, and it has been hugely successful. College and club teams have sprung up across the nation, kids are starting to learn the sport at younger and younger ages, and you can even sometimes catch a match on ESPN. It is absolutely possible to break into a new target audience, so if you find yourself pigeonholed and wanting to expand your base, give it a shot!

Always Go for the Conversion

After scoring a try (that’s roughly the equivalent of a touchdown, although you actually have to touch the ball to the ground for it to count) for five points, the scoring team has the opportunity to kick the ball through the goalposts for an additional two points. The message is clear, here: when you have an opportunity to increase your sales with conversions, do it. Always go the extra mile.

Strategize, But Be Adaptable

Set plays are one of the mainstays of good rugby teams, with players able to quickly communicate who’s going where and what’s happening next even as people are being dump tackled and trying to figure out which way is up. That being said, rugby is also a very fast-paced game, with play only stopping for penalties or if someone is injured and interfering with the flow of play. So it’s crucial for teams to be able to assess a situation, shift gears, and come up with a new attack plan on the fly.

Content marketing is much the same way. You should definitely plan out your content with an editorial calendar, which will put you ahead of most marketers. At the same time, know that news pieces and hot trends are going to come up that might require some modification of your schedule. Similarly, it’s important to keep assessing your ROI to make sure that your strategy is actually working, and adapt if it’s not.

Get It To the Wings

One of the main scoring strategies in rugby is to pass the ball laterally from roughly the center of the field down a line of multiple players to the wings, who are situated on the outside and are typically the fastest players on the team. With the ball in hand, wings can often escape trailing defenders for a breakaway and resulting score.

Distributing your content to the people who are going to take your content and run with it is one of the secrets to content success. Garner a following of bloggers and brand fans who are super active on social media, and ensure that they see your content. After all, the further they take your content, the more people who see it, and the more leads you generate! Also consider syndicating your content through larger sites – it might seem like a bad idea to let someone else use your valuable content, but as long as they cite your work and link to you as the content creator, this method can be a great way to get new eyes on your blog or website.

Can you think of any other lessons that content marketing can learn from rugby union?

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Beans

Beans graduated from Smith College in 2011 with a BA in History of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, and has worked as a farmer, a cook on a food truck, and an archival assistant. Outside of writing and editing for CEM, Beans enjoys reading voraciously, watching space documentaries, and baking vegan treats. Currently, Beans lives in Salt Lake City, UT.

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