What Content Marketing Can Learn from ‘A League of Their Own’


A League of Their Own really just hit it out of the park.

Okay. I’m sorry. I couldn’t avoid starting with a really cheesy baseball joke.

But seriously, this movie about an all-women baseball league during World War II is full of lessons about life, love, baseball, and content marketing.

Yep. You heard me.

Content marketing.

Plenty to talk about here, so let’s jump right in.

Don’t be afraid to take chances.

Dottie Hinson (played by Geena Davis), whose husband Bob is away at war, and her younger sister Kit Keller (Lori Petty) work on their parents’ farm and play baseball in a farm league. When scouts come around to recruit players for the first professional baseball league for women, they’re interested in Dottie, a star catcher. They agree to take Kit, but only if Dottie comes. Dottie wants to play it safe, though, and has no interest in going.

Were it not for Kit, she would never have taken that chance, and they wouldn’t have been running alongside the train to catch up with it to get to try-outs. Dottie took that chance and became a star.

Don’t be afraid to take chances with your content. Maybe all you’re doing now is blogging, but don’t be afraid to branch out and try some videos, podcasts, or even an infographic. Maybe even decide to tackle a controversial topic (perhaps liken this to Mae teaching Shirley Baker how to read on the back of the bus).

Yes, there’s a chance that it won’t go exactly how you want it to go. But there’s also the chance that it will.

However, if it doesn’t, just remember…

There’s no crying in baseball.

Or content marketing.

You may work so hard on a piece of content and think you really nailed it, and it might fall flat with your audience. You may keep blogging and blogging, writing your heart out as often as you can, but seeing very little traffic. You may spend hours on Twitter feeling like you’re talking to yourself.

That’s no matter. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep at it. Play around with your technique and try different things until you find your sweet spot. That’s the way to become a champion.

Lay off the high ones.

Kit always swung at the high ones even though she knew she couldn’t hit them. What does this mean for your content strategy?

Well, you could interpret this in a few ways.

First of all, on a very basic level, just because content marketing may seem like an easy pitch to hit doesn’t make it so. You’ve got to work at it, which means honing your skill and lots of practice.

But also, know where your strengths lie and focus your efforts there. Maybe you have no skill at all to create your own infographics, but you’ve got a knack for writing and producing entertaining and informative videos that always get a lot of feedback. That’s fine. There’s no rule that says you have to swing at every pitch.

In your content mix, dress it up and dress it down.

The girls spent most of their time in baseball uniforms, sweaty and dirty, with blood running out of their cuts and scrapes. (There should be an amendment to “There is no crying in baseball” when it involves sliding in a dress!)

So when they had the opportunity to get all dolled up and go out, they did it up.

You just never know when a little bit of pizazz will shake things up just enough to make it new and exciting again (just look at what happened when they put Marla Hooch in a dress…).

Recognize when you should dress your content up. That is, when should it be a bit more formal? Perhaps you keep research reports, white papers, and eBooks formal in tone and layout.

But also recognize when it’s okay to relax and dress down. Blog posts, videos (depending on the content), podcasts… all of these should be structured, but don’t feel like they have to sound like academic research papers.

That balance is key. You want to be professional, but you also want to be approachable.

Be present in the aftermath.

In the event that you’ve been living on another planet for the last 20 years and somehow haven’t seen this film, this part is going to include something of a spoiler, so heads up.

Throughout the film, the characters interact with each other, coaches, and fans. Though Jimmy Dugan (played by the amazing Tom Hanks) is no longer playing baseball but coaching the Rockford Peaches instead, he still makes time to interact with fans. His approach is amusing, if not a little rough.

Perhaps your style is more like Kit’s.

In the end, after Dottie and Kit’s fight and Kit’s trade to Racine, she finally becomes the champion. When she smashes into her sister at home plate, Dottie drops the ball and Kit scores the winning run for Racine. Afterwards, she’s standing outside signing autographs and talking to her fans.

Be present in the aftermath. Interact. Depending on your following, you might not be able to reply to every single comment on your blog. You may not be able to answer every tweet or Facebook comment. But be present. Responding to as many blog comments as you possibly can is easily one of the best ways you can build community and support for your efforts.

That’s a wrap.

I could probably go on and on. Who knew that there were so many lessons about content marketing in a twenty-year-old film that’s mostly one big flashback? (Seriously, does anyone else think it’s amazing that elderly Dottie doesn’t get hit by a foul ball while she’s standing there staring around and reminiscing?)

But that’s enough from me.

If you’re interested in getting some small business lessons from this movie, check out Amie’s post from earlier this week: “There is No Crying In… Small Business.”

What content marketing lessons can you take away from A League of Their Own? Let us know in the comments!

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Renee is a writer currently living in Central Pennsylvania (whatever you've heard is probably true). In addition to writing for CEM, she serves as the Managing Editor for Business 2 Community and pursues her dream of once again renting her own apartment (preferably in Philadelphia), if only to house her ever-growing collection of books. She received a BA in English from Susquehanna University and an MA in English from George Mason. She's still waiting for someone to write a song about her life so she can just quote the lyrics for her author bios. Catch up with her on Twitter , LinkedIn, or reneedecoskey.com.

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