2 Ways a Playoff Bracket Can Help Guide Your Marketing Strategy

- Kelly Saunderson

Ah spring. Seeding is right around the corner. The harsh winter is (almost) in our rear-view windows. Yet, all I can concentrate on is sheets of ice…and men with beards.  Yep, it’s NHL playoff time.

Why am I talking hockey in a column about content marketing? Well both hockey and content marketing have talented ‘creators,’ plenty of available data or statistics and expert opinions. Yet, the outcome is uncertain. Winning is a calculated gamble. One has to experiment and take risks to find when skill, strategy and a wee bit of luck align.

Using the NHL playoffs as inspiration, consider a playoff bracket as a tool to guide your content marketing strategy.

Here’s two ways to do this.

One involves taking existing content and having your own team ‘bet’ on which content was the most popular. Find content where you have some audience data. Data may be number of: views, visits, print volumes or sign-ups. Select two to four pieces of the same content type – newsletters, sell sheets, social media posts, webpages or videos. Have your internal team bet on which piece had the most traction or audience feedback. Look to the data to announce a winner of that bracket and move to the next bracket. What this approach does is two-fold; it gets your team thinking about content and how it’s used, and it gives you an idea of what content resonates since your team is an indirect target audience.

The second approach to the bracket challenge aims to engage your customers/audience. Set up a bracket where there’s an option between similar topics (Or products. Or anything that is relevant to your business). Have customers vote on their favorite. The ‘winner’ of one bracket moves on to the next round, which could be different topics or just another layer within the same topic. Post the bracket challenge in your retail location or launch an online version. This approach is basically a fun, topical, and unique way to survey your customers. Done right, this approach could give insight into your customers’ needs, wants or ‘pain points.’

Tailor the bracket structure to your business. Obviously, the bracket doesn’t have to be as large as the NHL’s 16-team bracket.

So, who do you have in the final?