Why the NFL scores big

Scandals aside, you can’t help but admire the National Football League. Supported by passionate fans, they dominate their TV time slots, prompt highly engaged social media activity and generate over $1 billion in merchandise sales. With a brand value exceeding $10 billion, dramatic, high-quality competition is the main event. However, the NFL has also nurtured its brand magnificently with strict usage guidelines and clever brand extensions. They have also enabled an addictive manner to expand interest beyond “your team” through fantasy football. So instead of planning your entire week around watching one game, you now have an excuse to spend Sundays watching football – and probably Monday and Thursday nights, too. According to NBC Sports Pro Football Talk, 34 of America’s 35-most watched fall 2013 TV shows were football games. If you’re in a fantasy league, you get it. And if you’re not, you probably have too much free time on your hands.

Fantasy football traces its roots to eight Oakland Raiders fans in 1963, but expanded very slowly due to the manual effort required to track the scoring. Fast-forward to the late 90s when the CBS launched a free fantasy website and then to 2010, when the NFL itself released an official fantasy site. Today roughly 33 million people spend hours refreshing their statistical capabilities by carefully managing a fantasy football team through the season. Trades, waiver claims, contemplating who to start or bench, and of course bragging when you’re winning – and quietly going off the grid when you’re losing – are all fantasy fan habits.

My team did well last year, and I will admit that I watched a lot more football, contributing to the NFL brand’s success. The 2015 season is young but I’ve already spent money on an official NFL jersey (Gronk, of course!), have tuned in to hours of game time and am fretting about my fantasy team. If you’re in a league, I wish you a winning season and let’s compare notes in February! (P.S. if you want more statistics, check out FiveThirtyEight’s “Complete History of the NFL” post.)

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Try These in Your Next Blog Headline: “How”, “What”, “Why” and “Best”

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The perpetual bloggers’ dilemma is how to earn loyal followers when there are so many talented, informative voices out there. Finding a niche topic is a wise choice, along with offering a clever view. But what if your specialty or passion is a subject that may be a little crowded?

I’m a big fan of quick tips – and today appreciated learning about the 80/20 rule in blogging. “Compounding posts “– or posts that build readership over time – outperform “decaying posts” – or messages that spike in popularity right away, with little residual interest. Compounding posts have several characteristics in common, as described by HubSpot’s Mimi An in her well-researched report “Compounding Blog Posts; What They Are & Why They Matter.” In a study of 15,000 companies’ blogs, she learned that one in ten posts can be classified as compounding, but those earn nearly 40% of the blog’s traffic. Those are pretty impressive patterns!

So how do we personal bloggers reap those benefits? Consider the following:

  1. Headlines: use the terms “how”, “what”, “why” and “best” and include between 6 – 13 words.
  2. Content: keep your topic and audience broad.
  3. Topics: select evergreen themes that will remain relevant for extended periods.
  4. Purpose: answer questions or provide advice.

While these may seem like rather obvious tips, I’m confident it takes practice to consistently demonstrate these tactics throughout your blog. The message here isn’t to limit your style to compounding posts, but to be mindful of offering these anchor messages amidst your more trendy shares. I’ll check back in on this topic in a few months to see if I can see a difference in my posts and readership!

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