June is draft month, a joyous time of opportunity for young athletes looking to realize childhood dreams. Upsides and ceilings as prospects are celebrated, tantalizing potential viewed with optimism, and jubilance prevails as draftees get paid. Shortcomings and limitations can be addressed later.
But it’s also a highly stressful time for NBA, NHL and MLB executives, who see amateur talent acquisition as a process of building assets, every step of which is make-or-break maneuvering. A botched draft pick can derail the career of a scout or GM (What up, Anthony Bennett), while nailing a selection can lead to job security and attaboys – not to mention untapped revenue – for years to come.
Likewise, an end-of-quarter or end-of-year crunch can mean pivotal decisions for marketing teams, especially those with limited budgets and windows of time in which to impress. In that spirit, we posed the following challenge to an array of our in-house content experts who volunteered to take part in the inaugural Brafton Content Asset Draft:
Put your marketing director hat on and choose one asset that will result in ROI. You have only one pick, so give us your best Danny Ainge impression, and make it count.
Here’s how the draft went down:
1. Colin Campbell, Senior Director of Content Marketing – EBOOK
“If I only have one asset to work with, it’s got to be an eBook.”
It’s a highly distributable, all-encompassing convergence of creative marketing attributes. The eBook can be distributed via email, buoyed by teaser copy or as part of a more robust outbound campaign, promoted through social channels or accompanied by a video.
Links to the asset – gated or otherwise – can be applied throughout your company’s site, as well as on your company Facebook page, and pushed by any influencers you may have access to on LinkedIn to amplify its reach. You can even go a step further and utilize those influencers as sources in the eBook, where appropriate. In short, it makes everything around it better, a la LeBron James, the no-brainer No. 1 pick of the 2003 NBA Draft Lottery– an asset worth holding onto because it retains value even with age.
2. Matt Rickart, Project Manager – ON-LOCATION VIDEO
“It can be pricey, but it’s so, so versatile.”
That’s also an apt description for a five-tool MLB prospect such as Jonathan India, the 21-year-old wunderkind recently selected in the top five by the Cincinnati Reds. A soundly executed video can in theory live anywhere within your site or on the according social channels, while paying for itself a few times over by way of raw or B-roll footage. Collaborative ideation across departments can lead to some truly awesome manifestations of your vision, regardless of industry or resources.
If you have one asset to play with – one pick – then a video certainly serves the purpose of expressing your company’s narrative in a creative and aesthetically pleasing manner. Plus, with the wealth of accessible and/or DIY tools at your disposal these days, the barrier to entry has been diminished.
3. Dom Sorrentino, Senior Writer – LANDING PAGE COPY & OPTIMIZATION
“Because no prospect will ever sign with us without reading about who we say we are on our site.”
If you’re looking to maximize your dollar, this comprehensive service offers the shelf life you seek. Quality editorial copy, sleek design, SEO and UX guidance are all contained within, setting you up for success later on, when you may have more time, money and resources to devote to other content marketing endeavors.
A service landing page resonates better six months from now than a time-sensitive blog post, without the cost of a larger asset like a video or eBook, not to mention its value is reflected in the performance of your site. There are few assets more critical to the long-term credibility of your brand than optimized LPs, which function like a wise-beyond-their-years franchise cornerstone (see last year’s No. 3 pick in the NBA Draft: Tatum, Jayson).
4. Sarah Cugini, Chief Client Officer – FORMATTED WHITE PAPER
“I can leverage a white paper six days a week and three times more on Sunday.”
Do you need leads, first, foremost and forever? In a niche industry whose professionals may harbor some, uh, skepticism about digital marketing tactics, no less? Your strategically targeted white paper can achieve those specific goals by nurturing all those leads, from the cutting-edge to the traditional. It’s a carefully outlined and composed long-form asset, buttressed by deep industry knowledge and research. It can cater to the email marketing audience or be kicked old-school at trade shows and conferences as straight-up sales collateral.
If you want to display depth or expertise in one specific area – like Mo Bamba’s savage rim protection – a cleanly designed, succinctly formatted WP is an asset worth investing in, holding onto and building around.
5. Chris Helms, Project Manager – EMAIL MARKETING SERVICES
“I need an agency to help me, though. I tried doing it myself in MailChimp but found it’s a mix of art and science that would take way too much of my time to learn.”
Relatively cheap yet powerful, this oft-overlooked content type can directly correlate with significant ROI when approached shrewdly. The key is in the presentation, which hinges upon a savvy, targeted approach to everything from headline wording to the appropriate time for distribution. There’s a steep learning curve involved if approached independently, but with careful guidance, a subscription service can become plug-and-play.
Nearly every B2B target market utilizes email in some capacity, just like every NBA team needs a 3-and-D wing. Email marketing services will always serve a steady role for marketing directors in the same way prospects like Villanova’s Mikal Bridges are consistently coveted by executives around the league
6. Justin Goldstein, Senior Content Marketing Strategist – WEBSITE AUDIT
“As a native San Antonian, I understand that in order to build a championship dynasty it is absolutely necessary to focus on fundamentals before getting fancy. Therefore, I select the Tim Duncan of assets, the website audit.”
Consultation is a product too, as those in the know know, and there’s an argument to be made that without good bones all the rest of your content efforts are rendered moot. In that sense, the website audit, at number six, is the steal of this draft.
Focusing on the basics helps simplify diagnoses. In other words, a site audit allows for the identification of any and all issues that may be inhibiting a client’s web presence, establishing a clear path forward and ensuring that all the other high-quality content and marketing endeavors aren’t for naught.
7. Julie Woon, Digital Marketing Consultant – BLOGS
“Blogs offer the opportunity to connect with customers, drive organic traffic and position my company as an expert in our field.”
The connective tissue to all other content endeavors and marketing avenues, blogs are tried and true, proven and pragmatic. It’s the sort of asset that may go unnoticed until it’s absent, the same way defensive prowess is a less sexy basketball commodity.
Michigan State’s steady Miles Bridges may not elicit tons of excitement from an NBA fan base, but his defensive instincts will shore up a team concept similar to the way consistent blog production supports your business’s SERP visibility and props up other assets. Will your B2B audience freak out if you’re not posting daily? Probably not, but if there’s a two-month gap in production, that can be exploited by competitors like a defender late to rotate.
8. Perry Leenhouts, Creative Director – 60-SECOND GOLD MOTION GRAPHIC
“People don’t have time to read, but they will stop and check out those snippets.”
Some prospects tout specific skill sets – for instance, Trae Young’s mixtape handles and parking-lot range – that make their value as assets obvious. Such is the appeal of the motion graphic, which takes the complex or obscure and distills it into something engaging and casually digestible. Snippets can be employed via mobile – lead-driving teasers themselves – prompting more traffic and leading site users to download the full version and/or request more info. A taste of this dynamic product draws the audience in for more, the same way NBA execs hope Young’s millennial-friendly game drives future ticket sales.
9. Jeff Keleher, Senior Editor – INFOGRAPHICS
“Communicate a lot with minimal space, easy to share – what’s not to like?”
Where editorial content can inevitably become cumbersome, visual representations help break the monotony that can plague companies trying to make dry topics interesting. A well-conceived graphic entails a collaborative creative approach to depicting important takeaways through eye-catching visuals and big stats. Like, size-48-font stats.
An artist’s rendering of a seemingly thick concept, such as software-defined WAN, might better engage its audience through the use of a clever analogy, or simply a can’t-miss stat. Providing a similar change of pace and similarly big stats is Nick Madrigal, the 5-foot-8 sparkplug infielder taken fourth in the MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox.
10. Mike O’Neill – Senior Creative Lead & Content Manager – LINK BUILDING AND OUTREACH SERVICES
“Without quality links referring to your domain, your content is going nowhere; basically a car without an engine.”
Nothing like a wild card to close the proceedings. This oft-overlooked “asset” is arguably more closely correlated with tangible ROI than any of the aforementioned, more traditional products. It may seem like a bit of gamble – like rolling the dice on relatively unknown European import Luka Doncic in the NBA Draft lottery – but in reality, quality backlinks from authoritative sources can dictate the efficacy of every other element of your site.
As Google’s No. 1 ranking factor, strong links signal that your content – be it blogs, landing pages or even video – is valuable to readers, better than the competition’s and most likely to be the exact type of search result users are looking for. When your boss asks to see ROI, the uptick in your organic rankings across a wide range of assets will be an easy case to make – it’s as simple as a green arrow pointing up, as evidenced by your rising organic position in search.
The jury may be out on wonderboy Luka, but not on strong links.