Every time a new year starts, it’s perfectly normal to look forward to how things will change over the next 365 days – an eternity. Many things can happen within that short time frame, as the past year has so cruelly demonstrated.
Looking back at the past year, 2020 has affected the business climate across all industries in a number of unpredictable and immeasurable ways.
The COVID-19 pandemic dominated most of the 2020’s headlines, social media, and airwaves. Granted, some iGaming trends were predictable, such as the rise of online casino and sports betting, which took 20% of the year’s gambling revenues in the US.
But the same cannot be said for the massive closures of in-person casinos and sportsbooks, as well as the abrupt suspension of sporting events all over the world.
Like many other sectors, Europe’s iGaming industry has taken quite the hit from COVID-19 as more and more players moved online.
For instance, according to the European Gaming and Betting Association, total European gambling revenues were poised to decline by approximately 23% last year due to the pandemic’s impact.
While the same study forecasted European online gambling revenues to increase by up to 7%, it was not enough to recoup the losses European land-based gambling operators suffered in 2020 due to the mass shutdowns. This, considering land-based gambling revenues were expected to decline by up to 33% (we’ve already witnessed a decline from €74.1bn gross gambling revenues in 2019 to €49.6bn in 2020).
That said, the pandemic situation’s unpredictability may make it seem like a fool’s errand to look forward and plan for 2021.
However, these are tasks iGaming brands, iGaming operators, as well as entire industries, must still attempt, despite the fact that even the best-laid plans are always subject to change.
After all, now is when content marketers whip out their calendars to construct their content marketing strategy for the coming year in the hope that each will help generate the most buzz for their brand based on their audiences and, ultimately, their goals.
Developing a Content Calendar: The 2021 iGaming Edition
Content creators will understand the struggle of working out of a couple of dozen browser tabs, a notebook or two, and a crapload of Post-Its adorning the computer monitor.
Now, take that, then imagine a team full of content creators, each with their own working style.
It’s utter chaos.
That’s why there is a need for structure and organization, no matter what kind of content your teams are working with or what industry you’re in. Without a mutually-agreed system for planning, crafting, and curating content every week, you will find yourself in a whirlwind of missed deadlines, haphazardly-edited blog posts, and general disorganization and tension.
That’s why there isn’t a better tool for iGaming content creators than a well-thought-out content calendar.
What Is a Content Calendar?
A content calendar is a written or visual workflow that helps content production teams schedule their work daily, weekly, or monthly. It helps determine when and where you plan to publish your fresh content and may include upcoming content pieces, status updates, promotional activities, and performing updates on existing content.
Content calendars also go by many names: social media calendars, blog calendars, or editorial calendars.
What is the Importance of a Content Calendar in the iGaming Vertical?
The benefits of a content calendar for iGaming content marketers are immense.
Every year is packed with sporting events. On top of the usual events such as the regular season for professional sports leagues, we also have major tournaments such as the UEFA Champions League, the World Cup, the NBA, or Euroleague Playoffs.
That’s not to mention the massive exposure of professional eSports tournaments such as the International, the Fortnite World Cup Finals, and the League of Legends World Championship, among many others.
iGaming content marketers can use this knowledge to plan, schedule, and produce tailored, relevant content ahead of an event, say, big Manchester Derby weeks in advance.
There, you can create content for predictions and expected lineups, or add some context and color to a key positional or situational matchup, among other things – things that you know will have your audience come back for more.
The same can be said for all of the global sporting events that iGaming brands and marketers work with. These present them with the massive potential to get their content and brand messaging across, and at the same time, get featured in your team’s content calendar for the coming year.
Content calendars allow you to:
1. Stay on Schedule
This is especially important in the iGaming vertical because from professional sporting leagues and eSports to poker tournaments, publish their schedules before the season begins. At the same time, it’s useless to publish a prediction on an outcome of a sporting event once it’s over.
A content calendar will ensure that everything is happening on time and on target as far as production is concerned. It helps reduce the likelihood of having deliverables and deadlines slipping through the cracks.
2. Collaborate More Efficiently
Sure, if you’re blogging for fun, you won’t probably need a calendar. But if you’re working with a diverse in-house or remote team, or third parties, like many iGaming brands do across continents, you’ll want something to keep them all on the same page.
That’s where a content calendar comes in – to ensure that everybody adheres to the plan and is sticking to agreed standards and practices.
3. Look at the Big Picture
It’s hard to keep track of what your team creates without a content calendar. It’s also easy to miss out if your team publishes two long-form guides to choosing the right sportsbook or publishing a series of iGaming case studies in one fell swoop.
Content calendars allow you to view your content marketing strategy for months in advance on one screen and ensure that everybody in your team sees the forest for the trees.
How to Create a Content Calendar
Content calendars come in all shapes and sizes. These include:
- Spreadsheets. One of the most popular options for individuals and smaller teams are spreadsheets like Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel, which makes for a straightforward, free way to keep tabs on your deliverables.
- Project management tools. Project management tools are used in content or editorial management since they are easy to manipulate and create a workflow no matter how many QA processes a piece goes through before it hits the home page. Asana and Trello are some good examples of a project management tool for this purpose.
- Paid content calendar apps. Some apps have been developed mainly for use in content management. They combine aspects of a project management app with the conventional content calendar to support larger, more dynamic teams. For e.g., Contently and Loomly.
Regardless of what option or platform you choose to use, the principles of creating a content calendar are the same.
Sure, it may seem an insurmountable task if you haven’t done it before. However, once you sort it out the first time, the benefits of using a content calendar will be evident.
Here are the steps to creating a content calendar.
Step 1: Make a List
First things first: you need to sit down and list all your iGaming content ideas. This can be game predictions, in-depth analysis, podcasts, blogs, videos, or whatnot.
And, if your team creates content about a wide array of topics, you may find it helpful to categorize them as well.
Grab hold of the sporting events you plan to cover for the year and write them down. The important thing is to put them on paper first.
Step 2: Set Publication Frequency
Publication frequency depends on your strategy. If you are targeting social media, you might publish several posts a day. For a blog, 3-4 posts a month is acceptable.
If your blog is very sports-focused, you should aim for the different events and obviously have more posts come out, which could be shorter then. Or opt for long-form content such as articles that talk about all games of the weekend, like a “Premier League Week 16 Full Roundup and Stats” for example, which can easily be 2000 words.
Finding out how often you publish – and the type of content you are publishing – makes it easier for you to find out how your schedule looks regularly and plan for any possible adverse events.
Step 3: Plot Content Ideas on Calendar Dates
Using your list of iGaming content ideas, fill out the dates on your content calendar.
Referring to sporting event schedules is also crucial if you are covering them. And voila! There’s a simple yet effective framework you can use to create a content calendar.
There is no such thing as an absolutely perfect content calendar — it’s all dependent on your team’s needs and goals.
That said, here are some more useful questions iGaming marketers should ask themselves to determine how their content calendar will be laid out:
- How often do you publish?
- What kinds of content do you create?
- How many days do you want the deadlines to be completed in advance?
- Who will use the content calendar? How many people can access it?
- What processes does your content undergo before publication?
- What format will you use to sort out the calendar?
These are the reasons why the world’s largest publishers use content calendars to plan their strategy. iGaming content marketers stand to benefit from following their lead and do the same for the brands they create content for.
iGaming Content Marketing Trends for 2021
While the pandemic may have irreversibly changed the way entire industries work, one thing remains the same for brands and content marketers alike: implementing a solid content marketing strategy in advance helps you get the most out of your content assets and gain the market share you need to ultimately generate more prospects.
The (sometimes drastic) changes that the pandemic situation accelerated are likely here to stay. And this has resulted in emerging digital trends that, while posing a challenge for iGaming brands and content marketers, remain interesting and unique.
Let’s take a brief look at some of the most notable iGaming content marketing trends worth adding to your strategy in 2021.
1. Long-Form Content
Long-form content retained its quintessential status in content marketing because it actually provides value to readers and solves common questions a prospective client might have.
But it’s important to remember that the days of short, keyword-stuffed “articles” have long been a thing of the past. Now, the average Google first page result has approximately 1,890 words in total.
That’s because users want, no, demand quality blog content that provides value and helps them answer their questions.
An example in the iGaming industry is the proliferation of online casino and sportsbook review sites that provide comprehensive information to prospective gamblers wanting to find out how to play online in the face of brick-and-mortar closures everywhere.
Come up with an interesting topic, structure your blog post coherently, and above all, aim to provide value. Tighten every section from headline to the conclusion because your iGaming site’s traffic hangs in the balance of each section you write.
2. Personalized, Localized, and Interactive Content
One of the tactics that continues to deliver iGaming content marketers remarkable results is interactive content such as competitions, giveaways, quizzes, polls, and surveys centered around audience participation. Interactive content allows potential customers to experience their brand, therefore building a stronger relationship.
Better yet, this tactic allows brands to hyper-personalize their content down to the nitty-gritty details, making it even more relevant to their clients. Personalizing content requires analyzing consumer preferences and behavior to show potential clients relevant content tailored to their exact needs.
For iGaming operators and marketers, content personalization may also include translation and localization, allowing the users to consume content in their native language. This also breaks down linguistic and cultural barriers that otherwise would have ended up lost in translation. And a LOT of betting and casino terms, as well as idiomatic expressions, end up getting lost in translation.
iGaming marketers would do well by incorporating these elements into their content marketing strategy as it builds critical insights and directly influences client behavior while building trust and furthering the relationship.
Otherwise, they can opt to proffer the services of iGaming translation and content writing services to ensure the integrity of their messaging regardless of language.
As more and more players move online, translation and localization will play a larger and larger role in most iGaming brands’ successes.
Video content consumption is exponentially increasing as a significant content marketing avenue – and this vertical is now an essential tactic for content marketing.
Cisco predicts that over 80% of all web traffic will be on video by the year 2021. This only highlights the importance of video as a communication medium for businesses and their customers, and iGaming is no exception.
Since the global pandemic, video content has become a critical part of the “new normal.” And for a good reason – visual content engages audiences longer than any other format and offers brands an opportunity to communicate directly with their clients through a wide array of video content formats, such as the ubiquitous sportsbook and online casino advertisements in practically every corner of the internet.
4. Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality (AR) is an emerging trend set to make significant strides in iGaming in the coming years. AR is basically a technology that allows users to overlay images to real objects using a camera simultaneously.
The superimposed images create an illusion that these objects exist in the real world, engaging and interacting with the user in a completely virtual manner.
There is a rising segment of iGaming fans who use augmented and virtual reality to enjoy complete and total immersive gameplay. Nowadays, players can visit a casino, play slots, blackjack, and roulette, schmooze with the players, dealers, and personalities, the whole nine yards…without ever physically having to be there.
iGaming operators have been offering VR casinos, including Live Casinos, wherein live dealers run the games in an entirely virtual setting. Other iGaming operators have begun utilizing VR headsets to further enhance the “live” feel by using special cameras.
And we’ve just barely scratched the surface of what AR can do for casinos. We can expect to see more from AR in 2021. Based on a survey performed by iGaming consultants BtoBet, sales of augmented reality glasses in 2017 were worth €1 billion, which was expected to increase to a whopping €81 billion by 2020. Staggering.
Consumers are constantly bombarded with content literally 24/7. And, given the extremely tight competition in the iGaming sector, your content needs to make an impact. A good way forward for iGaming brands is to ensure that their content is consistently engaging and of the highest possible quality.
That said, if you’re a content marketer, sacrificing quality for quantity weakens the quality of your content, which runs the risk of turning off your potential clients’ perception of your brand and the quality of your team’s work.
Content marketing has been and will remain one of the most effective marketing tools, but the online gambling and betting industry evolves continuously. Only the most disciplined and dedicated iGaming marketing professionals will be able to stay in the loop with what’s new and outrank their competition over the long haul.
That’s why planning your content marketing strategy with a content calendar and developing the processes necessary to maintain and manage it is of paramount importance.
It’s your team’s unabridged vision and guiding principle. And, if something is on your content calendar, make sure your team executes it and call it out whenever necessary. Remember, it’s your team’s vision and mission.
How did you like Sebastian Scheplitz’s blog post “The 2021 Guide to iGaming Content Planning”? Let us know in the comments if you have anything to add, have another content idea for iGaming blog posts, or just want to say “hello.” 🙂