Today I saw a really simple, very effective and highly shareable piece of content on the New York Times website. In the spirit of the Olympics, the New York Times put together an interactive page letting the visitor try to beat Usain Bolt’s times out of the starting blocks by clicking a button. I tried it 15 times and couldn’t beat Usain Bolt’s time. What the heck were all those years playing Nintendo for if not to beat a simple web app? I shared the piece immediately with a few friends on chat. As an avid runner, who’s in a bit of a slump at the moment, it appealed to me right away. What runner doesn’t want to be faster than Usain Bolt? Am I just a perfect fit for this? Someone who likes running and interactive web content? This seems more like something that would be successful on Runner’s World.
How well could this piece be doing? Let’s find out.
- 222 backlinks from 25 different domains
- Rankings in Google on 14 different organic keywords
- An estimated 3,200 visits from search engines (not to mention social sites)
- 8,800 Facebook shares, 24 Google Plus shares, 66 LinkedIn shares and 1 Pinterest pin
Clearly, it’s much easier for a publication like the New York Times to get this type of action from something they put online. But I think what’s important for businesses to takeaway from this are the following points.
This content is timely
A news site is of course going to specialize in timely content. This is a piece of content about Usain Bolt’s recent win in the 100 meter dash. People are going to be searching for this and interested in it, so it gets instant bonus points for being timely. New is one of the best types of content for driving visits to your site.
It’s just plain fun
Buttons are meant to be pushed. Scores are meant to be broken. This combines both of those.
It’s easier than the real thing
It’s way easier to push a button to beat Usain Bolt than to be gifted, go through intense diet and training, make it to the Olympics and win on the track.
But it’s still challenging
That said, it’s still more challenging than one would expect to push the button fast enough to beat Usain Bolt without getting a false start.
The big takeaway for your content marketing
How can you make something for your audience that’s simple, timely, fun and rewarding? Too often content marketing comes down to big budgets and trying to build the next big crazy thing. Take a step back and look at the simpler things you can do to engage your website visitors.