Ace Your Web Content with Tips from Tennis’ Top Guns

Top tennis players use logos, social media, and merchandise to build their brands. Here’s what marketers can learn from these stars of the court.

Grab your tablet and get in the Ready position, because today we’re tackling content with top-spin. What does pro tennis have in common with copywriting? Well, they’re both about sending strong messages that “gracefully” connect with consumers.

This year’s Masters’ tennis tournament in Palm Springs blazed with monogrammed fan gear. Inside the shopping tents of the 2015 BNP Paribas Open, racks erupted with neon initials and logos. On the men’s side, Roger Federer’s regally fonted “RF” hats clashed with the masculine horns of rival Rafael Nadal’s “bull” crested shirts. Elsewhere, Maria Sharapova’s girly “Sugarpova” Tees elbowed for space near Venus Williams’ multi-colored Eleven tenniswear.

And everywhere, grabby hands snatched up T-shirts and hats like children hunting for Wonka’s golden ticket.

Reclaiming the White Space

Once the domain of pristine white uniforms, pro tennis, it seems, has gone logo-crazy. Ever since 2006, when Roger Federer strutted into Wimbledon with his initials stitched into a gold pocket crest, the grand old game has become an identity battleground.

Without cities or teammates to unite them, these long-limbed warriors have launched image wars to distinguish themselves and recruit fans.

So far, golden boy Federer is winning, with an endorsement portfolio estimates at earning $40 million annually. But Nadal isn’t far behind with an impressive $10 million in sponsors. Andy Murray just launched his own logo, an “M” overlaid with the number 77, which represents the month and day he won Wimbledon, July 7.

Rafael Nadal Smiling_BNP Paribas Open_2014

Virtuous or Rebellious: Which Would Your Company Image Be?

There are marketing lessons here for the tiniest startup, even if you’re not commanding 7 figures and a stadium of fans. Here’s how to set yourself apart from the crowd:

Create an archetypal image. It can be virtuous or rebellious, but your image (or personality) must be memorable. For example, John McEnroe was the Superbrat. Elegant Federer is sometimes called the Swiss Maestro. Comical Novak Djokovic is “The Djoker.” And vocal Sharapova (known for her serving shrieks) has evolved from the Siberian Siren to Center Court’s dress-designing Cinderella. (She designs her tennis outfits with Nike.)

Design a compatible and easily identifiable logo. Once you’ve decided on your business’s personality, hire a graphic designer to dream up a logo that reflects that. Need ideas? Look at these wonderfully evocative logos.

Keep your content message consistent. But not boring. Your slogan, brochures, website copy and social media messaging should all reflect your brand image’s personality and theme. Having trouble coming up with a vision or strategy? A copywriting and branding team can help.

Use social media to surprise and delight followers. Don’t be afraid to be playful and unexpected on social media accounts. Use cartoons, inner-office “how-the-sausage-is-made” peeks, and photos, photos, photos. @RogerFederer has 2.85 million Twitter followers, and the Swiss Mister engages with fans by jumping online for impromptu Q&As and soliciting opinions: “I need your help finding a new Twitter avatar guys! I’ll choose your best suggestion and use it for a week. #AvataRF.” Djokovic often tweets direct-address videos answering fan questions, and launches shoe and other product giveaways from his @DjokerNole handle.

And don’t neglect Instagram. Stoic Victoria Azarenka uses Instagram to show off her silly side – funny faces and selfies with singer boyfriend RedFoo, formerly of LMFAO. Serena Williams shows off her favorite fashions, doggy pics and charitable efforts. See more at the Top 10 Tennis Players to Follow

Don’t have time to craft smart website content? A ghostwriting service can help. Remember, business marketing abhors a vacuum, so if you don’t create a brand and website copy for yourself, someone else will.



Jackie Potts

Jackie Potts

An astute forecaster of trends and demographics, Jackie’s traffic-generating online pieces have drawn millions of hits. Jackie honed her snappy and sophisticated writing style as a news and entertainment reporter for The Miami Herald, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, and Entertainment Tonight (online). Her voice is strong and subtle. She’s authored first-person blogs for celebrities, and interviewed Forbes 100 CEOs. She’s experienced in entertainment, fashion, and health writing, and has a passion for finance and investing. Jackie resides in Los Angeles.

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