What CEOs Can Learn From Alabama's Rise To The Top Of The College Football Rankings

January 12, 2018

by Han-Kuo Yang

Roll Tide! By now, you’ve probably seen the highlights of the Alabama Crimson Tide squeaking past the Georgia Bulldogs in the College Football Playoff National Championship game to claim the top spot in the NCAA college football rankings.

But just a few hours before Bama head coach, Nick Saban, was raising the trophy and basking in a shower of confetti, his team was being shut out at halftime. The Tide’s offense had gone cold. Nothing seemed to be effective against a swarming Dawgs defense. Coach Saban knew that the original game plan wasn’t working, and he also knew that he probably needed to have a change in strategy in order to pull out a win.

The only question was: Would he have the courage to do it? Could he bench his starting quarterback in the middle of the biggest game of the season? Throw away the game plan that took months of hard work and preparation in just a single critical moment?

The answer was yes. And the results? Backup quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa – a true freshman – stepped in for starter Jalen Hurts and threw three touchdowns, including the game winner in overtime, to lead the Crimson Tide to victory and become the #1 team in the college football rankings.

So, What Can CEOs Learn From This College Football Playoff Game?  


Brilliant business insights often come from your most trusted employees, LinkedIn connections or reputable publications, but every once in a while, they can come from one of America's favorite sports – football.

So, what can you learn about your business’s content development strategy from Coach Saban and the University of Alabama’s unexpected OT win? No, you shouldn’t abandon your inbound marketing campaign after a week, a month, or even a quarter. Just like starting quarterback, Jalen Hurts, needed time to prove himself on the gridiron, your content development plan needs time to start yielding results, too.

But, if it’s been 6 months or even a year since you began your content marketing initiative and you’re still not seeing any movement on your KPIs, then you should be willing to reevaluate certain aspects of your content creation and content development strategy and make some difficult calls.

Coach Saban benched Hurts at halftime and put Tagovailoa in the game, but what game-day changes can you make in order to snag some content marketing wins?

  • Write a guest blog post. Find a thought leader in your industry and pitch a guest post to them. Be sure that your topic is adding value to their site. After all, you’re a guest. Add backlinks and a compelling bio to help drive traffic back to your own site.


  • Promote your published work. Social media is an easy way to share your work. Posting to LinkedIn allows industry peers and prospects to see the great work that you’re producing, and Facebook is a simple way for you to engage with customers and create a personal feel.


  • Change your SEO keyword strategy. Just targeting keywords with the highest search volume isn’t necessarily going to drive traffic your way – especially if they’re very competitive to rank for. You need a mix of broad keywords and long-tail keywords that your potential customers are searching for.       

Business blogs and college football rankings have more in common than you might think. To get to the top, both content marketers and football coaches need to be able to take a hard look at their current strategy, and if the numbers aren’t adding up after a fair amount of time, they need to be brave enough to make difficult changes and try something new. Not quite sure what your backup play should be? Talk to one of our content strategists to find a way to inject new life into your content development strategy.

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