Using the framework set forth by Gary Hayes and Laurel Papworth (and expanded on by Valeria Maltoni) I’d like to continue the mini-series on using social media for sports marketing. Last time we talked about how to involve, and for this post I’d like to discuss how to begin the second phase, creation.
Creation boils down to making relevant content for communities of interest. Re-read that line, it doesn’t say make relevant content for your own interest, though I suspect the most successful bloggers are certainly interested in their niche and the value they can bring to the community.
If you take one thing away from this post, it should be that it is about your fans, and your customers, not about you. Read the Cluetrain manifesto to help you understand what the market wants.
So where does creation start?
There are so many different communication channels, and different mediums to produce content on that sometimes it is tough to know where you should start. Personally, I think a blog is the best place to start because it is a great hub from which you can branch off to other platforms. My friend Andy Drish likes to say that your blog is your home, and Twitter is happy hour, and I like that analogy.
Twitter is certainly the hot tool right now, but there’s only so much you can convey in 140 characters. Why not create content via your blog (or video i.e. YouTube), and then connect with people, promote your content, etc. via Twitter, social networks, Digg, etc.
Starting Your Blog:
Determine what you’re passionate about and where you can contribute the most value. See if there’s a hungry audience (or a market) for the kind of content you want to create. Start writing. If you’ve been taking the time to get acquainted with what is already out there via the involve stage, than you probably already have a good grasp of these things.
If you’re reading this blog, then chances are you’re very passionate about Sports. That’s great, but the chance of starting a really successful general sports blog is tough because there are already so many out there. You really have to find your unique value proposition and do something innovative.
Look at what Lewis has done with Sports Networker. He found a niche and has done a tremendous job exploiting it and providing value where there was a gap in the content currently being produced. Nobody was talking about sports networking, just like nobody was talking about Awful Announcing before that blog came along.
Pumping Out Content:
I know this sounds silly, but don’t sweat the quality of your content right at first. Start pumping out content as often as you can and let your readership grow, and then react. React to the kinds of things people are responding about, leaving comments to, and extending the conversation about.
For example, the first post I wrote on this blog about Twitter, and there was a huge response. I get it, I know people love Twitter, but remember that Twitter is a lot like Happy Hour. It’s a lot of fun, and you can go to it quickly and connect with a lot of people. After quite a few interactions you can start building real business relationships, but at some point you have to go home, and that’s your blog. Twitter should be a compliment to your other social media initiatives, not your one stop shop.
I know all of this, which is why I have tried to steer the conversation a bit, but I will inevitably go back to Twitter (most likely in my next post), because I know that’s what you guys want, and that’s invariably what is most important.
Re-Evaluation and Refinement:
After a few months, you will probably be a lot more comfortable with the content you’re creating via your blog. You will know what appeals to your audience, and where you can provide the most value. Hopefully, you’ll have a well-defined unique selling proposition that you can use to market your content to others moving forward.
This is the perfect time to take a step back and determine which route you want to go next? What is working? What isn’t? Do you want to keep writing about this particular topic? Do you want to quickly accelerate your readership?
It is important to periodically include this step in your content creation process because it enables you to hone in on what your goals are, and what steps you can take to achieve them.
Are you thinking of starting your own blog about sports, sports marketing, etc.? Have you used this approach or some of these techniques to develop your blog? How do you use Twitter as a compliment to your blog?
Feel free to reach out to me in the comments section about any questions you might have about creating content to build your sports brand. I will do my best to answer every single one. And stay tuned for our next installment when I talk about the 3rd phase of using social media to build your sports brand, discussion.
Ryan is an Associate Media Analyst at Sports Media Challenge where he helps champion social media strategies for sports, lifestyle and entertainment brands. In his spare time he serves as a social media consultant who is passionate about the power of web 2.0 and its ability to cultivate conversations, build relationships and spread of ideas. Feel free to leave your thoughts on his article in the comments section below, connect with him on his blog at Ryan Stephens Marketing or on Twitter @ryanstephens, and read the rest of his bio here.
Hi, Thankyou for quoting the Campaign. My website is http://laurelpapworth.com – I write about social media campaigns there. Did you know that your links are giving 404 errors 🙁 Cheerio @SilkCharm xxxx 🙂
Thanks for the heads up on that! For whatever reason the link to the post is in front of the actual links we're trying to send people to. Lewis is in Austin for SBSW, but I'll try to fix it as soon as possible.
And the campaign that you and Gary came up with is a solid one. I've enjoyed working from that framework, and expanding on it to show sports fans how applicable it can be to their social media approaches.
All the best.
So I was listening to Gary Vee's interview at SXSW. All of the sudden I realized Lewis was asking question…
And I was like, “Woah. Didn't Ryan just write on that blog?” So here I am.
Thanks for the shoutout Ryan! 🙂
I figured it was the least I can do since I haven't had a chance to write that guest post for you. Joking aside, I really liked your approach to the topic of Blogs vs. Twitter and thought it was worthy commentary for this piece.
And it's a small world isn't it? Of course you could argue that everyone's buzzing about Gary, and I can attest to the fact that Lewis Howes is EVERYWHERE lately. A testament to both of them and the value they've been providing.
Glad you enjoyed Gary Vee's keynote from SXSW. He is a serious mutant and a great guy at that. I just published my new book so I am here promoting it… and what better way to promote it and sports networker in front of 1,000 people at his keynote, plus the thousands that will listen and watch the video replay.
The re-evaluation and refinement is really a key piece here, whether it's in a blog or a business or wherever. It's hard to pick a path and start pursuing it, harder still to realize you need to adjust your path.
Often people will pick their path and go with it thinking they've done the hard part. After that, they need to be constantly taking a critical look at what they are doing and be truly honest with themselves if they need to change their approach.
Great ideas for content here … excellent post – I like the ideas you provided in the “starting your blog” section – you are right about doing something you are passionate about.
Thanks so much for your contribution to this post. You have definitely added value to the original context I started with, and also confirmed something I feel is very important.
The best part about creating content online is that the refinement and re-evaluation part is usually easy and inexpensive. Chances are you haven't shoved tons of money in the pipeline. That's why I love creating content online. You can constantly reassess where you're at and maintain a certain level of flexibility.
For example if I write a post on Sportsnetworker and receive ZERO comments, I know to re-evaluate my approach for that particular post, and try to go marry things that have worked in the past with the themes and content I want to get across in the future. It's a relatively simple process (but important one) that many people neglect.
Hello there, I jumped over to your page via Reddit. Not an item I generally read through, yet I enjoy your views nonetheless. Thanks a ton for putting together something worthy of reading!
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nice article thanks
Pumping out content is great advice. I think we worry about about the little things too much and I find that it really wastes time. I like how you pointed out Twitter because social is a huge aspect in sports blogging and blogging period. More share turns into more exposure.
When starting a sports blog I find that it is important that we get help from other bloggers to help us with content creation. All sports bloggers think that we need more content then needed, but I find that joining social media groups is equally as important. Great article.