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Sports Jobs – Jaime Stein – CFL Manager Digital Media

Sports JobsThis interview is part of our Sports Jobs interview series.  During these interviews we talk to successful sports business professionals about their role in sports, how they got there, what a typical day looks like and advice they would give to aspiring sports business students looking to land their dream job in Sports.

Jaime Stein is the Manager, Digital Media for the Canadian Football League (CFL).  Jaime wears many hats in his role and his transition into this position is an interesting one as it was a role that didn’t exist a few short years ago. For those of you not familiar with the CFL, it is widely regarded as one of the most “social” leagues in the world in the way they deliver exclusive content and provide up-close personal access to the executives, coaches and players to their fans.

Check out the links below this video for more information on the CFL and how to connect with Jaime online!

Sports Jobs Interview

What did you think of the interview with Jaime Stein?  Please leave a comment with your thoughts below and share this with your friends on Twitter and Facebook. 

For more information on the CFL and their social initiatives, visit:

http://cfl.ca
http://facebook.com/cfl
http://twitter.com/cfl
http://youtube.com/cfl

To connect with Jaime Stein online:

http://linkedin.com/jaimestein
http://twitter.com/jaimestein

Sports Jobs Transcript

Trevor

Hey everyone it’s Trevor Turnbull here from Sports Networker and I’m joined by Jaime Stein. Jaime is the director of digital marketing for the CFL is that right?

Jaime

Manager of Digital Media.

Trevor

Manager of digital media there you go. Wears many hats though; he’s doing all kinds of stuff. I wanted to meet up with Jaime because Jaime has been doing some really cool stuff with the CFL over the last couple of years in this roll. Jaime maybe tell everyone exactly what it is you do on a daily basis. What does it all entail?

Jaime

So a day-to-day basis for us would start with checking out the Web site; so we’re in charge of all the content on the Web site in our little team. And then from there we’ve got Facebook, we’ve got Twitter and we’ve got YouTube. So for us, on a Monday morning we meet, we have a story meeting and we have a big white board up that lays out the week and splits our content by genre. So we’ve got what goes up as written text on the Web site and then from there it’s sort of a “play as you go” with Twitter. We respond to fans and also tweet out our content. So there’s a two-way dialogue. You sort of don’t know whats gonna happen each day so that’s kind of whats fun about that. Facebook is sort of set in what’s gonna go up. We have a content schedule – every three to four hours new content. And then with YouTube we put up a video every three to four hours through our content schedule

Trevor

Right. So you have a team of people that work with you then? Or how many people work with you on that digital team?

Jaime

We have two video editors, or video producers, and we have three people including myself that are sort of multi-purpose content people in social media.

Trevor

OK. Now how does one get into a roll like this? Obviously, especially on the social media side of things, online and Web sites and stuff have been around for a while as well as rolls that relate directly to them. But the social media element is kind of a new thing. How did you work your way up to evolve into this roll as it exists today?

Jaime

The content roll was the base of my background in journalism. I’ve always been involved in content development; as a radio broadcaster and then eventually as my roll at the CFL. The social media is the interesting part and that’s sort where it’s become my area of expertise and that was a roll I created. We didn’t have social media – it wasn’t on anybody’s title – and we developed a Twitter feed, we developed a Facebook page. From there it was something I championed and ran with and now it’s sort of a part of our day-to-day lives and it’s become the central point of a lot of different departments.

Trevor

So you started out when probably Facebook and Twitter weren’t even taken seriously to a certain degree right. And now it’s kind of evolved into one of the main communication points from a fan engagement perspective for sure. What are some unique ways you guys have been using social media with the league to connect with those fans and then integrate sponsors? I guess that’s the second part of the question but just from the fan engagement; what’s some of the cool stuff you’re doin?

Jaime

One of my favorite ones from Twitter – it’s funny because for me the more simple the better I find often. At Halloween last year we had a fan make a pumpkin with a CFL logo in it and said “Hey check out our pumpkin. This is really cool.” And I thought “Yeh, that is cool; look at this CFL pumpkin that takes a lot of work. So we took the pumpkin and we changed our profile picture to this fan’s CFL pumpkin. It then prompted the fan to say “Hey, that’s my pumpkin” and then other people started to say “Well I made a CFL pumpkin too.” And then people started tweeting us their pumpkins with their team logos or the CFL logo and the next thing you know there were these pumpkins flying all over the place. So they talk about social media being two-way? That was created by fans. We didn’t create that; that came to us. A more modern example, or more recent I should say, is Keek. It’s little micro-video blogging. What we’re doing with that is we’re on location with players and we’ll do is we’ll tweet to our fans and ask them to send in questions to the players. Then what we’ll do is, we’ll take our iPhones and we’ll simply just shoot the video of the player responding to the fan’s question. We can upload that video back onto Twitter with a personalized response for fans. A lot of people say a “retweet” or a “followback” is the new autograph in this era. We’re taking that even further by saying here’s a personalized message that lives permanently on the Web and you can now show all your friends and say “Hey look, my favorite player just responded to my question.

Trevor

Nice. I know I’ve seen that with some big corporate brands too. I know Best Buy does that I think their president will respond to support requests and customer service questions and that type of thing from the purpose of just giving that personal connection; that personal touch. The CFL is unique in that way that the fans really do have unprecedented access to the players; more so than any other league I think. You guys really have an asset there in the sense that the players are so engaging and they want to use these tools. Speaking to that, I wasn’t actually gonna ask this question but it’s come up now, have you guys devised any kind of policy as it relates to social media for the teams and players in how they go about using these tools? Do you have any rules and guidelines that you guys have outlined?

Jaime

We’ve established a policy for the players that limits the time before and after a game in which they can go on social media. I believe it’s 20 minutes on either side of a game, so it’s not very restrictive. And then the only other caveat to that is any comments made on social media are treated equal to any comments made on traditional media. So if you were to swear or tear down the league in a tweet it would be the same as if you were to say it on the national news. So at the end of the say it’s really common sense prevails; you wanna watch what you say or think before you tweet but I’m proud to say that the players in the CFL are some of the most engaging athletes you’ll meet out there and they’re very open and they talk to fans. That’s without really any prompting from the league or the teams; a lot of it happened organically with the players. A lot of them use it for their own charity causes as well. Which I think is neat, especially [what] you’re seeing right now with the CFL “pink” campaign for women’s cancer awareness this month. A lot of players – like Taylor Robertson, Randy Chevrier – are pushing their personal stories out to fans and really engaging and making it a connection that people can relate to.

Trevor

Right. The authenticity I think is really important – especially from the athlete perspective right? It allows them to connect with people on a real level as opposed to them being this larger than life athlete that also happens to be just an average person. So it’s a really powerful thing. So from a sponsorship advertising perspective – have you guys been able to integrate any of your sponsors into these online components? Social media as well as the Web site

Jaime

Not probably on a mass scale, and what the audience would like to see is how does social media make me money. But one of my favorite examples is at our Grey Cup Tweet Up last year – TELUS is one of our partners and TELUS was involved with us in the Tweet Up – we worked  with them on the mobile app, the TELUS CFL mobile app. What we do with that app, and this is a neat little activation, if you came to our Tweet up and you came over to the TELUS table and said “Hey I’ve downloaded this app,” and you showed it to them you were given a TELUS prize of some beads with some chap stik on it cause in Edmonton it was cold. So it was neat and there was a little reward for showing that you were engaging with this app that was a co-branded product. Did that lead directly to monetization? No. But did it lead to an engagement with a brand that partners with the CFL? Yes. And I think that was a good way to do it because it was relevant to our fans – because the app helps them – but it also benefited our corporate partner.

Trevor

That’s a great example. I know the CFL is trying to lead in many ways with regard to trying to integrate social media. Are there other leagues though that you look to as best practice and kind of following and seeing what they’re doing and try to emulate some of those best practice examples?

Jaime

I think were really lucky in North America in that all of the major pro sports leagues seem to be doing different things in social media but everybody is experimenting. To me that’s the key; if you want to learn in social media you can try and reinvent the wheel but I think it’s just run little experiments. The Keek one I talked about; that’s just an experiment we’re running on the side. And the Keek video may, at the end of the year, be something where we say “It didn’t work. It was neat but it didn’t work.” Or we may go “That’s huge. Let’s invest in it further.” If you look at what the major pro sports leagues are doing they’re running little experiments because sometimes what you think may work may absolutely not work and sometimes what you don’t think works, works and you can be surprised. So I would say if you’re interested in figuring out what works look at what other people are doing, look at the experiments they’re running and experiment on your own as well.

Trevor

Right. How are you guys measuring the success? Are you trying to equate all this social activity to some kind of measurable results whether it be sales or awareness or lead generation or anything like that? Have you guys taken any steps in that direction?

Jaime

We’ve taken little steps. Working through TicketMaster we can put “came from” codes on the URLs we send out. We’ve integrated that onto our Web site this year; so we’re now able to see how much revenue somes off the Web site. The next extension of that is having specific codes that get tweeted out or Facebooked out and see what revenue would then come in from either Twitter or Facebook. So for us it would be mostly in tickets and then eventually we would like to integrate that with shop as well and our online store.

Trevor

Right. It’s obviously constantly evolving and it’s awesome to see you guys doing the stuff that you’re doing and I’m excited to see what happens over the next couple of years. The wild wild west right; so many things changing constantly. Speaking specifically from your role as the manager of social media for the CFL – I know a lot of people that follow Sports Networker and the Sports Executives Association are aspiring to kind of get to where you are right now and beyond. They want to run pro sports teams and they wanna be VP level selling tickets or doing sponsorships or whatever it might be. If you had one bit of advice to give based on your own past experience what would that be for those aspiring sports business professionals?

Jaime

If you wanna be in the sports industry you gotta be willing to do whatever it takes and I think if I look back at the people that are successful they’re the people that are in the office before you every day and they’re the people that are in the office after you leave. They’re also the first person to put their hand up when someone else needs help and they’re just generally around when people need somebody. I find that most times the people that get hired in the sports industry  – the sports industry doesn’t hire looking at growth. They usually hire once they’ve hit a point where they desperately need somebody and hirings hard so they usually look for who’s nearby. If you’re that person that’s been hard working, chances are they’re gonna go “I don’t wanna do a job search, but hey he’s right here and he’s been doing that job already. You’re in and here you go.” Be that person. Be that guy or girl whose always there and people will get to know who you are and people will be ready to tap you on the shoulder when the time comes.

Trevor

Nice. Can’t substitute hard work. Great message. Last thing – how do people connect with you as well as the CFL online?

Jaime

Our Web site is www.cfl.ca on Twitter we’re @CFL and on Facebook we’re facebook.com/cfl. Personally you can reach me on Twitter, jaimestein.com or you can check me out on LinkedIn as well. Flip me a note and I’m happy to connect with anyone and I love talking social

Trevor

Awesome. So do I, man and I really appreciate you doing this interview and I’ll make sure to link that all up below this video so you guys can link up with Jaime and we’ll talk to you again soon.

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2 Responses to Sports Jobs – Jaime Stein – CFL Manager Digital Media

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