Dr. Ed Scott is in his third year as the director of athletics at Morgan State University. Scott was named the Bears’ director of athletics in 2016. He joins us today to talk about consistency in communication and the intentional use of social media during this time.
Scott started the conversation by saying communication during this time has been invaluable. He says he has three main ways of communicating Morgan State has communicated, externally through social media and their website. Social media has been used to reach more targeted demographics and their website remains their main hub for communication. He says they also use the Teamworks platform and explains that Morgan State was the first HBCU to sign up with Teamworks two years ago.
He says that consistency in communication has really been key to them getting through the pandemic. Ed Scott says that he began to tackle the external side of communications when he first came on board. He says the pandemic allowed them to be more intentional in their social media use than ever before.
Scott says as they come through COVID, they will be better positioned in the external space. He feels that the foundations have already been built and now it’s time to sustain and tweak their new tool. He says one of the things they’ve done is to take all of their social platforms, like football and softball, and combine them. He says they run collective meetings, run everything under one umbrella. The branding is consistent, when the messaging goes out, they can leverage the content amongst all of the university’s followers.
Scott says they call it edutainment. Part of it is education and part of it is entertainment. He says they need to educate their constituents but they also need to keep them entertained.
He says they are working on ways to keep up that edutainment content on social media once game day returns. He gave examples of “Senior Spotlights” and “Bear Makers,” which highlights former student-athletes out in the community. He says those all lead up to game day, then on game day they are working with corporate partners on digital billboards, and they have other ways they are working with various people to bring them into the gameday experience.
Next, the conversation turned to revenue streams. Dr. Ed Scott says they are working on new ways to bring in revenue during these changing times. One example he gave was highlighting sponsorship partners that he says this gives free advertisement for their partners. He says they are trying to do something for their sponsors because they have been so supportive over the years.
Scott explains he’s told his team they could either try to survive or adapt and thrive. He says they’ve tried to create new sources of revenue by engaging their partners. He sees this period of time as a growth opportunity. He says they have leaned on the strong relationship they built through the years to make Morgan State thrive during these unprecedented times.
“If you are just worrying about how to keep the lights on, you’re going to miss the bigger picture. At some point, we will come through COVID. When we get through COVID at Morgan, I can tell you we will be prepared for the next stage.”
Then the conversation turned to the spring and the opportunities for Morgan State. The university is part of the MEAC and the conference agreed to delay until the spring. Ed Scott says there will be opportunities because their digital footprint is now a lot larger. He says they will have folks on campus during a time of year where it’s nice to experience Baltimore and that will help drive business for their partners as well. He says early communication of their plans has helped open up new opportunities.
Scott says the one message he is driving home for everyone is a simple, ‘what you do in the dark will come out in the light.’ He says he has explained that to everyone, from his coaches and student-athletes to the president of the university. He says eventually all of this work they are putting in during the pandemic will come to light. Scott says people may think it happened overnight, but they have been laying the groundwork for years and they work with purpose.