Stop me if you’ve heard this before, “Social media and college sports is the perfect pairing to offer a true inside look to millions of ravenous fans around the globe.” We have the access, the tools and the means to tell the full story of our university, the athletic department and all of our sports programs. We aim to use this access used to showcase our coaches and players personalities, the rigorous workouts that they endure, their academic success and those truly magical competitive moments that keep fans coming back time and time again.
As most people working inside collegiate athletic will admit we very rarely have enough time to truly cover your assigned sports in depth, capturing the essence of the program and giving fans a glimpse of what makes each particular program special. Similarly, we rarely stop and evaluate our internal structure to see if we have the necessary system in place to achieve our lofty goals. The majority of the time we are stuck in fast forward, forging ahead and covering as much ground as possible, paying zero attention to engagement levels and the metrics that should serve as a guide to our efforts.
FOCUS ON BUILDING A TEAM AND A PLAN
By pausing to evaluate your internal team’s content management structure a manager can focus on building a solid foundation. Ensuring that there is a unified structure and workflow in place to cultivate the team’s litany of ideas into fully executed groundbreaking digital content. Failing to prepare a foundation of success will only lead to missed opportunities and leave valuable opportunities for fan engagement on the table.
SEARCH YOUR CAMPUS FOR THE HELP YOU NEED
Fortunately, we work on a college campus and we are surrounded by talented, aspiring sports professionals. By working with professors and students on campus we have the ability to even out our staffs’ workload. Similarly, recruiting students to serve on your content team provides the added bonus of teaching the next generation of athletics professionals how to engage with fans around the globe.
THE NEW DIGITAL STRUCTURE
But how do you build a full content management team and ensure that the workflow is prepared to take your digital content to the next level? I recommend these four main areas that any manager needs to should address.
1) Identify the strategic content management team for each sport. This group serves as a creative think tank for the sport, taking note of the program’s philosophical positioning to define expectations for digital content and develop a course of action for digital content. Typically, the group would include members of the marketing and communications staffs and a representative from the sport/team, amongst others. However, this group can only cover so much area in a given day.
2) Embed student content curators within your teams. These embedded content curators are students from your campus, empowered to create digital content your department based on the direction and strategy of the content management team. They will spend the bulk of their time around the coaches and student athletes, identifying the moments that will engage with fans and tell the story of each team.
3) Understand what your audience is telling you with a content analyst. The role of the analyst is to comb through baseline analytics searching for insights into what content is resonating with each audience on every platform. Providing an evaluation of key performance indicators and recommendations for improvement.
4) Supplemental help for the digital team should include your in-house graphics department, staff photographer and video staff on an as needed basis. Each group carries their standard job duties but is available to assist or lend their expertise to the digital team.
With a solid foundation in place, you can ask yourself, is your team prepared to craft a specialized message for each social medium? Can they take advantage of their unique audiences, maximizes your reach and efforts along the way? Or are they posting the same items on every channel, taking a shotgun approach and hoping to the content finds its way to the right audience?
By leveraging the talent on your campus to help supplement your internal content structure and utilizing these four main components, any university can create a powerful digital team and expand their engagement further than ever before.