I’m going to assume that none of you reading this were frozen cavemen and all of you have heard of the Internet. If you haven’t, congratulations! You are reading this on THE INTERNET. And with it’s evolution has come the content era. Think about it, when you are surfing the Internet, all you are doing is searching for more and more content. Whether that’s a Bad Lip Reading video or some football highlights, everything fun you do on the Internet has something to do with content consumption, and god forbid that you see an advertisement, because you installed ad-blocker and that’s not suppose to happen! Even this blog is content; it’s why I try and fail at being entertaining. It’s because I want you suckers to come back.
So how are you suppose to advertise your institution without advertisements? Clearly you need to make content, for content is king. What this is called is content marketing: a strategic method to distribute valuable and applicable content that will attract consumers to your brand. Luckily for us in athletics, there is a never ending supply of possible content if you’re creative enough. Athletics is such an open format that as long as you aren’t offending anyone, you are safe to do as you please; e.g. movie posters, documentaries, highlights, sketches, and so on. There’s a place for informative pieces, but don’t expect them to do much other than raise awareness.
Some of the best content marketing in athletics is done by my good friend Chris Sabo, the producer/director of The Season: Ole Miss Football. The Season is a 22 minute documentary that airs weekly throughout the fall and features profiles, mic’d up segments, campus life moments, and the best highlight footage in the nation. Now you might ask who has time to watch an entire episodic, and the answer is about 30-40,000 people on average; not including TV airings. That’s what happens when you create content that people want, they consume! One day I’ll get into the details as to why The Season is so successful, but for this blog I’ll just stick to telling you that good content, means a more involved audience. A more involved audience, means a higher likely hood of consumerism. Since it’s introduction, The Season model has now been transferred over to every sport at Ole Miss in some kind of fashion.
Up to this point I have spoken from a consumer angle, but even more importantly is what this content does for all of you in the college athletics world and the prospective student-athletes you are constantly chasing. When it comes to recruits, you are dealing with a bunch of millennial hooligans who do nothing but live on their phones and computers. The only way to really show what their experiences might look like on campus is through the content you share. For schools that might have a harder time getting prospects out to them, this might be your only way to entice student-athletes to even consider you. If content isn’t a part of your recruitment strategy, and no I’m not talking about just highlight videos, then you are truly missing out on one of your greatest tools.
Like I said, content is king, and if you don’t want your institution to be falling behind, it’s time you start accepting that as fact. Now yes, content is expensive, but without it you will do worse than just stagnate; you will find the gap between your institution and the more elite organizations grow exponentially larger. That content chasm will lead to your job becoming more difficult on all fronts and it all becomes rather cyclical from there. So start pumping out that content on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and make your content the constant medium between you and your fans!