Turning Social Media Fire Into a Content Conflagration

You’re sitting on some fire content. Maybe it’s a sick move in practice, a funny moment in the locker room, or a goosebumps-inducing story that just played out. Particularly in this new era when even the best content can feel like it has the lifespan of a fruit fly, it can feel obligatory to get it out on the right places in the shortest amount of time.

But when content is your best currency, it’s important to get the biggest bang for your buck, to turn a mole hill into a mountain.

And that means not just serving the content in many forms and each social network [“exclusive” to a platform is overrated], not just repurposing it to make it last more like days than minutes, no, it means thinking about how it can help the entire landscape for the team or organization – digital, social, marketing, email, even print and in-game. This website is named for Digital and Social Media in Sports because it’s as true today as it was when this website was established, a social media manager’s job is about so much more than social.

Tyler Moorehead knows from his current role at FOX Sports after a prior tenure with the Oakland Raiders, that you always have to think platform-agnostic and multi-platform at all times. “I’d encourage anyone running social at a brand…to think more than just Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,” he said. “And how can you affect apps, how can you affect the website….how can you liaison with TV and get our product there?”

So when a piece of content, a storyline, or, yes, a hot take, starts moving the needle, there needs to be a man your battle stations mentality, or at least a consideration of as many platforms and touch points, as possible. Good content is good content and, in the hands of a talented team, can be repackaged a number of ways, and it can all be tied back to greater organizational goals.

“We’re always looking at the analytics and what’s trending…” said Moorehead. “So if we see a piece of content that’s engaging we’ll certainly look to see how we can stretch that conversation, how we can repurpose it, or maybe next time they’re on the air…allow the talent to talk for themselves.”

Not every piece content or every story needs to be plastered across platforms, but when you have a content gem at hand, it behooves one to consider how it potentially can help as many places as possible for the organization or the team. Figure out, whether it’s selecting places to package or post, how a fire piece of content can help the organization accomplish what it wants to accomplish, to milk great content for all its worth in the most effective and efficient way possible.

“When you see something and you capture gold, you really wanna get it out there fast, but I think taking a second to pause and think ‘How can we get the most out of this content?…, “said Moorehead. “And while sometimes it can feel right to leave something as (a platform exclusive)…You’re there for the brand more than the partner (platform)…I think stretching your content is really important, as well.”

We’re in an era of an overwhelming amount of content and the constant feeling that you need to create more, lest you miss out on capitalizing on the fleeting moment or getting beat to it or getting overcome by something bigger. But thoughtfulness and strategy still have a place in this sped-up world and it is those teams that can capitalize best on their content, get the most out of their opportunity and investment, that will win in the end.

LISTEN to my full conversation with Tyler Moorehead <– Great stuff!

Intersport and Sport Business Journal Brand Engagement and Content Summit 2018 Recap

In June 2018, thought leaders from sports and the brands working in sports came together to discuss the leading topics of the day.

What follows is a collection of the best quotes, insights, images, and observations shared via Twitter #SBJEngage.

Thanks to all whose tweets helped fuel this recap!

Tyler Moorehead of FOX Sports on Strategically Using Social Media to Build a Brand with Fans

On episode 120 of the Digital and Social Media Sports Podcast, Neil chatted with Tyler Moorehead, Director of Social Media for FOX Sports.

What follows are some snippets from the episode. Click Here to listen to the full episode or check it out and subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher.

Posted by Neil Horowitz

Follow me on Twitter @njh287 Connect on LinkedIn

Content and Marketing are Not Mutually Exclusive: See How the San Jose Earthquakes Do It

It’s a new era and there’s no turning back. The attention of fans can’t be taken for granted. The saying that continues to stick with me years later, from James Royer – then with the Tampa Bay Lightning and now with the Kansas City Chiefs – is that we must earn the right to our fans.

Some preach this more than practice it, but the encouraging reality of today is that most have come to realize that more quality content leads to more engaged fans, who are more receptive to ads. More marketing dilutes the message, so content must lead the way.

This is the path the San Jose Earthquakes are treading, as they seek to foster and grow a fan base, while selling tickets, of course, and building a soccer community in San Jose. Quality content is the ‘bait,’ so to speak (though bait fans enjoy, regardless), and fans are driven to their website or social media posts, where, the Quakes hope, they convert. They notably use their real estate more so for messages from the team to their fans, as opposed to selling it to ads or sponsors.

““We rely heavily on web ads for our website. We have the leaderboard banners…(with) ticket-based ads (as opposed to selling that space to sponsors),” said Paul Dewhurst, the team’s Digital Marketing Strategist, who I recently spoke to for an interview. “It could be click here for the match guide, for tickets…On our website, we really drive fans to a match guide, a ticket link, a four-pack – to make sure they’re informed…”


But Dewhurst also discussed the falling traffic coming straight to the website, while seeing increased referrals from social media. However, when fans are consuming on social media, as opposed to the Quakes website, they’re not getting easy access to ticketing nor salient messaging from the club. This brings up a conundrum many teams will face — how much to ‘give away’ on social media with native content consumption versus driving fans back to your own real estate, your website, to consume it there.

“It’s a balance of both. We do want to provide readily (consumable) content for our fans…We also see the benefit of driving people back to the website for ticket opportunities and more information on the web that they won’t get on social media…,” said Dewhurst.

So when the Quakes unveiled a new feature content piece for this season, What Would Jimmy and Joe Do?, featuring former players and now team personalities Jimmy Conrad and Joe Cannon interacting with players, the club faced that very question of providing it in full for native consumption or giving fans a snack on social, and driving them back to the website for the full meal. Twitter’s video length limit, too, made this a fairly easy call, as the Quakes released a shortened version of their first episode on social media, and drove fans back to the site for the full version, where they’d also be exposed to the match and ticketing info the Quakes want to get in front of their fans. The nature of Instagram Stories and its swipe-up feature also fit the philosophy well, as Dewhurst noted the success there.

Dewhurst explained: “That’s definitely a big conversation for us is taking original content pieces, cutting it down, and redirecting fans back to our website [for the full piece]…In an effort to drive more fans to our website, where there’s so much more information that can help them out.”

Why do we create content? It’s a question that’s taken for granted, but there’s a reason for all of the social media posts, videos, interviews, GIFs, and graphics. Sure, it’s to inform and entertain, but it’s really about developing fans and driving those fans to take actions that ultimately lead back to the bottom line – business, sales, marketing.

Celebrate the viral posts, the content that gets great reach and engagement, but engineer pathways to the end goals. It’s not going to happen on a linear, direct path, but it’s not going to happen if you don’t help lead fans in that direction. So, yes, earn the right to market to your fans with great content and engagement, and then, well, expose them to marketing. The paradigm has changed and we’re all better for it.


Paul Dewhurst and the MLS’s San Jose Earthquakes are building a brand and driving social and digital ROI

On episode 117 of the Digital and Social Media Sports Podcast, Neil chatted with Paul Dewhurst, Digital Marketing Strategist for the San Jose Earthquakes MLS club.

What follows are some snippets from the episode. Click Here to listen to the full episode or check it out and subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher.

Posted by Neil Horowitz

Follow me on Twitter @njh287 Connect on LinkedIn

Nathan Rauschenberg is Driving Fan-Team-Player Connections and Social Media ROI for the Seattle Mariners

On episode 115 of the Digital and Social Media Sports Podcast, Neil chatted with Nathan Rauschenberg, Senior Digital Marketing Manager for the Seattle Mariners.

What follows are some snippets from the episode. Click Here to listen to the full episode or check it out and subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher.

Posted by Neil Horowitz

Follow me on Twitter @njh287 Connect on LinkedIn

SDSU and USD basketball games: two different fan bases, strategies, and atmospheres

I was lucky enough to attend two games in three days in mid-February 2018: First, a University of San Diego Toreros game at Jenny Craig Pavilion and, 36 hours later, a game at San Diego State University in their home venue – Viejas Arena.

Two Division I teams of different scale, with different resources, and different fan bases. Take a quick trip to each game with me, checking out the sports business and fan engagement elements.

A few quick takeaways


  • The atmospheres are night and day. USD felt like a great outing for a young family, where kids could have a good time, get a picture with the mascot and cheerleaders, watch their friends play at halftime, and maybe get a caricature done with mom and dad. Whereas the SDSU game was more like a party atmosphere, with loud music and flashing lights and screaming fans.
    • This difference is not a bad thing, just a reflection in different institutions in different places. SDSU, despite a tough season this year, has now established a culture of winning, which brings in the students and allows/necessitates a more raucous atmosphere. A bigger budget doesn’t hurt, too. USD has struggled on the court, which inevitably affects student attendance, and their marketing and presentation is more amenable to driving those looking for an affordable outing – families – and capturing them en masse, hence the engagement with youth teams, too. USD’s budget is also more tied to wealthy donors, and this atmosphere is more amenable to those attendees, too. (At risk of generalizing)
  • SDSU had much more sponsor-driven content and replays on their video board, while USD’s in-game engagement was more of the ‘cams’ we see so often. Stuff like surf cams and dab cams can appeal to students and families alike (everyone wants to be on the video board) and any school with an arena cam can create these fun opportunities. Get on the video board, and it doesn’t matter who wins or loses.
    • This is not to say USD doesn’t want more sponsor involvement in their games (see the Domino’s Delivery of the Game), they’re looking for ways to drive fan engagement during the game that doesn’t require manpower to create graphics, videos, and animations. Their plan is to grow in this space, but I personally love the idea of the surf cam, and getting a sponsor for it will only allow it to have a little more juice and aesthetic.
  • The disparity in sponsor impressions between the two schools was certainly stark, and this represents an opportunity for USD. Their halftime stats and highlights, their cams, their dearth of digital signage — all this means there is great potential for the Toreros to drive more sponsor revenue, and they’re getting assets in place to do so. It’s easier said than done, however, when they don’t boast the crowds that SDSU gets for their games. It’s why some deals will start as bonuses or throw-ins, before becoming assets that command some more serious coin.
    • Whether the attendance is in the thousands (as for SDSU) or the hundreds (as it is for USD most games), sponsorships can be more than just presented by or than static signage. It was notable how many activations the Aztecs partners had included a text CTA or enter to win or an active element in their app. It doesn’t matter as much if 5,000 fans see something, but there are no results to show for it, if 1,000 fans see something and 100 take some measurable action.
  • It was pretty darn cool when the lights were out, the video board was flashing, and a bunch of fans and students were shouting in unison “I believe that we will win!” while some stomped their feet to rumble the arena (Yeah, I know it’s the USMNT chant, too). It was hard not to get chills. Traditions are a powerful thing and make the game day experience something special that can’t be missed by students, alums, or loyal fans.
    • USD Athletics recently got new leadership and is working on reestablishing their traditions. It’ll be fun to see it happen and come together.


There is so much at play for college athletics — driving student attendance, driving non-student attendance, getting donations, fulfilling sponsor deals, producing content for in-game and web and social and traditional platforms, and doing it all when you have a dozen or two dozen or more other sports to worry about, too, some of which are also revenue sports. It’s a fun challenge that so many of us have. And we’re all doing our best to figure it out and to create fan experiences that are special, that will strengthen ties to the school, and do it all while minding the bottom line.