A Curated Collection of Sports GIFspiration

Our attention spans are seven seconds. And in case you were wondering, that’s one second less than goldfish. This is an important piece to remember if your job has anything to do with the internet. Every single day, every single second we are in a competition for attention.  Long goes are the day where you can just create content; you have to create good content that stands out from the noise. Dynamic content or content that adds value are the only things that win.

GIFS are one of the good ways to stand out from the noise. The subtle motion and animation catches fans’ eyes. It’s content that’s worth investing your time in to create. Thankfully, there is a lot of inspiration out there if you’re looking to step up your GIF game. Before we get into the content though, remember to keep these things in mind when creating your GIFS:

 

No. 1- Pick your moments.

While I love great GIFS, I think you can overuse them. Take the time to think through a strategy for your GIFS and figure out the moments where you can use them for the greatest impact. GIFS are a treat and not an every tweet thing.

 

No. 2- Avoid redundancy.

I love how teams have started to use GIFS to enhance their play-by-play coverage. That said, it gets extremely redundant using the exact same GIFS over and over again. If you plan GIFS for certain moments (like touchdowns, interceptions, etc.), consider creating several options to pull from so you can mix it up. GIFS can absolutely be repurposed and used again, but there’s a fine line before the content gets boring.

 

No. 3- Find the humor in YOUR brand/team.

Teams often look to find humorous GIFS outside their team, but humorous GIFS can be really powerful when they teams leverage their own footage to give us a laugh.

 

No. 4- Focus on cadence.

GIFS work well on Twitter because they’re short, sweet and quick. If you go about creating graphic-heavy GIFS, make sure the cadence is quick enough to grab and keep your fan’s attention. The cadence is a bit art and science, but play around with the length and movement to understand what works best.

Now that you have these four tips in mind, it’s time to get inspired. Below is a collection of some of the best GIFS I’ve seen the past month or so.

 

 


 

There are a lot more GIFS out there that are worthy of attention. Seen any great ones? Share them below!

 

Thanks for reading! 

How Wimbledon Aced Their Twitter Coverage This Year

Working in social media and sports is a rare beast. There’s a strong need to prep and plan ahead, even though outcomes are unpredictable. When a team or league does plan ahead of time though, it shines through in stellar coverage. Wimbledon’s 2016 coverage is a great example of this.

Wimbledon was exciting on the court this year, but it might have been even more exciting to follow on Twitter. From their partnership with Twitter to and live coverage (for the first time in sports) to the dynamic content, the tournament was not only easy to follow on the platform, but it gave fans the best front row seat around. Below are just a few ways they aced their coverage on Twitter this year.

 

1- Unique, original content.

Social media and sports is an extremely crowded space. Between teams, leagues, media, brands and even fans, there is a lot of content and noise. Standing out means upping your original content game. Long gone are they days when pop culture GIFS and static photos are enough to stand out; people crave original, dynamic and interesting content.

Wimbledon won with their original content game. They caught fans attention and created content they wanted to share, whether it was unique illustrations for weather updates to on-brand GIFS. Below are a few of the highlights.

Take a page out of Wimbledon’s book. Plan ahead of time and build a team that turn around unique and interesting content quickly and efficiently.

 

2- Smart use of live video.

We all know that the industry is buzzing around the power of live. And even though live is all the rage right now, it doesn’t mean that everything should be streamed and Periscoped. It’s important to use live video/Periscope at moments when intimate access and live perspective makes sense.

Wimbledon did a great job leveraging Periscope. They didn’t abuse it, but instead took to streaming strategically and sparingly. From Andy Murray taking in the court by himself to engraving winners’ names on the trophy, they used Periscope in a way that was impactful, interesting and relevant.

Don’t just stream to stream. Think about what exactly the power of live means and leverage it that way.

 

3- Easy + consumable graphics.

Stats and interesting facts are an important component to game and tournament coverage, but we shouldn’t try to cram a ton of information on our fans. Wimbledon did a fantastic job of making their graphics easy and consumable. They didn’t overdo the graphics; they kept a consistent look and feel; and they designed for mobile.

Use stats to tell a story, but understand that fans don’t need to know everything in your media guide. Keep the stats and graphics simple, clean and concise.

 

4- Clean and dynamic GIFS.

Similar to their easy and consumable stat graphics, Wimbledon’s “moving on” GIFS tapped into the power of simplicity. They were clean but dynamic enough to stand out from the noise.

 

5- Focus on consumer engagement.

All too often we focus on what’s going on at the event and we don’t take time to bring in our fans at home. Wimbledon did a good job of encouraging their fans to engage with them, even if they couldn’t attend Wimbledon.

On Twitter they hosted a simple but fun UGC campaign that celebrated Wimbledon Weekend. They put together a guide on how to celebrate Finals Weekend the Wimbledon Way and asked fans to share their celebration using the hashtag #WimbledonWeekend. Not only did they have a strong CTA, but they created a great mini-series of content that showcased the proper way to celebrate with friends and really brought the concept to life.

In addition to the #WimbledonWeekend campaign, they did a good job of asking questions and encouraging other fan reactions.

 

6- Strong use of video storytelling.

All too often in sports we focus on the scores, the outcome and not enough on the emotion of the journey. But sporting events lend themselves to strong emotion and storytelling well beyond the scores. Wimbledon not only told great stories, but they did so with variety and depth. Wimbledon told their story in great fashion from hype match videos to behind-the-scenes content and unique event preparation.

As Wimbledon proves, it’s not about the length of the story, but the content. Tap into the emotion of sports/your brand, find the unique angle and understand why your consumer would care. Stick to those things you’ll create video content that wins.

 

7- Leveraged a bit of humor.

Because this little tweet was too good to resist and we all know a little humor wins.

 


 

 

What stood out to you about Wimbledon’s coverage? Share your thoughts below. 

 

Thanks for reading!

The Problem With The Word Content

It’s time to make a confession: I’m tired of the word content. After years of working in the industry, it seems like there is this notion content will save us from everything. Every meeting, every project, every marketing plan is full of the word content. Content, content, content.

Look, I’m guilty of using the word content all the time too. Content IS a critical component to marketing, but that really isn’t anything new. Good ads have always been good content. Social media and digital have simply enhanced the opportunity for more distribution — and also more competition.

The problem with content now is that it’s become a catchall and an action. The always-on digital landscape, along with the fact that it’s easier and cheaper to create and distribute content, has created pressure for us to produce, produce produce.  We’ve gotten so caught up in producing now that we don’t take the time to define our value, our story and our why.

This constant need to produce has created a content problem in the industry. We’ve created so much content that we’ve cluttered the space. We scream for consumers’ attention without putting ourselves in their shoes. And, rightly so, they’re starting to tune us out.

As marketers, the best thing we can do is resist the urge to simply produce. Content for the sake of content isn’t a win for anyone: Not for you, not for your brand and certainly not for the consumer.

Here’s the thing: Your consumer isn’t waiting for you to push out a piece of content. They aren’t the ones putting pressure on brands (and us as marketers) to produce. We put the pressure on ourselves. We are responsible for this content problem. And, we can fix it.

Instead of starting with the word content, start with your why: What’s your story? What do we want the consumer to take away? What’s our value, the unique value? If you can’t land on a strong story, value proposition and why, then there isn’t a need to produce.

The word content isn’t really the problem. It’s the pressure we feel to produce when we hear the word. To combat this, we must think value and story first before we think about producing.  It’s okay to not be in your consumer’s face everyday; it’s not okay to continue to clutter the space.

Let’s get back to the heart of what matters. It’s about the story, our value and our why. Define that first before you even think about the content and producing.

7 Strong Social Plays During the NBA Finals

The NBA is one of the most innovative digital and social leagues, so it’s no surprise that the digital and social coverage has been top notch. From embracing technology to a focus on original content, the league, teams and other outlets nailed their coverage of the NBA Finals. Below are seven strong plays worth noting:

 

Sharp Graphics

Strong visual content is key to social now. Not only are people visual by nature, but it helps your content stand out from the crowd. The NBA, Cavs and Warriors had strong visual content throughout the NBA Final

The Warriors and Cavs defined a consistent look and feel, while the NBA mixed up their creative. I like the approaches respectively. For teams, there’s something to be said about strong, consistent branding. For the NBA, since they cover so many teams and games, it’s interesting to see different creative elements throughout the season.

Here are some of the highlights:

 
#NBAArt UGC
As a bonus, I also like how the NBA crowdsourced designs using #NBAart to give fans a chance to be featured on their Instagram and on @NBATV broadcast. There are so many creative fans out there. Not only does this leverage their creativity, but it build community and loyalty by getting your fans engaged. Below are some of the amazing UGC submissions they used.

 

Messenger Experimentation

There has been a lot of talk in our industry about bots. Thanks to the rise of messenger apps and the need for a personalized experience industry leaders are leaning to chatbots as the future, Here’s a good read on chatbots if you’re interested.

The NBA capitalized on this trend by launching a chatbot on Messenger. The bot delivered fans instant highlights during the NBA Finals. The process to set it up was easy and seamless, and I was pushed wonderful highlights at the end of each game.

Screen-Shot-2016-06-03-at-10.23.12

While there are limitations to what the chatbot delivers, I applaud the NBA for being on the forefront. All the data points to a strong rise in messaging and chatbots. And for a league that has built so much equity in their online and digital presence, it makes sense that they would be on the forefront. Brands that fall behind the curve risk being cut out of the conversation. The NBA won’t be one of those brands.

 

Snapchat Geofilters

Snapchat has been on the rise for awhile now, recently reaching 150 million daily users. And while teams, leagues and brands are going all in on it, there is one thing all of us as marketers should note: this platform is a lot different than others. It’s not about the push. The power on the platform is in empowering OTHERS to share brand love.

Snapchat gives teams, leagues and brands the opportunities to empower others to share brand love through their geofilters and lenses. And there were some strong, creative ones during the NBA Finals.

As you continue to build out your Snapchat presence, it’s worth investing heavily in geofilters around games and events. Be creative, have fun with it and empower your fans.

 

Smart Messaging to Fans

The Warriors did a good job of messaging to their fans. The content saluted Dub Nation and created an emotional, FOMO-like effect, whether it was their hype videos or their ticket promos.

When you directly speak to fans, it makes the content more personal and emotional. And, content that resonates emotionally is more likely to be shared. Don’t just push messages to your fans; speak to them directly and personally. It’s not about a push, but about pulling them in.

 

3-Second Ads

@UABasketball created three second ads for every three pointer Curry made during the playoffs. And, before you call me biased, let me state that I DO NOT work on the basketball business at UA. I’m extremely proud of the place I work, but I try to stay away from our own work… this one deserves a nod though.

There’s power in simplicity. The concept of three second ads for three pointers is simple, but that’s why it’s brilliant. UA Hoops doesn’t have to be everything to everyone during the finals; instead, they can offer their unique value. It’s an easy concept to grasp and the content is entertaining and humorous.

The lesson here is that the best ideas are often simple ideas. If you can’t communicate your big idea in 60 seconds, then you probably need to focus and hone in more. You can read more about the three-second ad activation here.

 

Bleacher Report’s Original Content

In the crowded social media and sports space, it’s hard to stand out from the noise. The key in doing so is creating your own, unique point of view and Bleacher Report has done just that. Throughout the finals and playoffs, Bleacher Report killed it with their own, branded content. They tap into humor, pop culture, drama and the sentiment of the internet. Their content not only performs well, but if often beats out the likes of media competitors, the league and teams. Here are a few highlights:

The approach Bleacher Report takes to content might not be right for your brand or team, but it’s an important lesson in defining your point of view. What’s your purpose for your fans online? It’s time to give some serious consideration to it if you want to stand out from all the noise. Read more about defining a POV here.

 

360-Video

During the NBA Finals, Twitter partnered with the NBA and Samsung for 360-degree video deal. Twitter cards linked out to videos shot with 360-degree cameras, allowing users to click and drag around the scene. Read more about it here.

While I wish users were not driven away from the platform, I love the immersive experience and how intuitive it is to mobile. As technology improves, fans expectations are going to continue to grow around the experience we provide through digital. Part of that expectation will be a more immersive experience, and this is a great example of how it can be delivered.

 


 

What stood out to you from a social and digital perspective with the NBA Finals this year? Share your thoughts below.

Thanks for reading!

Why Defining A POV On Social Media Matters

There’s a good chance you find your head spinning throughout the week— actually throughout the day– if you work in social media. The platforms are always changing. There’s constant pressure to turn out content. Everyone has an opinion on how to do your job. And, there’s a lot of noise and competition.

Our jobs are anything but an easy juggling act.

It’s not hard to get caught up in opinions and the work of others in this industry. We fall victim to the pressure of jumping on every emerging platform and  the battle between quantity over quality. It’s way too easy to slap things against a wall on social and hope it sticks.

To do our best work though, we have to admit that we can’t do it ALL. We can’t be everything to everybody and on every platform. We can’t tell every story and cover every single play.

It’s time to reset, refocus. Understand that while you can’t do it ALL, you have the opportunity to decide what want to do and do it well. The key to a strong social media presence is defining a purpose, point-of-view and sticking to it.

Your point of view is your North Star for everything you do. It means taking a step back to understand your goals, your audience, your voice, your brand and defining your reason for being online. It’s your purpose. It helps you push back when people ask you to be on x platform and share x piece of content.

But we have endless access to content in sports. Why is a point-of-view important? With the endless access to content, it’s even more important. Let’s face it… a lot of the social media content in sports is predictable. Everyone from the media to teams and leagues are covering scores and highlights. There isn’t a lot that makes any of the content different.

The @NBAonTNT is a good example of a brand in sports that has defined a point-of-view. They lean in on humor and their talent, and while it might not be for everyone, it sets them a part in the crowded social media and sports space.

 

 

 

The @NBAOnTNT’s approach works because unique value trumps the “everything”. And when you’ve defined your lane it pushes good, tough creative thinking. Take a step back and understand your why. Be a little bold. Maybe one season it’s not so much about the scores, but covering the team from the players’ voice. Maybe it’s about the fans. Maybe it’s about the other hours away from the games that fans don’t get to see. Whatever your point-of-view is, own it and stick to it. Focus on the main story you want to tell and do it well.

If you’re able to define a POV it won’t only be freeing, but you’ll produce some really stellar, strategic and engaging work.

* It’s worth noting that your point-of-view should be re-visited. It’s not to say that it will never change; but you should stick to something long enough to see your vision come to life. As with any good strategy, you’ll need to tweak. The point is to own your “thing” and do it right.