Minnesota Wrestling’s “Through the Lens” Series Is a Great Example of Inside Access

I’ve talked a lot about access and behind-the-scenes content lately. As a social media manager in sports, how can you bring your fans closer to the team, players and daily life? Give your fans inside access. Tell the personal stories of your team. Take your fans along the emotional journey.

This week I stumbled upon a great example of what all this means. The Minnesota Wrestling team is producing a video series called “Through the Lens” that gives fans a behind-the-scenes look at the team. So far this season, they have covered from the team bond to favorite pastimes. Here’s a look at some of the videos:

The Great Outdoors
Home Sweet Home
The Perfect Balance
Giving Back
Gopher Fans

It’s clear the video series was well thought out and planned. And, it’s paying off. The videos are averaging nearly 13,000 views (which is 50 percent of their audience) on Facebook and the sentiment is great too. Fans have made comments like “love seeing this side of the guys, they are so down to Earth, wonderful wrestlers, etc.” The videos help to humanize the team and fans appreciate seeing the more personal side.

So what’s the takeaway? The takeaway is find the stories on your team or in your league. Leverage all your talents in-house, like video production, to showcase the more personal side and the emotional journey. These are the stories that resonate with fans; these are the stories you can own all your own.

Have you seen any great behind-the-scenes videos lately? Be sure to share them in the comments section below. 

Thanks for reading! 

What About the Fan’s Perspective?

One of the great things about working in social media and sports is that there are so many different angles you can cover. The hardest part isn’t finding content, but getting out of the go, go, go mentality to take time to reflect. If you can take a step back though, you’ll see there’s a lot of extraordinary in your ordinary workday.

I’m always looking for social media and sports initiatives that take a different approach to the same ‘ole same ‘ole. I love those moments that offer a different and unique perspective.

In the past week, I saw initiatives from the Utah Jazz and Ipswich Town that did just that. They offered the fan’s perspective; something we don’t see a lot of. Here’s what they did:

Utah Jazz: Fan View #CLEatUTA

After Gordon Hayward’s game-winning shot against Cleveland, the Jazz’s social media manager had an idea: Why not curate fan videos from Instagram? And that he did (amazing to think that all these people had their phones out filming). The idea is simple and easy to replicate, but a great way to highlight fan content, reactions and action:

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11 Recent Sports-Centric Videos to Watch Now

For those of you that follow this blog or my Twitter feed, you know I’m big on video content that evokes emotion (surprise, joy, sentimentality, passion, etc.) or tells a story. For a while it seemed like stellar sports-centric video content was lacking across teams and leagues. A lot of video content was produced, but I rarely saw pieces that made me want to stop and watch all the way through; pieces that really tap into the emotion of sports.

I’m happy to say that’s beginning to change. Over the last month, I’ve seen stellar video content in the sports industry from athletic departments, professional teams and brands. I’ve compiled a list of 11 videos that caught my attention recently. They range from intro videos to ads, and I hope that something serves as inspiration to you. Enjoy!

South Carolina Men’s Basketball: Here

I was lucky enough to get insight on South Carolina’s “Here” campaign earlier this year from their CMO Eric Nichols. This latest addition to the campaign does not disappoint. I really like how they picked a theme (toughness) and weaved that into the entire video. What I love most about this campaign (and video) from USC is that they aren’t selling; they are telling what makes their program and team unique.

Indiana: Defining the Hoosier Nation

This video actually uses fan submissions to define what the Hoosier Nation is, although you probably won’t realize it until the end. I’ve talked a lot about leveraging user-generated content lately and this is a great example of how you can involve your fans. I especially love that the video showcases how being a part of the Hoosier family is much more than a game.

If you want to learn more about the video, you can read a great post from the Convince and Covert team here.

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Replicating a Simple Idea From Nike

I realize that the words Nike, simple and replicate aren’t normally used in the same sentence, but yes, here they are. Last week I saw an awesome, yet simple, idea from Nike that teams and leagues can replicate. It all starts with their glorious new video welcoming LeBron James home (which I’m sure by now you’ve seen):

If you watch the video all the way through, you’ll notice that it ends with a compelling image of LeBron standing in the middle of a huddle and three buttons at the bottom that direct you to the Nike Basketball’s website, subscribe and poster.

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When you click on poster, it takes you to this jpg:

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This simple action is something that would translate really well to teams, leagues and others in the sports industry looking to share their game schedule posters, title / championship posters, TV schedule posters, etc. The best part about all of this? YouTube allows you to add annotations (clickable text overlays) to videos for free. You can learn all about them here.

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If you are looking to create something even more robust,  Interlude is a great option. The pricing is reasonable and their web application is easy to use. It could be a great tool for schools, teams, conferences and leagues to use:

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I realize this barely touches the surface of what interactive videos can do for sports, but I thought this was a simple idea that can be replicated now.  There are many more options than simply driving people to schedule posters, but I’ll conquer more robust ideas for interactive videos down the road in another post.

Thanks for reading!

Oregon’s “Coming Home” Video

The Oregon Ducks have absolutely nailed it with their latest video “Coming Home”.  Just watch it:

This video is packed with star power (Mat Kearney), nostalgia and emotion. What’s not to love? It always helps when you have an advocate like Mat Kearney (a 1997 graduate of South Eugene High School) who is willing to write a beautiful ode and anthem for your school, but Oregon also did a great job of putting together the look and feel. The video intertwines beautiful footage of the state, Duck history (like Prefontaine) and classic football footage. The video feels genuine and heartfelt, and even as an Auburn fan, left me wishing that I was a part of this Oregonian life. It’s a beautiful and brilliant homage to the place Duck fans call “home”.