Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Snapchat & The Sports Industry: Five creative ways to use Snapchat

Snapchat... It's a big deal folks. If you read my previous blog post on 'Why every team should be on Snapchat' then you know that this app powerhouse is only growing in popularity with businesses, leagues, teams and daily users. With over 100 million monthly active users and 400+ million snaps being created a day, it's a great way to reach out to a large audience in a fun way. 

Teams and leagues are using it to give fans behind-the-scenes access to warm ups, practices, games, at All-Star Weeks, league events, photo shoots, and much more! 

After observing for several months, here are five creative ways that teams and leagues are using the app to engage with their audience:

Snapchat & The Sports Industry: Why every team should be on Snapchat

All logos belong to their perspective corporations.
Snapchat. An app that started out as a way for people to send personal photos to each other has morphed into one of the biggest social media players in the game. The company was just valued at over $19 billion, yes that's 19 BILLION.

According to DMR, Snapchat has 100 million monthly active users and over 400 million snaps are sent per day. Additionally, 70% of Snapchat's users are female and 71% are under the age of 25 years old, which means if you want to reach a young demographic or appeal to women, Snapchat could be the channel you're looking for.

It's no longer a silly app for teens and college students... and the sports industry has taken note.

You can find each of the five major professional leagues on Snapchat except the NFL – NBA, NFL, MLS, and MLBofficial – and many individual teams have their own accounts as well. The NBA leads the way with 22 teams on Snapchat (that is from my own personal research, there could be more!) and the other leagues aren't far behind with at least 10+ teams using the app. The most common way brands and teams use it is by adding moments to their "Snapchat Stories" which allows followers to view a series of images and videos for 24 hours.

Why should teams and leagues utilize Snapchat?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Seven Key Takeaways from Medill’s 'Beyond the Box Score: The Female Voice in Sports Media'

Photo via Medill
As a student working in sports media and thinking about a job in sports after graduation in May, I knew that Medill's 'Beyond the Box Score: The Female Voice in Sports Media' would provide an awesome learning experience about the industry and also help me gain new insight as a female looking at a career in sports. 

The panel – co-sponsored by Medill, Northwestern Athletics, the Northwestern Women's Center, and One Book One Northwestern  featured four amazing professionals who are at the top of their fields, with Rachel Nichols (CNN), Pam Oliver (FOX), and Cassidy Hubbarth (ESPN) as panelists, and USA Today columnist Christine Brennan moderating the discussion. It was an awesome learning opportunity for all who tuned in or followed the #MedillSports conversation on Twitter. I watched the event via their live stream. If you missed it, you can read more about the event, sponsors, participants, and watch it here.

My seven key takeaways from the panel speakers are:

1. Be yourself.
All three panelists at one point during the talk said ‘be yourself.’ I think this is great advice considering it can be easy to get caught up in what you think others want you to be in order to be successful. So as a young women looking to enter in the sports industry, hearing the panelists say "be yourself" really resonated with me.

As Pam said, “my path is my path, your path is your path.” We need to remember that there isn’t one right way to get to where you want to be and that being your authentic you is the only way to go!

2. Use social media to build your personal brand.
“Social Media, it’s a big deal folks!” - Cassidy
Cassidy spoke about how you can use social media to build your own brand, connect with individuals, and use it to craft your professional identity. She stated, “I’ve used it a lot throughout my career and it’s helped me create and formulate myself and career.”

Additionally, Rachel pointed out how social media takes down the barrier to entry that used to exists. It used to be that you had to own a printing press or satellite, but now social media gives people that wouldn't have had the opportunity before an instant opportunity to get exposure and break into the business.

3. Listen to your audience on social media to make sure you’re creating content that they want.
Whether you're in front of the camera like the panelists or behind the camera running a social media account for a team (or even a school club or activity), you can use social media to gauge what your target audience is interested in. Then you'll be able to create content that will most appeal to your audience.

Cassidy said that ESPN has a social media producer who is constantly monitoring online conversations, so they can talk about what their fans are talking about and what they want to hear. She said they owe it to their fans to create content that fits their wants and needs, and social media provides them with a tool to do this. 

This can apply to all levels (although we might not all have our own social media managers J). By monitoring what fans or fellow peers are talking about, you will can create better content that is more appealing and engaging to those that are following you.

4. Be present and be an active listener.
As a journalist it's important to ask good questions and have thoughtful questions prepared ahead of time. But the panelists drove home that it's also extremely important to be present and listen to your interviewee's answers and then feed off of what they are saying.

“You can get some of the best answers when you play off of what they are saying. It’s a lost art and it’s so important for young people as you grow in the business. Listening is just as important as going back and writing the story and putting it together. Because sometimes you’ll get good stuff from something you didn't anticipate and something [the interviewee] didn't anticipate.” - Pam 

“Be present and you’ll be the best journalist you can be.” - Cassidy

5. Don’t be afraid of the word “no.”
"The more doors you knock on, the more no's you'll get, but don't take it personally. You’ll have a much higher chance of getting a yes," Rachel said.

Cassidy added that in addition to the "no" you will get feedback that will help you grow as a professional.

I was told "no" many times before I landed my job with the Badgers or received an internship with the NBA and FOX Sports Wisconsin. I know that "no" can be discouraging, but if I had given up when I heard the word "no" I wouldn't have been given the opportunities that have shaped who I am today as a student and a young professional. So based on my own experience, this point really stuck out to me... and just don't give up!

6. Never stop asking questions.
If you don’t know the answer to something, ask questions. If you want to learn from a fellow peer, ask questions. Questions only make you a better person and professional, so don’t stop asking them.

7. Be open to all opportunities.
Rachel said to not worry so much about where you want to be when you're 40 years old. Be open to all of the opportunities seen or unseen and stay curious. You’re going to find something you want to do.

Additionally, there are so many areas of sports media that you can be a part of. From being in front of the camera, to behind-the-scenes jobs with producing and editing, the sports media landscape is constantly changing and growing, with new opportunities that you may have never thought about before! Cassidy talked about her vast experiences in many areas of the sports media landscape and she said that every unique role helped her find where she truly fits.

So now that you've read my takeaways, would you add any? Do you have any experiences that align with the points above? I'd love to hear! So leave a comment below or tweet me (@BadgerRunner). 

Monday, February 16, 2015

How Advice From NYT Bestselling Author Chris Brogan Can Help You Land Your Dream Sports Job

This semester, I have the pleasure of taking an amazing course at UW-Madison with Professor Don Stanley that provides students with the opportunity to hear from social media and online industry leaders, in addition to learning how to grow our social media presence and create an awesome blog (still working on it! ;)). We’ve gotten to hear from Chris Brogan, George Thomas and Mark Schaefer. All three shared their wisdom and expertise with us, so I wanted to share a few quick points about what I learned from each speaker, and how one can apply their advice to finding a dream career in the sports industry!

First up.... Chris Brogan! As stated on his site, Chris is “is the world’s leading authority on owning the game you most want to win. Combining a mix of professional leadership development and business strategy, Chris works with professionals like you to own your choices, own your life, and own your future. He is CEO of Owner Media Group, a highly sought after professional speaker and the New York Times bestselling author of eight books and counting, including The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth, and Just Start Here.” So I’d say having the opportunity to hear from him was pretty cool. J

I enjoyed every part of his talk and especially liked that he told us to not be afraid to fail, because if you're failing it means you're trying. But the biggest takeaway personally for me were his points on how to get people to notice you online. I think they are excellent for when you’re looking for a job or internship in the sports industry.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Five Reasons to Love Working in the Sports Industry

With Valentine’s Day on Saturday, there is a lot of love in the air. However, since I’m in a relationship (it’s complicated) with school and my job, I’ve decided that it’s the perfect time to tell you why I love working in the sports industry so much!

I've had a few amazing opportunities in the sports industry and there are so many reasons why it is fun, but here are the five main reasons why it is a slam dunk for me:

1. Every day is different.
Oh, your team scored 100 points and blew out the other team by 30? Your team won on a Hail Mary? Well, tomorrow you might lose by 100 or narrowly escape with a triple overtime victory. That’s the beauty of working in sports!

2. There are many opportunities for collaborations with other creative minds.
I love how the sports industry is a canvas for creativity. The sports industry landscape is constantly changing and it’s a competitive field, so you find top talent in every corner. Learning from industry peers is one of the best parts!

3. Sports impact communities in a way not many other businesses can.
There aren't many organizations that can unite a large group of people, regardless of one’s class, income, ethnicity, or religion, but sports teams and leagues can. Regardless of your background, you can be a fan. This unites people and allows a large diverse group of individuals to share common goals and values.

Also, teams and athletes are a huge part of communities by giving back. Organizations are spending time in their communities volunteering more than ever before.  For example, the NBA has NBA Cares, which is a league initiative dedicated entirely to giving back. Keep on a lookout for my upcoming post, Giving Back in the Sports Industry, but until then if you want to learn more about how the NBA gives back click here.

4. There is always a way to make others smile.
Win or lose, sports provide people with the opportunity to forget about their bad day at work or stresses in life, and just relax. Yes sports aren't removed from the reality of life, but your Saturday Night Out campaign or social media interaction can make someone’s day a happier one. And I think that’s a pretty cool perk of the job.

5. Social media is king.
It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with social media. (You are too? Let's connect!) Well... the sports industry as a whole takes my obsession and multiplies it by 1000. Every team highlight, in-game moment, stat, and league update is chronicled on social media, with Twitter and Facebook being the most popular. Fans get to connect on a personal level with their favorite teams and athletes, and over 90% of people now watch live sports games with a second screen. I know that I’m always on Twitter checking in on what my friends are tweeting about the big game, and that is why I love working in sports.

As a #SportsBiz professional, you get to be super creative with social media campaigns, have the opportunity to push boundaries (behind-the-scenes Snapchats, anyone?) and can react with real-time content. Note: Every week I’m going to be sharing a weekly roundup of the best social media content being produced in the sports-sphere, so check back next Wednesday for the first “Weekly Sports Social Roundup!”    

So now that I've shared my top five reasons why I love working in sports, I’d like to know why you enjoy your job or want to pursue a career in the sports industry. Comment below, thanks for reading and have a happy Valentine’s Day, sports lovers!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

DIY Sweatorial: Casual Chic Sweatshirt

There's nothing better than a comfy sweatshirt. But often times, it's hard to put together an outfit with a sweatshirt that is pulled together and chic. That's where this DIY comes in....

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Olympics Obsessed & Gold Nails

Rocking my gold nails and Team USA hat at a Wisconsin hockey game, in support of all of the former Badgers who are playing on the Olympics team-- Ryan Suter, Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan & Joe Pavelski!

It's official... I'm obsessed with the 2014 Winter Olympics. :) There have been many exciting moments. Some of my favorites include Sage Kotsenburg, who won the first ever Olympic gold medal in men's snowboard slopestyle and I love that Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the USA's first gold medal in ice dancing!

My absolute favorite event has been men's ice hockey. I'm a huge hockey fan and the USA team is filled with former Wisconsin Badgers, which is the university I am studying at. The game against Russia was BEYOND AMAZING. I couldn't breath during the shootout because I was so nervous, but it was super exciting to watch and an incredible ending to a hard-fought battle between two great teams!

I decided to wear gold nail polish to show my love for the Olympics, because after all, what is better than gold?

Perfect gold nails to match the perfect Olympics hat.

This has to be the best gold nail polish I have ever used and best of all, it's  from Victoria's Secret! I used it for well over a week and still didn't have any chips! I got many compliments and it literally looks like you dipped your fingers in solid gold! It's the perfect polish! You can find it here!

Have you been enjoying the Olympics? What team are you rooting for? Do you have any fun Olympics fashion or party ideas to share? Feel free to leave a comment!

Stay Fashionably Sporty & go Team USA

P.S. I have added Russia to my list of places to travel someday-- it's beautiful!