Monday, April 20, 2015

Four Things that I learned from Traveling With the Badgers

As you may know, I work for the Wisconsin Badgers in the Athletic Communications Department. I have worked as a student assistant for the past three years and I've had the opportunity to cover many sports, including football, both men's and women's basketball, hockey, golf, cross country, track and field, and softball and volleyball. It's been an amazingly fun job and it's taught me how to better manage my time because it can be difficult working up to 35 hours a week while going to school full-time!

A few weeks ago I was presented with the opportunity to travel as the primary Sports Information Director (SID) to Florida with the UW softball team. Generally students just work home games and help with covering away games from Madison, but my boss couldn't travel to the tournament because she had to cover wrestling at NCAAs, so I got to experience what it's like to cover a team on the road! (But SO to Kelli for still being so awesome and helping me while I was learning on the road! :) ) Traveling to the USF Under Armour Invitational in Tampa, Florida, gave me an opportunity to learn what it's like to work as a Collegiate SID and taught me a few valuable lessons that I wanted to share with you.

And if you're curious, the Badgers went 3-2... not bad!

1. Nothing ever goes as planned, so have a backup plan... or a few!
Anything can go wrong. Flights, game start times, stats, technology... you name it. Our flight was delayed, so we almost missed a connecting flight and had to RUN through the airport to make it on time (good thing Badgers are so speedy! :) ). Additionally, softball games are delayed a lot due to weather conditions and this tournament was no exception with times being delayed due to rain. Lastly, stats are a big part of being an SID and whether it's unreliable internet connection or lack of power outlets, one can always run into problems with stats, so make sure to have a back up plan!

2. Take extra chargers for your laptop and phone.
I am not joking when I say every charger of mine broke on the trip. Phone charger? Broke on the flight down to Florida. Computer charger? Stopped working on day two. It's a good thing that I took a backup computer and was able to buy a phone charger because it's pretty hard to do a communications job without technology! :) Also, make sure that your devices are all charged prior to games because you never know if you'll have a power outlet or not!

3. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
Since it was my first trip, I was pretty nervous about interaction with the home SIDs. But they were awesome! They were so helpful when it came to handling all of my stats requests for our coaches and making the South Florida press box feel like home! Everyone is in the same position, so don't be afraid to ask questions and interact with home-team workers... they are there to help!

4. Is the life of an SID for your? It's a fun and rewarding job, but one that is filled with long hours and stress.
There's obviously no stress-free job and a good work/life balance is hard to find, especially in the sports industry since sports are going on 24/7. If you're a student that is considering applying to be an SID after graduation, you have to weigh what you prefer your work/life balance to be. Traveling for just four days tired me out and my days were often 12+ hours of work. Working all home and away events for several sports teams for a whole season can get tiring, so potential candidates have to really evaluate if that's the lifestyle for them. It can get stressful at times as a lot of multitasking and improvising can be needed, but it's a rewarding job and one that can be really fun and give you the opportunity to learn a lot about a sport, your team, and a league!

Always fun when your office involves 70 degree weather, palm trees and the Badgers!

The Badgers went 3-2 in the South Florida tournament
It was fun getting to know the team and giving the fans behind-the-scenes access of the trip!

Friday, April 10, 2015

#MarchMadness: 2015 Social Media Roundup

All photos via AdWeek

March Madness had everything. Close games, upsets, off-the-court fun (and a little bit of drama). From the Field of 68 to the Championship game between Duke and Wisconsin, fans were engaged with everything NCAA basketball. AdWeek's Social Times provided a recap on everything #MarchMadness social media that included this infographic.

What I found to be extremely crazy (and awesome) is that social media activity at Lucas Oil Stadium was up 547 percent compared to activity at the 2014 Final Four. Also, as a Badger and UW Athletics Communications Student Assistant, I think it's pretty neat that Wisconsin was the most mentioned team (March 24-April 7) with 109,624 mentions. Kentucky was No. 2 with 77,662 mentions... sorry Wildcats.

I pulled out what I think are the most interesting points from the infographic. It is really crazy how much engagement teams created in just two short weeks. It's interesting to note how much Twitter dominated the platform use.

You can't talk about social without hashtags! These are the top hashtags used during the tournament.

The sports industry has seen an increasing trend towards users engaging with content on mobile. While I was interning for the NBA during the summer of 2013, they informed us that 88 percent of sports consumers watch games with a second screen, aka a phone or laptop that is mainly used for social media. So it doesn't surprise me that over 80 percent of the interaction is on mobile!

It makes sense that #FinalFour schools would have the most engagement.

Again, you can find the full infographic here. Twitter also published two great NCAA tourney recaps here and here. What was your favorite part of March Madness? What do you find most interesting about the #MarchMadness social media results? Tweet me your response or post in the comments below. And On, Wisconsin! :)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

#BracketsBusted: March Madness & Twitter

Photo via PCMag
MARCH. MADNESS. It's here, ladies and gentleman.

Brackets busted. Buzzer beaters. A March Madness single-day record of five games decided by just one point... the 2015 NCAA tournament has had it all to start. And No. 14 seeds aren't the only ones winning today. Brands have been winning social channels with cleaver content of their own. Whether they're scheduling tweets in advance, promoting them, or tweeting them out in real-time, brands are getting a lot of engagement around #MarchMadness themed content on Twitter.

Here are six MVT (Most Valuable Tweets) from the day:

1. The NCAA's official account, @MarchMadness, sent out a simple, yet extremely effective tweet after No. 14 UAB's stunning upset over No. 3 Iowa State.

2. Another big win came from No. 11 UCLA over No. 6 SMU. This picture perfectly depicts both the good and bad that teams can experience in the tournament.

3. GIFs... they rule the internet. So this one from @SInow perfectly summed up the day and created good engagement for Sports Illustrated.

4. When you can pull past viral content into the present, it's almost always a slam dunk.

5. This promoted tweet from @RessesPBCups showed up on my timeline several times. Great social strategy from Reese's because at the end of the day, chocolate will still be your friend even if your bracket isn't.

6. @MarchMadness summed up the day with a perfect tweet.

And the beauty of March Madness is that it's just starting. If you have any favorite tweets you'd like to add, tweet me or share them in the comments below! 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Five Tips to Help Land Your Dream #SportsBiz Internship

A lot of fellow university (and high school) students often ask me for tips on how to get an internship in sports. I'm not a hiring manager or expert considering I'm still a student myself J, but after landing two competitive internships with the NBA and FOX Sports, I’ve picked up on key opportunites that will help you stand out and land that dream internship! Here’s what I tell my friends who say, “How do you get an internship in the sports industry?”…

March Madness Social Media Madness: Exclusivity and Social Media

March Madness is just around the corner. With conference tourneys ending and Selection Sunday his weekend, fans all across the country will soon be glued to their television watching all of the exciting upsets and on-the-court action. I always love it when companies try new things on social media. Twitter is obviously an extremely popular platform when it comes to sports. There are over 288 million monthly active users and according to Forbes, sports fans are 67 percent more likely to use Twitter as their second-screen platform compared to non-sports fans. To demonstrate the power of Twitter and sports you have to look no further than large events, for example this year's Super Bowl. Over 25 million tweets were generated during the Super Bowl alone.

Selection Sunday for March Madness is always a fun time for sports fans, with brackets, upsets, and passionate fan bases involved. So the official Twitter account of March Madness, @marchmadness, is operating with a really interesting strategy.

They sent out this tweet on March 10:

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?