Best Blogging Practices

Thank you for reading my fifth and final post for my social media course towards my Masters in Sport Management! This week I will be talking about some of the best practices for blogging and how the sports industry employs these best practices. Sports blogging has gained a great deal of credibility and has become a normal practice in the industry. Almost any industry can benefit from a blog if they follow guidelines and take advice from other blogs that are doing things correctly.  

“You can’t ignore this trend. Read Groundswell and learn how to ride the wave. There’s no going back.”

Here are 10 tips for successful blogging from the book Groundswell, written by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff. (If you haven’t had a chance to read this book you are missing out! Pick up a copy and you won’t regret it!)

  1. Start by listening.
  2. Determine a goal for the blog.
  3. Estimate ROI.
  4. Develop a plan.
  5. Rehearse.
  6. Develop an editorial process.
  7. Design the blog and its connection to your site.
  8. Develop a marketing plan so people can find the blog.
  9. Remember, blogging is more than writing.
  10. Final advice: be honest.

I also read another article written by Pratik Dholakiya that was published on Social Media Today and titled How to Blog (Even If You Can’t Write). I think he made some really great points about how you can be successful with blogging right from the start if you just keep it simple, know what you are talking about, and follow basic guidelines. It stated the following 5 steps for successful blogging.

  1. Play Mad Libs with headlines.
  2. Write your subheadings.
  3. Do your research.
  4. Don’t be a try-hard.
  5. Promote it.

I read a few different articles published through Sports Business Journal but one really stood out to me. It is titled Revolution to Credential Independent Fan Bloggers and was written by Fred Dreier. It had two great quotes that I’m going to post below and helps show that independent bloggers are getting more and more recognition in the sports industry. The NHL and MLS have given opportunities to independent bloggers and given them the same respect as a credentialed press member. The New York Islanders and the Washington Capitals are two of the main teams who helped start the trend in the NHL of letting independent bloggers in the pressroom.

“The NHL allows teams to set their own credential guidelines, and the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals both allow independent bloggers in the pressroom on a game-by-game basis. The Capitals request each blogger provide website traffic data and a summary of previous writing experience.”

“MLS Commissioner Don Garber hosts an annual “bloggers roundtable” at MLS Cup to discuss policies for its online writers, and the league allows clubs to set individual policies for offering credentials to online writers. Representatives from the San Jose Earthquakes, FC Dallas, Chivas USA and MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids say they allow independent bloggers access to credentials on a case-by-case basis, but do not actively reach out to blogging communities and don’t give them regular spots in the pressroom.”

Blogging is not going anywhere anytime soon and it is a trend that can be seen throughout many different industries and is gaining a great deal of support and recognition.

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Social Marketing Brands and Risk

Thank you for reading my fourth post! This week I will be talking about the challenges and risks experienced with taking a brand social, or not taking a brand social.  In my eyes, it’s quite simple that in the modern day there is no choice, a brand must choose being social. The sports industry is one of the best examples that can be examined because most leagues are engrossed in social media websites and taking the brand social.

Next time you are at a ballpark look around and you may see something similar to this before a game. Most people standing around looking at their cell phones and trying to take pictures or get autographs while constantly updating social media

I believe that Major League Baseball has done a great job with handling social media and interacting with fans. MLB has a social media policy for players and teams that is simple and effective. I read an article written by, Craig Calcaterra, titled, Major League Baseball releases its social media policy — and it’s pretty good. It stated some great facts about the social media policy. The follow are the ten things that are on the prohibited list (found here).

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Josh Hamilton posing for a picture

Another great article that I read was written by Kristi Dosh, her information can be found here, and published online via ESPN.com. It is titled Social Media Giving MLB Fans a Voice. All Major League Baseball teams have a social media night at their respective home stadiums but some teams do better and go farther than others. For example, the article stated “On Wednesday, for example, fans who purchased tickets through a special link online for the Mets’ social media night will receive a social media-themed T-shirt and an iPhone Skinit. Fans who purchased the special social media night tickets will also enjoy a pregame meeting with other Mets Twitter followers and staff, and one lucky fan will get to throw out the first pitch. Giveaways will occur throughout the game, and fans’ Twitter handles will be displayed on the scoreboard.” (A picture of the shirt can be seen below) This really gets the fans involved and lets them feel close to their favorite team. Fan interaction is key and Major League Baseball has figured out some great ways of doing this by being a very social and mobile accessible brand. The article also states this, “League wide you can also now find access to all of a team’s various social media accounts, as well as the accounts of players, right on team websites. Simply add “/connect” to the end of any team’s website (for example, http://www.sfgiants.com/connect) and you’ll be directed to the team’s Social Media Clubhouse to find all this information and more.”

The last thing I will mention is something that I read by Phyllis Zimbler Miller, who’s information can be found here. She stated on her blog that, “Once you become active yourself on social media platforms, you’ll find many more reasons to promote your brand, book or business on social media in order to attract targeted potential clients/customers.  And you’ll look back at your pre-social media days and wonder how you ever did marketing without using online social media.” Taking any brand social is a must and no matter what the risks, it’s worth doing because that is the way of modern day society.

This shows the mobile voting method for the extra player fan vote-in for the 2013 MLB All-Star Game

This shows a number of different social media platform ratings for different MLB teams on MLB Opening Day 2013.

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Mobile Applications- MLB At Bat 13

MLB At Bat 13

Thank you for reading my third post! This week I will be talking about a mobile social media application in the sports industry that helps drive business services or products to consumers. One of my favorite applications that I personally use on a daily basis is MLB At Bat 13. It is developed by MLB.com and has proven to be reliable and trustworthy. My favorite team is the New York Mets, but I live in Chicago, yet I haven’t missed a game in a couple of years. I can do this because I have the MLB At Bat app and am also an MLB TV premium subscriber. I get to watch every game (besides the blacked out games when they play in Chicago) on my iPhone, through my PS3, or through my Smart TV. This is incredibly convenient and helps me stay close to my favorite team, no matter where I’m at or what time they are playing.

MLB At Bat 13 is a mobile social media application that brings the fans closer to the game they love. For a fee (unless you are already an MLB TV Premium Subscriber), you can watch your favorite teams on the go, catch live look-ins, watch highlights, read breaking news stories, see rosters, schedules, and stats, along with many other features. They also link back to the MLB Store, where you can find any MLB team product you would like to purchase. They are smart by constantly driving traffic back to the MLB website and creating more profits by linking to the official shop as well.

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MLB At Bat 13 is the number one sports application and has had a great deal of success over the years. The application had some negative reviews and complaints in the beginning but has gotten better and better each year. MLB.com has done a great job in listening to the fans and taking suggestions into consideration for the next years application. Each year has brought new improvements and better quality to the application. I read an article, posted on SVG, titled MLB.com At Bat App Surpasses Six Million Downloads. The article stated this about the success of the 2013 version of MLB At Bat, “MLB Advanced Media, L.P. (MLBAM), the interactive media and Internet company of Major League Baseball, announced that its MLB.com At Bat application surpassed the six million download mark. Last year, At Bat reached six million downloads on October 4, before finishing with a record-setting 6.7 million downloads.” I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for this application and what improvements will be made for the 2014 season.

Adam

Below are some screenshots, found at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mlb.com-at-bat/id493619333?mt=8,

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Social Media Application

Thanks for reading my second post! This week I will be talking about social media within the sports industry. In the past few years social media went from being a trend to now becoming the norm in most industries. Fans, players, and teams alike use social media and the numbers of users are growing on a daily basis. Social media has become a moneymaker for the sports industry and teams are taking advantage of it.

I’m going to specifically talk about Major League Baseball, because baseball is my passion and I hope to someday work in the industry. My father has worked in the major leagues since I was 10, and is currently in his ninth season working with the New York Mets. I played baseball in high school and college and can still feel the competitive juices flowing in me now, so I give hitting, fielding, and pitching lessons to kids to help pass that passion and knowledge on. Baseball is much more than just a sport to me and I am constantly monitoring the industry to see updates and changes.

I read an awesome article by Albert McKeon, News and Site Editor for TechTarget’s SearchCRM.com, titled MLB Teams Batting a Thousand With Social CRM Strategy. This article talks about how strong MLB is in terms of their Social CRM Strategy and how they understand the best ways to reach consumers. “Not wanting to lose a sports fan’s disposable income to NASCAR or some other summer pursuit, MLB uses social CRM tools to readily provide that connection — by doing all but letting its customers sit in the dugout.” The amount of options available to fans these days is incredible and you can go behind the scenes with just about any team. The most up to date information is now found out through tweets and posts rather than through traditional newspapers and articles like the past. “Nowadays, fans can buy their tickets on an MLB team’s website, follow the tweets of players, “like” behind-the-scenes photos a team posts on Facebook, comment on a manager’s moves on team-supervised blogs and get updates on open seats, new merchandise and weather for the first pitch.”

Each team has a framework provided for them but most teams go above and beyond the call to create an even better experience for the consumers. “On a basic level, MLB’s 30 teams use a digital framework provided by MLB Advanced Media, the interactive and Web wing of the league. Each team contributes content to many social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Google Plus. Pinterest, the content-sharing network that has attracted women, is the latest social channel to catch baseball’s eye—the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians use it to post photos of apparel.”

The Cleveland Indians and the Kansas City Royals are two of the many teams that go beyond the normal call and try to create a better, more interactive, social media environment for their fans. “Aside from building a following on the popular outlets Facebook and Twitter, the Indians this season started initiatives on four other channels: a WordPress blog called TribeVibe that gives behind-the-scenes access in the clubhouse, a Tumblr blog that highlights the sights and sounds of Cleveland, a Google Plus page to serve as a discussion forum and a landing spot on Pinterest to promote merchandise and offer recipes. The Kansas City Royals, the Indians’ American League Central Division rival, also posts a variety of game-related developments with social media, including scores, big plays, trades and injuries, videos and photos, and traffic and weather updates.”

I believe that Major League Baseball is doing a great job of making sure that the league, as a whole, is staying ahead of the curve in the social media world. I can’t wait to see what the trends in the industry will be a year from now.

Adam

Buck Wise, owner of Trending New Media, LLC, formerly hosted the Tigers (MLB) Social Media Lounge and above is a video he recorded with Prince Fielder.

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Social Media Tools

Welcome to my first blog post! I appreciate you taking the time to read this and I hope you enjoy it! This first blog post is about tools used in social media. I began by searching for an article about some of the trending tools at the moment and came across a great one. It is titled 50 Top Tools for Social Media Monitoring, Analytics, and Management and it was written by Pam Dyer and published online via Social Media Today (You can follow Pam Here if you would like to know more about her and the work she does). The article is based around 50 of the top social media tools, free and paid, available to consumers and businesses. I decided to focus on two of the tools I was familiar with, HootSuite and BackTweets, and then a third I had never heard of, uberVU.

HootSuite– Free & Cost $ Options

HootSuite is something that I was personally introduced to about six months ago and it’s quite a time saving tool. I am able to manage my tweets and posts all in the same spot and can schedule them for weeks in advance when I’m not going to be around. The dashboard system that they feature is easy to understand and really helps the user stay on top of the social media world. The website states this about the company, “HootSuite is a social media management system for businesses and organizations to collaboratively execute campaigns across multiple social networks from one secure, web-based dashboard. Launch marketing campaigns, identify and grow audiences, and distribute targeted messages using HootSuite’s unique social media dashboard. Streamline team workflow with scheduling and assignment tools and reach audiences with geo-targeting functionality. Invite multiple collaborators to manage social networks securely, plus provide custom reports using the comprehensive social analytics tools for measurement. Key social network integrations include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and new Google+ Pages, plus a suite of social content apps for YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr and more.” I think HootSuite is something that will continue to grow in popularity and companies should take advantage of its time saving features.

BackTweets– Free

BackTweets defines themselves on their website as follows, “BackTweets is a twitter time machine which enables you to search through a tweet history for tweets that link back to your site. As a free web app, BackTweets lets you search through a tweet archive for URLs sent via twitter. URLs are found regardless of the form they were tweeted in and include: full URL links, shortened URLs and URLs without the WWW prefix. BackTweets is a great tool for tracking your social media pulse- see how many people are talking about you, who is talking about you, and what they are saying.” This is a great tool if you are looking to find who is searching for you or your company on Twitter. There are some downfalls to this tool as well though. It is Twitter specific and cannot search any of the other social media networks, it only searches the database for urls, and the owners of the domain name and tool have been consistently changing over the years. Saying that though, it is a really great tool when you are looking to expand in the Twitter universe and see the best audiences to target.

uberVU– Cost $

I had never heard of uberVU before reading the article but after doing some research I think it could be a very useful tool. The thing that really stuck out to me is that they deliver opportunities for audience engagement through an automated platform on the majority of the social media networks. It’s in some ways similar to HootSuite in the dashboard that they have set up and the amount of social media networks that can be monitored. They define themselves on their website as follows, “uberVU was born out of frustration with first generation social media tools for the enterprise. As marketers, we believe social is going to revolutionize how we connect with our customers and audience. Building that relationship with first generation tools, however, is so much manual work that it might not be worth it. UberVU was built with the understanding that marketers shouldn’t waste time running reports and numbers in 10 different dashboards just to get a sense of what’s going on. We deliver monitoring, engagement, collaboration and reporting in a single dashboard. And we automate most of a social media marketer’s tedious manual work: finding insights, detecting influencer mentions, detecting trending stories and suggesting engaging content to post.”

I would love to hear from some people who have familiarity with these tools and have experience with them. Please comment or share any thoughts or suggestions you may have as well.

Adam

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