There is no secret. We are now living in an age where fan acquisition is at our fingertips. Sports audiences have become hungrier and more selfish when it comes to how much they expect from their favorite players. Today, every athlete has the most powerful tool in their hand to engage with their fans on a more personal, deeper level. Why is this important? Well, understanding who your audience is, where they come from, and where they are going next can maximize both revenue potential and brand awareness for the athlete like never before. Here are 5 winning strategies you want to start implementing in your content game ASAP.
1) Start creating.
As people increasingly consume TV in new ways, such as streaming on their mobiles and other digital devices, it is important to create content specifically designed for these platforms with respect to how your fans engage with them. Fans want more access to their favorite athletes than ever before. For decades, fans depended on traditional media outlets to read or watch the latest sports news. Athletes relied on those same outlets as a platform to reach fans. Those days are gone. Today’s athletes need to grab their phones, upload photos and videos on a regular basis to directly reach supporters and fans. Getting closer to your fans by putting out content that matches their urge to get to know you more is what makes them an emotional fan; an emotional fan is an invested fan.
2) Scale your content
'Member how Michael Jordan, Wayze Gretzky and Tiger Woods were in all those Cheerios and Kelloggs ads? Now remember how you threw a tantrum in aisle 7 forcing your mom to buy you a box of 'em? It's called fan acquisition; we now live in a time where you don't need to star in a commercial to relate to your fans. You can create your own platforms and own them. Whether you're into traveling, food, or fast cars, you need to start scaling your passions, hobbies and interests into full-out sharable content. Whether that be in the form of web-series, or weekly content through IGTV and TikTok.
Do you have any idea what the subscription rate is from 11-16 year olds when they come across a piece of content they like? Ask Will Smith. At 51 years of age, he's still able to resonate with a younger audience and is one of the most active content creators on YouTube and Instagram.
3) Branded Content
I strongly believe there is a life beyond the rinks, rings and fields. What you choose to do outside the sport will greatly impact how brands and sponsors see you. I've personally cracked some of my best brand deals with athletes when I've helped create a positive, wholesome buzz around their name. Having this buzz ultimately leads you to sponsors who are looking to create collaborative, community-driven content with you on a short term or long term basis. Other than your promoters and managers, the relationships you build in this sector are the most important ones to keep.
4) Go LIVE.
Do you want your fans invested? Get live and get interactive. Today’s top influencers turn to live-streaming sites like Twitch, YouTube and Facebook to grow their audiences and earn a living talking about what they love. While many rely on subscriptions or affiliate marketing to earn. For example, in Esports, Twitch has a system where viewers can earn, purchase and spend virtual currency to reward streamers or bet on a game’s outcome. YouTube livestream, another great way to speak to your fans on a personal level, has a system where your viewers can “donate” (aka pay) you to read out their questions. This is a great way for an athlete to build value for themselves.
5) Cross-over and collaborate
Fans love to see cross-overs. Take a look at your news feed, social media influencers didn't coincidentally increase their followers by chance. They have an audience and they know what they want. Influencers analyze their audience and respond accordingly. Understanding this, many of times, these influencers will appear in each others content to gain attraction from one another's fan bases. This has been known to work over and over again, but yet, rarely happens in the world of sports. Take advantage of your circle of friends. If you're a professional boxer and have a friend in music, basketball or hockey, go out and produce some fun content together. You might just ignite a passion in a new fan.
You can check out the Instagram video here.