How content curation helps our team

When there is downtime in your season, it can be tough to come up with ways to keep the attention of your audience. If you lose their attention long enough, there is a good chance they may forget about you and move on to the next thing.
Yet, with a content curation strategy your team will stay on the minds of your customers. Even when things are slow. With a simple but well executed strategy, your ramp up time to grab attention will shorten. Click here to read more about content curation.
Below is the content curation strategy we use along with the tools to execute it. Take a read and think about how you can install this strategy in to what you are already doing.

Why we do it

We love our players and their families. Every year we want to work with as many quality people as possible. But, for a long time it seemed like we kept missing out on great families because they did not know about our program. Or, by the time they found out, it was too late to get involved for that season.
As we dug in to why this was happening we realized that our old strategy was flawed. It needed a tweak or we would repeat the same mistakes every year.

Late to the party

Our original strategy was to promote our teams and tryouts about 6-8 weeks prior. We found that if we started later than that our participation numbers dropped. If we started earlier than that, the information was falling on deaf ears. People didn’t worry about such things until they got closer.
And that was the key. They were not worried because they had other things to worry about.
Their high school season.
Spring sports.
Athletic training.
AP and SAT/ACT testing.
These were all the right things to be thinking about 3 months ahead of Select’s season. After all, everyone was going to start travel ball around the same time, right? Why worry about that now?
They were right.
But in order for us to compete for the best players, we needed to start getting on their radars earlier.
But how?

Getting in to the conversation

The best way to stay on people’s minds is to be in people’s lives. Not in a bad way. Not butting in where you don’t belong. But being there with the occasional nugget that adds to their lives in a positive way.
The first concept we bought in to is that this is not an us and them situation. You can’t think of your travel team as a single entity that only exists during a set time of year. Embrace the idea that you are a year round resource for your team, capable of providing help, if they want it.
Please don’t misunderstand. We are not saying take over the roll of your high school team. Position your team as a supplemental resource to further support your school. As the school season ends you can then glide in to the primary role. Then glide back in to a supporting role as school ball begins again.
With a supportive mindset in place, your job is to provide extra value to players based on their state of mind. While you may not have a lot of program info to share, there is other content that these players will find valuable.
And the best part? It is already created and waiting for you to share with your people!

Benefits of sharing

Here are the main benefits of sharing content:
  • Provides value to your players (and potential players)
  • It gives you a better understanding of what your customers care about
    • For example, we shared an article about a Michigan coach that was the Coach of the Year. And then resigned because of the parents. It got over 20,000 impressions on our page and was shared over 70 times! This was great value for our readers and sent us a signal that this is what they care about.
  • Keeps your team on the top of people’s minds
  • As a bonus, by reading all this material it keeps us very aware of what else is going on in our world

How we do it

Searching, reading, sorting and sharing can be a tedious process. Especially if you have goals of sharing one or more relevant articles every day.
There are tools available to help with this. The three main tools we use are all free.
We start by identifying sources of information that our customers care about. These include newspapers, blogs and Google searches. Which brings us to our first tool, Google Alerts.
Google Alerts, a free tool from Google, notifies you when there is a mention of a search term you choose. Instead of searching for different terms everyday, you get notified when they appear.
But what about all the blogs and newspaper sources?
That’s where our second tool, Feedly, plays a huge roll. Not only will Feedly compile your Google Alerts, you can add your other sources to your feed. Now you can view them all at once (as long as the source has an RSS feed).
Feedly is a very powerful tool. We haven’t even scratched the surface of what it can do. Our main use is compiling our articles of interest but the paid version does even more.
The next step is to read the information. You have done the hard work of finding the info. But there is no getting around the need to read the articles first, not skim the headlines. This ensures that you are passing on valuable information and filtering out the crap.
Which leads to our third tool, Buffer. Buffer lets you schedule articles to post on your various social channels with the click of a button. You can also add some of your own commentary to give them a personalized feel.
Once you are set up, you can curate a full week’s worth of content in about 2 hours per week.

How effective is it

The next obvious question is, is it worth it?
That depends on what you are going for but we have seen some significant results in the last six months. The following numbers cannot be solely attributed to content curation. But our strategy has helped a lot.

Examples of our results

For us, the results that matter are sales and satisfaction. Vanity metrics including Likes and Followers are not the end goal (even though those went up too).
It took about two months of dedicated sharing to get some momentum but things are working out now. We were able to generate interest earlier and have a deeper impact than we have in previous years.
For our Spring BAM Jam, we saw our waiting list from 2016 jump from about 15 teams to 80 teams in 2017. The event is limited in space. But a large waiting list implies two important things. First is that it sold out fast which gave us more time to work on the event itself. And we have a bunch of extra leads for the summer tournament where we are not limited by space.
The Northwest Premier Invitational went up by 11% and sold out faster than the year before. This gave us the opportunity to perfect the schedule and communicate better with registered teams. This led to them having a better experience.
Our summer travel teams have not formed yet, but the momentum from the spring seems to be carrying over. Our retention should prove to be higher than we have ever had. This will allow us to form more teams, give more opportunities and better serve everyone for a longer period of time.

The bottom line

In a short amount of time, you can put together a content curation strategy that will keep your team on the minds of your players and families. Even when you are not in season. They will benefit by getting great supplemental information. You will benefit by increasing the level of participation.