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A blog helping athletes build their brand

How Conor McGregor became “Notorious”

In 2013, Conor McGregor made his debut inside the octagon for the UFC. Two years later, McGregor was a regular topic during interviews for the promotion and drawing record-breaking pay-per-view numbers while doing so. McGregor submitted himself into the UFC hall of fame after defeating the UFC’s first and only featherweight champion, Jose Aldo, 13 seconds into the first round via knockout. Successfully handing the best 145-pound fighter his first loss in over 10 years. Suddenly, the entire world couldn’t help but talk about the trash talking fighter from Dublin, Ireland. So how exactly did McGregor differentiate himself from the crowd to earn a title shot and become, “The Notorious” Conor McGregor?

“Dana, 60 G’s baby!”

Those are the exact words McGregor yelled to UFC President, Dana White after his first round knockout of Marcus Brimage during UFC on Fuel TV: Mousasi vs. Latifi. It was a move no fighter before McGregor had ever dared to make. However, new to the scene and with a plethora of potential, McGregor utilized the spotlight and made himself known amongst UFC fans around the world. Coincidentally, many fighters have since taken a page from McGregor’s play book and are quick to call out White in hopes they too can generate the massive following McGregor built.

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Via: GIPHY

 

A new style of fighting & mental warfare

 

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Via: Facebook

Karate and Taekwondo fighting styles have been popular fighting styles for years but rarely utilized in the UFC before McGregor’s entrance. When McGregor first stepped into the ring his Karate stance, Taekwondo kicks, and Capoeira movement all mixed in with his years of boxing created confusion for his opponents. McGregor, knowing his fighting style was something no one in the UFC was prepared for, quickly let his competitors and the world know. Confident in his ability to end a fight with a single punch and enjoying an eight fight knockout streak McGregor began to implement an entirely new obstacle for opponents to prepare for, his trash talk. He humiliated opponents at weigh-ins, press conferences, family dinners and any opportunity given. By aggravating opponents every second of the day and forcing them to emotionally invest in the fight, McGregor was capable of breaking down an opponent’s mental wall the week leading up to the fight.

“We are not here to take part. We’re here to take over.”

Twitter is an excellent tool for any athlete trying to build a brand. Athletes can communicate with fans, hold giveaways and build a solid following by interacting with followers and showing some attitude. McGregor, however, used social media as his way to boast about his winnings and humiliate opponents in the process. From collecting welfare checks one day to winning a $60,000 fight of the night bonus the next, McGregor was living good, and he wanted his opponents to see it. In his mind, social media was another tool to aggravate opponents before fights. He portrays a blue collar fighter putting in countless hours of training in the prime of his career. He also gloats of his recently acquired cars, private jets, designer clothing and penthouse suites, and credits it all his work ethic, powerful left hand and “bum opponents.”

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Via: @TheNotoriousMMA

“Precision beats power, and timing beats speed.”

Despite only being in the UFC for two short years, McGregor was building a following that

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Via: Facebook

could not be ignored. In just his second fight for the organization, the Dublin-born fighter sent an entire TD Garden arena to its feet upon defeating another promising prospect, Max Holloway. The Irishman’s unique fighting style, brash mouth and an incredible amount of confidence were contagious. Everyone wanted to see what he would do next. Coming off a massive win against Holloway, McGregor set his sites on the UFC’s featherweight champion, Jose Aldo. Unfazed from his first two opponents McGregor risked his entire career to encourage White to make him the headliner of UFC Fight Night Dublin in his home country of Ireland. White and UFC President Lorenzo Fertitta renegotiated McGregor’s contract and agreed to place the rising star as the headliner. And in real McGregor fashion, he fed off the crowd’s energy to finish Diego Brandao via TKO with less than a minute left in the first round. Undeniably a future featherweight title contender McGregor called out the champion, Jose Aldo. Undefeated in 10 years, Aldo was the UFC’s only featherweight champion ever, making McGregor’s request a bit of a stretch but an interesting one nonetheless.

Becoming “Notorious”

Continuing his rise in the featherweight division, McGregor defeated Dustin Poirier and
Dennis Siver in dominating fashion to earn his chance at UFC featherweight gold at UFC 189. Unfortunately, fate had other plans as Aldo pulled out of the bout against McGregor due to injury. With less than two weeks until the event, Chad Mendes stepped in as a replacement to face McGregor for the UFC interim featherweight title. Mendes, a high-level wrestler, was expected to end McGregor’s streak with his dominating ground game, but the Irishman was capable of weathering an early storm. McGregor proceeded to finish Mendes in the later parts of round two, earning the UFC’s interim featherweight title. In August of 2015, McGregor vs. Aldo finally came to fruition and when the match began, it took McGregor all of 13 seconds in the first round to finish what was the greatest featherweight in the world at that time. Finally, the undisputed UFC featherweight champion, McGregor celebrated his victory by calling out the UFC’s lightweight champion, Rafael Do Anjos. Having already defeated a UFC legend and setting his eyes on another one, McGregor had officially earned his reputation as The Notorious. No one could deny McGregor’s talent after defeating Aldo, but the real test came against Nate Diaz. Diaz, a taller, heavier, southpaw from Stockton, California had all the attributes to be considered McGregor’s ultimate test. Diaz would go on to win the first fight against McGregor via submission but looked defeated in the first round. Coming off his first UFC loss, McGregor was humble in the defeat crediting Diaz’s efficiency in the ring but made it clear he was coming for revenge. McGregor would earn his revenge in the rematch against Diaz at UFC 202. As the face of fighting and coming off a spectacular come from behind victory against Nate Diaz, McGregor was the self-proclaimed king of the UFC and like any king, he looked to continue his reign of dominance in a heavier weight class.  McGregor would go on to make history after defeating the UFC lightweight champion, Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 becoming the only fighter in UFC history to hold belts in two weight classes simultaneously. It was at that moment, with a championship belt on each shoulder, when Conor McGregor indeed became Notorious.

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Via: MMA Fighting

Going live with Facebook

Next month, Facebook celebrates the one-year anniversary of it’s Facebook Live feature. The new mobile feature changed the way fans and athletes communicate with each other and has become a crucial tool in establishing a personal brand.

Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook Live so users could broadcast their lives in a spontaneous and unedited way. Now, because of this new technology, sports fans are capable of directly communicating with their favorite teams and athletes. Some of the most successful athletes have even capitalized off of the live option to provide fans a unique experience and grow their personal brand. With sports fans always seeking the newest information, athletes and teams have begun to use Facebook Live to provide fans with a behind the scenes experience they desire.

Here are a few ways you can use Facebook Live to enhance your personal brand as an athlete.

Go Live During Major Events.

When Peyton Manning decided to retire from the NFL, the Denver Broncos broke live streamed Manning announcing his decision. Within a day the videos of Manning and Denver Bronco executives announcing the retirement received nearly one million views, over 40,000 likes, 21,000 shares and 25,000 comments from people on Facebook. Major networks also aired the press conference but for Bronco fans on Facebook, the stream was a new experience for them. According to the Bronco’s director of digital, Ben Hunt the team had “so many fans thank us for posting the video on Facebook.”

Just imagine the amount of exposure your Live videos can achieve from fans that are following your journey to the top.

Increased Access To Players

Arguably one the best aspects about Facebook Live is the personal connection athletes can make with their fans. From streaming daily activities to workouts, fans want to see what goes on in the lives of their favorite athletes. This increased amount of access creates a personal connection between a fan and their favorite athlete. Therefore increasing the likely hood an athlete’s video will be watched and shared with others on Facebook, helping them grow their fan base.

One example would be Tennis star, Serena Williams. Williams took to Facebook Live to stream herself relaxing with friends in a hotel together. The 50-second video generated over 180,000 views, was shared almost 400 times and received 2,300 comments. The majority of these comments were fans expressing their love for the tennis star and how amazing it was to see her go live on Facebook.

Generate Hype
One of the most common uses of Facebook Live is to generate hype before a big game or the beginning of a new season. Take the San Francisco Giants, for example, the Giants posted a live stream of their empty stadium before the start of the season. The video was seen 165,000 times, generated 1,000 shares and 1,000 comments from fans eager for the start of a new season.

Athletes also go live on the bus ride to a big game, inside the locker room and during team celebrations. This type of content provides fans a level of insight never seen before and generates excitement from fans. Whether it’s pre or post game streaming fans want to be as much involved with their favorite athletes.

Rewarding Fans

Everyone loves winning free stuff and Facebook Live allows athletes a way to publicly show appreciation for their fans. Athletes can hold a contest via social media and turn to Facebook Live to announce the winners.

One example is Atlanta Falcon’s wide receiver, Julio Jones, who gave away a pair of Super Bowl tickets to a random customer.

Now that you have some tips on how to build your brand using Facebook Live, it’s time to go out and get streaming. But remember to think twice about what you post because once it’s up it’s online for good. Happy streaming!

Pay to play

Today,  I’ll be talking about an assignment in my Journalism 452 class at the University of Oregon. The assignment asked for us to act as part of an organization trying to fight an issue we cared about and explain the why the issue was important through an infographic. Of course my first thought was to find an issue I cared about in the sports industry. As I searched the web for a topic I came across an interesting fact.

According to Jay Bilas, an college basketball analyst for ESPN, “CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting alone paid more than $10.8 billion to the NCAA back in 2010 for 14 years of rights to [broadcast games]”. The big college programs, such as football and basketball, are “a multi-billion dollar business where the only people who are restricted in their earning..are the athletes,” states Bilas.

Seeing billions of dollars being made by the very organization that claims to help student athletes is sickening. Being a student at a successful athletic school, like the UO, I see future professional athletes everyday. I always figured they had it made since they were going to paid well one day, but as the progressed through school and the workload kept stacking up I wonder how these student athletes passed their classes. I know they have tutors but even those genius minds have to sleep sometimes.

The truth is, these athletes are just student, they’re full time empolyees of the University working over 40 hours a week to perfect their craft which ultimately makes the school millions of dollars in revenue. Add on the school work they miss from competing around the country and that workload easily reaches 50 hours a week. Yet they receive no compensation from the school other than scholarship support, if they’re deemed a good enough athlete, and some are still forced to go to bed hungry.

So why don’t school’s give athletes more money to live?

Well, according to Bilas, the NCAA believes convering the athlete’s school expenses should be enough since it cost them money. Essentially, they’re claiming that after all academic expenses are paid for the school ends up lossing money. But in 2014 the average amount of revenue for the NCAA’s 10 biggest programs reached  over $144 million and scholarship expenses totaled $12 million. So, unless the rules of math changed in the last three years, these programs earn more than enough annual revenue to compensate their athletes for all their hard work.

Immediately after seeing these numbers I knew I found my topic, but how was I going to Infograhpicattack the subject?

First, I made the issue relatable to all sports fans. Infographics are great becasue they help communicate complicated information in a simplified manner. By comparing the average career length and salary of professional athletes to that of an NCAA athlete I’m able to expose exactly how undervalued student athlete are treated. Notice how the average professional career lasts nearly as long as a college athlete’s. In both careers the athlete is making a sacrifices and working hours upon hours to perfect their craft. The only difference is, one gets to go home with a steady paycheck while the other goes back to their apartment, probably still hungry, with hours of homework left to finish. Doesn’t seem fair does it?

Second, I took the average revenue generated by the biggest division one college programs  and the NFL and compared this with the expenses paid. As you can see the gap between revenue and expenses is considerably greater for the NCAA division one schools than the NFL. Why? Becasue the NFL compensates it’s athlete for all their hard work. The NCAA, on the other hand, believes the students are lucky to have their education paid and should be happy with just that.

Third, I compared coaching salaries. I took the salaries from the two biggest head coaches in college sports and compared them against three professional coaches. It should be noted that some of these coaches (Greg Popavich) have been with their specific team for a considerable amount of time and are compensated accordingly. But take a look at the difference between Coach Harbaugh and Joe Maddon. Harbaugh, arguably one of the better known college coaches, is earning nearly double what Maddon earns with the Cubs, after one season at the University of Michigan. If universities can afford to pay coaches this ridiculous salary then they can afford to compensate their athletes. At least enough not to go hungry.

Fourth, for the bottom portion of my infographic I really wanted to hit home the fact that these college athletes are struggling to get by. After putting countless hours of hard work on the field the last thing a student needs to worry about is where their next meal will come from. Scholarships, even those that are full ride, still don’t cover all expenses, leaving athletes with two choices. They can either go to bed hungry or ask for a meal from their friends or coaches, but in doing so they violate NCAA rules and risk lossing their scholarship. All because they wanted to eat a damn burger.

I hope my explanation of why college athletes deserve payment forces to think about the students the next time you’re out enjoying a college game. Also, don’t forget about infographics the next time you have detailed information that needs clear explanation.

 

Stand up for a cause… then stand taller

Last Thursday, the San Francisco Chronicle wrote an article on Colin Kaepernick’s decision to end his protest. The article mentions rumors were instantly speculating Kaepernick’s decision was based on his choice to test the free agency market this offseason.

 

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(Daniel Gluskoter/AP Images for Panini)

As an athlete, Kaepernick’s actions on the field are all that matter, they’re what pays the bills. As a public figure, his stance on social issues shows where his values and beliefs lay. However, as a brand, both of the athlete and public figure side must co-exist in harmony or one will cause damage to the other.

 

Taking a stand against police brutality and oppression was a huge success for Kaepernick and his cause. He gained media attention, appeared in Time magazine, gave hope to thousands of individuals and provided financial assistance with a $1 Million donation, which was matched by the 49ers.

But he can’t just walk away from the issue now. Thousands of people stood by his side while the rest of the sports and political world turned on Kaepernick. To walk away from publicly supporting police brutality and oppression now would be an injustice to those that followed in his protest.

Rather than walk away, now is the time to continue pushing forward. Instead of ending his protest in a public statement, Kaepernick could have explained his situation and provided an alternative form of support. With his financial resources, agreeing to donate a portion of his salary after each game to help end police brutality would earn him positive coverage. Kaepernick could also agree to become a spokesperson for organizations fighting police brutality and oppression or start an organization of his own. The possibilities to do good are endless, but walking away from the issue isn’t the answer.

Former NFL running back Jim Brown is a perfect example. During his time in the NFL Brown created the Black Economic Union as a resource to help establish black-owned businesses. The Black Economic Union eventually went under, forcing Brown to find other methods to support his cause. Then, in 1988, Brown founded the Amer-I-Can Program which served to educate high-risk youths in diverse communitUnknown.pngies.
NFL wide receiver, Brandon Marshall, is another solid example of an athlete that has
learned how to mix his athletic career with social work. Diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) in 2011, Marshall has been open about his efforts to spread
mental health awareness. Last year, Marshall spoke about going through life with BPD in a PSA video over youtube. Part of his work also included founding the Project 375 nonprofit and in 2013, he matched the NFL’s fine for wearing green cleats in honor of Mental Health Awareness Week with a donation to charity

 

If Kaepernick thinks he can walk away from his previous stance in order to find another team he’s in for a rude awakening. No team wants an athlete that says one thing one day and completely changes it the moment he needs something. There’s a certain level of trust needed to pay a player millions of dollars a year and Kaepernick will fall below that level if he doesn’t continue his fight against police brutality and oppression.

Football fans will also notice Kaepernick’s inability to stick with an issue and may stop supporting the quarterback. And once the fans are gone the sponsorship deals will soon follow. Athletes are only valuable to sponsors when they can gain the sponsor media exposure, but without any fans, no one will pay attention to him. Even with a fair amount of fans, organizations will find it hard to trust their sponsorship dollars in his hands.

So, my advice to Kaepernick, don’t walk away. Instead find another way to protest, stick to it and communicate with fans once you have to prove you are a man of your word. No one likes an indecisive athlete.

Playing the role of athlete activist

Recent political policies have changed the way our world works and affected millions of lives in one way or another. As private citizens, we have the freedom to speak our minds in public without television cameras streaming our what we say to millions of sports fans around the world. So what are athlete’s to do when trying to handle media and relay their own message?

Being a professional athlete definitely has its perks. The fame, the fortune, and the superhuman athletic ability. It’s a good life until it’s not. As an athlete, your every word and move is captured and released to thousands, if not millions, of fans. And with the new presidential regime raising concern from millions of families and media forcing athletes to take a side, one wrong move and athletes can find themselves on the wrong end of a news story.
Gone are the days when athletes and sports media are forced to “stick to sports.” Athletes are no longer afraid to speak out on political and social issues.

Lebron James, Steph Curry and other NBA stars took time at the ESPY’s to talk about the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement and give respect to Zaveion Dobson’s family for his heroic efforts.

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Former LSU running back, Leonard Fournette took to Twitter, posting a photo of himself wearing a white Alton Sterling shirt, as his way to speak out against police brutality towards black people.

Whether it’s a giant stage like the ESPY’s or a simple tweet, athletes have a voice and fans want to hear it. The problem comes from traditional news outlets claiming professional athletes and sports media should focus on what happens on the field instead of off it. However, sports reporters cover what athletes what to talk about. Before and after every game both teams hold media press conferences and when social or political issues cause a global reaction, athletes will want to talk about it. And just because an athlete is seen as a celebrity doesn’t mean their voice isn’t important, it is. In fact, an athlete’s voice is incredibly important.

Athlete’s are now learning to use the nationally televised platform they are given to reach millions of people around the globe in a second. Many athletes used post-practice media interview to talk about President Trump’s travel ban

Unfortunately, mixing politics isn’t always best for business. Under Armour CEO, Kevin Plank issued a statement calling Trump, “Passionate” and “a real asset for the country.” The sports apparel company’s star figure, Steph Curry had his own opinion regarding Trump, stating he agreed with Plank’s statement, “if you remove the ‘et’ from asset.”

Plank’s comments would end hurting his company, once Susquehanna Financial Group downgrading Under Armour’s stock just days after Curry’s criticized his comments. Unfortunately, mixing politics and sport aren’t always good for business. Curry has a low risk of being dropped by Under Armour, but others aren’t so lucky. Athletes without a high market value like Curry’s risk losing tens of thousands in endorsement deals and sponsorship dollars.

So how are athletes supposed to deal with media?

  1. Be honest in the reasons why you are taking a stand and don’t fake it to fit in, fans are capable of seeing through dishonesty easily.
  2. Show support for the organizations helping raise awareness or find a solution for your cause. As an athlete, nothing creates a stronger bond with fans than showing compassion for those less fortunate than yourself.
  3. Also, remember to stick to the side you are supporting. Fans will lose interest in what you have to say if you are indecisive.
  4. And lastly, don’t be afraid to be the first one to speak up. Issues will never be solved unless the public is made aware of them.

As an athlete and public figure you have the responsibility to use the tools given to you as a means to better our society. One press conference, tweet, facebook live video and knee at a time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why public relations can make or break an athlete’s career

It’s time to expose the myth that public relations is only to draw attention away from a crisis.

I’ve talked a lot about the different social media tools and strategies to create a personal brand the past weeks, but today I want to discuss the importance of public relations to an athletic career.

PRSA defines public relations as, “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

Sports public relations does this by distributing information to the public they otherwise wouldn’t know, and communicating messages that craft an organization or individual’s public image. Essentially, sports public relations depends on the personal and professional relationships developed between athletes and their peers. Without the proper guidance, athletes risk losing their audience and thousands of sponsorship dollars, especially during a crisis.

In sports public relations a crisis can range from any news of a coach being fired or an athlete being traded. Some are much worse like the nightmare seen during the Penn State and Jerry Sandusky case. During a crisis there is no time to think, one must only react and release the information that needs to be published to the public as quickly and accurately as possible. Therefore, it’s critical an athlete and the manager or team prepare diligently before a crisis strikes.

Let’s play a game. I’ll pick three names, and you hold on to the first word that comes to mind.

Johnny Manziel

Manti Te’o

Alex Rodriguez

Now, I bet the words you thought of were reckless, liar and steroids. Three perfect examples of poorly managed public relations that resulted in damaged personal brands.

To avoid cases like those above athletes, teams and managers must remain organized keeping all athlete information updated and ready when media outlets come calling. They must include numbers and statements media professionals will want when reporting the story. Any time wasted makes getting in front a crisis incredibly difficult. Thus, creating media lists help present the story the way a team or athlete wishes to present it before the media crafts assumptions into a bigger mess.

Professional athletes and the teams must also remember the importance of being honest. Almost every lie is solved with the power of the internet, and there’s a common misunderstanding that public relations is about spinning the truth. However, that couldn’t be more incorrect. Not only will lying get an athlete nowhere it can overshadow a lifetime of hard work. Take Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte for example.

Lochte and a few other team USA swimmers reported a robbery by armed men on their way back to athletes’ village after a night of partying. Lochte’s story ended up a lie and took away attention from team USA’s historic achievements. Everyone involved in the hoax received a ban from competitive swimming, along with some embarrassment and a damaged public image. Lochte did earn some respect back after publicly apologizing, but would avoid the entire situation by telling the truth.

 

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Via: NY Post
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Via: @RyanLochte

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compare this to a PR crisis faced by a public company since both are seen similarly in the eyes of the consumer. In 2010, Toyota recalled approximately 8.8 million cars due to problems with the accelerator, which resulted in multiple deaths. Initially, Toyota was slow to respond only increasing the media backlash and further damaging the brand’s image. However, the brand bounced back despite poor crisis management in the beginning by offering extended warranties and increasing its marketing efforts reassuring safety. Every ad after the debacle was well thought out and showed Toyota’s dedication to fixing the problem. Furthermore, Toyota executives became more visible, speaking to the media and remaining active during the investigations. Through strategic marketing tactics leveraging the brand’s proven track record and a real focus on safety, Toyota was able to prove the situation and the terrible mishandling as a freak accident. The following year, Toyota’s brand equity jumped  11 points, according to Forbes.

Professional teams and athletes can learn a valuable lesson from Toyota here. Toyota’ slow response severely damaged the brand, and although the company did bounce back the following year, the percentage of consumer’s who thought positively of the brand was still lower than the pre-recall years. Athlete’s without an established reputation will find it harder to bounce back if not properly for a crisis.

Being an athlete isn’t for everyone. The drive to compete every day takes a toll on a person both physically and emotionally, and even when things don’t go the athlete’s way, it’s important they handle adversity correctly. Losing a big match or important game is the quickest way to expose someone’s real character. Look at Dominick Cruz’s title fight loss to Cody Gardrandt at UFC 207.

Cruz was the UFC bantamweight champion and undefeated for nearly 10 years heading into the match. After his defeat, many critics, including myself, wondered how he would handle losing for the first time in almost a decade. Cruz immediately showed his maturity and class in the post-fight Q&A  congratulating the new champion’s heart and fight awareness. Cruz’s composure after the terrible loss earned him respect from media and fans around the world and impressed Garbrandt enough to offer him a rematch.

That same year Ronda Rousey headlined UFC 207 and suffered a devastating one-sided loss to the UFC women’s featherweight champion, Amanda Nunes. After the fight, Rousey skipped the post-fight Q&A and stayed quiet for days. No one knew how she was handling the biggest loss of her career after taking a year off. Fans and critics were quick to insist she retired after storming off, delivering a huge blow to Rousey’s image.

I’ve stressed the importance for athletes to prepare for a crisis ahead of time, the necessity to remain honest and handle adversity with composure to advance athletic careers. Now, it’s time to talk a little about how athletes can communicate their stories with fans around the world.

Social media is the go-to method of direct communication with fans, but athletes like Michael Bisping are now starting to host their own podcasts. Bisping, being the wisecracking Englishman that he is, uses his podcast as a platform to deliver insight information to MMA fans while also generating excitement for his upcoming fights. Podcasts are a perfect way for athletes to build personal relationships with fans while creating credibility and simultaneously becoming more marketable.

So, to the athletes and teams reading this, remember that public relations is not about spinning the truth. Public relations depends on preparation, how athlete’s carry themselves and the stories they choose to communicate with the world. And above all, athletes must be genuine. Those who chose to follow these rules of public relations will undoubtedly experience more rewarding and fruitful careers than their counterparts.

Learn to play the game

There was once a time when only elite athletes could sign lucrative endorsement deals. Now, through properly managed social media channels, any athlete can reach millions of viewers and become an online influencer worth partnering with.

In this week’s kernel response, I wanted to write how the key traits and skills social media managers need today  can help athletes build their brand and earn endorsement deals.

Like social media managers, athletes need good copywriting for their tweets or Facebook posts. Good copy makes posts easy to understand and provides a universal tone to the athlete’s social media pages. Formulas are a great way for athletes to craft quality content.

Creating visual content is also important for aspiring athletes trying to generate a following. Research shows that adding images to social media posts is the best way to increase engagement. With social media trends moving away from the standard plain text updates and more towards visual content, making visually appealing original content will become crucial to the success of any social media page. Facebook live, Periscope and Snapchat are great tools to help with this. Live videos are increasing in popularity and allow for higher engagement and personal interactions with fans. As an athlete trying to break out in the sports industry, giving fans a unique look into your life or training can set you apart from your peers.

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Fans today want instant access to their favorite players so they’ll reach out through social media. Athletes that interact with their fans through social media allow the fans to know they’ve been heard and adds a personal touch to the fan-athlete relationship. Good online communication can help attract new followers while strengthening the connection with existing fans.

Analytics can be an athlete’s best friend. They can help athletes spot trends in their posts and give insight into what metrics are most important to reaching their goals. This data can also help athletes understand what causes certain trends and help them plan for future success. And having a proper budget in place allows athletes to promote certain posts through social media advertising, allowing their posts to reach a wider more specific audience.

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Finally, athletes must be curious, willing to adapt and have some business savvy. Curiosity allows athletes to stay up to date with advancements in social media. A willingness to adapt keeps to the newly spotted advancements keeps an athlete ahead of the competition. And the business savvy ties it all together. Generating engagement is nice, but knowing how social media fits into the business side of sports is what pays the bills.

Be authentic.

Social media provides athletes the most amazing business opportunity. As an athlete, social media is the best method to attract interest towards your brand from millions of users around the world.

With social media you can share unkown parts of your peronality, wether you’re a loud and out going person or serious and quiet. There is no set formula when it comes to establishing your social media personality. The best strategy is to be authetic and post whatever is true to you.  However, you’ll need take some caution. As Adam Juratovac, founder of AthletesLTD, told Adweek, “There are many ways a simple post or location check-in could be misinterpreted or misunderstood.” Make sure to diversity what you post  and keep it targeted towards your audience.

“If you only have five posts and they are all at a bar, many people will believe you spend all of your time there,” says Juratovac.

For example Rich Froning Jr, a four time CrossFit chamion. You will never see Froning post a picture or video showing him anywhere near alcohol because his personal brand is against it. Froning takes time to manage his brand and uses it purposelly as an athlete and family man.

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Image via Rich Froning Instagram

Another good example is former Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch. Lynch loves his Skittles and when fans saw him eating the treat on the side line of a game, it became a popular topic for fans to talk about on social media. Once Lynch came public about his love for Skittles fans began to shower him with candy after games and it created buzz for his name and the team’s. Because Lynch had a genuine love for Skittles the social media craze developed into a sponorship deal.

You don’t need to pay someone hundreds of dollars to run your social media channels, but you need to establish a personality for youself. Be confident and true to who you are and the fans will follow. Remember to stay consistent, publish post multiple times a day, share your posts, share your peers posts and keep interacting with fans. Your efforts will put your brand ahead of the competition.

 

Two birds, one Brady

Last week, the Atlanta Falcons became the latest victim of the Jordan meme after a devastating fourth quarter loss to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Superbowl 51. How will the young team begin to mount a comeback for next season?

Last Sunday, after Superbowl 51, the Atlanta Falcons made headlines for all the wrong reasons. The Patriots, down 28-9 in the fourth quarter, came back to win 34-28 and complete the greatest comeback in Superbowl history. Now, it’s time for the Falcons to mount their own historic comeback, but how?

Believe it not the Falcons are in a good position despite the loss. Starting quarterback Matt Ryan grew into an elite NFL quarterback this season winning the regular season MVP award and recorded one of the best single postseason performances ever. In addition to an elite passer, the Falcons also have a stacked team full of young athletes.

The first action I suggest the Falcons take is to confront their mistakes, congratulate the Patriots and remind their fans that they have an incredibly young and talented team ready for a second chance. The Falcons’ media team should also make a video highlighting the season’s top moments and remind their fan base that the loss will not define them as an organization. This generates excitement from fans, the media because it tells them the team is prepared to make changes necessary to win the Superbowl next year.

Next, the Falcons need to move the team’s story beyond being the team that blew a tremendous lead to lost Superbowl 51 in the final quarter. In order to advance the team’s story, the Falcons must draft a high-level prospect or sign an elite this off-season athlete to compliment Matt Ryan. Much like how the Golden State Warriors signed Kevin Durant in the off-season after blowing a 3-1 lead in the NBA finals. The arrival of a star athlete will flip media headlines to a more positive one for the coming season. The team should them switch the focus from losing the big game to how well the newest addition is fitting in with the team.

Lastly, come the key messages the Falcons will deliver to fans, supporters and investors to show the team has overcome the horrible loss and is ready for the new season. The best way the Falcons can do this is by using the jokes made by media and football fans as motivation towards this season. The Falcons can release videos showing the team training hard as audio from the Superbowl loss plays in the background. Banners with quotes from headlines and articles may be placed around the training facility to shows fans the team is serious about the success the coming season.

Other key messages could focus on the team’s improvement over the off-season and how the newest team addition is going to give the Falcons an advantage in the coming season. The last message should focus on Matt Ryan and the elite quarterback he is developed into. Investors and supports love to get behind a team that proves it has an elite quarterback in charge of the offense.

The 2017 football season won’t be easy for the Falcons by any means, but the team can generate positive momentum in preparation for the coming season. And after coming off a tough loss in the Superbowl, any amount of positive momentum is helpful for the team. History is not kind to teams that lose the big game the season prior, but if there were ever a team to beat the odds it’s Matt Ryan’s Atlanta Falcons.

 

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