Preface: I spend a lot of time thinking about marketing and the image of Rally in the US. If this interests you – keep reading!
Not too long ago – Everything you read, watched, and listened to was output by a handful of media companies. Your only way to “make the news” was to put out a release that was crafted and polished with your message. You needed to catch the editors attention, draw them in for a short story, sprinkle in sponsors, and tell them where they could get more. Writing press was a good way for a low budget team to be just like a high budget team. On paper they look the same: Cute story, couple of photographs, shout out to a brand, see you next time.
Who reads these anymore? They certainly aren’t actually printed, and my carefully honed list of websites who publish press – publish everything. Once you start publishing everything you get a fire hose of information that no one really wants to read. Plus your message gets diluted down to practically nothing: “Sport you’ve never heard of has guy racing for points by Ovaltine.” How do I craft a message about Rally to everyone? Be boring and as vague as possible. 😉
Now what do we do? Well, some of the bigger teams, events, and companies have just moved their prepackaged press message over to Social Media. They post 60 times a day, every post has no real depth, and they are fire-hosing Twitter and Facebook along with every RSS feed tagged #rally #usrally. They ignore the “Social” in social media. Just shouting from mountain tops to no one in particular. After a few rallies they stop paying their PR person, get burned out, and the updates just stop or the fans tune out.
What’s really important: Starting the conversation – and then continuing the conversation with engaged followers. If your only message all weekend was: “We came in 1st – thx everyone! @Ovaltine” You’re not even starting a conversation. Sponsors are getting smart and are no longer looking at how many followers or website hits you get. Twitter users can be bought and sold. You should be talking about your target demographics, bounce rate, and “time on site” with sponsors. Just like the first few lines of a good press release should set the scene and take you somewhere, your thread of updates should do the same.
Just be a social human! I want to tell my friends about stuff occasionally and I don’t want to annoy them – That’s the best frequency for updates. You don’t like 6 emails from the same person, why would you think your fans would? Turn off the fire hose! We post updates to Twitter and Facebook that direct people to our tumblelog. On the tumblelog we give a little bit more of the story and get people to rallynotes. It’s up to them if they want more, and they control what they consume.
Hi, my name is Kris, and I am a real person™. You can actually talk to me. I try to answer questions and I also try to cover details that you wouldn’t normally see on a amateur rally team website. Like most humans, I get excited over my achievements, but talk about challenges I’ve had to overcome. Glad you took a look – be sure to drink your Ovaltine. 😀
Hat Tip: Brian Driggs “Continue the conversation.” – Gearbox Magazine