Digital Coverage Strategies For Football Season

With football season here, it's time for your sports department to consider how it's providing coverage not just during sportscasts but also on digital and social media.

Consider this: Twitter will stream Thursday night NFL games on Periscope. Snapchat signed a content deal to show highlights from the Rio Olympics. Twitter will stream a weekly NBA pre-game show and another secondary show.

Sports fans expect content on social media. Your sports department is in an outstanding position to be a leader in your market to leverage content that provides unique insight, exclusive coverage, engaging pre-game, in-game and post-game experiences on both digital and social media.

Before we dive into five content suggestions, let's focus on keeping this manageable. Remember that only about 10-20% of the raw content we gather makes it on-air. Think about how much sound a sports reporter use from a 7-minute interview with a coach? Probably only a minute, at the most, on any given day. There is a perfect opportunity for a member of your sports department to tape a lead-in and tag around a run of sound from practice that doesn't make the sportscasts.This strategy is about maximizing your sports department's content and time. 

Practice Reports 
This is an opportunity for members of your sports department to share their observations from practice: What was the mood of the team? What about the coach? Did a certain player practice out of position? These are all things you can share in a 2-minute practice report that you record and post on Facebook, Twitter and your station's website. Even better? This is just one type of content you can create from practice. Consider these: 

•A full package

•A 1 on 1 interview with a coach, player or beat writer

•A NatSound piece

•Practice recaps

Pre-game Videos 
Approximately 73% of fans engage with brand content online on gameday. Fans and viewers want to soak up the gameday experience. Covering a high school game? Let's see a quick Videolicious video of the cheerleaders and pre-game pageantry. At a college game? Put together a 1-minute tailgaiting feature story. At a NFL game? Put it all together with a game preview. You have the access to things your viewers can only dream of experiencing. Take them there. 

Post-game Facebook Live Broadcasts 
Once your sports department is done gathering all its post-game sound, why not hop on Facebook Live for a quick post-game show? This is an opportunity to share exclusive insight to what they saw during the game, in the lockerroom and during the post-game press conference.

If they are slamming for a broadcast deadline, this can be hard to execute but what about an all-encompassing post-game show after all the day's high school or college football action has concluded? That is doable. 

Monday Night Quarterback 
This is like our Facebook Live post-game show. What about Monday Night Quarterback Facebook Live show recapping the entire weekend's games? Who was the standout player? Who had the play of the week? This is an opportunity for your sports department to showcase its knowledge and authority.

Mid-week Pre-game Show
Get your viewers ready for the weekend's action with a Thursday afternoon or evening pre-game show livestreamed on Facebook or even Twitter to align with the NFL's games. Focus on the big games of the week, the players viewers need to watch, offer fantasy insight, etc. Produce this just like you would something that would air on television. 

The Takeaway
The great thing about these initiatives is that they can all be sponsored. If you have the right software, you can run pre-packaged stories commercials during your livestreams. All this content creates ad inventory for your sales team. A win on all fronts. 

We are just scratching the surface with the types of content you can produce on social and digital media. They key here is to be creative and produce content that resonates. Digital media presents a growth opportunity for your sports department to increase its footprint in your market. Take advantage of it. 

Want to dive deeper to discuss specific initiatives for your station and gameday tactics for your sports department? Please contact your SmithGeiger consultant. 


Image via Unsplash, Nathan Shively