I had the opportunity to join the 323 Sports podcast with Keith and Travis and talk about easy ways to market and brand your athletic or team program as an AD or coach. The important aspect of marketing and branding is realizing that you truly can be the one to tell the story of your program. When you tell your story, it allows you to highlight the themes of your program and show your students, parents, and community your sports program. Below are the ways to tell the story of your program and make an impact in your school community!
First is the branding aspect. Having a logo that is recognizable, respectable, and represents your program is very helpful. The best way to explain it is you know it when you see it. The Yankees NY, the Chicago bull, the Texas longhorn “Horns Up”, the Florida gator. All of those logos whether simple or complex are symbolic of their program. I am the Athletic Director at Schaumburg Christian School in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, and 323 Sports created our new logo about 5 years ago. It respected our past logo, but pushed us into a new decade as a program. It displays who we are and what we represent. When people see the logo it should immediately bring positive thoughts about what the school is like.
Good quality gear is the next step in the branding process. Updating jerseys, having fresh T-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats for your fans to purchase and represent the school is important for the brand to become known. 323 Sports crushes it when it comes to creating gear that can represent your program in a quality way that athletes, students, and the community will be proud to wear!
The second aspect is marketing, which goes down the line of social media and your website. Don’t worry, I’m going to give you some simple yet very effective ways to market your program’s story. The main reason social media is important is that’s where the students, athletes, and fans connect. GAMEDAY promos using free apps like Typorama and Canva are great ways to promote your games. We have media days for each of our high school teams. Media day gives us photos of the players in their jerseys that we use for school and personal social media posts. We also try to create highlight videos throughout the season to promote a big game or event or get people excited about the season. I literally record these highlight videos on my iPhone and create the video in iMovie where I can add music and then download it to post on social media.
Each year we have a theme for our program that we use as a hashtag. We put that hashtag on all our posts and have a banner in our gym. This year’s theme is #1GNITE. Be so passionate about what we do that our light ignites others to be passionate as well!
We use the three main social media outlets, which are Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Instagram is our most popular one for connecting with the students. Posting stories on Instagram is also a good way for many people to see highlights of your program. When you can connect current and past students, athletes, and parents, you begin to create excitement and buy-in with the program. When they see a deeper view into all the unique aspects of your program, they feel like they become a part of it and can take pride in the program!
Here are the quick takeaways from the ideas above:
- Know your demographics. See what is the most popular social media platform in your area/school.
- Take action. Start posting, promoting, and telling your story. Pictures and videos are very popular. Take pictures of your games, practices, jerseys, fans, etc.
- Be consistent. When followers know you are consistent with your posts and they can rely on you for GAMEDAY reminders, final scores, highlights, and news within the program then they start watching for it and begin to feel more connected to it!
There are so many ideas out there, but don’t be overwhelmed. Just start by telling the story of your program in a simple way and grow from there. There are many free apps and technology these days to help make marketing easier.
I hope this article encourages you and helps you get started on telling the story of your athletic program to your community!
If you want to follow a program to get some ideas, you are welcome to follow Conqueror Nation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also follow me at Kyle McVey on Facebook, KyleMcVey23 on Twitter, or Keelay10 on Instagram. You can email me at email@example.com. I would love to hear from you or help you in any way I can.