You might think of marketing your athletic department as getting more people in your bleachers during games. Getting there often requires that your teams are skilled and can rack up victories and exciting contests that fans love to watch. Both of these are valid goals and can lead to marketing and publicity for your department.
However, there’s more to life than just winning games. Not all of the lessons a student-athlete learns take place on the field or court: sometimes an athlete or coach goes above and beyond in the classroom and community. These efforts shouldn’t go unrecognized, and actively promoting the good that your program and its participants do can be an asset to marketing. Here are some tips for sharing the good that your program does on and off the field.
Know Your Audience
Know who you’re sharing your good news with and where they’re going to be. You’re trying to sell the idea of an education-based athletics program to students, parents, faculty members, administrations, school boards, and the community. Use preseason meetings, handbooks, flyers, school marquees, websites, and social media to get in touch. Carve out a little bit of time each week to educate people on the value of athletics, anticipate items or changes that might need their attention, and ensure that your updates are consistent, substantive, and positive.
Use Local Media
Never underestimate the power of your local TV and print outlets, especially smaller ones that are looking for stories. Connect with them in person and online, compliment good pieces, and develop a good relationship with them. Reach out to invite them to special events like Hall of Fame inductions, games, and award ceremonies. Make yourself available to provide information, materials, and photos, even at the last minute—making their jobs easier makes the marketing part of your job easier, too.
Website and social media posts are a fun way to share good news about your athletic program. Consistent, periodic posts with high-quality images can help you not only gain followers, but also expand your reach as followers engage with you and share updates with their friends. Make sure that you provide opportunities for people to interact with you and ask questions, and make your email address available for your audience to send feedback.
Get Your Team to Help
Let your coaches and game officials know that you’re on the lookout for accomplishments from athletes and teams, and send out an email reminding them to send in new and exciting material, including photos. Have someone look over any content that you’re thinking of using before you send it out—you don’t want to have a spelling mistake in your piece while talking about the benefits of education-based athletics!
Encourage a Culture of Growth and Service
Consider starting community service or rewards programs to encourage students to participate, maybe even making it a friendly competition. Make sure that students and coaches are recognized for going above and beyond, and set an example with your own behavior. When students and coaches see the athletic director stepping up to help their community, they’ll likely be inspired to do the same, and your community will appreciate it as well.
Above all else, you should be doing good work because it’s good for everyone, not because it’s good for marketing. Your program is part of many things that shape your students’ lives, and showing that your students are well-rounded and engaged community members will do wonders for your brand.
Managing Your Program with School Solutions
As an athletic director, you’re in charge of a sports program that shapes student-athletes’ lives. Spend less time with paperwork and logistics and more time focusing on the life lessons that really matter with ArbiterSports’ suite of programs. School Solutions is designed for school athletic programs and the people that run them. Use our tools to help organize your games, issue payments, register participants, and everything you need to run the nitty-gritty aspects of your program. For more information on the tools School Solutions can offer you, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800.576.2799.