As the fall weather creeps over the country (except for Florida), college football fans everywhere are donning the colors of their alma mater or favorite local team. They are heading to the grocery store and clearing out the stock in the beer and snack aisles. Kickoff time is finally here.
Throughout the long history of college football, colleges and universities have been utilizing a variety of techniques to create a buzz around their programs. Now, in the digital age, the content on a school’s athletic website can act to raise the level of rabid loyalty and fandom that has been so carefully fostered through the years to a whole new level.
Content Strategies for College Football Teams
So in honor of this wonderful fall tradition, here are 5 examples of school’s that are employing praiseworthy content strategies for their college football programs.
Keeping it local, the Clemson Tigers athletic program is definitely on the right track when it comes to winning football games, and they are keeping up that trend in the content marketing realm too. The first thing that greets visitors to the page is a countdown clock that breaks down the time until the Clemson vs. Georgia game into days, hours, minutes, and even seconds. Below that is a slider with some eye-catching pictures that link to content like this video promoting Saturday’s season opener, a story about football coach Dabo Swinney stopping by to talk to students who were camping out to get tickets, and a video detailing the current status of the team. And that’s just for starters. Scrolling down reveals the team’s Twitter feed, photo galleries, the team’s schedule and tons of other engaging content.
University of South Carolina
In the interest of fairness, let’s shift the focus to the middle of the state. The South Carolina Gamecocks athletic program is definitely on the right content track as well. The countdown clock is in place, complete with the USC helmet juxtaposed with the helmet of their first opponent, the University of North Carolina. The location of the countdown is lower on the page, but that just leaves room for the video slider and highlight box, which give fans ample material to get them all types of crazy to get the season rolling. The site also has a link to the program’s blog that boasts articles like this one highlighting the Facebook Fan of the Week (this one is quite adorable, yes I used the word “adorable” in a post about football, deal with it!)
What, you were expecting Alabama next? Sorry, the Crimson Tide will not be making this list. I’m tired of them winning things. This is the only mention they will get here. And besides, their site isn’t all that great anyway. The mention here goes instead to a well-crafted University of Wyoming website. Just look at the font of those letters in the name of the state/school at the top, along with the backdrop of the beautiful landscape on the program’s website. Amidst the beautiful backdrop are strategically placed social media icons, and even a Twitter hashtag, #120CowboyTough on an article that can be linked to from the slider in the middle of the page.
University of Minnesota
Let’s head up north to visit the Golden Gophers of Minnesota, a team that will more than likely be playing a few games in the snow this year. In order to promote the new direction (no not the whiny boy band) that the team is taking, the athletic department has created a new, ongoing video series called Brick by Brick. The series highlights the steps that new Coach Jerry Kill is taking to change the culture and rebuild the Gophers’ college football team into a nationally respected program. This is an excellent content marketing strategy aimed at getting the school’s fan-base on board with all of the changes and garnering support for a team that improved from 3 wins in 2011 to 6 wins in 2012.
TCU (Texas Christian University)
That’s right, the Horned Frogs made the list. I really like this page because it appears that the school’s athletic program really went into this with a clear strategy. TCU’s first game of the season is against a storied LSU football team, at home. Definitely one of the biggest games this school has ever played, it is important that they get their fan-base excited. Featuring this story should have that effect. But here is the secret, that post isn’t just meant for a target audience of fans. It’s also directed toward recruits for next year and years to come. Who doesn’t want to play at a place where the biggest and baddest teams in the country come to your stadium to take you on head-to-head? Evidence of content being used in the recruiting strategy can be seen further down the page as well. About halfway down, there is a prominently featured NFL logo with the text “ESPN.com ranked TCU no. 1 in the nation for developing NFL talent.” Hmmm, I am good at football, and I really want to make millions of dollars, I wonder what school gives me the best chance of going pro?” Need I say more?
Although the approaches may differ, it is clear that university athletic departments are taking content seriously. By implementing a creative content strategy, schools can effectively tell their brand’s story and generate engaging content that keeps coming back again and again, year after year. What type of engaging content is your school posting?
Anthony Gaenzle – Writer
Learn more about content marketing strategies that really work.