Your fans are the experts on how they like to consume & connect with your sponsors…not your team

I believe in constant auditing of what you’re doing. The way we keep from being complacent is to constantly challenge what we’re building, creating, and putting out there in the world to connect with our fans.

It allows us to push to be the best at what we do.

We get into such a process of where we post our content. We start to get singular in the platforms (Instagram, Twitter, etc.) that we neglect the other platforms.

One thing that I believe we overlook is the fact that our fans are experts on how they consume the content from our team.

I want to dive into the concept above, and really take a hard look at this concept to ensure that we get better at harnessing active listening.

Your Fans Are Experts In How They Like To Consume

Let’s dive into what that really means.

When you consume your favorite sports…how do you like to consume your sports? Is it the same as your brother? Your partner? Your children?

The answer is probably…no.

In order to understand the statement above that we are diving into it is vital to understand this concept.

Your fans, although usually broken into age groups, are the absolute experts in how they like to consume their sports.

This means that we should not be looking for ways to force them to consume our content.

If fans don’t like consuming through a complex pay-wall streaming platform…we need to listen to it. They are the experts on how they like to consume.

If the majority of our fans engage with and ask for more content on a certain platform…we need to listen to it. They are the experts in how they like to consume.

Really the first step is to have a mindset that fans are experts on how they like to consume our content and where they like to consume our content.

As we build strategies on how to reach them. This is what we need to focus on.

We cannot dictate how our fans consume.

This is the most frustrating thing I see in sports, we are reluctant to try new platforms and get stuck on the few that make the most sense to our team.

Twitter is one of the worst culprits for us.

We get it stuck in our head that this is where fans are most comfortable consuming because we put the content out there. By process, we then force our fans to consume on Twitter.

And what really upsets me on this is we justify why we aren’t on a platform (TikTok laggards, I’m looking at you all) based on the justifications on what is best for our team…usually not what is best for the fan.

When we dictate how our fans consume…we are essentially telling the fan we don’t care about what you need. This is when businesses usually start to fail.

One of the biggest takeaways from our podcast, The Inches, I’ve had is when we had a 17 y/o fan on our show to chat about how he consumes his favorite team.

First, we asked, “Where do you consume your team the most?”

His answer was Twitter. This made me take a step back. Knowing how kids his age consume, Twitter is not on the top of the totem pole.

This sparked me to ask a follow-up question that we all should be asking:

“What platforms do you spend the most time on?”

Instantly the answer was Snapchat. I didn’t even get the whole question out.

The next follow-up, of course, was why he didn’t follow his team on Snapchat…his answer was a complete depiction of the problem.

His team didn’t post enough great content there, this forced him to follow on a platform that he wasn’t comfortable with.

The next question “If your team posted more content there, would you consume more?”

YES.

This is what we need to understand about our content and the platforms we post on. We cannot dictate how our fans consume. Well, we can, but there is a huge opportunity lost by doing it.

As we think about our platforms, first we need to understand the consuming habits of our fans. If we can do this we can adjust correctly.

The first step, ask and listen to your fans

You may be thinking, where do I start?

If you were seeking to understand the advice of an expert, what would be the best place to start? It would be by asking the expert directly if possible.

You need to become obsessed with how your fans consume, and to be obsessed you need to directly ask them how they consume.

The conversation with Tyler above is the way you do it. Put yourself into situations where you can authentically ask your fans how they consume.

The key is how you ask as well.

We made a mistake at first when we asked Tyler “Where do you consume your favorite team.”

We fell into confirmation bias here. Knowing that most teams are especially active on Twitter, we asked a question that we knew (but didn’t understand at the time) would confirm a bias that Twitter is the best way to reach fans like him.

When asking your fans a question to gain this information, we need to understand how they consume overall. Literally with the question of “What platform do you consume the most on?”

The question we need to ask is what platform they consume the most on. These are the platforms I am most interested in starting with. This is the information we can use to grow.

We absolutely need to ask. If we don’t ask and assume, we dictate how they consume and it may not be a fit.

Someone once told me that your customers are the cheat sheet for the test. They literally have all the answers. In order to get the cheat sheet, we just have to work up the courage (and toss aside ego) to ask.

Well, the easiest way to change here is to ask. Our fans are the cheat code.

This can be your competitive advantage

When we dictate how our fans consume instead of looking at them as experts and asking them…we better hope our product stays strong and no one comes along to snatch up attention on those platforms.

We talk a lot about the company that is closest to their customer will win. There is no difference in how our fans consume.

If we can understand that they are the experts on how they like to consume sports and deploy our resources to those channels. we can create a product that is the best to serve them.

We can deploy a product that is better than most other offerings. This can be our competitive advantage.

Think about that. Building content specifically for Snapchat and filling your channel there, as simple as that is, can be the reason your team wins. That simple change can be the reason you can reach fans better than anyone else.

And ultimately it is as easy as asking your fans.

This simple change can be your competitive advantage…and on the flip side can be the reason you lose if you don’t take advantage of it.

When I see that a team, for whatever reason, is not on Snapchat all I see is opportunity & dollars floating out the door. With just a few tweaks to our content schedule and strategy, you can grow revenue and reach.

With opportunity comes sharks. If you aren’t at the forefront of this attention for your team, someone else will come in and take that value. With just a few videos they can be the foremost creator on a channel that is massively important to your team.

They can literally become an influencer on that platform more than your team. This scares the shit out of me in the sports world.

All of this can be avoided with a few questions to fans on how they consume. This can be your superpower if you understand one thing:

Your fans are experts on how they like to consume your sports.

The value to ticketing & sponsorship is massive

Lost attention is lost dollars. In today’s age attention is gold.

Whether this is the attention to reach a new fan who decides to give a game a try for the first time (buys a ticket) or another fan connected to your sponsor through content. This attention is, in my opinion, the entire game.

If you are not asking your fans where they consume…and then are not fanatical about creating content for them you are losing massive amounts of revenue.

The worst thing? You may not even know it.

Building a following on Snapchat and linking with a sponsor can easily double your sponsorship assets. If your fans are there and want to consume your content there…you need to be there.

And I know I have said this many times. It all comes back to the simple task of asking your fans how they consume and not dictating it yourself.

This comes back to the simple mindset that:

Your fans are the foremost experts in how they like to consume.

Your Fans Are Experts In How They Like To Consume

Before you start your next campaign, social, video, whatever…you have to face the brutal question.

Have you truly asked how your fans like to consume?

And honestly, really dove into the above question?

If you haven’t how is it possible for you to create content that will truly build value? If we don’t understand our customers (fans) how can we say we are truly building value?

We need to take our ego and throw it away. We need to dig in deep and ask the hard questions of our fans.

What they let us know may not be what we want to hear…but we need to honestly come forward and set up situations to ask them.

If the answer at large scale is a mix of Snapchat & local newspaper…that should be the heart of our strategy.

We need to stop dictating how our fans consume our content and push forward with a strategy based upon the thesis of this article:

Our fans are the experts on how they want to consume your content.

Lead with that idea and you will see value, success, and growth.

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