The Wasatch Academy Tigers second state championship in basketball (ever) provided a much-needed late-winter jolt to the school’s campus. The impressive season-long run by the boy’s team also energized alumni, parents and even former faculty members, providing a prime opportunity to connect further with audiences who may normally offer passing interest.
Below I’ve listed four valuable lessons from that run that, hopefully, other schools can use when they have similarly exciting events.
- We pushed fans to our Twitter account throughout the season for live tweeting (Twitter rules when it comes to live events). Result? Our followers went from under 100 to more than 300, and our mentions, retweets and direct messages noticeably increased.
- We have about a half-dozen student “interns” in the communications department whom we treated as professionals, and thus, they acted professionally. We asked them to help us tell the story — and they told it very well (Examples here and here and here and here).
- We had nearly a half-dozen positive stories published by statewide media during the state tourney. The work to get those stories, however, began weeks before when I began reaching out to prep sports reporters and editors with story ideas and background insights. Although it seems like PR 101, many communications professionals wait for reporters to come to them and, in the end, somebody else dictates the story. You will never truly script the news, but reporters will always appreciate, and often reward, preparation.
- While we had strong engagement, we missed a lot of opportunities to push people to a “next step” such as donating or requesting more information. As social media becomes a primary form of marketing (and it will), directing people from Facebook, Twitter or other platforms to your website will become paramount. Posting content on your own website (embed a video, build a photo gallery) offers the simplest “call to action” for social media. Yet even when the content doesn’t logically fit on your site, alternative ways to push people to your site can (and should) be found.