If you work for a D1 NCAA or professional sports team, you’ve likely got a large and varied collection of journalists following the team’s every move. Which is fantastic. They exist to provide objective, in-depth insight on the team. Fans crave this kind of content. They want to hear about injury rumors from beat reporters and theories about why the team typically slumps in January from talking heads. Unbiased reporting. Wins and losses receive the same treatment. Scandals get just as much or more coverage as charity work. It’s a crucial part of the communications strategy for any team. But if you run social and/or digital strategy for that team, your job is entirely different. If you can’t tell the difference between your team account and a reporter’s, you’re doing it wrong.
Your job as a sports social media manager is not to duplicate the efforts of reporters. As I said above, if you’re a D1 or professional team, they’ve got that covered. Do you realize how many options there are to get play-by-play and statistics during a game? Think about it, there are plenty. It’s not helping for you to be yet another voice shouting numbers into the ether. That means your job is to come up with something entirely unique. Luckily, you’ve got the best position to do this. You’re the mouthpiece for the team. You’re the only official connection fans have got. You’ve got more access to the team than any reporter could dream of…
You’re not a reporter, you’re a brand manager. It’s easy to lose that distinction because much of what you do is “reporteresque” in nature. You’re taking photos, you’re gathering quotes. In a press conference, sitting courtside, at midfield, you may share the same physical space, but your philosophy and output should make you stand out like a sore thumb. Your photos should make your players look larger than life, the quotes you publish should give your followers chills. This isn’t even close to a reporter’s task of capturing the moment and the story in as real and unbiased a fashion as possible.
When it comes to availability of topics for conversation, journalists have the upper hand. Let them have it. They can discuss and cover things that official team representatives just can’t. Especially in college athletics departments. Recruiting rumors, unofficial announcements, these are off limits for the team account, but fair game for reporters.
Your advantage is access, and no expectation to be objective. So take that and run with it.