Final Project: Serevi Rugby

We’re finally at the end, and what a ride it’s been. During the course of this semester, we’ve learned about everything from social media to proximity marketing to analytics. Combining 12 weeks of lectures, discussions and assignments into one cohesive analysis of a company’s IMC strategy was an incredibly difficult but useful final project. For this assignment, I selected Serevi Rugby—a company that’s aiming to grow the game of rugby in the United States from the youth level on up.

As a brand ambassador for the company, I have some first-hand experience seeing just how marketing campaigns are constructed. However, this project took that to another level and hopefully this project should serve as an example of how the company could continue to grow. Let’s take a look at who Serevi Rugby is below.

What is Serevi Rugby?serevi

Serevi Rugby was founded in 2010 by rugby legend Waisale Serevi and several partners. Based out of Seattle, Serevi aims to grow the game of rugby in the United States by providing rugby development programs, camps and clinics that aim to identify and cultivate elite rugby talent.

According to the company website, the company’s mission is, “To be the globally recognized platform for young people to progressively discover, enjoy and excel through rugby.”

The company works together with USA Rugby and other companies to help grow the game through a network of coaches and professional players and other staff members. Overall, the company serves as a platform to grow the game from the youth level all the way to the elite of the elite.

 

Target Audience11018335_992690574089448_3790436908467202490_n

Serevi Rugby’s target audience is the rugby community in the United States. This includes everyone from youth athletes all the way to elite ones. The company is based in Seattle, so there is a heavy emphasis on athletes on the west coast.

However, as the company has expanded, Serevi hosts high performance camps throughout the country, including all the way here in Florida. In that sense, the target audience is fairly broad and is inclusive of rugby players of all ages.

The target audience also includes rugby coaches, as there are different clinics and programs available to improve their coaching techniques and knowledge of the game. Overall, the audience is certainly the American rugby community with an emphasis on the younger demographic up to college-age, as this is considered the future of the sport and the means for it to grow in popularity in the U.S.

 

SWOT Analysis 10357171_992169907474848_5347092917062576380_n

Strengths

  1. Backed by well-known rugby legends with excellent backgrounds and notoriety worldwide.
  2. Works in conjunction with USA Rugby, the governing body of rugby in the United States, so it has legitimacy and support from the highest level.

Opportunities

  1. Rugby is the fastest-growing team sport in the United States, so the market will continue to grow.
  2. Obesity epidemic has created a need for more fitness activities/sports, and rugby is a new avenue for kids to pursue as a means to stay in shape.

Conclusion1551688_990382840986888_8319532712033039880_n

As someone who’s a rugby player, Serevi Rugby is definitely a recognizable brand in the community. In fact, outside of USA Rugby—the official governing body of the sport—Serevi is the crown jewel of the rugby community.

The company’s mission of growing the game in the United States through its camps and clinics is an admirable one, especially because of the focus on the youth. Because the sport is growing at such a high rate, it’s great to see that the company is making an active effort to propel that growth from a hands-on perspective.

In terms of its marketing, Serevi Rugby is definitely doing a lot of great things. The company is active on social media and doesn’t face much competition because of the relative small rugby market in the United States compared to other sports. That being said, the company still has plenty of growth to achieve in terms of sheer following and reach.

That said, that growth will likely coincide with the growth of the sport itself, so Serevi has a vested interest in making the sport a staple in American households. With rugby returning to the Olympics in 2016, the next year should serve as a major opportunity to continue to grow the awareness of both the sport and the company before it hopefully explodes next summer. If Serevi is able to continue bringing the sport to various places all over the country and grow the game, it will achieve even more success.

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In Your Words 12: Analytics

For the final week of class, our topic is an all-important one in the realm of multimedia communications: analytics. Our final assignment is to examine a wealth of data on Facebook InSights about the XYZ Company, a heating and cooling company based in Western Massachusetts.

The Facebook analytics data is available here at: MMC5006-week12.

For the purposes of this assignment, it is my job to review the said analytics, discuss key findings and suggest improvements and ideas for future posts and more complete IMC integration.

Key Findings Untitled

The data gleamed from the week of 3/11/15 to 3/17/15 reveals some interesting trends and findings for the XYZ Company. At first glance, here are some key findings:

Page Likes

  • Increased to 167 in total, which was up 12.8 percent from the week prior
  • The 19 new Page Likes represented a 137.5 percent increase overall

Post Reach

  • Total was 3,689, which was up 31.8 percent from the week prior
  • Post reach for the week was 3,647, an increase of 30.9 percent

Engagement

  • 207 total people engaged (increase of 65.6 percent from week prior)
  • 139 likes, 16 comments, 13 shares, 299 post clicks
  • Most active post was published on 2/27/15 with reach of 3,500 (71 likes/comments/shares; 44 clicks)
  • Fairly steady engagement on a daily basis, with highest on Saturday (140), Sunday (136) and Monday (138)
  • 58 percent of fans are women, with fairly even age distribution between 25-64
  • Large discrepancy in reach on basis of gender (73 percent male, 26 percent female)
  • More even engagement (60 percent male, 40 percent female)
  • Nearly half of reach is to men between ages of 25-44 (44 percent total)
  • 40 percent of engagement is from men between ages of 35-54

Overall, the data shows positive progression in terms of engagement, reach and likes from the week prior. Further examination reveals, however, that an overwhelming percentage of the post reach came due to paid advertisements rather than organic searches. This was also consistent for page likes, as many came due to paid ads.

Improvementsaaaa

There are several areas in which the XYZ Company can improve its Facebook page and activity usage. First, the data shows that a majority of its audience falls in the 26-34 age range. With that being said, tailoring content to that demographic would likely help improve the company’s Facebook page activity.

To do so, having more call-to-action posts would make sense since this demographic is already captured. Now, the goal would be to turn that audience into a more active one in terms of purchasing. The company could do so by offering discount posts to provide incentive to purchase products.

Another improvement that seems both viable and necessary is increasing organic reach. This can be achieved through better SEO. There’s nothing wrong with garnering activity through paid advertisements and boosted ads (as the company has successfully achieved), but the ultimate goal of increasing brand awareness should be through increasing organic reach. Essentially, the company probably needs to do a better job of getting its name out there and having potential customers find them through other avenues rather than paid ads.

IMC Integration

That being said, increasing organic reach through improved SEO could be achieved through other channels. Creating a blog or more effective main website with fresh content that ranks stronger in terms of SEO would be a great start toward boosting results. This is absolutely necessary when looking at the fact that just one person visited the Facebook page from Google search results.

Additionally, an effective IMC approach should make use of additional social media media channels and also email marketing. The company could easily set up Twitter and Instagram accounts, especially since the demographic that engages with its Facebook page falls into the 26-34 range that likely uses these social media accounts already. Overall, the company is definitely on a good start, and with better SEO and integration with additional channels, it’ll be able to grow its brand awareness and increase its organic reach.

Future Posts 

Based on the available data, the most effective posts to create in the future would involve discounts, contests or giveaways. The few giveaway-style posts have done well in the past, including the February post referenced earlier that had a reach of 3,500. In general, it seems like the customers are interested in savings (duh!), and the viral nature of discounts/giveaways could help increase the Facebook post shares.

Integrating these posts in other offline and online channels shouldn’t be too difficult. For example, the company could have a giveaway based on the Instagram user who receives the most re-posts or likes featuring the company’s image or link to the specific giveaway. The same could be done on Twitter based on the the user who receives the most retweets or likes with a link to the giveaway.

From an offline perspective, the company could feature a print ad in a local newspaper since this is a small regionally-based company, and it could also do so via magazines that are specific to the industry. Overall, building a small, regional company takes time, but integrating multimedia campaigns and using analytics can help propel that growth much quicker than ever before.

In Your Words 11: Reputation Management

Using what we learned in this week’s module about the hospitality industry and reputation management, we were asked to craft hypothetical responses to two sample Trip Advisor reviews.

While responding to positive feedback may seem easy on paper, it’s actually more difficult to craft a genuine response that doesn’t come across as egotistical or snarky. On the other hand, negative feedback can provide direct insight into what problems need to be addressed, and you can often offer discounts or deals to provide incentive for a customer to give you another chance.

Let’s take a look at the two sample reviews and how I would respond to them as the Social Media Manager.

Please note that these are sample posts and this is for class purposes only. 

Hyatt-example2015Dear Travelwith3kiddos,

Thank your for taking the time to share your positive experience at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. Our entire staff strives to provide all the comforts of home to our guests, and we’re glad to have met our high standards during your most recent stay.

As the social media manager for our Orlando location, I can say it is because of valued customers like you that we love coming to work every day. Whenever we have the chance to hear about a great stay at our location, we know we’re doing our job.

We’re glad that on your second stay you took notice of our recent facility upgrades. At the Hyatt Regency Orlando, we pride ourselves on the constant improvement to our facilities, including our 22,000-square foot spa, salon and fitness center, which you enjoyed first hand.

Unfortunately, due to an influx of late bookings, we were unable to place you in a room overlooking the pool, but as you well know, the weather made the pool area a bit messy during your stay. Hopefully the kids still had a great time despite the unpredictable weather conditions. We’d love for you to come back during the sunny summer and wake up with a pool view every morning.

Feeding that hungry bunch can always be a daunting task, but we’re glad to hear that the family enjoyed both the 24-hour B-Line Diner as well as The Fiorenzo. As a big foodie myself, I can’t help but sneak away to the B-Line during breaks to grab one of their famous milkshakes or other culinary concoctions crafted by world-class chef Corey Crawford. We hope the sizzling steaks and supreme service more than made up for the unexpected wait at The Fiorenzo.

As you well know, the Hyatt Regency Orlando is located right in the heart of the city near the world’s most popular theme parks and tourist destinations. Though the shuttle service price may have been a bit higher than you expected, we hope the level of service and safety provided for you and your family gave you that extra value that made your stay an unforgettable one. During your next stay, you could look into our Park and Ride Package, which includes guest room acclamations, a mid-size level rental car and complimentary self-parking.

We look forward to you returning for a third stay and many more at the Hyatt Regency Orlando and hope to offer you an equally excellent experience every time. If you have any questions or concerns, please email me at SSheehan@hyattregency.orlando.com.

Sincerely,

Stephen Sheehan, Social Media Manager at Hyatt Regency Orlando

Hilton-example-2015

Dear LUV2TRAVELWITHHUBBY,

My staff and I at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina offer our apologies for your unsatisfactory stay earlier this month. Everyone here at the Hilton aims to provide our guests with the ultimate level of convenience and comfort when you’re away from home. Unfortunately, we didn’t seem to hold up our end of the bargain during your 10-year high school reunion trip.

First off, I’d like to thank you for reaching out and providing us with feedback. We take every customer’s input seriously and aim to improve the overall guest experience based on this feedback. Because of your detailed response, our hotel management has undergone a thorough overhaul of its policies and has also held several staff meetings and training orientations in order to prevent such problems from occurring again.

One of those issues that you experienced—room preparation—is high on our priority list. No matter if its one of our guest rooms, spacious suites or accessible rooms, every guest at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina should walk into a pristine room prepared to the guest’s request. On that note, we have done a thorough inspection of every room in our hotel exceeds our standards for cleanliness and functionality.

Old furniture and bathroom fixtures are currently being replaced and upgraded so that this problem does not rear its ugly head again. We’d love for you to come check out these new features for yourself, so I’m extending a 25 percent discount on our Water View Marina Tower Room, which features panoramic views of the beautiful Ft. Lauderdale water and skyline.

Again, I apologize for the issues you faced while staying at the Hilton Ft. Lauderdale Marina, and although we cannot make up for your unsatisfactory experience during your 10-year high school reunion, we’d love to make new memories with you in the future. Please contact me directly at SSheehan@FtLauderdaleHilton.com to enjoy the discount above; I’d love to give you a tour of our improved pool area before showing you to your room.

I hope you give us the opportunity to provide you with a new outlook on the Hilton Ft. Lauderdale Marina. We’re confident that the issues you and other guests have brought up have been addressed and our hotel will exceed any industry standards. We look forward to seeing you the next time you stop in Ft. Lauderdale!

Sincerely,

Stephen Sheehan, Social Media Manager at Hilton Ft. Lauderdale Marina

In Your Words 10: Catersource Conference Review

Earlier this week, the annual four-day Catersource Conference took place in Las Vegas, where thousands of attendees, chefs and other industry professionals came together to share their ideas.

In order to drum up buzz about the popular conference, Catersource implemented a sound IMC strategy that included a heavy focus on social media before, during after the event. The purpose of this post is to discuss and critique how effective Catersource’s IMC strategy was at this year’s event.

*Please note that this post is for educational purposes only.

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Starting with the Catersource website, the site is easy to navigate and full of useful information on all aspects of the annual event. Drop-down menus provide links to various resources, including info for registration, hotels, mobile apps and the schedule of events. They also published a detailed guide that provided a holistic outlook on every aspect of the event.

From there, you can find links to all of Catersource’s social media outets: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest and YouTube. From that perspective, Catersource is obviously doing an excellent job maintaining active accounts across multiple social media platforms.

Prior to the event, Catersource consistently posted about one piece of content per day on Facebook, often using call-to-action posts such as this:

Hotel

Another example of pre-event marketing on social media was on Twitter, where Catersource was extremely active. In the days leading up to the event opening (March 8), Catersource tweeted at least once per day, though there was a significant increase in Twitter activity during the event. Here’s an example of a pre-event Tweet showcasing a call-to-action post that also utilized a link to a news release.
Tweet

Interestingly, Catersource was not very active on Instagram or YouTube prior to the event. Before this March 4 Instagram post, Catersource’s last post was on Dec. 23. The YouTube channel is rarely updated, and there still hasn’t been any videos uploaded from this week’s conference.

From an outsider’s perspective, it’s clear Catersource utilized three main social media channels effectively and actively during this week’s conference: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. During the days of the event, there were about 15-20 Tweets per day—a huge uptick from pre-event activity.

However, the account has just over 3,700 followers, and there were only a few re-tweets or favorites.

On Facebook, there were eight posts during the event, though none occurred on the final day. I found that to be a little surprising, along with the fact that the page didn’t even have 6,000 likes. For such a well-known event, you would think the marketing team would have done a better job in gaining a larger following and posting more often.

One avenue that was clearly a focus was Instagram. Like I mentioned, Catersource’s account was barely active prior to the event. Catersource posted 10 photos on March 8, eight on March 9, 19 on March 10 and 13 on the final day. That significant increase in Instagram activity was a highlight that stood out to me. And considering the event is based around food, that makes a ton of sense since this is such a visual area. To me, the whole concept of “we eat with our eyes” fits and may have been a reason why Catersource made such a strong emphasis on utilizing Instagram in its IMC approach at this year’s conference. In those posts, Catersource often highlighted important speakers and sponsors like this:

Lisa Dupar

sponsors

Though Catersource was very active in terms of posting content and using hashtags on both Twitter and Instagram, the response wasn’t terribly effective. With just over 1,400 Instagram Followers, most posts received between 10-25 likes, which certainly isn’t a great number.

The only consistent hashtag that could be seen across the three main social media platforms was #CSES2015. Perhaps more hashtags for sponsors and other key speakers could have been utilized to help in terms of promotion, especially on Instagram and Twitter.

From an overall outlook, it seems like Catersource did a solid job using an IMC approach that incorporated the three main social media outlets effectively. As we’ve learned, it’s important to create fresh content for your audience, and they certainly hit on that level. However, the level of response wasn’t particularly encouraging across most platforms, and the lack of hashtags could have played a role.

As a whole, the event did maintain a consistent brand that emphasized a clean, sophisticated look that focused on the speakers, contests and exhibitors who made the conference a success. In the future, Catersource may want to round out its IMC approach with more videos. It seemed concerning that the YouTube channel hasn’t been updated in several months. An event like this would seem to lend itself to having taped interviews and featured videos on sponsors, contests and speakers. This is definitely one area that was lacking that should be improved in the future.

 

In Your Words 9: We’re Going to Disney!

Whether you’re a 5-year-old kid going for your first time or an 85-year-old visiting for the 10th, there’s nothing quite like going to Disney World. For this week’s assignment, I’ll be acting as a social media specialist for one of Disney’s most unique attractions: Epcot. Known for its incredible food selection from around the world, Epcot is truly an eclectic experience that allows visitors to feel as though they’ve traveled the world in just a day.

For the purposes of this assignment, I will be creating a hypothetical IMC plan for the month of April. Please keep in mind that this is strictly hypothetical and is for academic purposes only. My ideas are by no means a reflection of the Disney or Epcot brands. Facebook posts will be made roughly every other day. There will be daily Twitter posts. Instagram will also be utilized in conjunction with both social networking sites.

Goals

With the International Flower & Garden Festival beginning this weekend, the month of April will be critical in terms of drawing in a crowd. In addition, there are several other events that I would target through social media and with an IMC approach. Here are some goals to strive for during the month of April:

1. Increase Epcot Twitter account following by 5 percent

2. Increase Epcot Facebook page likes by 5 percent

3. Set monthly attendance record for Flower & Garden Festival during April

IMC Calendar

April 1 

Facebook: Getting ready to plan a weekend getaway? Feel the freshness of spring at Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival! Find out all the details here and #BookEpcot today!

Twitter: Plan your weekend getaway today and #BookEpcot to visit the world-renowned #FlowerandGardenFestival http://bit.ly/1Es1aZU

Instagram: Plan your weekend getaway today and #BookEpcot to visit the world-renowned #FlowerandGardenFestival

Epcot-International-Flower-and-Garden-Festival_Full_18220

April 2

Twitter (8 a.m.): Meet all your favorite #DisneyPals at the #EpcotCharacterSpot all day long!

Twitter (3 p.m.): Our #CanadianLumberjacks sure can rock a flannel. Watch them in action at the Mill Stage tonight! #Timber

Instagram: Our #CanadianLumberjacks sure can rock a flannel. Watch them in action at the Mill Stage tonight! #Timber

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April 3

Facebook: It’s #FlashbackFriday! Take a trip back to the ’90s and meet Aladdin and Jasmine in Morocco before taking a trip to France to meet Belle from Beauty and the Beast!

Twitter: Take a trip back to the ’90s and meet Aladdin and Jasmine in Morocco before taking a trip to France to meet Belle #FlashBackFriday

Instagram: Take a trip back to the ’90s and meet Aladdin and Jasmine in Morocco before taking a trip to France to meet Belle from Beauty and the Beast #FlashBackFriday

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April 4

Twitter: Cap off your #Epcot experience with our stunning fireworks display at the World Showcase Lagoon #IllumiNations

Instagram: Cap off your #Epcot experience with our stunning fireworks display at the World Showcase Lagoon #IllumiNations

illuminations-reflections-of-earth-00
April 5 

Twitter: Take a Sunday stroll and enjoy the fresh fragrance of our #FlowerandGardenFestival

April 6

Facebook: Ready to start your week off on the right foot? Get started on booking a family vacation to Epcot to enjoy tasty food and attractions from around the world. Buy your tickets today at https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/tickets/.

Twitter: Start your week off right by booking a family vacation to #Epcot. Find tickets at http://bit.ly/1cZmLYk #MakeMagicHappen

Future-World-Epcot-Center-Walt-Disney-Resort

April 7 

Twitter: Looking for a little taste of Latin America? Grab lunch at the brand new Botanas Botanico. Go #UnderTheSea and try the ceviche!

Instagram: Looking for a little taste of Latin America? Grab lunch at the brand new Botanas Botanico. Go #UnderTheSea and try the ceviche!

Epcot-F&G-Botanas-Botanico-Food-544x350

April 8 

Facebook: Ready to take the plunge under the sea? Epcot’s DiveQuest is a unique scuba experience that provides unlimited visibility and incredible access to marine life and coral. Call 407-WDW-TOUR to book your snorkel tour today!

Twitter: Go #UndertheSea with our #DiveQuest scuba experience. Call 407-WDW-TOUR to book your snorkel tour today!

Instagram: Go #UndertheSea with our #DiveQuest scuba experience. Call 407-WDW-TOUR to book your snorkel tour today!

epcot-divequest-00

April 9 

Twitter: Trek to China and take a picture with Mulan in honor of #TBT #WorldTraveler

Instagram: Trek to China and take a picture with Mulan in honor of #TBT #WorldTraveler

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April 10 

Facebook: Our sixth Fun Fresh Weekend at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival kicks off today! Our stages will be rockin’ with tunes by The Village People as part of our #GardenRocksConcertSeries.

Twitter: Know what’s more fun than livin’ at the YMCA? Seeing The Village People live at #Epcot! http://bit.ly/1ATGyUr

r5041-village-people-jpeg-001

April 11 

Twitter (9 a.m.): Grow your ideas about #GreenLiving with IFAS at the @UF Stage from 1-4 p.m. today

Twitter (3 p.m.): Missed out on #TheVillagePeople yesterday? They’ll be back on stage tonight at our #GardenRocksConcertSeries!

April 12

Twitter: Learn tips and tricks about #gardening at the Greenhouse Stage from 11-2 with Cindy Stump and Andre Hanson from @Disney’s Horticulture

April 13 

Facebook: Visitors of all ages will enjoy our tremendously talented Sbandieratori Di Sansepolcro. Watch our Italian flag throwers perform dazzling displays of Tuscan art that will make you feel like you’re right in the heart of Italy.

Twitter: Take a trip to #Italy and watch Sbandieratori Di Sansepolcro dazzle with displays of authentic flag throwing #BookEpcot

Instagram: Take a trip to #Italy and watch Sbandieratori Di Sansepolcro dazzle with displays of authentic flag throwing #BookEpcot

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April 14

Twitter: Find an authentic taste of France at #FleurdeLys. You won’t want to miss out on their famous gnocchi or confit de canard #BonAppetit

April 15

Twitter: Dive down under with #DolphinsinDepth for an intimate underwater experience unlike any other. Book at http://bit.ly/1hUIWUr

Instagram: Dive down under with #DolphinsinDepth for an intimate underwater experience unlike any other. Book at http://bit.ly/1hUIWUr

dolphins-in-depth-00

April 16

Twitter: Take a picture with your favorite #Disney character at #Epcot and post as #TBT

Instagram: Take a picture with your favorite #Disney character at #Epcot and post as #TBT

April 17

Facebook: Celebrate Earth Day Weekend at Epcot with two extra days of Disney fun! The sweet, sultry tunes of John Secada will be one of the highlights of our seventh Fun Fresh Weekend! Find out more information at http://bit.ly/1ATGyUr.

Twitter: Celebrate #EarthDayWeekend at Epcot with the sweet, sultry tunes of John Secada #FunFreshWeekend

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April 18

Twitter: Check out the #GreenhouseStage today as Tom MacCubbin shares his #tipsandtricks on how to make your garden blossom.

April 19

Twitter: Check out Rochelle Greayer of @PithandVigor as she presents at the #FreshEpcotStage from 12-3 p.m. this afternoon.

April 20

Twitter: Start your week of #healthyeating right with a taste of #FloridaFresh. Support the state’s economy while boosting your immune system with local produce.

Instagram: Start your week of #healthyeating right with a taste of #FloridaFresh. Support the state’s economy while boosting your immune system with local produce.

Florida Fresh Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2013 - 11

April 21

Twitter: Want to re-live your #Epcot experience? Check out your YouTube channel for the latest #Disney videos: http://bit.ly/1FwAshf

April 22

Facebook: Finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for! Wrap up your Earth Day Weekend with the unwrapping of our newest sand sculpture based on the new Disneynature film Monkey Kingdom.

Twitter: We’re unveiling our newest sand sculpture based on the new film #MonkeyKingdom. Don’t miss out on the reveal!

Instagram: We’re unveiling our newest sand sculpture based on the new film #MonkeyKingdom. Don’t miss out on the reveal!

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April 23

Twitter: Our final #FunFreshWeekend of April is just a day away. Book your tickets now at http://bit.ly/1cZmLYk #BookEpcot

April 24

Facebook: The final weekend of April features Florida Fresh Weekend and you can bet we’ve got a great lineup planned. You won’t want to miss the musical act of The Guess Who. Check out their top hit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sw8nXCx5qgo

Twitter: #FloridaFreshWeekend is here! Check out our musical act #TheGuessWho at http://bit.ly/1rDu3cY #BookEpcot

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April 25

Twitter: Our #GreenhouseStage features two top-notch authors and a special guest. Listen to Heather McPherson and Katie Farmand share #gardening tips & tricks.

Instagram: Our #GreenhouseStage features two top-notch authors and a special guest. Listen to Heather McPherson and Katie Farmand share #gardening tips & tricks.

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April 26

Twitter: Professional horticulturist and landscape designer Jessi Bloom shares her #tipsandtricks from 12-3 p.m. at our #FreshEpcotStage today!

April 27

Facebook: Discover the story behind Walt Disney’s dream to build #Epcot. The UnDISCOVERed Future World walking tour is a four-hour trip into the mind of our creator and his vision that led to the creation of one of the world’s most fascinating tourist attractions.

Twitter: Want to find out the history of how #Epcot was built? Reserve your spot on the #UnDISCOVERED Future World tour today: http://bit.ly/1826qqx

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April 28

Twitter: Book a #Disney resort for as little as $102/night. Find great deals on our gorgeous resorts at http://bit.ly/1dc6iGv #BookEpcot

April 29

Twitter: Enjoy a fresh dining experience at the #PineapplePromenade for unique pineapple-inspired dishes. The pineapple dog bites back with spicy Sriracha mayo #Yum

Instagram: Enjoy a fresh dining experience at the #PineapplePromenade for unique pineapple-inspired dishes. The pineapple dog bites back with spicy Sriracha mayo #Yum

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April 30

Facebook: Recap your favorite #Disney experience with a picture at #Epcot or any of our other fabulous parks. Make sure to use the hashtag #TBT to re-live those unforgettable memories.

Twitter: Re-live your favorite #Epcot experience by posting a picture at #Disney with the hashtag #TBT

Instagram: Re-live your favorite #Epcot experience by posting a picture at #Disney with the hashtag #TBT

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In Your Words 8: Fancred

For this week’s assignment, it was my mission to find an industry-related social media network. Naturally, my first thought was about sports. Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware of any existing social networks specifically devoted to sports fans.

But a simple Google search later, I came across Fancred, a social network for sports fanatics that is quickly gaining steam. Let’s take a closer look at this emerging industry-specific social network.

What Exactly is Fancred?

 fancred

Fancred is the solution for people who are tired of reading uneducated, hyperbolic statements about sports on Facebook. This sports-specific social network was founded in 2012 and just raised $3 million in financing back in August in addition to the $1.5 million it received during its inception.

Based out of Boston, Fancred features a mobile application that’s available for both the iPhone and Android. The platform is branded as a tool that allows fans to capture their favorite sports moments. It does this by combining the best aspects of popular social network apps in that users can check in at events, upload photos and share articles.

According to the Forbes article, Fancred CEO Kash Razzaghi said its user base is growing 50 percent month-over-month. However, he did not reveal any specific numbers regarding the actual user base. Razzaghi also said the target demographic is college students (right here!) and that “he is determined to build bustling college-based communities.”

Interestingly, Fancred has got some serious backers. Former Patriots star Lawyer Milloy joined the Fancred team. Teams like the Boston Red Sox, Mississippi State University and Liverpool Football Club have also joined the Fancred community, according to Forbes. The company does have Facebook and Twitter accounts, though the following is still relatively small.

How Does Fancred Work?

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This Fancred profile by David Zax does a great job delving into the ins and outs of this emerging social network. Considered “sports Facebook,” Fancred allows uers to tailor all the content they receive. Here’s a good description of just how the app works:

All activity on Fancred is grouped by teams. Fancred will further use its algorithmic magic to figure out which teams you’re most enthusiastic about within your set of preferred teams, and will deliver you more content related to that team. “We can go really deep building a profile for you, for each team you enjoy,” says Razzaghi.

And as far as future growth, there are some big plans in the future, Zax writes:

Monetization prospects are various, he adds. A central feature of Fancred is what the site calls the Fancred Score, something like an in-network Klout score that grows based on how active you are and how engaging your content is to others. Though the main function of the Fancred Score heretofore has been bragging rights, says Razzaghi, he is working with stadiums to have the score translate into real discounts.

So What Does this Mean for Sports Fans?

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Without a doubt, this is a great idea. But will it catch on? I think it’s too early to tell. The sports industry as a whole is insanely competitive, and the availability of sports information makes it difficult for a new venture to make a big dent into the stronghold of ESPN and Bleacher Report.

However, because of its social media integration, it definitely stands a chance.

One of the reasons I get annoyed with my personal Facebook feed is the amount of garbage posted from friends who support rival teams. By using Fancred, I would have the ability to tailor my news feed to only teams I want to read about or view. Additionally, the ability to share photos is a pretty unique and exciting way to build a content community.

The obvious competition for Fancred is Facebook, mostly due to its market capture, popularity and longevity. But because sport is such a global product, and because sports communities are so tight-knit, I definitely think Fancred has a chance to succeed. Few entities bring people together like sports, so a social network that’s only about sports definitely has an edge on more broad-based channels like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Incorporating Proximity Marketing

Proximity marketing could certainly be useful for a sports-based social network like Fancred. If fans sign up with the app and select a favorite team, perhaps content could be pushed to them about sports stores, sports bars or other related products in their area. Marketers could even work with ticket firms to promote family-night deals or similar specials on game tickets based on a user’s location.

Another opportunity could be location-based if fans attend a game. Once a fan is near a stadium or arena, deals could be promoted regarding drink or food specials nearby, or even merchandise.

The sheer amount of sport-related products and the fact that users will already be engaged in use of their mobile device makes for some interesting proximity marketing opportunities with the Fancred app.

IMC Approach

Though some may view Facebook as a competitor, I think it could also help Fancred succeed. Perhaps Facebook could even think about investing or inquiring the company to help provide structure, support and direction in order to develop this into a niche element of Facebook that’s directed at sports fans.

In addition, I think Instagram could work with Fancred since it does have a photo-sharing element. Again, this company has already succeeded in the realm that Fancred is trying to break into, but there’s no reason Fancred can’t self-promote through Instagram and pick up a decent following for its product.

Finally, I think working with major media companies to secure advertising would be immensely helpful. Bleacher Report’s Team Stream app is advertised heavily during NBA games on TNT. Of course, it helps when you have Turner’s backing.

It would make sense for Fancred to try and secure advertising space on major sports networks just for visibility. Perhaps that could lead to a partnership with one of these networks, though the strength of the ESPN app could preclude that. I guess a spot on the Today Show isn’t a bad start, though.

Overall, Fancred is definitely something worth keeping an eye on for diehard sports fans who want only sports 24-7. I’m excited to download it and try it out for myself. As a sport management major and diehard Boston fan, it seems right up my alley.

What is Path?

One of the hallmark features of social networks is the ability to connect with friends and family. And in the case of Path, that ability is exclusive. Hailed as “the most popular social network nobody understands,” the app was originally designed to allow an intimate network of users to share photos and updates within a “closed and trusted network of friends.” But how did Path begin, where is it going and who’s using it? Let’s take a look.

History

Launched in 2010, Path is actually the brainchild of several famous social networking moguls. Ex-Facebooker and former Apple employee Dave Morin and Napster co-founder Shawn Fanning founded the company five years ago. According to the International Business Times, the company has received $77 million in investments from 40 different investors.

The original idea behind Path was to use it as a companion network to Facebook, but in a manner in which users could only have 50 in-network connections. However, that number grew to 150, as the app was first released for the iPhone before it became available for Android, Windows and the iPad.

How Does it Work?

With that said, Path is obviously mobile-friendly. Considering its co-founders have extensive experience in the technology realm, that should come as no surprise. The company’s various apps are available across multiple platforms and have a sleek, user-friendly design and function.

Path’s overall design is quite sleek and maintains a simple yet high-end design. Just take a look for yourself.

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Essentially, the app acts as a news feed of updates but only from the people you truly want to hear from. In that regard, the exclusivity of the information and the people from whom you receive it separate it from the other social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

This TechCrunch piece highlights the latest versions of both Path and Path Talk (more about that later). Path 4.0 moved all the core navigation to the bottom of the app, and the messaging feature has since been removed in favor of the separate Path Talk app. Overall, the app has certainly deviated from its original structure of such a limited network of friends, but with some struggles as far as user base and growth, that may have been a necessity.

Though this article is dated, it does do a great job highlighting some of the great aesthetic and functional features of Path, which includes an Instagram-type photo sharing feature.

Who’s Using It?

According to Venture Beat, Path sees about 5 million users per day—a minuscule number compared to the hundreds of millions of daily Facebook users. Due to some of Path’s marketing struggles, Apple gladly began talks to acquire the company in order to improve its foothold in the social network realm.

On the other hand, the company has taken measures to increase its user base and overall growth. This BuzzFeed piece highlights Path’s product line expansion, which has seen the development of complementary apps like Path Talk—a private messaging service. The development of a promotional tool has improved through the ability to promote the app and individual profiles using the hashtag #thepersonalnetwork. Unfortunately, that has resulted in a maximum network of 500 friends, which detracts from the original intent of keeping a tight-knit social circle.

The impact of the promotion tool via other social channels is explained perfectly in the BuzzFeed piece:

And for some of the app’s devoted users, Path’s decision to be more inclusive has proven frustrating, especially a new feature that encourages users to promote their Path profiles via Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram. Approximately 18 months ago, (per users requests, Morin notes) Path rolled out the feature which effectively kicks down the door of Path’s closed network.

Though the promotion tool was created in an effort to appease one of the most common user complaints in the United States, the audience is actually rather diverse. According to this ReadWrite article, “Path’s success is centered largely in Southeast Asia, specifically Indonesia.” In fact, this Tech Crunch piece from a few months prior reported Southeast Asia is Path’s biggest market, followed by the United States with a growing user base in the Middle East. The fact that the main market is in Indonesia shouldn’t be such a celebrated triumph, one website writes. In fact, the overall direction of Path and its leadership definitely warrants some criticism. I wasn’t able to find any major brands or celebrities using the app, perhaps because it’s mission is based on keeping a private social network. Perhaps the fact that there are no known celebrities or brands that publicly support the app is a major concern.

Growth (and Development)

However, the other apps like Path Talk (private chat) and Place Messaging (a business text customer service feature) are certainly help expand the boundaries of Path’s current abilities.

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In fact, that expansion into the business realm could prove a big boon to Path’s success. Morin went on to explain the thinking behind the business text feature in the ReadWrite piece:

“The way we think about messaging in the future is not just about who you can message but what you can message,” Morin said. The business text feature is set to be released in the next update of Path Talk. “It enables you to text message any business in your life … and we have agents on the backend that see the text message, pick up the phone and call the business to get the information, and bring it back to you in under five minutes.”

Closing Thoughts

Overall, Path certainly has the look and functionality of a successful social networking app. It seems the people behind it are dedicated to making it successful, and the possible acquisition by Apple could only mean a brighter future. However, in a competitive app-driven world, I’m not so sure it’ll ever attain true success, at least not in the U.S. Similar options like Snapchat and Instagram, as well as its big brother Facebook, simply can’t be beaten.

Check out my Prezi presentation on Path for more information about this interesting app.

In Your Words 7: Brands That Excel at IMC

For this week’s post, we were assigned to pick three brands that are active on all social media channels. I selected three that I follow and use consistently, and it just so happens that all three excel at IMC. Let’s take a look at them below.

Optimum Nutrition

As one of the leading supplement brands in the world, Optimum Nutrition is easily recognizable and highly sought after by everyone from fitness freaks to casual gym-goers. Their range of products includes protein powders, recovery formulas, creatine and other health/fitness supplements.LINK

From an IMC approach, Optimum Nutrition (ON) excels at pushing products and pulling in customers. The company is very active on social media, with more than a million Facebook likes and more than 54,000 followers on their main Twitter account. One of the ways in which Optimum Nutrition diversifies their IMC approach is through specific accounts tailored to particular markets. A basic search reveals several location-specific Twitter accounts, including UK-based and Ireland-based accounts.

Even with this diversity, the company maintains a consistent approach in terms of messaging and imagery. Social media posts often feature pictures of either the products or sponsored athletes and typically have a light-hearted tone to this message. Here’s an example:

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Optimum Nutrition’s content is up-to-date, as the Twitter account posts and re-tweets content throughout the day. The Facebook page features posts every few days, often with links to specials. The YouTube channel isn’t quite as active, with videos being posted every few months.

Because the company is active on several channels, it is able to drive users to its main site and back to the other channels. For example, pictures posted on Facebook are also posted on Instagram. In addition, Twitter posts will often include a link to a larger Facebook post that may have another link to the company’s main website.

Both Twitter and Instagram posts feature many hashtags, which we’ve learned is an excellent strategy for attracting an audience. Each Instagram post has at least five hashtags, while Twitter posts may contain fewer.

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Overall, Optimum Nutrition certainly has a strong IMC strategy that makes use of several social media channels and drives the audience to make purchases of their products. It’s for that reason that Optimum Nutrition is the leading supplement brand on the market.

Asics 

As one of the leading brands in the running shoe industry, Asics really does a great job from an IMC perspective. The company has a great Facebook page that not only features posts about its products but also features shoutout posts that highlight some of its fans/followers, which I find to be a great way to connect with their audience.

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Asics is also active on Twitter, and like Optimum Nutrition, it has many location-based accounts, which help the company connect with its markets across the world. Asics is able to effectively use an IMC approach by promoting its products across its various channels, which also includes some pretty neat videos. The company has a very interactive media strategy that encourages fans/followers/consumers to post pictures, share stories and videos using the company’s products.

From that standpoint, the company is very consistent in terms of its branding and messaging. Many of the posts are motivational and uplifting and seem to reflect the bright, vibrancy of the products themselves. Again, the content is kept up to date with one daily Facebook post and about three Twitter posts or re-tweets per day. The Instagram account also features about one daily post.

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Like Optimum Nutrition, Asics makes use of hashtags in its posts, particularly on Instagram and Twitter. Most Instagram posts feature four to five tags, and some photos even feature a hashtag in the actual picture. As shown below, I think one of the great ways that the company takes part in IMC and creates bonds with its audience is through featuring other users in their posts. They also use Twitter to tweet out links to their Facebook, Instagram and YouTube posts, which helps drive traffic. Overall, just a great company that engages with and builds its audience daily.

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Fender

Food and fitness are my biggest passions, but another one is guitar. I’ve been playing since my sophomore year of high school, and so I figured one of the biggest guitar brands in the world deserved a mention. Fender has been the brand of choice for some of the most famous musicians of all time, including Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn. Though the company is known for its vintage look, it’s very much active in marketing and the IMC approach.

Surprisingly, Fender is one of the most active guitar brands on the social media circuit. The Facebook page has nearly 2.1 million likes, while the company’s Twitter account has 376,000 followers. Their Google+ page as 12,722 followers and nearly 4 million views. Of course, Instagram is a big tool for Fender, too.

Fender’s IMC approach makes use of their strong branding and history to create content on multiple channels. It also helps to have highly recognizable celebrities to endorse their products.

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From a consistency standpoint, Fender’s social media accounts play to the company’s strength in that it features stories, photos and videos of its great line of artists. And because of their beautiful craftsmanship, the guitars are always the main focus. I mean, who knew wood could look so good?

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To drive people to their other social media accounts, Fender tweets out links to Facebook and Instagram posts. It also features a lot of links to stories on its Facebook page. And as for hashtags, well, the cover photo on the Facebook page says it all.

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Needless to say, Fender is definitely doing a great job at maintaining a strong, active social presence. It just goes to show that it doesn’t mean old, established brands can’t do new-school things online.

In Your Words 6: Hey there, USA Rugby

Dear USA Rugby,

There are a few things I love in this world. One is ice cream. Another is America. And the third is rugby. While I don’t expect to scoop Ben & Jerry’s for the rest of my life (though I’d gladly indulge in tasting their newest concoction every now and then), I am the man to help grow our great game right here on the home front.

See, I picked up this crazy game just like most Americans have—while in college. The thrill of hitting with no pads for 80 minutes and then enjoying a pint or two after seemed too good to be true.

Of course, the game is growing like crazy. You’re the caretaker of the game here in the U.S., but even your team can’t do it alone.

That’s why you need me.

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So why exactly am I the right person to help make rugby the next major sport in a country dominated by football, basketball and baseball? Let me show you.

Media Maven

Well, one of the weaknesses in the current American rugby scene is proper media coverage. Sure, there are a few websites that attempt to keep the public informed, albeit at a level of professionalism that would even make Kim Kardashian cringe.

What I can bring to you is both the knowledge and experience in sports media that can propel rugby from infancy to legitimacy.

I’m a 23-year-old University of Florida graduate student studying sport management who obtained his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Gator Nation. I’ve covered sports dating back to my high school days, and have been growing my brand through big-time websites like Bleacher Report and FanRag Sports.

Did I mention I’ve also had a story featured in Rugby Magazine?

I’ve also worked as a content editor for an Internet marketing company in Miami, where I learned about both search engine optimization and how to parallel park my Ford F-150 for six months.

Work and Play

Besides being a big fan of the game, I’m also the current captain for the UF club team, an All-SCRC selection, have interned for Florida Rugby Union and currently work as a brand ambassador for Serevi Rugby.

I am a rare breed in that I am an experienced athlete who actually knows how to articulate thoughts and ideas. Unlike the NFL with its endless cast of player-turned-commentator wannabes, I’m experienced in both avenues. Whether it’s podcasts, articles or video appearances, I’ve got the perfect package of both on- and off-field skills.

Motivation to Be the Best

Let’s just say I live and breathe rugby and want to make it the next big sport in the United States. I can connect with and build a bigger audience and help give legitimacy to a game that deserves it. I’m the biggest competitor. I hate to lose…at anything. And in this case, my determination to give the American rugby community the best coverage it deserves is unwavering. Still have your doubts? Check out my Pinterest board to see just what I’m all about.

I hope to join this journey with USA Rugby in creating a long-lasting, successful rugby culture here in the greatest country in the world. Let’s make rugby more than a sport; let’s make it a lifestyle.

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Sincerely,

Stephen Sheehan

In Your Words 5: Top Blogs

It seems like yesterday that blogs were the little brother fighting for attention in the Internet world. There was a certain stigma of unprofessionalism attached to blogging. Newspaper writers, television broadcasters and other traditional media professionals scorned blogs. Ironically, the times have changed so much that many of these people are actually blogging today. The diversity of blog topics available is endless, but here are three that I follow on a daily basis and you should too!

ESPN Boston: Patriots 

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When I wake up, I check Facebook, Twitter, my email and texts. The next site I check is the ESPN Boston Patriots blog. Here is a breakdown of what I consider to be the most informational, in-depth Patriots blog available:

1. What type of blog is it per this week’s lecture?

According to this week’s lecture, this is considered a news blog. Several professional writers contribute on a daily basis, headlined by Mike Reiss. The blog also includes special pieces from other ESPN writers, including Darren Rovell, as well as Associated Press reports.

2. What is its purpose?

The purpose of this blog is to provide a holistic view of the Patriots organization. This includes everything from hard news about signings, trades and other transactions. It also includes feature stories, videos and game analysis that give fans valuable information beyond the box score.

3. What makes them unique? 

What separates this blog from other Patriots blogs is the fact that most of the content is written by a reporter who is directly tied in with the team. Mike Reiss previously worked for the Patriots’ official newspaper before making his name at the Boston Globe. His role with ESPN Boston provides him with excellent access as well as increased visibility and recognition compared to other fan-based blogs.

4. Talk how it reflects about the brand. 

As a part of the ESPN brand, this blog is obviously highly professional and is considered a great source for news. From a credibility standpoint, it’s a step above its competitors and also maintains a very similar layout to any other team blogs under the ESPN name. It reflects the top priority from ESPN’s brand—to break news and present it in engaging format.

5. What drives traffic to the blog? 

Without a doubt, ESPN’s strong brand identification helps drive traffic to the blog. With that, it’s high ranking on search engines probably ranks as the No. 1 reason people visit this blog. If you Google “Patriots blog” it is the first result. Without a doubt, ESPN’s branding power and stronghold on the sports news industry online helps generate traffic as well.

6. Is it a successful blog per some of the bullet points in this week’s lecture?

Absolutely! The site’s main writer, Mike Reiss, is extremely active on Twitter and has more than 120,000 followers. The blog is updated throughout the day with news and analysis. Maintaining fresh, original content is definitely a hallmark of success in the blogging world and this blog certainly meets that standard. Additionally, the ESPN Boston Twitter account also sends out links to posts on the blog.

7. What’s missing on the blog?

I may be nitpicking, but I think the lack of integration with the ESPN section for the Patriots is one small part that’s missing. When I’m writing a Patriots piece for Today’s Pigskin, I often have this blog open as a resource. However, in order to get statistics or box scores, I have to open a separate page since this blog does not contain a link or section that includes that valuable information.

8. Are there advertisers? 

On the right side, there is a column with an ad for the ESPN Fan Shop, which is powered by Dick’s Sporting Goods. Individual posts also have links to sponsored headlines at the bottom of each post, directly above the Facebook comment feed. Overall, there aren’t many ads on the page, which is actually something I really enjoy.

Grantland

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In keeping with my sports theme, one of the best blogs available for full-length featured stories is Grantland. The brainchild of uber-popular and controversial ESPN writer Bill Simmons, Grantland has been around for about four years and features contributions from several staff members and other contributors. The site also features popular culture pieces in addition to its sports coverage.

1. What type of blog is it per this week’s lecture?

According to this week’s lecture, this is considered a news blog. Simmons is an easily identifiable face associated with the blog, as well as other writers like Zach Lowe and Bill Barnwell, who are all very active on social media. The blog also has a verified Twitter account with more than 418,000 followers.

2. What is its purpose?

The purpose of this blog is to provide news and entertaining features for its audience. While the primary audience is sports fans, the site also contains features on popular cultures subjects like TV and movies. Overall, Grantland provides more entertaining content than typical sports news blogs, and a hallmark of its brand is its full-length feature style.

3. What makes them unique? 

Like I mentioned above, Grantland doesn’t operate like a normal ESPN entity. Instead, it provides in-depth features that examine specific games, plays and teams. The writers typically use more analytics in their stories than other sports sites/blogs, and the language used on the site is definitely less strict than with typical news outlets. Simmons is well-known for his wild style and the site definitely takes after its creator.

4. Talk how it reflects about the brand. 

Interestingly, I’d say the site reflects more on Simmons’ brand than ESPN’s. Grantland is supposedly not directly associated with the ESPN brand, but it’s definitely directly tied with Simmons. As such, he and his writers have more creative freedom and definitely walk the line. The types of pieces covered and the overall presentation and length fall much more in line with what Simmons has produced over the years during his controversial career.

5. What drives traffic to the blog? 

Interestingly, Grantland doesn’t generate as much traffic as some of its competitors. This Business Insider piece highlights some of the problems with Grantland’s traffic as it relates to the value of Bill Simmons. Based on this article, it seems like most of Grantland’s traffic is generated by ESPN.com rather than its writers and their use of social media. That could be seen as a weakness, though I would argue that it simply shows the strength of ESPN and its brand.

6. Is it a successful blog per some of the bullet points in this week’s lecture?

Again, this is definitely a successful blog in that it’s generated millions and millions of visitors. Its writers are very active on social media, and Simmons’ brand value and visibility is a tremendous asset for the site. Content isn’t updated as often as some other sports blogs, but that’s inherent considering the length of the content. Still, there’s content updated daily, especially during the NFL season.

7. What’s missing on the blog?

To me, there really isn’t much missing on the blog. While I am familiar with the site, there isn’t a section that explains what the site is about for those who stumble upon it. The section headers also may not be clear to new viewers, though if you scroll over there is a dropdown menu with explanations and links.

8. Are there advertisers? 

One of the benefits of Grantland is its clean presentation without rotational or banner ads. However, this piece does a better job of explaining some of its advertising strategy, which includes customized integration for particular advertisers.

The Blissful Balance

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My final example happens to come from a former classmate of mine while I was an undergrad at UF. Christina Valenziano is a UF graduate who has big passions for food and fitness. Her blog, The Blissful Balance, has been an excellent source for both information and motivation and deserves mention. Here’s my blog breakdown of The Blissful Balance:

1. What type of blog is it per this week’s lecture?

Based on this week’s lecture, this blog would probably fall right in between semi-professional and recreational. The blog has undergone many design changes since I began following it last year, and posts are typically up every few days. I’d probably lean toward semi-professional, especially since it falls into the “one-woman show” category and has a professional look that certainly sets a high standard.

2. What is its purpose?

Christina’s tagline says it best: Simplifying the relationship between food, fitness, health and happiness.

Her about section also contains a great statement of purpose:

After a year of blogging about my favorite recipes on ‘Food is Life’, I realized I’d been restricting myself to only one passion. While my infatuation with food is rooted in my blood, I have a love for fashion, travelling, fitness, writing and photography that I’ve yet to truly share. The Blissful Balance is a way for me to show and pursue my interests as more than hobbies, and maybe inspire others to do the same.

3. What makes them unique? 

What makes Christina’s blog unique is that it’s not dedicated solely to food. It’s not geared toward just fitness freaks. And it’s not just for fashionistas, either. It’s a blend of many different topics that also appeal to both sexes. I remember seeing one of her early posts about nutrition and actually asked her some questions myself. Achieving balance, as is the stated purpose of her blog, extends beyond any particular group.

4. Talk how it reflects about the brand. 

This blog reflects upon Christina’s brand in that it demonstrates the passions that have made her successful. She’s an active runner and fitness enthusiast, as well as a big-time foodie. Both of these passions are channeled through the blog in a professional manner. She offers advice and insight, along with facts to support her assertions. Overall the blog reflects her brand as a helpful resource in many different avenues.

5. What drives traffic to the blog? 

Without any look at analytics, I would say the biggest way traffic gets generated is through social media. Christina has her own Twitter account in addition to a Twitter account for the blog itself. The Blissful Balance Facebook page has 316 likes as of Sunday afternoon, too.

6. Is it a successful blog per some of the bullet points in this week’s lecture?

Based on the criteria in this week’s lecture, this blog is also a success in its own right. New posts are published every few days, and they certainly are fresh, engaging pieces that are based on Christina’s own experiences. Her inclusion of photos in every post is also a great touch. She also has social media accounts with which to share links, and she’s on her way to establishing longevity for her blog.

7. What’s missing on the blog?

The only area that I found lacking was advertising, though that’s probably by her own choice. The blog probably needs better traffic and a bigger following in order to generate advertising.

8. Are there advertisers? 

As stated above, I did not see any advertisers on the blog. Potential advertisers could include fitness or food brands she highlights, especially those featured in her Reviews section.