With just over two weeks to go until this year’s Ministry of Sports Marketing conference kicks off in Sydney, panel speaker and ShareRoot boss Noah Abelson (pictured above) gave B&T the lowdown on user-generated content (UGC) in the sports marketing arena.
What can we expect from your presentation at the upcoming Ministry of Sports Marketing conference?
A rousing conversation with a combination of seriousness and enjoyment.
What is UGC, and what are the benefits of producing it from a sports marketing perspective?
UGC is the term used to refer to user-generated photos, videos, tweets, or other creative material, often shared socially, and used by brands for marketing or advertising purposes.
Sporting examples might be a home video of a young soccer player juggling a ball, or someone posting a picture of herself wearing a particular item of athletic clothing.
So much of sports marketing involves putting the audience into the shoes of an athlete. Whether it’s extreme sports, high school basketball or a morning jog group, athletes want to be like the professionals. When users have the chance to contribute to a brand, like their favourite athlete might, it invites them into the community to share their story.
What’s the secret to producing killer user-generated content for sporting organisations and their sponsors?
Publicising the fact that you and your brand want UGC to be created by your audience. This can be done in a few ways, but one of my favourite methods is to build a gallery on your website. When visitors to your site see this gallery, the incentive to create their own content skyrockets.
Play to your strengths. Sometimes a brand might get burned with certain UGC events if they are not prepared for certain social media platforms.
What are some great examples of sporting organisations or sponsors using UGC to further engage their audience?
GoPro. Every day they post the “Photo of the Day” to its Instagram page of an image taken by a GoPro user. With all the GoPros around the world, capturing amazing moments by their everyday user is easy and stunning. Not every brand though has access to the library of content that GoPro does.
Johnson & Johnson is a promoter of USA Soccer and also the creators of the ‘Donate a Photo’ campaign, which is geared towards fundraising in exchange for UGC. On a monthly basis, Johnson & Johnson hosts a pop-up event where fans of USA can show up to learn more about USA soccer, get free swag, and take a photo in a USA Soccer-branded photo booth which is then added to the ‘Donate a Photo’ campaign, and a dollar is donated by Johnson & Johnson for every photo taken. It’s a great way for Johnson & Johnson to engage the fans of USA Soccer while fundraising.
How do you rate the adoption of UGC by Aussie sporting organisations and their sponsors? What could they be doing better?
As of now, it looks like most Aussie sporting organisations are in the first stage of UGC use: gathering UGC at random intervals/events rather than in a regular cadence; and most importantly, not legally licensing UGC which prevents those organisations from being able to repurpose the UGC in different formats, thereby leveraging its full potential. That being said, I am hoping to and looking forward to learning about more examples in person at the Ministry of Sports Marketing Conference.
How do you see the role of UGC in helping sporting organisations and their sponsors evolving in the future?
UGC is the bridge that teams, sponsors, and advertisers seek to cross when communicating with its audience. By allowing your fans to participate in what can later be used as advertising or marketing collateral, then you have already proven what your ads and sponsors seek to achieve – a trustworthy and authentic brand.