Growing your online reach is key to expanding awareness of and drawing more participants to your race. Whether through your website, Facebook page or Twitter account, there is no better way of doing so than by consistently posting content users find appealing to read and share.
Coming up with great content is sometimes easier said than done. Particularly during those long months between race editions, it can seem like there’s little worthwhile sharing with the world.
Well, fear not. We looked at 4 tried and tested content-boosting ideas to help keep your audience engaged through the off-season. And here they are!
Introduce your new class
As soon as you open for registrations – and in some cases even before – you should be able to identify people interested in your race that have a story to tell. Whether it’s a distance first-timer, terrain rookie or determined athlete racing for a cause, you should be jumping on the opportunity to tell their story.
Running athlete profiles on your participants is a fantastic way of not only making those athletes feel special but also winning over participants still on the fence about joining your race. You do not need elite athletes or super people for this. You need only find the stories needing to be told within your regular participant community.
To make the story more appealing, spend some time to understand the passions and motivations driving the participants you’re profiling. Are they running your race as a stepping stone towards a grander challenge? How do they feel, if they’re taking on the distance for the first time? What do they look forward to in your race and what made them join in the first place?
To help you identify good candidates to profile, simply add a “How did you decide to join the race?” text box in your registration form. You’ll likely get a few shy short sentences that will be more than sufficient to pick out your content gems.
Follow the veterans
Even before opening for registrations and over the months following your last race, you should turn to your past participants for inspiration and worthwhile stories to report. By now, you should have developed a number of closer relationships with your race veterans to allow you to do this.
In terms of what would be appealing stories to report, think of some of the following:
- Anyone training for a major event? Did one of your participants run your half marathon to qualify for a higher-profile race? Check out how they’re progressing and write about them on your website or share their own relevant posts on your Facebook page.
- Any of your past participants finished an epic endurance challenge or major race? Maybe they finally made it into or around Boston. Maybe they qualified for Western States or they’re packing their bags for Marathon des Sables. Jump on the opportunity to congratulate them publicly and share their stories with your audience.
- Any celebs or 15-minute heroes in the house? Any persons achieving major fundraising goals or in the news for reasons worth reporting? Once again, share or write their story.
Be you own sports wire
Creating discussions on the back of relevant news is another excellent way of keeping up engagement. You should be careful with this though, “relevant” being the key word here. You should be selecting stories your audience will feel compelled to engage with and should help get the discussion going with the occasional smart prompt.
For example, let’s say you run a mid-size trail race and have built a decent following on your race’s Facebook page. Then, one day, you come across the story of Lance Armstrong, the disgraced multi-TdF winner, entering a trail race under a low profile “for the love of the sport”. What a great opportunity to not only be first to deliver this story to your page’s followers but also to ask for their opinion. Run a post along the lines of “Should Armstrong be allowed to race here or not?” We bet you will be seeing a genuine and vibrant engagement of your community around that post.
Other things you could be sharing might be:
- Significant and novel product launches, e.g. something like this remarkable proposed substitute to water bottles coming to a race near you (maybe not all that soon!)
- Significant race performances from the world endurance stage, e.g. world records, major upsets, inspiring finishes
- One-off incidents worth talking about. Remember this?
(By the way, the Armstrong trail race story really happened. And Armstrong went to win the race. Here’s how it went down.)
This is one where you’ll need to muster all your creatives energies, but, like anything, you’ll get better at it the more you do it. The idea is to keep an eye out for suitable cues and opportunities to refer back to past content.
What form would those opportunities take? Here are some examples:
- Revisiting a part of your course out of season, when it will presumably look completely different to the scene on race day. Maybe your course, once teeming with runner, now is covered in snow in the middle of winter. Seize on the opportunity to comment on the change of scene, perhaps with a then-vs-now pic.
- Remembering noteworthy instances in the build-up to last year’s race. Maybe the moment you first laid eyes on a new medal design or the confirmation of an important sponsor. This is always easier when there’s existing content to look back on that you can simply add a short comment to before sharing.
- Remarking on anticipated changes from your last race edition. Perhaps contrast last year’s course with a new course map or last year’s finisher T-shirt design with the new one.
SEE ALSO: Give Your Race an Edge with Live Video
Did you find this post helpful? Having something to add? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below
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