Whether its through your website, Facebook page or Twitter account, posting engaging content for your fans to share and talk about is key to expanding your race’s reach online.
However, coming up with great content is sometimes easier said than done. Particularly during those long months between races when it seems like there’s hardly anything worth sharing with the world…
Well, fear not! We looked at 4 tried and tested content-boosting ideas to help keep your audience engaged and your race in the newsfeeds – and here they are!
Introduce your new class
As soon as you start taking registrations, you should be on the lookout for a good story. Who’s registering for your race? And is their story worth sharing with the world?
Running profiles on your participants on your website and social media is a fantastic way of making those participants feel special while winning over undecideds with appealing stories that resonate with them.
Don’t think elite athletes here – anything but. Stories that resonate are stories people can identify with. Perhaps someone running for a cause? Someone out of their depth taking on a challenge for the first time? These are the stories you should be telling.
Spend some time to understand what’s driving the participants you’re profiling. Are they running your race as a stepping stone towards a bigger 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?
Identifying good candidates to profile is easy – as easy, in fact, as adding a simple “How did you decide to join the race?” question in your registration form. A few short answers and you’ll be able to pick out your perfect racer profiles.
What’s everyone up to?
Not only are there stories to share amongst your current registered participants, there are probably as many to report amongst past race participants.
If you’re one of those RDs who makes the effort to know your participants personally, you have a good idea who they are and what they’ve been up to since doing your race. And therein lies a ton of opportunity.
What kinds of things could you be sharing about people who have already completed your race? Here’s a few suggestions:
- Their next big challenge. Did one of your participants run your half marathon to qualify for a major marathon? Check out how they’re progressing and write about them on your website or share their own relevant posts on your Facebook page.
- A big achievement. One of your guys finally made it into the Boston Marathon? 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.
- Their claim to fame. Has any of your past participants achieved a major fundraising goal or got themselves in the news for a good reason? Be first to share their story.
Be you own sports wire
Creating discussions on the back of the latest trending news in your sport is another excellent way of keeping up engagement. You should be careful with this though, “relevant” being the key word here. Only pick stories you’re confident will resonate with your audience.
For example, let’s say you run a mid-size trail race and have built a good following on your race Facebook page. Then one day, you come across the story of Lance Armstrong, 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?” You bet there’s going to be a good chatter around that.
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 story really happened. And Armstrong went on to win the race. Here’s how it went down.)
You’ll need to muster all your creative energies for this one. But you’ll get better at it with time.
The idea is simple: find 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 likely look completely different to the scene on race day. Maybe your course, once teeming with runners, 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 first time you shared a new medal design or confirmed 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.