First let me say that it was an honor to be selected to cover the Golden State Warriors Media Day from a social media perpective, so thanks to Kyle Spencer (@kylespencer) and Dan Martinez (@dmarjones) with the Warriors’ front office for having me. But more importantly, huge kudos for not just giving lip service to Web strategy, but actually agressively implementing a smart and ambitious strategy.
As a bit of background, the Golden State Warriors selected 10 particpants from non-traditional media sources to cover the very traditional annual team Media Day. More than half of the “Tweedia Day” participants represented top notch Warriors’ blogs (including Bay Area Sports Guy, Fear the Beard, Warriors Court, Golden State of Mind from the SBNation blog network and Warriors World from the ESPN True Hoop blog network). Also invited were prominent hyper-local blog OaklandNorth.net, a fantastic photoblogger in Kira Lauren, a creative digital marketer in Shaun Tai and a sports/social media blogger in Bear Goodell.
Going in to the day, I was really interested to see how this would be handled and I ended up being really impressed. Our nametags had the Tweedia Day logo on it, but other than that we were given the same privileges and level of access as the other members of the traditional media. Whereas most sports teams would be reluctant to give full Media Day access to someone like myself, having never met me and understanding that they would have zero editorial control or recourse over what I would decide to write, the Warriors were smart enough to do it anyway. That fear of losing control over the message has kept many sports teams on the sidelines of social media, or at least too hesitant to do it effectively.
Not surprisingly, the Warriors got what they wanted. A huge amount of quality, engaging content emerged from the day, and I’ve seen more come out from the social media folks than the traditional folks. I saw NBC Bay Area’s Laura Behnke filming interviews, but I can’t find them anywhere. Maybe NBC thinks I’ll wait until a predetermined time and tune in to see to see the reports, assuming I’m local to the Bay area at the particular time they intend to air them. I spoke with NBA.com’s Scott Howard-Cooper and found out what he was going to write about, but a quick glance over at his column at NBA.com still shows a preview of the Lakers. In the world of real-time communication, I don’t want to read about or see video clips days after the fact. If I’m a Warriors fan, by now I’m already reading insider coverage and interviews from today’s practice sessions. Diehard fans likely digested Media Day in real time and have since moved on.
To be fair, numerous members from traditional media sources put out some great, timely coverage. I personally recommend the recaps from Matt Steinmetz of CSN Bay Area (@msteinmetzcsn) as well as Marcus Thompson (@gswscribe) and Adam Lauridsen of the San Jose Mercury News. But it’s probably no coincidence that two of those three journalists borne of the traditional media have embraced Twitter as a social media channel. As they’ve figured out, listening to and interacting with fans gives a journalist a much better perspective for what an audience wants to hear.
But I have really enjoyed, in particular, this awesome video compilation from Fear the Beard (embedded below), some great tidbits from Bay Area Sports Guy including an update on Andris Biedrens’ hair, some really cool photography from Shaun Tai and Bear Goodell and a great summary of the day from Warriors Court.
The Warriors social media outreach efforts were a win for them on two fronts. Not only did they get a significant quantity of additional high quality content published, but they began establishing relationships with the “influencers” of social media platforms. It’s these bloggers and Tweeters who the hardcore Golden State Warriors fans trust and engage with, and the Warriors did right by them. Er….us. And the social media influencers got to meet guys like Steinmetz and Thompson in person, establishing relationships which will in turn spur Warrior’s-related interaction on social platforms. I’m certain that the Warriors will benefit from these collaborations down the road.
I also need to mention the excellent integration of Ustream, embedding the live video player into both the Warriors home web property as well as their Facebook page. They had a rep from Ustream on site ensuring the production quality and were prepared with real-time advertising and special offers for participating, engaged fans. Big points for tying the technology, marketing and sales efforts together seemlessly and a great example of a well coordinated Web strategy. Recognizing the need for something like this is one thing, executing it well is something else entirely.
Overall, high marks for the Golden State Warriors Web strategy so far. They understand that they don’t have all the answers (as no one yet does), but are being really aggressive in experimenting and engaging both influencers and fans alike. We’ll keep tabs on the Warriors Web strategy as it evolves, but I’m pretty certain it will start paying tangible dividends for them sooner rather than later.