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How to Get the Most Out of Your Membership

by Emily Taylor
1 06 2010

Typically we reserve our blog space for industry happenings, sponsorship education and to highlight various properties or valuable industry resources; but there’s one SponsorPark related topic we felt all of our users (both sponsors and sponsorship opportunity representatives would benefit from knowing:  how to get the most out of your membership on SponsorPark.  We want to make sure that we enable you to maximize the potential you have to generate valuable exposure, network effectively, and optimize your chances of being found; so we’re going to walk through the various outlets you might not have thought of yet; and best of all – these options are free!

  1. Get active in our social networking communities: We have active communities in the following places: LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook (these links might not work if you don't have an account on the service).  Any of these places you can join (or follow on twitter: @SponsorPark) and setting up your own account to start is easy.  On facebook you can introduce yourself, provide a link to your proposal, and connect with other members.  LinkedIn is probably our most active community – you can connect with other sponsorship professionals, ask questions, start discussions, introduce yourself and your listing to the group; basically network with some other brilliant and experienced individuals.  On Twitter, you can follow us to learn about the industry happenings with daily updates, and have your brand or opportunity link tweeted as well – this goes out to all of our followers which continues to grow daily.
  2. Request to be featured in a blog: as you might realize, we put the “Spotlight on Sponsorship” by featuring one of our Premium or Professional level members in our blog once per month.  This piece is managed and written by Stephanie Lochmiller, and her goal is to represent a wide range of properties that we support on SponsorPark, highlighting their best practices, and essentially tell a part of their story.  It’s a great way to offer your expertise to other industry professionals, earning you credibility and point to your current efforts – though as you might imagine, this space fills up fast, so if you’re interested in being considered, contact Stephanie through one of our social media outlets ASAP.  She’ll ask you the necessary questions to determine if this is a good fit.
  3. Place a link to your proposal listing on your website: One of the best ways you can personally send interested eyes to your sponsorship proposal listing is by placing a link to your listing on your website or marketing materials.  We have members ask for our logo all the time for this purpose – they’ll post our logo and a quick one or two liner stating that if interested, one can check out their sponsorship proposal listing on SponsorPark.  Ensure that the landing page attached to the hyperlink is directly to your proposal (and not to our homepage), and you’re sending people who are already interested in you – otherwise they wouldn’t be on your site, directly to your sponsorship opportunities!  Here's an example of one member who has done this: Miami Beach Antique Show.
  4. Get featured on our newsletter: In our newsletter that typically goes out every couple of months, we feature 4-5 new sponsorship opportunity listings (Premium or Professional level) and sponsors.  If you’re interested in this extra exposure, just let us know and we’ll consider it.
  5. Sponsors – create a saved search within your profile: LOTS of sponsors have used our service to casually browse our database of targeted listings at their discretion.  But the ones who have the most luck and are the most operationally efficient are the ones who set up a saved search profile with us, so that we automatically send them results that match as they are listed with us.  That way, you will know as soon as you have a reason to review the listings, and you’ve basically used us as your full time intern to alert you of the most relevant, valuable listings according to your interests.  Save time, create a saved search criteria.
  6. Sponsorship opportunities – featured listing space: Our featured listing space runs for $99 / month – it gets the most exposure of any sponsorship listing on our site since no search is necessary for it to receive more impressions, and therefore, more clicks.  But if you’d like to offer SponsorPark some unique support by generating awareness for our resource to those in the sponsorship community, we’re open to discussing a trade.  We have been involved in sponsorship summits, sponsor “pick up” parties, been featured in email campaigns and trade shows… we’re pretty open to unique ideas if you have them.  Just contact me at: [email protected]
  7. Sponsorship opportunities – send us a list of sponsors you’d like exposure with: SponsorPark is always campaigning towards sponsors to ensure that they know about our resource.   In these phone calls, email campaigns, industry specific event attendance, online advertising, etc. etc… we pursue between 2,000-3,000 U.S. based sponsors who have all been active in sponsorship.  But you know best who you want to get in front of – especially if it’s locally or regionally based; and it’s to our best interest to generate awareness with sponsors that you will benefit most from getting in front of.  So send us your list (preferably with a contact name/number) and we’ll reach out to them; not only for the purpose of informing them of our resource, but also to use your proposal listing as an example of what they might see when they use our site.  Everyone wins.  Keep in mind; you must be a Premium or Professional level member to receive this benefit. 

Many of you already know that the point of using SponsorPark as a service is to complement the efforts you already have in place for connecting with sponsors.  We are offering a tool that generates targeted exposure with sponsors for your opportunity, we don’t sell sponsorships; important distinction to make.  If you’re using SponsorPark already, you’ve already taken a step to get innovative and proactive about getting noticed with a targeted audience and generating heightened exposure with an innovative tool; but we want you to capitalize on all the opportunities we make available for you.  So if you have questions about what we covered here, don’t hesitate to reach out – you can contact myself through our [email protected] email account, or reach out to Stephanie Lochmiller (New Media Manager) through our social media efforts.  We’re hearing some great stories, and we want to add yours to our list!


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5 Ways to Extend the Reach of Sponsorships Through Social Media

by Jason Peck
9 02 2010

Social media is changing the way people and companies communicate, collaborate and conduct business. If you’re a brand, sports team, athlete or event, there’s a great chance people are talking about you online (if they’re not, you may be in trouble).

Sponsorship is an important part of sports. Brands focus on aligning themselves with a team, property or athlete and hoping that fans’ loyalty to that team/property/athlete translates into additional exposure and business for the brand.

Without the right plan for activating a sponsorship and making sure you’re reaching people, a sponsorship can be worthless. Engagement has measurement are more important than ever, and this is where social media can really help. Here are five ways social media can be utilized to engage fans and extend the reach of sponsorships.

1) Tap into fan communities and reach out to fans and bloggers

There are communities (official and unofficial) for people who are fans of specific teams, sports and athletes all over the Internet. These may be in the form of actual communities with Facebook-like features, groups or pages within Facebook, message boards, blogs and other fan websites.

You can also identify fans of a team and/or of your own brand through Twitter. Do a search for your brand terms or just reach out to your followers if you have a Twitter account.

Many of these fans online would love to hear about what cool things come with your sponsorship of their favorite team, and you can use these fan communities to promote what you’re doing with the team. You could hold specific community “events” online or even identify a few key influencers to do something special with.

2) Create content around the sponsorship and make it shareable

Being a sponsor has its perks—access to exclusive team events or practices, tickets and great seats at games and charity functions, access to players and coaches, etc.

It’s great to have these benefits for executives and/or customers to utilize. But don’t forget about the rest of your audience. You can extend the reach of your presence at real-world events or your promotions by creating content around it and putting it online.

I love what Kodak has done with the Kodak Challenge. They’ve created a website with links to pictures and videos and they also have a specific Twitter account, and Facebook page for the Kodak Challenge. While they may not have millions of followers on Twitter, it’s still a low-cost way to spread the word about what they’re doing.
This content can be real-time or after the event/promotion has taken place. A March Madness sponsor could have someone live-tweet or live-blog what it’s like at each of the games he/she attends. A marketing person could do live interviews with fans or team personnel using a platform like Livestream or uStream. The possibilities are endless-sports fans crave access to interesting content.

The key to this is to make it as easy as possible for people to share your content. On-site, use buttons to allow people to easily email or share content with their friends on Facebook or Twitter. Don’t forget email – if you’re emailing people about specific promotions, include share-to-social functionality so they can easily share the content in these emails with their network.

3) Encourage/reward people for sharing information about your promotion

While some people may want to share information about your sponsorships or promotions, it never hurts to offer a little incentive. It’s not enough just to be on Twitter or Facebook. You have to give people a reason to take the time to engage with you. It also helps to use hashtags for specific promotions or events as a unique identifier and way to track what people are saying.

Why not offer fans rewards for sharing content or information about your sponsorship with their friends? These rewards could be things like discounts or downloads. For example, you can use Twitter’s API and oAuth functionality to have people post a tweet and then get access to a coupon code or exclusive download.

You could also reward people by recognizing them. If someone blogs about your promotion, take the time to leave a comment and thank them. If someone tweets about it, thank them on Twitter, and maybe feature them on your website.

If your brand has a community manager who is monitoring Twitter and other areas online for mentions of your brand, make sure they know about what teams/properties you sponsor so they can keep an eye out for people talking about them as well.

4) Create an interesting app or mashup

There are so many possibilities when it comes to sports and social media. Creating a cool app or mashup of technology and sports can be a great way to get people talking about you. I love what Mullen and Radian6 have done for the Super Bowl. BrandBowl 2010 is a website that lets people see, in real-time, what people are saying about the Super Bowl ads on Twitter. Using Radian6’s technology, people can see which ads get the most positive response, and they don’t have to wait to see what the traditional media says to find out.

There is never any shortage of data in sports or conversations around teams or athletes. Finding an interesting way to present this data can be a way to add value to how fans experience the game, and increase the reach of your sponsorship.

5) Implement a contest around user generated content

Contests are a great way to get talked about online and on social networking websites. If you have a decent prize (and encourage people to share the contest with their friends on social networking sites), contests can spread quickly.

Instead of just asking people to put their name and email address in a form to enter to win, why not have them create a video or write a blog post to enter? This is a great way to get links back to your website and people talking about you. And it’s a lot more fun.

Some ideas for fan contests include:
• Craziest fan challenge
• Best tailgater
• Tell us your favorite player and why

These are just a few ideas. You can probably get a LOT more creative with these names if you spend some solid time thinking about your audience and what people would want.

Social media should definitely be part of the planning process when thinking about how to activate your sponsorships. What do you think about these ideas? What ideas do you have? I’d love to hear them.

Jason Peck is a sports and social media follower, entreprenuer (founder of Highway 24, Media, LLC, and Northern Hills Buzz), project manager (social media/community at eWayDirect), consultant and blogger.  To gain some additional thoughts on the intersection of sports business and social media, check out his blog at: Take A Peck.

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A Personal Success Story with Social Media

by Dan Beeman
19 01 2010

Dan Beeman, one of the founders of Sponsorship Insights Groiup, will be blogging as our guest this week.  Sponsorship Insights Group (SIG) is a principle-centered sponsorship agency.  We connect partnership opportunities with brands.  We connect sponsorship professionals with opportunities.  We help buyers and sellers increase efficiency and profitability.

Have you wondered about the value of social media as it relates to the return on investment of time?  With all of these weird-sounding names (Tweeting and fbing) and new mediums like blogging and micro-blogging, who has time for that and who cares?

In 2008, I decided to dive into this new media world to reinforce my position as a thought-leader.  Mind you, I am a 45 year old technophobe and I am reminded everyday how much I do not know!  With that knowledge, I seek to understand and learn every day.

My story is a good one, but comes more from sweat than strategy.  In 2008, I started my sponsorship consulting company under the name of "Beeman (my last name) Sponsorship Consulting.”  We sought to provide sponsorship valuation, advisory and sales representation services with a focus on retail destinations as clients.   A short while later, I started a LinkedIn Group for Sponsorship and Marketing professionals called Sponsorship Insights Group (SIG). 

The group membership took off with very little marketing and now stands at 4,600+.  It is the largest one on the internet for Sponsorship and Marketing professionals to network, share insights and find exclusive discounts on vendors goods and services.  My value proposition was simple to members: I would provide free quality content, a place to network and share information with others and a chance to learn more and find opportunities. 

I quickly realized that the social media practices that I put in place generated a significant amount of recognition for Sponsorship Insights Group.   Then, I realized there was more equity associated with SIG in the marketplace than BSC.  So, I changed the name of my business to that of my group. 

On January 1st, 2009 my New Year’s resolution was to learn how to blog.  The following on that has lead to my being a source on recent articles on Tiger Woods sponsorship problems in Sports Business Journal and LA Times among others.  I have also built a group on Facebook which replicates the LinkedIn Group and have thousands of followers on Twitter.
Recently we enhanced our website and secured a series of alliance partners.  Now, we serve every need for sponsorship professionals and have broadened our services and scope to meet every need.
Now, I literally get inquiries for my services Every Day from properties and agencies throughout the world.  They want to join my group, tap into our knowledge and seek our services.  If you look at my profile, you'll see that LinkedIn is a tool that I use on a daily basis for business.
Time?  I’d say it was well-spent.  ROI? Absolutely!

For more information about Dan Beeman and his services, please click on the links below:

Sponsorship Insights Group - My business website
www.linkedin.com/in/danbeeman - My profile, recommendations, work examples and more
Sponsorship Insights Blog - New content daily  enter your e-mail address and get it in your in box!
Join my LinkedIn Group on Sponsorship - Get connected with thousands of sponsorship professionals!
http://twitter.com/danbeeman - My tweets for Twitter folks, I post links to blogs
Sponsorship Insights Group on Facebook - A replication of our group on LinkedIn for the facebookers

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