The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Football Season Campaign

by Julie Foley Second Street

Create a Team.

The first step to building your football strategy is to create a team that includes people from a variety of different departments in your organization. After all, your campaigns will have a greater impact when your internal teams are working together.

Identify Your Objectives.

Once you have your team in place, you’ll need to begin brainstorming football promotions and interactive content ideas and their potential sponsors. Create a list of the following:

  • Two or more audiences that you would like to target in the upcoming season
  • Two or more advertiser categories that you would like to do more business with
  • Two or more specific advertisers you would like to gain or expand your relationship with over the course of the season
  • All the various football teams and organizations in your market
  • Two or more football-related events that happen in your community

Pick Your Promotions & Interactive Content.

Start by thinking about what you already do around football season. Do you have a Friday night wrap-up? Do you create a special section that runs in the paper? Do you broadcast football games (pro, college, or high school)? Are you the official station for a team?

Once you have identified your current initiatives, consider how football promotions can serve to ignite your existing programming. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

  • Small-Market Local TV Station

    Current initiative: This station broadcasts a weekly wrap-up highlighting the local high school football teams.
    Promotions: A custom high school pick’em and a high school football player of the week ballot would be an excellent way to complement your weekly wrap-up – and produce content you could use on air.

    WRAL’s Highschool OT Honors ballot drove a 200% increase in their sports fan email newsletter, 6,000 opt-ins for the sponsor, and $100k in revenue for the station.

    WRAL-FM-OTHonors-Ballot (1)

  • Official Radio Station of a Pro Football Team

    Current initiative: This station broadcasts all of their pro team’s games for the whole season.
    Promotions: A promotional campaign that would make sense for this station would be a pro football pick’em, a ticket giveaway for one of their team’s home games, and a biggest fan photo contest.

    Check out how this football Pick ‘Em brought in 10,000 users over five years.

    kkfn 2017 football pickem

  • Newspaper in a College Town

    Current initiative: This paper covers the local school’ teams each week and creates a pull-out special section with ads alongside analysis of their games.
    Promotions: The paper could supplement their special sections with a custom football pick’em featuring the local team every week as well as a ballot featuring the local football players.

    The Post and Courier‘s Show Us Your Gameface photo contest brought in nearly 1,800 votes and an average of 650 opt-ins for each of their three newsletters.

    Post and Courier Gameface photo contest

The key to selecting the right football campaigns for your market is making sure that they both engage your audience and complement your current programming. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Instead, wrap a football campaign around what you have already been doing for years!

Build a Timeline.

Figuring out when to run each of your campaigns is as important as deciding what you are going to run in the first place. As you start your planning, here are some tips to keep in mind.

  • Run a pre-season football sweepstakes. Whether you’re offering tickets to a big game, a total fan makeover, or an ultimate tailgate package, a sweepstakes will be a great way to grow your email database of interested football fans right before the season.
  • Promote your pick’em early. The more people in your pick’em, the better it will be. Start promoting early and encouraging people to use your tool for their personal group football pools.
  • Create a “Best of Football” ballot. These local ballots featuring high school or college teams are a great way to involve everyone in your community. Plus, they’re a great way to align yourself (and your advertisers!) with hometown pride.
  • Consider a football fan photo contest. Diehard fans are ready and willing to show their support of their favorite teams. Include a fantastic and valuable prize, and you’re sure to get tons of entries and drive lots of pageviews to your site.
  • Leverage football quizzes. Quizzes are great because they can be run anytime throughout the football season, and they can target all levels of football fandom.
  • Don’t limit yourself. These are just a few ideas. You may want to include a football bracket, a survey, and much, much more. Be sure that your football strategy will engage your audience all season long.

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