Five Ways the Women’s Sports Foundation Can Improve Engagement on Instagram

Donors and athletes of the Women’s Sports Foundation gather for a gala. Photo Credits: Women’s Sports Foundation

Let’s just get this out of the way. Women athletes are significantly under appreciated. They make less money and get less airtime but still work just as hard as male athletes.

The Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) works to enforce Title IX and makes sure that discrimination against women and girls in any form is removed from sports. This nonprofit organization also works to ensure that all women have equal access to sports.

But, the WSF does not currently engage its donors on social media with its Instagram posts averaging about 150 likes while having over 13,600 followers. To me, this was alarming.  I believe the WSF could do a better job at engaging and interacting with its audience by implementing the following strategies.

1. Get Verified

Instagram verification plays a key role in making organizations look official. Photo credit: Tech Crunch

Donors and interested individuals  may be more likely to view your organization as legitimate if you have verification. By adding a simple check mark, the WSF seems like an organization that can be held accountable for making the best decisions with donors’ money.

2. Build Stronger Relationships With Its Athletes

Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix is one of the ambassadors for the Women’s Sports Foundation. Photo Credits: Getty

WSF’s website lists many female athlete partners like Allyson Felix, Natasha Hastings and Hope Solo among many others. However, these athletes are rarely posted about on its Instagram. Instead, WSF posts about other female athletes who are currently doing impressive things in sports.

While these posts are necessary, they do not encourage the athletes to promote WSF. By posting more content that involves its athletes, the WSF will likely see an increase in interaction as the athletes will be incentivized to post about the WSF.

3. Link in Bio

As of right now, the link in WSF’s Instagram bio does not lead to the main page of WSF’s website. Instead, it links to a specific news article on a section of WSF’s website called “The She Network.” WSF should change this link to the “About Us” section of its website so that interested individuals can learn more about the non-profit and be more inclined to donate.

4. Redesign its logo

As of April 25, 2019, this was the header of the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Instagram. The logo currently does not even fit into the icon space. Photo Credit: Women’s Sports Foundation

The WSF logo currently looks like something that could have been made on Microsoft Word. It is just the words “Women’s Sports Foundation.” While it gets the point across, the logo should instead try to showcase some of the organization’s mission and purpose without just stating the name of the organization.

By having a symbol that represents the organization, much like the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s pink ribbon, the public will be able to associate the symbol with the organization. It will also look better on social media, because the username for its Instagram is already “womenssportsfoundation.”

5. Showcase Teamwork

An example of the content shared on its Instagram. Photo Credit: Women’s Sport Foundation

While the Instagram account showcases plenty of young girls, the girls are often pictured alone.  WSF should post pictures of girls who are being supported by their families, coaches, teammates and professional athletes.

It’s cute, and it will make people want to donate, because they will see the impact that WSF and sports in general have on the young girls.

As a woman, I would love to see a non-profit like this begin to become a staple in the lives of young female athletes. When I was young, I would have loved the message that women can do anything in sports that men can do, and I am sure future generations could benefit from this, too. 

 

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Five Ways the WNBA Could Reposition Itself to Basketball Fans

Two players tip-off WNBA All-Star Weekend in 2018. Photo credits: Las Vegas Review-Journal

Recently, I went to Buffalo Wild Wings and watched the women’s college basketball championship. In fact, most people there watched the game. I could even hear men groan from the bar when a woman missed her shot and celebrate when she scored.

This got me thinking: if people are going out of their way to watch college women’s basketball, why can no one name a WNBA team?

So, I began to think about how the WNBA could reposition itself to basketball fans and came up with five solutions.

1. Change its Season

Most people consider basketball a winter sport. However, the WNBA season takes place from May through September (not including playoffs). No one wants to stay inside and watch basketball when it is gorgeous outside.

I understand that having excess basketball may prevent people from watching the WNBA, but people watch men’s and women’s basketball during March Madness. Additionally in other sports like tennis, both genders have coinciding tournaments, and I have never heard anyone complain about having to watch Serena.

2. Rekindle Partnership with the NBA

Team Bosh celebrates after winning the Shooting Stars Challenge in 2013. Photo Credits: NBA

WNBA players used to play alongside NBA players in an event during NBA All-Star Weekend called the Shooting Stars Challenge, in which trios representing the same city would compete against other city trios. Although I don’t believe resurfacing the Shooting Stars Challenge is the solution, I do believe that coed events during All-Star Weekend could promote the WNBA.

By having WNBA players compete in the Three-Point Contest against NBA players, the WNBA would be able to position its athletes as equals to the NBA instead of inferiors. I mean can you imagine seeing a women outshoot Stephen Curry from three? Incredible.

3. Offer a Free Stream of a WNBA game online– Without a Television Provider

A recent study found that 20 percent of American households only have streaming services and do not have cable. This portion of the public struggles to watch live sports let alone WNBA games that are only available via cable through the purchase of an additional package.

I’m not saying that all WNBA games have to be free, but offering a free game a month could allow for the WNBA to access new markets that are not currently being reached.

4. Move to Smaller Markets Lacking Professional Teams

The University of South Carolina Women’s Basketball team had the highest attendance in NCAAW basketball in the 2017-2018 season. Photo Credits: The Post and Courier

The top five colleges in home attendance for women’s basketball in 2017-2018 season were South Carolina (13,239), University of Connecticut (10,026), Iowa State (9,870), Tennessee (8,778) and Louisville (7,836). All of these cities do not currently have a professional WNBA or NBA team. Meanwhile, the WNBA averaged 6,721 people in attendance in 2018.

When looking to place teams, the WNBA should consider moving to cities that do not have competing professional teams, because there is a higher likelihood of establishing  a dedicated fan-base. Although the WNBA teams may have to play at a college arena, their average attendance could be higher than it is in large cities like Los Angeles and New York.

5. Market its Players as Basketball Players

Currently, much of the content on the WBA’s Instagram shows players dressed up with their makeup and hair done. I think that it is so important that women embrace being women, but by picturing these women in dresses, the WNBA misses the opportunity to showcase its players’ as athletes. By redirecting its social media use back to basketball, the WNBA will be able to establish itself as a professional, talented league.

Now, I know there are many more issues facing the WNBA like television air-time and more, but by implementing even one of these changes, the WNBA could reposition itself as a sport worth watching rather than a supplemental league for women.

Why Tiger Woods’ Brand Recovery Was A Hole In One

Tiger Woods celebrates after winning the 2019 Masters. Photo credits: Getty Images

Now, I’ll be the first to admit it. I don’t follow golf. I do not understand how someone could spend three hours watching hundreds of golfers hit a white ball off a tiny stick. However for some reason, I did tune in to the Master’s this past weekend to see if Tiger Woods could take back his throne as king of the jungle– or at least the green.

But why did I care about Tiger Woods? The better question, why did I root for him? We all remember the Lifetime-movie-turned-real-life event that played out in front of our eyes in November 2009 as Elin Nordegren, Woods’ now ex-wife, threw a golf club through his car after learning about his infidelity. Then, Woods got a DUI and started to fail in the sport that he once dominated.

So, why do we still support Woods in 2019 like we would have in 2005? I have a few ideas, and they all stem from how Woods recovered his brand by rewriting the narrative of his career into a story of redemption.

Woods Took Time Away From his Sport

Following his scandal, Woods made an announcement on December 11, 2009 that he would be taking time away from golf. Instead of being talked about during every premier golf event in 2010, the scandal slipped the minds of golf-lovers as new storylines developed.

Woods Struggled

Woods throws club in frustration at Hero World Challenge in 2014. Photo Credit: AP

Maybe, we all wouldn’t care so much about Woods if he had returned to golf as superior as he was when he left it. However, following the extramarital affairs, he did not win a major championship until last Sunday. We watched as Woods smashed his golf club into the green, frustrated over his performance. Woods could have hidden from golf while he recovered his game, but he allowed for the public to see the struggle and understand how passionate he is about golf, minimizing the thoughts of his previous scandals.

Woods Was Transparent

Woods spoke about his DUI arrest in May 2017 and explained how it resulted not from alcohol but rather a mix of medications that he was on for his injuries. Throughout his career, Woods has been plagued with injuries. Woods chose to tell the media about his injuries and procedures in order to maintain open communication. By doing so, people sympathized with Woods, who at one point was unable to walk due to his back injuries.

Woods Focused on His Kids — And Showed it to the World

A screenshot of Woods’ first Instagram post.

The first word in Woods’ Instagram bio is “father” not golfer. On August 2013, Woods’ posted his first photo on Instagram and captioned it, “Sharing this win with my son Charlie will be something I’ll never forget. Thanks for all the support Akron.” By showing how Woods was now family-focused, fans and media believed that Woods’ priorities may have shifted. This was extenuated by Woods hugging his son following his 2019 Masters win.

Woods Channeled Nostalgia during 2019 Masters

Woods wore a red, high-neck shirt, black shoes and black dress pants during the 2019 Masters. It is the same color combination that he wore when he won his first Masters back in 1997. By channeling the Tiger of old, fans remembered the Woods that they knew and loved and forgot about his personal-life struggles. So it is up for you to decide. Was it a personal decision or a calculated PR strategy? You tell me in the comments below.

Now starting: a junior, 5’11” from Oregon

I rushed Hayward Field after the Oregon women won the outdoor track and field championship on June 11, 2017. By winning the outdoor, indoor, and cross country titles in the same school year, Oregon became the first program to ever win the triple crown.

…number 22. I’m sorry. I like to pretend I could be a professional athlete. But hey! Being the public relations pro representing them is the next best thing? 

Hi!  I’m Brooklynn, and I am (too) excited to launch my blog, Brooklynn Sports PR. Now, I know what you’re thinking. No, I did not misspell my name. It actually does have two n’s.

Currently, I am a junior at the University of Oregon majoring in public relations. Although I have not had an extensive venture into the professional world of public relations, I have been able to gain valuable  experience by serving as an account executive and an account supervisor at Allen Hall Public Relations (AHPR), a student-led public relations firm.

At AHPR, I currently lead the Oregon Track Club (OTC) account. For OTC, I have been able to organize photo shoots, develop social media campaigns and revamp its website (still in the works). By working for OTC, I have gained valuable insight as to what it means to represent a well-known athletic organization.

Purpose

Through this blog, I aim to view sports-related issues through the lens of a public relations practitioner. I hope to share collegiate and professional sporting campaigns in order to provide insight as to how other organizations can better their internal and external communications. Additionally, I am interested in how teams and other athletic corporations can do better at being socially responsible.

Coverage

I will attempt to be unbiased in the organizations that I choose to highlight, but as a native Oregonian, I am partial to the Portland Trail Blazers and the Oregon Ducks. However, I also follow the Tennessee Titans, the San Fransisco 49ers, the Orlando Magic and the Seattle Seahawks. Additionally, I am very invested in the current movement to get Portland an MLB team. Nonetheless, I understand that not everyone is as interested in these organizations as I am, so I will cover other teams as well as address the communications of professional sports leagues in general.

Also, I am all about women’s sports. I plan to write evenly about women’s and men’s sports, because I believe that each group deserves equal coverage. ESPN, I’m talking to you. So, if you are not someone who is willing to pay attention to the women in sports who are doing things that men have yet to accomplish, this blog may not be for you.

I am really excited to launch this journey of blog writing. If you have any feedback or advice for me as I begin to explore new territory, please let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear your opinions.

Until next week!