In My 40th Year, I Have Big Plans

Hands group

On December 2nd (my 40th Birthday)… I’d like to make a pledge. A vow to give back. A commitment to create high impact change 40 times over.  Introducing #Impact40

But first, a little background…

Years ago a smart man named Terry Williams introduced me to a charity called Youth Assisting Youth. Terry was on the board of YAY and brought it up one day when I mentioned I was interested in volunteering my time somewhere. For reference and for what they do… it’s like the Big Brothers that no one has heard of. (They have since changed their name to The Peer Project). After Terry told me all about them, I was super interested in volunteering my time, so I showed up to an informational meeting. I enjoyed the idea of mentoring a young boy who didn’t have a father figure in his life. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have a father figure in my life and always felt if I had the opportunity to help fill the void for someone else, I would step up. After the meeting I spoke with Terry on the phone and although he applauded my initiative and welcomed the idea, he asked me to think about making an impact far greater. So for the next 6 years I worked for YAY, but not mentoring 1-on-1. Instead I helped conjure up marketing plans, event ideas, and media relationships. I could impact YAY much deeper if I focused on the two things most charities seem to want: awareness and money. We crushed it. I was really happy with the foundation I left behind when I eventually moved on to other charitable work. Work that included many years on the BoobyBall committee where we came up with some pretty memorable things, like the “I <3 Boobies” digital campaign.  So, Terry was right and I’m forever grateful. I feel I left things better than I found them and made a deep, meaningful and lasting impact.

So here we are. The urge to make a lasting impact is back, but I need your help, big time.

This is #Impact40

I’d like to offer my skills, donate myself 40 times. I want to create high impact long lasting legacy for 40 not-for-profits, charities, and/or start ups.  The timeframe is the calendar year of 2016, but it really begins right now.

Help Me, Help Them

I need you. I need your direction. I need your belief that I can help. (Was there ever any doubt? Come on!!) I’m looking for you to guide me to the ‘who’, so I can help the ‘what’ and the ‘how’. I do not want your money or your donations. I’m not asking you to sponsor me in any way. I am looking for your endorsement and your introductions. If you know me, know my work and know what I bring to the table, then connect me with the proper people.

If we don’t know each other and you don’t know my work, and at this moment, you’re thinking ‘‘Um, who does this guy think he is?”… let me start by saying: Hi, My name is Jon. I’ve done some pretty cool things in my career. I’ve been blessed to be able to dream, create and innovate over 20 years in the sports world, the radio industry and, currently, the beer business. You can see more here. The common thread in my 20 years as a marketer has been HIGH IMPACT. I wrote that in ALL CAPS to give it more effect.

Who Will Benefit The Most?

Charities with a small to medium size team that need an extra mind. Not-for-profits that could benefit from a seasoned marketer. Start ups that are still trying to craft the blueprint to help change the world.

I will update #Impact40 as often as I can in this blog. Also, I’m cool with any way you’d like to connect. This blog, Through this website. On Facebook, Twitter, or Linked In.

Let’s see how this goes. Taking your suggestions and personal intros now…

JS

5 Commandments of Sports Digital Marketing

Stadium_image

Thanks for dropping by. You must love Sports and Marketing, or Digital Content and Social Media.  Me too.  We`re practically twins. Since we are so similar, then I know you`re going to dig this post… I mean… Thou shalt not love this post!

Content Marketing is becoming a standard business term, and for good reason. The modern Marketing Executive will focus on creating the best possible content to tell the most relevant stories in order to reach key objectives: Awareness, Ticket Sales, Community Relations, and Corporate Partnerships. Sprinkle in some Digital Strategy and you are now talking about  the (potentially) most consumed content coming from your brand directly to fans. Whether it’s on your website, mobile, CRM or social, remember, it’s ALL DIGITAL and it’s where your fans are.  If you are in Sports or Marketing or Digital, my 5 Commandments are for you!

1) Be There

There are two types of moments: the ones that just happen (which you react to) and moments that you create. (I write a lot about moments) Being in these moments with your audience should be the number one priority on your list. Put yourself in their shoes. What are they talking about? How are they feeling? Does it make sense for your brand to be talking about and feeling the same things? I’ll answer for you… in general… yes, it does.  How are you creating and publishing real time shareable content that fans actually want to consume? It`s goals, touchdowns, home runs, big plays, final scores, broadcast info, pre/post game video… which are all opportunities for interaction. The story is being told with or without you. Why not contribute (in a big way) with the mountain of content that surrounds you and your marketing and digital team. If you feel an emotional connection to your brand, then others probably do as well. I do not need to cite a study that proves fans are emotionally invested in their teams. They live and breathe it. Living in the moment is paramount.

2) Be Prepared

  • Step One: Create a Digital Content Plan
  • Step Two: Tent Pole Moments and the P.D.P Rule
  • Step Three: Follow The Plan, and add to it anytime.

Your Digital Content Plan is the core of every piece of content you make. Wrap this around ‘Tent Pole Moments’ like Drafts, Free Agency, Live Games, Trades and you are well on your way. The beauty of a proper Digital Content Plan is that you can adjust on the fly. New technology will appear, new opportunities will develop. It’s all good. Keep innovating, adjusting and improving.

Consider a player on your team that is reaching a milestone soon. What is your plan leading up to the milestone, during the milestone and after the milestone? Video, articles, photos, photo galleries, interviews, infographics, images, live streams. Everything and anything your team creates should incorporate the 3 phases of the event; pre, during and post. I’ve often referred to this as the P.D.P rule. You down with PDP? Yeah, you know me.

When I was at the Toronto Maple Leafs , we noticed that fans asked the same few questions every game day. One of them being “Who is starting in net?” So we created two quick videos with our goalies staring right in to the camera and announcing they were the starting goalie. Depending on who was in net, we posted the proper video to our social channels and website. 6 seconds of shareable video answered thousands of fans at once. Small gestures sometimes can have the biggest impact. These quick videos became a series with no event being too big or too small to create a video around. We made Happy Birthday videos, Happy Valentines Day videos and more. It sounds small, but the impact was huge.

Also on the note of being prepared, here`s an example I love showing. Since I`m a bit of Star Wars nerd I felt compelled to own`May The 4th` with the teams I represented. So every year, the date rolled around and we posted some simple but effective stuff. Fans loved it, and got involved:

May4_Leafs May4_Raptors     May4_RapsFan

3) Be Ready

Anything can happen in your world: transactions, hirings/firings, Harlem Shakes, Ice Buckets, who knows what’s coming next. Your digital team needs to be able to react. A few years ago, when news broke of a monkey running free in an Ikea, my heart stopped. (I thought, too good to be true!). When an image surfaced of this monkey wearing a winter parka (like Bain from The Dark Knight Rises) we at the Toronto Maple Leafs reacted right away. No approvals, no discussion… we needed to be first. Our graphic designer mocked up the monkey in a 1963 Stanley Cup celebration photo. It was black and white, and perfect. Hundreds of thousands of impressions and tens of thousands shares across multiple platforms. We considered it a success. It took a few days for other brands and other teams to jump on, but we were first.

IkeaMonkey

 

4) Be Aware:  

You are a content factory. You are surrounded by things that you take for granted. The content that your fans are craving is all around you. Every nook of your building. Every employee. Your history. Your future. There are thousands of stories… How are you telling each one? There is also a long list of current corporate partners and potential partners that want to help you tell these stories. Partnerships formed around content that people actually want will beat out manufactured and processed every time. If you are aware of what your customer wants you will find a way to embed partners, and everyone wins. Sit down with your partners and listen to them. Listen to their needs. I guarantee that together, with partners you will be able to dream up (and fund) some really compelling stuff. Or you could always do a search for the Ultimate Fan to win the Ultimate Experience and sit in the Ultimate Seats! Not sure if sarcasm comes through in words, but if you could not tell, the whole `Ultimate`thing is sarcasm. Anything with the word Ultimate in it, usually sucks. I just had to say it.

5) Be Authentic.

You do not need to ‘jump in’ to every conversation. Some brands are really reaching and chiming in on things that our out of their scope. Pick your spots. Maybe celebrity deaths are not the ‘opportunity’ you think they are to sell tickets. Do the things that feel right in the moments that feel right. Always think like your fan. What would they say? Below is a tasteful nod to the passing of Stompin’ Tom Connors from when I was with the Leafs. No call to action, just a simple image to capture a moment. He passed during a Leafs game, and the franchise was historically known to play his music during games… so it made sense. This one image reached a Facebook audience of 1.38 million users via 17,000 shares and 18,000 likes. But really, the numbers are irrelevant. This was all about the right thing to do.

RIPStompinTom

There you have it. The 5 Commandments of Sports Digital Marketing. Hope you enjoyed this piece. I’m always open to evolving the list, so feel free to reach out: @JonSinden on Twitter. Or find me on Linked In.

JS

5 Content Marketing Tips

Content_Marketing_Statistics

1) Everything is content.

Let’s face it, you’re so close to your brand that you may miss some amazing content opportunities… but relax… here’s how you will never miss anything ever again. Just remember ‘everything is content’. Whether you’re a B2B or B2C, the stuff you do, the hallways you walk, the people you work with, the emotions you feel, the challenges you face are ALL RELATE-ABLE BY SOMEONE. Sorry for yelling. Tell those stories. Snap a photo, write a blog entry, take a video. I promise you, great content opportunities completely surround you at this very moment. The skill – which can be taught – is to recognize that everything is content and content is all around you.

As a life long Marketer I was always searching for that unique thing that would put my brand over the top. It hit me one day that I was surrounded by these things. In fact, the ‘things’ were endless and limitless, and through technology we can tell every single story we have. We just have to start.

2) Tools In Your Tool Belt

Are you part of a staff of hundreds whose sole purpose is to build content? Didn’t think so! It’s probably just you, am I right? Okay, maybe you and some others all chipping in to build up your social channels with relevant material. Marketing Mangers and Digital Marketers (like that’s two different things now-a-days, right?) joining forces with Social Media Managers and Community Managers all for the greater good. Now, who does what? Core strengths I look for – beyond a person being awesome – are:

  • Social Channel Know How: I know that could mean many different things, but some brand experience is always best for me. Just because you have have a personal FB account does not qualify for anything. Well you may be qualified to be someones’ friend, but that’s about it. Add Me. lol.).
  • Skill in video creation, editing video, and Photoshop.
  • The actual equipment to do each of the points in (b)
  • Ability to hold a conversation. I’m not joking.
  • Live the mantra that ‘Everything Is Content’ and have no fear to capture that content.



3) Document What Your Competition Doesn’t (Or just do it better)

Here’s an experiment  Go to your competition’s YouTube channel. Probably some cool stuff there. Most companies (if they even have a YouTube channel) put what they would consider the ‘gold’ up. Most stuff is highly produced, maybe even ‘production house’ produced. Don’t be afraid of stripping it down. (Note: I am not saying you should strip) Customers, fans, clients, employees can live with a shaky video if the content is great. Show your stuff. Show what goes on in your world.  I always like to think of video as a show. Like TV shows, even if it’s 30 seconds long. YouTube is just one place. There are many places where you content can live. Is your business in these places? What type of content are you putting there? What type of content is your competition putting there? Something you see everywhere now is “Behind The Scenes” content. Is yours better than theirs?

4) Swing Away!

Hit Homeruns! and Triples, and Doubles, and Singles, and Bunts, and Fouls, and just about everything else. Let’s be real… If you try and hit a homerun every single time, you may strike out more than often. But that is totally okay. Not every piece of content is going to get those shares or likes or comments that you’re hoping for.  Just be consistent and pay attention to what is getting traction, where it’s getting traction, and when it’s getting traction. Your content plan should be super easy to build next year. if you pay attention this year. 

5) What’s Your Plan?

I’ve always thought that “Awesome Stuff Gets Shared”, but that just doesn’t cut it in a boardroom. A plan is needed. A long term strategic plan with a tactical and itemized slant is my choice. Did that sound too corporate? Whatevs. But here’s the good news: Building a plan should be super simple. Ideas are the easy part; proper execution of ideas is the hard part. Also the beauty of a Content Plan in this day and age is that it can change tomorrow. Technology changes and evolves everyday, so should you and your plan.

Hope that makes sense. As always, any thoughts or opinions on the post are greatly appreciated. I’m JonSinden on Twitter and I always enjoy feedback.

::js 

4 Steps To Your Dream Job

dream-job-nowHave you ever heard; “You have the coolest job!”. I have too. Back when I was Marketing and Promotions Director of 102.1 the Edge, people used to always say “You have the coolest job!” Before that when I was part of the original team that launch FLOW 93.5, Canada’s 1st Urban radio station, people used to say “You have the coolest job!” Well, I’m here to crush all that. The coolest job in the world may be what you are doing right now. If not, then what are you waiting for? It’s out there, go get it. Here’s some tips to point you in the right direction…
Step 1: What excites you? What are you in to? Do you love cars? Is it baked goods or toothpaste or clothing or technology? Think of some brands you are in to. Write them down somewhere… we’ll get back to that later.  Think of some activities you love to do: is it shopping or eating or creating or planning or organizing? Write down some of the activities you like doing… we’ll get back to that later. Consider an exercise that your high school guidance counselors may or may not have shared with you. If you could spend the rest of your life getting paid to do something, what would be? Maybe you have an answer right now or maybe your don’t. Either way, it’s cool.Step 2: Who Do You Know?Remember that list of places you think you may want to work? Brands that you’re in to? So you have this list, now what? Very recently a friend told me his dream places to work. It was all related to the aerospace industry. He listed about 5 companies by name and said “It would be a dream come true to work for one them”. I asked him if he had any friends or acquaintances that currently work there or have some connection to these companies. He did not have any.

You need to build your network as wide as you can, or as focused as you can. If there are places you want to work and you don’t know a single person there, then you’re doing it wrong. Your network can help you. That’s actually why you have said network. Use it. Do whatever you can to get a foot in the door at one of your target places. Cold call, email, try and connect, buy coffees, get meetings… rinse and repeat.

Step 3: Listen.

What are you good at? Be honest. Remember that list of ‘things you like doing’? Take it out and try to assess if you are actually good at these things. You do not do this alone. You need input. Talk to the people closest to you. Friends, family, current managers & associates, along with past managers and colleagues. Sometimes the things you think you are great at may not be the things you are actually great at. Put on your big boy or girl pants and listen to what others have to say. Really listen.

Step 4: Get Ready. 

Hate to be the one who has to break this to you, but sometimes not everything is at is seems. A lot goes in to a workplace. Some of which you may not like. What you may think is your dream job, may be more like a nightmare. A work environment is a complicated ecosystem. The people, the space, the culture, the work, the politics, the hierarchy, the hours, the left-over cake in the kitchen. There are many things that may turn you off of your dream job. Just prepare yourself that anything can happen. Just because you thought this was the job for you, doesn’t mean you have to stick to it. You can change your mind. It’s ok. On the flip side, sometimes it does work out just fine. If so, congrats.

4 simple steps. Many of which you are probably doing already. For the record, I have not found my dream job yet. I love what I do and the people I do it with, but I’m convinced that my dream job has not been invented yet. Maybe one day I’ll get around to inventing it. As always I’m Jon Sinden on Twitter if you’ like to connect about this blog.
cheers,
::js

My Writing Career

So I just finished up my first five articles for a career-themed magazine that launches in September. The editor seemed pretty happy about my submissions, which is cool.

The funny thing is – I’m really not much of a writer. I just kinda think of things and start typing. My speling and grammar really suck. It’s all stream of consciousness.

I think back to all those email communications I wrote for the radio station I used to work at; and they had pretty much the same feel. Just whatever was on my mind. My dog, the fights, footy, TV, music, movies, whateves. Those emails went out to over 300, 000 people… but I designed them to feel like it was a one on one relationship. (Note: I’m actually surprised that of all the stuff other media copied from the station, this ‘style’ of audience communication wasn’t one of them) It was ‘just an email between friends.’ It seemed to really work. After all, the database in question was only 14,000 members when I found it) I wonder if readers of this new magazine will get the same vibe. Once those words get officially published, I’ll share them with everyone. Would love to hear what you think.

Anyhoo… Not sure if I’ll actively search out writing opportunities… Probably not. like I said, I’m not much of a writer.

cheers for reading.
js

Social Media Experts – Wha?

Social Marketing is big business. Sometimes it’s my business.
Sometimes people even pay me to create and execute campaigns thru social media. So needless to say, I spend a lot of time online; Twitter, facebook, etc.

But I am no expert. I repeat. NOT AN EXPERT. Not even close.

Although… I have noticed that there sure are a lot of experts out there.
I like that I’m surrounded by so many experts.
It’s like if you went swimming. Wouldn’t it be so much better to go swimming with dozens/hundreds of lifeguards?

I’m not judging. After all, my company is called Big Thinker. I guess I’m making a claim right there. Truth be told, someone else came up with the name for me. I’m not really a ‘naming’ expert either. lol.

What qualifications do u need to be a Social Media Expert?

I’m curious to know what u think.

js