Industry experts deliver timely advice on the latest digital platforms across email, social media, and podcasts
The final webinar in a nine-webinar series produced by the US Trail Running Conference and presented by the leading trail registration platform UltraSignup, was hosted Thursday, September 23. The session subject for this latest session was: Digital marketing, social media & podcasts.
Active at Altitude, organizers of the US Trail Running Conference and the webinar series, reported more than 90 race directors and event organizers registered for the webinar, representing more than 30 states, as well as Canada, Macedonia, Portugal, and Romania. The webinar series is held in partnership with the American Trail Running Association, and Trail Runner magazine.
This webinar’s content focused on the latest trends in digital marketing for races and events. Panelists included Phillip Shepard, Owner of Marketing Hero, Kirsty Reade, Social Media Manager for the World Mountain Running Association, and Luis Escobar, owner All We Do is Run, a Spartan Trail race director, and host for the Road Dog podcast.
Shepard said the best starting point when considering marketing options for races and events, is to, “Think about where runners are spending their time online.” He suggested that getting on podcasts is an excellent way to share news on your brand and events in a way that is evergreen and can be easily found. He recommended sending a weekly email to your database, with news, tips, or information on the races you have upcoming and said that MailerLite is the best option for email marketing. Lastly, Shepard suggested that Facebook groups provide a great way to connect with your audience and are more likely to garner engagement while also sharing updated information on your races.
Reade noted four key factors critical for developing a successful social media following. “The first is the importance of having a strategy, adding regular posts with content on specific days, finding content to engage your audience all year round, and setting up the right expectations for your followers.” Reade said the second factor is to have a race day plan that involves key moments and how to capture them, to enable your audience to follow the race, and be thinking ahead to what content you will use to promote next year’s race. Thirdly, you need to match the right content with the right platform, keeping content timely and being able to monitor the growth of your audience. Lastly, Reade said, “you need to be able to have a mechanism to gauge return and measure your success. This can be either in terms of race entries, followers, or levels of interaction.”
Escobar covered the emerging technology of podcasts, and shared how his Road Dog Podcast first started. He stressed the importance of, “being consistent, to publish your show on a regular basis, and avoid gaps in publication.” Escobar has been producing his weekly Road Dog podcast without interruption for 75 episodes. He emphasized the importance of getting help and getting a partner. “The first thing I did was to find and hire a producer that I could work with and who knew the technical side of producing podcasts. Working as a team also helps keep you motivated and on schedule.”
Esocabar also recommended being a guest on another podcast (for a list of trail running-related podcasts click here: https://trailrunner.com/trail-news/trail-running-podcast-directory/) and “ to never pass up an opportunity to be on a podcast.” For race directors that are considering getting involved in podcasts, he also advocated for partnering and cooperatively supporting another show. He also shared key tips for how a podcast can help introduce your brand to a wider audience, commenting, “You can use your social media channels to create awareness about your show, and then use your show to create awareness about your social media channels. You can also find interesting guests who also have large social media audiences.”
A question from attendees was how to generate income from podcasts. Escobar said that he uses a membership platform, Patreon, that helps him achieve stability, raise funds, and also allows him to do his best work.
“Race directors strive to build community and this webinar’s three presenters shared tips to do just that. ,” said Nancy Hobbs, Executive Director of American Trail Running Association. “By understanding and incorporating social media, email marketing, and podcasts, race directors will have several avenues to foster engagement with their audience near and far.”
Each webinar is presented by industry leaders in their respective fields, and offers information that can boost a race director’s knowledge and afford insight into innovative practices to implement at their events. Every participant receives a best practices resource document after each webinar that details key actionable items, while there will be an opportunity to follow up on deliverables through an online forum, and in-person or remotely at the 2021 US Trail Running Conference to be held October 27-30, in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
News on plans for the 2022 webinar series will be released later in October 2021. A free webinar is also planned in November for all previous participants that will share plans for the 2022 webinar series, along with a year in review session from webinar partner, the American Trail Running Association.
For details on the US Trail Running Conference and the webinar series, go to https://ustrailrunningconference.com
Contact Event Director, Terry Chiplin for further information, email@example.com, or 303-304-9159
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