US Trail Running Conference webinar shares innovations in digital marketing for trail races

Expert panelists present practical and user friendly suggestions to market trail races

Marketing & Communication Innovations – Digital Opportunities was the subject for the sixth webinar in a seven-webinar series produced by the US Trail Running Conference and presented by Marathon Printing, and was live on Thursday, June 30. The webinar series is held in partnership with the American Trail Running Association.

This webinar’s content featured three digital marketing experts, Luis Escobar, Founder of the Road Dog Podcast, Jamil Coury, Owner and Founder of Aravaipa Running, and Matt Feldhake, Marketing Director for Aravaipa Running. Panelists shared key factors that have had a successful impact on digital marketing for their races and events.

Escobar opened by sharing his experiences hosting the popular Road Dog Podcast for two  years. “One of the keys to our success, and achieving a great consistency track record, is that there are two of us working on the show….there are times when it has been hard for me to keep motivated. We publish every single Monday, and we have only missed one in two years.” (The other person that Escobar refers to is Kevin Lyons.)

Escobar also covered the technology he has been using successfully for his podcast show, focusing on sound quality. He also stressed the importance of forward planning and that he sets up his schedule a couple of weeks ahead. Escobar added that connecting with and being invited on other podcast shows was a great way of spreading the word on your own show, and connected you with a completely fresh audience. He also recommended asking viewers to rate your show, as the ratings are used by platforms to rank various shows.

Escobar also stressed the importance of preparation, ensuring that you know something about a show guest ahead of an interview, to listen to them while you are interviewing, and to be clear on time zones if they are an out of state show guest. He closed with advice on monetization, that his use of patreon.com helps him to cover his podcast show costs, and the opportunity that show sponsorship can create for existing sponsor partners, especially if you understand the value of a sponsor partnering with a show or series of shows.

Jamil Coury and Matt Feldhake from Aravaipa Running demonstrated an effective use of tag-team partnership that graphically illustrated an important factor for livestream production. Together they shared five key factors that they have learned producing successful livestreams from a variety of races over the last few years. The first factor was “The separation is in the preparation, and to always have a plan.” Coury commented that they have found it best to have someone dedicated to running a livestream for a race. Then this person has the role of creating a step by step plan for the livestream, in just the same way as you would for a race. Feldhake commented that they, “Use a spreadsheet template with a minute by minute run of show, where we expect race leaders to be, where cut offs are, etc.”

The second factor was to “Be authentic to your race story.” Feldhake commented, “Whatever the race story is then this is what your livestream should also represent. Depending on what your race story is can dictate what the content for your livestream broadcast looks like. For example our coverage of Black Canyon, a golden ticket race, is typically more geared, in its entirety, to focus on the front of the field and tell that story. The elite athletes chasing these Western States golden tickets. The focus is that the race is a super elite race and a golden ticket race. Whereas for the Cocodona 250 the story is more about the human story and adventure, grit and will to persevere.”

The third factor was “Live chat & crowd interaction = Elevated experience.” Coury said, “We have such an amazing community in the trail and ultra running space, being able to pull in those comments and show it on the screen – there is really cool technology now where you can put someone’s profile picture in their comment, that encourages people to give a comment. The chat takes on a life of its own and becomes self generating…micro mini stories are developing that become inside jokes.”

The fourth factor was, “Prioritize on course footage over studio or guests or pre-produced content.” Coury added, “For us we prioritize always letting people have a live look at the event, even if it’s not the best quality. That’s what we believe people are tuning in for, they are there to see what’s happening live.”

The fifth and final factor was, “Practice makes perfect, or test run the tech.” Feldhake expanded, “Test things beforehand so that you have a plan for how to deal with things before they happen, and then it gives you bandwidth to deal with any problems that may be unforeseen. The first time you do a livestream is probably not going to be the best one you are going to do. Stick with it, every time you do a livestream you will get better at it, you will learn more from each session….you will iron out kinks on the tech side, and you will learn a lot more.”

Trail Runner magazine had included information about the importance of race livestreams in a feature published on June 28, suggesting that “Live coverage is the future of the Sport.” Author David Roche predicted that, “The trail world is going to undergo a fundamental shift in the next 10 years as media companies realize that trail running coverage has the drama and visuals of an episode of Planet Earth, including all of the chase scenes.”

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 slide deck with step-by-step information that includes best practices from the expert presenters. There will also be an opportunity to follow up on deliverables in-person at the 2022 US Trail Running Conference to be held October 19-22, in 
Mukilteo, Washington.

The next webinar is titled: Starting out, for new race directors or event organizers, and takes place on Thursday July 21, 2022, at 11.00 am to 12.00 pm MST. Panelists are Aimee Kohler, The Running Kind and RD, Spartan Trail, Briston Rains, Texas Outlaw Running Company, and Craig Thornley, WSER 100.
Who is this for? Race directors and event organizers who are either looking to set up a new trail race, or have already started a new race, and would like to understand more about developing their race story.
Registration is free – see https://ustrailrunningconference.com/webinar-series/ for more details.

Active at Altitude, organizers of the US Trail Running Conference and the webinar series, reported more than 130 participants registered for the session, representing 34 states, as well as Canada, North Macedonia, Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, and Saudi Arabia.

More info:

For details on the US Trail Running Conference and the webinar series, go to https://ustrailrunningconference.com/webinar-series/

Contact Event Director, Terry Chiplin for further information, terry@ustrailrunningconference.com, or 303-304-9159

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