Growing & Engaging A Baseball Community Via A 2x Day Video Show
Welcome to a case study about how Rob Cressy created a twice a day baseball video show to help grow and engage a community for a baseball app.
To create a twice a day, 5-day a week (Monday – Friday), baseball video show averaging 2 – 3 minutes in length (for a total of 40 videos per month.) The content should focus more on the pop culture and entertainment side of baseball (opposed to stats and game recaps.) The videos would be used to help increase awareness and downloads for the app.
Approach & Strategy:
My formula for creating awesome content is simple: have fun, entertain, and drop knowledge.
In building and engaging the community via the show my number one focus was to create opportunities for interaction within the content. That way it was a two way conversation. The more people respond and grow an emotional connection to the show the more it’ll grow.
This was a dream opportunity for me as I’m a life long baseball fan. I grew up in Pittsburgh, a fan of the late 80’s and early 90’s Pirates (shout out to Bobby Bo and Andy Van Slyke), I was an avid baseball card collector, I’ve played fantasy baseball since 1996, and I’ve created content around the game for years for Bacon Sports (including documenting the Cubs winning the World Series.) Because of this I was CHARGED every day to create the best shows that I possibly could.
My Process For How I Executed The Show:
Like baseball players, it was very important for me to get into a daily routine. Creating two highly produced and edited videos per day is not easy, especially considering they needed to be sent over by 10 am and 1 pm (Central.) That meant I had to be on top of my game all the time.
The first thing I did was curate a list of the best sources of baseball content. This included baseball websites, Twitter & Instagram accounts and lists. To add an element of uniqueness, fun, and relevance I would also check out the National Day Calendar, This Day In Baseball History, and baseball birthday’s for inspiration. These would serve as my evergreen topics of which I could include in the show when the opportunity presented itself.
Every Sunday I would take these sources and write down as many ideas by day for the upcoming week. That way I wasn’t staring at a blank page every morning.
Each night between 8 – 9 pm I would write down more real time ideas for the next day’s shows. What made this difficult is most games weren’t final and the west coast games hadn’t even started yet. If anything amazing happened in baseball late that evening I would have to find out about it in the morning.
Every day I would start writing the final script for the first show at 6:15 am. It would typically take me about an hour to script out the show, word for word of what I was going to say. From there I’d eat a quick breakfast, shower, set up the studio lighting, camera, and set and hope to be shooting by 8 am.
Typically I could hammer the taping of the show out in 30 minutes or less. After that it was time to tightly edit the video, add in graphics, and music.
Up first was the 15 second trailer (every show had one), which was used to preview the show and encourage people to download the app to see the full show.
Once that was finalized and shipped off it was time to move on to the full show where I would repeat the process again. From start to finish it would take about an hour and a half to complete this full process (trailer + full show.)
After the first show was complete it was onto round two where I would rinse and repeat the entire show writing, shooting, and editing process again.
To help make it an easily duplicatable format, plus build consistency with the audience, this is what the show lineup looked like by day.
Monday: Right Off The Bat, Best Of The Best
Tuesday: Right Off The Bat, Toss Up Tuesday
Wednesday: Right Off The Bat, Higher or Lower
Thursday: Right Off The Bat, 3 Up 3 Down
Friday: Right Off The Bat, Weekend Windup
Here is a breakdown of the theme of each show.
Right Off The Bat (Daily):
Right Off The Bat was a daily show that got the community ready for that day’s baseball action. It was always the first video out every morning.
For the format it always started off with “What’s Trending,” which looked back at something amazing that happened the night before or looked forward at something that was going to happen. Since I was always trying to emphasize fun, pop culture, and entertainment, this was often where I would fuse in National Calendar Day to add a creative spin (when the opportunity presented itself.) For example, on National Pirate Day I talked about baseball players who have pirate sounding names (Arrrrrrr-oldis Chapman.)
After that I would need to add between three and five more segments to get a complete show that came in between 2 and 3 minutes.
Right Off The Bat Segments:
- Baseball Trivia: I would create a multiple choice baseball trivia question. When possible I tried to tie it into something trending or topical. This was a great opportunity to drop knowledge, have fun, and include engagement at the same time.
- Fan Of The Day: I would scour the app for fans who were posting Fan Of The Day worthy things. This could include someone catching their first foul ball, creating a sign for the favorite player, or doing anything awesome. The great part about this is that it was unexpected and people loved getting shoutouts on the show (which helped build loyalty.)
- Two Truth’s One Lie: I would take a player who was trending or whose birthday it was, find two awesome or fun facts about them, and then I’d make up one fact that wasn’t true. When possible I tried to make this pop culture/sports entertainment related (opposed to statistical.) From there it was up to the audience to figure out which were true and which was a lie.
- Stylin & Profilin: I channeled my inner Nature Boy Ric Flair (WOOOO!) and covered all things baseball fashion (jerseys, gloves, off the field clothes, etc) to highlight who was stylin & profilin.
- Clash Of The Cannons: Take a look at the best pitching matchup of the day, and then have the community choose which pitcher they thought would win. They would participate by including #CannonChallenge in their entry.
- Home Run Challenge: Pick a player to hit a home run that day. If someone from the community correctly picked a player who hit a home run they would get a shout out on the next day’s show. They would participate by including #HRChallenge in their entry.
- 2 Hit Challenge: Pick two players from opposing teams in the same game who would get a hit. In order to win both players must get a hit. If someone from the community correctly picked two players who got a hit they would get a shout out on the next day’s show. They would participate by including #2Hit in their entry.
Best Of The Best (Monday):
Best Of The Best covered all of the awesome things from the world of baseball that happened over the weekend. Because it included Friday night through Sunday night (instead of just one night), there was plenty of good material to choose from.
Toss Up Tuesday (Tuesday):
Playing off Tinder’s swipe right or swipe left philosophy, I would swipe right (things I like) or left (things I don’t) on trending baseball topics.
Higher Or Lower (Wednesday):
The concept for higher or lower is similar to over/under. I go and find a baseball topic that can be quantified in some way with a number, create a middle ground to set a baseline, and then give an opinion on if it’ll be higher or lower than that number. This concept very much is looking forward and projecting what will happen. My goal was to make the middle ground number as competitive as possible, that way you could debate either side of it.
For example, during Giancarlo Stanton’s HR chase for 61, midway through the season the higher/lower number would be 60.5. Essentially it’s just another way of saying “will he hit 61 home runs.”
3 Up 3 Down (Thursday):
This segment played off the words Up and Down to create a six baseball topic video (three of them used Up and three used Down.) For example, “Jersey sales are UP for Aaron Judge who lead all player in jersey sales this season” or “Going DOWN on this day in Game 4 of the 2011 NLDS, a legend was born and he goes by the name of Rally Squirrel.”
Weekend Windup (Friday):
“Welcome to the Weekend Windup where I get you pumped for the weekend.” This was the last video of the week and it previewed the baseball awesomeness that was going down over the weekend.
I recorded the shows out of my home studio (aka the Bacon Sports Man Cave Studio) which has a three lighting setup, green screen, and baseball card wallpaper backdrop. One of my strengths is the ability to be able to produce high quality content quickly, and the Bacon Sports Man Cave Studio allows that.
Team I Worked With:
You are only as good as the team you have around you and I had a great one. I have to give a shout out to Kristen, Blake, Les, and Anthony from Lineage Interactive for producing the show, pushing me to be better, and for making this an incredible experience. Interacting with them every day was a pleasure and I can’t recommend working with them enough. They are the best.
I also have to give a shout out to Tom and Mike from Team Bacon Sports who helped with ideas and content curation. One thing that helped make writing the show easier was having a good pool of topics to choose from.
What I learned:
Holy Smokes Batman did I learn a ton.
I feel proud of where the progress that was made from the first day of the show to the last. From tightening up my writing, editing, and on camera work, increasing my attention to detail, to pushing through creative barriers and finding ways to be more efficient.
I also continued to learn more about sports fan engagement, community building, what makes people smile, respond back, and look forward to hearing from you again.
I am someone who has fun in everything he does and creating a twice a day baseball video show was no exception. I’d like to think that my enthusiasm for the show and in building the community opened the door for interaction and building genuine connections. When this happened the brand grows.
Talk to me ASAP about how I can help grow your brand by building and engaging your audience via a video show or creative content. Contact Rob Cressy at firstname.lastname@example.org or via this webform.