Curt Schilling Gets It

If there was ever a person who needed a blog, it’s Curt Schilling. Schilling is a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. He is most known for delivering Red Sox Nation a World Series with his unforgettable 2004 postseason performance. In the future, however, he may also be known for being a trendsetter in blogging.

Schilling recently started his own blog, and it is everything an athlete’s blog can be. In his entries, Schilling is very detailed about his performances in Spring Training, taking readers batter-by-batter through his outings. He writes about how he felt on the mound, which pitches were working and which ones were not. Schilling thoughtfully waxes about the inspiration he gets from seeing his teammate John Lester come back from cancer. Schilling even interacts with his fans by answering questions by the bunch.

Through his blog, Schilling is creating content that only he can provide. And you know what? People LOVE it. His fans are flocking to his site to read his take on everything going on with the Red Sox. And they are taking the time to leave comments by the hundreds.

Think of how incredibly powerful that is. A player sharing information that devout followers like a sports team’s fan base cannot get anywhere else. Even if they are not a fan of Schilling, they can get an exlcusive look at what’s going on with their favorite team.

The best part is that Schilling seems to have caught on that his blog is now an official source of news for the Red Sox. Today, he actually broke a news story about the decision the Red Sox front office made to move pitcher Jon Papelbon to the bullpen. Think of how significant this is! A baseball player is becoming the go-to source for content about his team. Other leading news sources in Boston are having to site Schilling’s blog as a source.

Curt Schilling’s blog is the perfect example of how an athlete can take out the middle man and speak directly to the consumer. What he is doing is brilliant, and we here at Brand5 applaud him for that.

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Website Analytics: More Stats for Guys to Love

Have you ever noticed how much guys talk about numbers?Fantasy Sports

A lot of us often talk about on-base percentage, seeding in the NCAA tournament, games out of first place, scores in relation to par, the over/under, ROI, stock quotes, market cap and on and on. Our obsession with sports and finances has made a lot of us predisposed to a love of stats. Don’t believe me? Just check out how much fantasy sports content is out there.

I am as bad as the next guy. I love stats. That’s why I truly enjoy website analytics. For those of you who don’t know about website analytics, it’s how user behavior on websites is measured.

For example, analytics will help you determine the following about your website:

  • number of visitors, borken down by hour, day, month, year
  • number of pages those visitors are viewing
  • where traffic is coming from
  • what pages users are visiting on a site
  • how much time users spend on a site
  • how frequently they visit
  • and so much more.

Get the point?

Analytics is all numbers, charts, graphs-updating all day long. In other words, it’s a dream for a lot of guys who already enjoy stats.

I was reminded of man’s natural affinity for analytics when one of our clients called the other day. This client is great (as are all of the companies and people Brand5 is lucky enough to work with). He is a huge sports fan and a baseball junkie in particular.

At the end of last year, we installed an analytics program for his website. Since then he has been obsessed with logging in to check out the latest numbers on his site’s traffic. He really enjoys picking apart the different categories and interpreting user bahavior.

Beyond the numbers, this client understands the true value of analytics and how it makes his business better.

He told me a story about how just last week he closed a huge deal thanks to his Brand5 analytics program. He was tracking which potential clients-out of all the ones he had recently pitched-had been on his website (something easily trackable through analytics).

My client saw that one company in particular had recently spent a lot of time on his site. He interpreted this as interest in his services. He correctly followed-up with them and won the business.

Instead of sitting in his office wondering if his sales pitch had had any effect, analytics had given our client clear evidence that this company had taken his call-to-action to heart and visited his site. Instead, the company is swithcing more and more of their bsuiness to my client.

That’s just another example of the power of analytics. It’s a must for all companies, and all guys who love stats.

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Standing in the Virtual Gallery Without Much to See

One of the sites we developed during our busy 2006 was You golf diehards may remember her from her stint on ‘Big Break V‘ – The Golf Channel’s highly successful and entertaining reality show. We had a blast developing it and Julie is a lot of fun to work with. She totally breaks the stereotype of spoiled professional athletes.Julie Takes a Swing

Last week Julie kicked off her 2007 season on the Duramed FUTURES Tour. Unfortunately for the Brand5 team, we have not been able to see her play in-person yet this season (but we really want to be there Julie!). So like the rest of her fans, we have been forced to follow along online. Fortunately the FUTURES site does a decent job of updating scores.

One of the things I have noticed while tracking Julie and her peers is that she is in the minority when it comes to athletes and websites. Julie, unlike almost everyone else on the FUTURES Tour, actually has a website. The overwhelming majority of players on this tour do not have any sort of web presence whatsoever.

I did a quick (and unscientific) audit of the league’s player list, and these were the sites I was able to find:

Believe it or not, this small sample size is typical of pro sports as a whole. Athletes with sites are few and far between. Those that do have sites are rarely addressing them from a brand perspective. Most athletes with sites are happy to have any sort of web presence and have not taken full advantage of the power of the medium.

For that reason we are proud of what we have created with Julie. Number one, she has an official place she can point her fans to if they want to know more about her. Second, they can hear directly from her in her blog. She does an awesome job of sharing with her fans all things related to her career. It’s extremely powerful and she deserves a lot of credit.

Good luck to Julie this season. In the meantime, we need to get back to work. There are a lot of athletes who need websites.

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