It's hard to imagine life before social media (yes, there was a time). Because these days, it's so much more than just social, it's how we get our news and even how we communicate with others (you all know that it really does go down in the DM). It's also a huge money maker for professional athletes, which is just one of the reasons that we advocate for our clients to maintain a profile across the various platforms. These days companies are spending more than ever to promote their products and services on social media, and leveraging an athlete's following has served as a great way to do it. This year alone, it is expected that social media marketing spend will increase by 19% making the total 37B (via Ignite Social Media). Case in point - that's a lot of money to go around.
For a large amount of the athletes that we are blessed to work with, the followers grow themselves. Typically the rookie clients bring a solid following to the table based on their performance in college. Then once they're in the league a few good plays on the field and some consistent content on the gram can keep it growing. But what about the MLB players that have fallen privy to the lack of exposure that teams and the league are providing their players (as compared to the NFL and NBA). Or the NFL player who went un-drafted and is now starting to make a name for himself? These individuals are going to have to rely on a little more than just organic growth.
We've come up with a fool proof (and relatively easy) strategy that helps all professional athletes grow their brand on Instagram and we're revealing all of the secrets...
Every person on earth is fighting a battle behind the scenes. Our personal struggles are not made known to the public, and normally we intend to keep it that way. Even the most successful people on earth go through struggles, and that includes professional athletes.
Randy Dobnak, a rookie pitcher for the Minnesota Twins, is no stranger to personal battles, and one of his was made known in the national media on Saturday night. Last summer, while playing in the minors awaiting his callup to the big-leagues, Dobnak worked as an Uber driver in order to earn some extra money in addition to his minor league paycheck. Dobnak had been chasing his dreams, and they finally came true when he was called up to the Twins’ active roster at the beginning of September. He played extremely well in his first games as a pro, and impressed the Twins so much that they made him a starter for Game 2 of the ALDS against the New York Yankees.
However, the ruthless fans of New York caught wind of his history working as an Uber driver. Dobnak struggled in his first postseason start, allowing six hits and four runs in just two innings, and when he was pulled from the mound the crowd chanted “Uber” at him until he was gone.
Players in the minor leagues are all chasing the same thing: being called up to the majors. But with only 1,200 spots on MLB rosters, the rest are fighting for scraps. Amongst the six classes of the minor league system, there are nearly 6,000 prospects trying to work their way up. With only so much money to go around, many of them are not making enough to be financially stable. The average minor leaguer will only make $12,000 a year, and because of this, many of the players find other means of income through part-time jobs. Dobnak was not earning enough to support himself, so he did what he could to stay afloat.
This is why it is so difficult to grasp the fact that the fans in New York were giving Dobnak such a hard time. None of them knew the struggles that he was going through, or what any minor league player has to go through to chase their dreams. It is never a shameful thing to do what you love, and Dobnak has finally achieved his dream of being in the Major Leagues.
Dobnak’s success story should be inspiring to all of those who aspire to reach the MLB level. It is truly amazing what he has been able to overcome, and teaches a very important lesson: don’t look down on someone else for having to work chase their dreams.
Let’s all just hope that Uber helps him get back at the Yankees fans with a brand new endorsement deal.
Creator:Matt Freed Credit:Post-Gazette Copyright:2016 Post-Gazette
In life, it is extremely difficult to put so much effort into something, and then come up short in the end. This is the feeling that struck the many NFL players that were the victims of roster cuts this past Saturday afternoon. Long days of workouts, film, and taking hard hits from other players who are out to take the same job you are vying for, and it all seems to be for nothing. Some got lucky and were signed to a practice squad, while others have to wave goodbye to the game they love.
However, the dream may not be over for everyone. Each team is allowed 10 players on their practice squads, and each of those players must be ready to be called up within a moment’s notice. It is a long-shot for a practice squad player to be able to scratch the surface and earn significant playing time, but it is not unheard of.
Several NFL legends began their careers on practice squads, waiting patiently for an opportunity to prove themselves. The success stories of these once-practice squad dwellers should inspire those who are currently on a scout team, that they might one day have a success story of their own.
Five time pro bowl linebacker and two time Super Bowl Champion James Harrison was once faced with an uphill battle in his NFL career. As an undrafted free agent out of Kent State University, Harrison already had a chip on his shoulder and had to show that he was instead worthy of a draft pick. He wound up on the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he struggled to learn the playbook during his first couple of years. He then went to play in Europe, which helped him develop in order to earn another opportunity with the Steelers. He never looked back.
Harrison is now retired, but his legacy still lives on. While he is widely regarded as one of the meanest, hardest working men on the football field, he has a soft side as well. Social media has been a great platform that Harrison has used to strengthen himself as a person, and show the real side of him. From talking about his favorite TV shows, to raising awareness about his James Harrison Family Foundation, Harrison shows that he is more than just another number on a football team.
The practice squad is not the 53 man roster. These players have a long journey ahead, and a lot of work to do if they want to earn a full-time spot. But the James Harrison story should inspire them. Not only the way he played the game, but also the way he carries himself off the field.
Doomsday has arrived. For the many NFL hopefuls across the league, dreams will either be fulfilled or crushed within the coming days. NFL rosters will be cut down from 90 players to the league maximum of 53 by Saturday, August 31st at 3 PM. All of the hard work put in during training camp will either pay off or send them packing their bags. This can be the most difficult stage in a young athlete’s life.
However, if a roster cut is made, it does not mean a player does not still have a chance. Teams with a lack of depth at a position of need have the ability to add to their roster from the cuts made by other teams around the league. Because of this, some players will still be awarded jobs, while others will remain free agents.
Each team has the option to keep 10 players on their practice squad, as a way to keep players on hold in case of injury and crisis situations during the regular season. A team is also not limited to their own practice squad, as every player on hold for a team is up for grabs for any team in the NFL.
What does this mean for those who are on the roster bubble? Players must stay ready, even if they are released, as they never know when a team may be calling. The challenge with the preseason is being able to gel with teammates, while also keeping in mind that you are competing with those same teammates for a spot on the final roster. It is a relentless process, with very little margin for error. This is a concept that many athletes on NFL rosters will come to realize within the coming days.
Not only is preseason football a platform for first year players to make good impressions on their coaches, it is also a way for teams to showcase veteran players that they will attempt to trade before the season. Players that have been popular with the team, but are either too expensive to hold on to, or their physical skills are beginning to regress. Across the league, there are holes for each team to fill in their rosters that are not being satisfied by their current players. This is where the veterans on the trade block come in.
Saturday will either be the best day, or the worst day for those who are hoping to make a roster. Every team’s front office will be faced with several difficult decisions, as every player coming in has busted their tails to make the team. However, that is the harsh reality of the NFL, and only 53 players will go on to fulfill their dreams.
When I first came up with the idea to completely re-brand the company and come out as a faith based agency, Rachel was totally against it. It’s not that she wasn’t proud of her faith, because trust me, she’s one of the strongest Christians that I know. It was more about the fact that we were completely going against what the sports industry is known for. Where do you think the ideas for Ballers and Jerry Maguire came from? We still joke to this day about Rachel’s fear that we would become known as the “Jesus freaks in the corner” at events.
Despite the compelling argument to continue doing things the same way, we went for it, and never looked back.
I would mark it as the single best decision that we have made in the history of the company (aside from deciding to actually start it). Why? Because for once we were allowed to just be ourselves. The game of wearing multiple hats was over. No longer would we have to worry about being one person when we were at work and another person when we were with friends and family. We knew that not everyone was going to like it, and to be honest, we didn’t care. Because as Christians it’s actually our job to be different. The easy life is mediocrity. Playing by the rules and making sure everyone around you is happy. But that kind of life isn’t going to change the world.
You see, we get so caught up in what everyone else is doing that we often lose sight of what it is that we were put on this earth to do. And let’s just say that I know that God didn’t create Rachel and I to just go with the flow.
It’s not to say that our big decision was easy, or didn’t come with consequences, because it did. We had to make tough decisions to part ways with brands and individuals that no longer aligned with our morals and values. And every single day we have to get up and choose to lead our life a certain way. It’s one of those things that never gets easy. No matter how many devotionals we do or how openly we discuss our faith on our social media accounts, it’s still a daily battle, and the devil is always knocking at our door.
But no matter what, it will always be worth it. Because there is no greater feeling than waking up and knowing that you get to go through life as your authentic self. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that we ended up getting not just more business, but better business off of this little decision to go all in on who we really are.
-Lauren Walsh, Founder
Last week the team headed to Atlanta for Super Bowl week. What made this trip to the Super Bowl different from years past, was how Founder, Lauren Walsh, decided to have the team approach the week. This year, the team acted intentionally. Networking intentionally, acting intentionally, and managing the time spent with people and at certain events intentionally. Overall, the main goal of last week was to only commit to doing things that added value to our team members and our business. While working in the sports industry may seem like all fun and games, our team knows the importance of connecting with those who share in our values and mission.
Lauren discusses all of this and more in this weeks podcast. She recaps how the team decided which events to attend, and which events not to attend, as well as how being strategic while networking will save you time and energy in the long run.
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Episode 04 is Live!
On this episode of the LW Podcast, Lauren and Director of MLB, Matt Morrison, talk about trusting the process when it is the last thing you want to do. From keeping the faith, to making sure you learn something from every experience, these two navigate trusting the process on your journey to that dream career. Lauren and Matt share their story of finding a path to LW, while also getting real on how they dealt with the journey when they wanted to give up.
New episodes every MONDAY!
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This last year, our very own client, Darius Philon, donated 15 thousand dollars worth of tablets to youth in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama. Darius has always made it a point to give back to his community. Specifically, Darius is a strong believer in enriching the educational experience for all youth, which is why he decided to donate the tablets. Please join us during Super Bowl weekend in Atlanta, to congratulate Darius and other NFL stars for their philanthropic achievements.
The Super Bowl Brunch Awards is being hosted by Champions for Philanthropy and the LW team. If you’re interested in showing your support for these great guys and their amazing projects, check out the MVP awards brunch being held at the famous Estate in Buckhead.
Get tickets and more information here.
Episode 03 on SoundCloud
On this episode of the LW podcast, Lauren and Rachel provide us insights on how to effectively manage your time. More importantly, how to manage your time with intent in what you do. Lauren and Rachel talk us through their experiences with figuring out how to do this, as well as the difficult task of deciding what is worth your time.
Lauren and Rachel talked about Jennie Allen's book, "Nothing To Prove", which is available on Amazon.
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EPISODE 02 on SoundCloud
On this episode of the LW Branding podcast, Lauren talks about the 5 key action items you can take to change your life. Lauren shares stories that navigate us through how these actions have worked for her, while also explaining why these 5 areas are so important to change. From taking an inventory of the people in your life, to a discussion of why you don't need to hustle to be successful, Lauren shares simple habits anyone can implement in order to take you and your goals to the next level.
New episodes out every Monday!
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