episode 74 of the dsmsports podcast w/ peter stringer of the boston celtics
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Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastEpisode 74 featured Vice President of Digital Media for the Boston Celtics,Peter Stringer
What follows is a collection of snippets from the podcast. For the full episode, visit DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastPeter's career path
Attended BU studying journalism, hoping to be the beat writer for the Boston Celtics Did an internship with NESN during his junior yearAt that time...they were launching a sports content website...it was kind of way ahead of it's time in terms of its concept...
Peter wrote on the Bruins, Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics for NESN We weren't actually covering the games... Peter got credentialed from the Bruins, Patriots, Red Sox and [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastI worked my way into being part of the media every day...and got to know the (other reporters)...And quickly realized a few things One was that I didn't want to be a beat writer anymore. Having seen the lifestyle...and seeing it up close and what they had to do every day...You have to respect the time and energy and effort they put into it. Putting all that aside, it doesn't really make for a lot of personal time...I didn't want to go and do the thing where you start at (a small paper and work your way up) and burn ten years of your career trying to work your way (up)[email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastAt that point, I was already working alongside the media every night in Boston...At the same time, the website era was beginning. [Before and while at NESN, Peter had taught himself website building, Photoshop, and more tech and digital skills)
My career kind of went down the website development path... [Peter's boss at NESN moved to Fidelity Investments and recruited Peter to go with him] I basically doubled my salary (compared to working in sports)...Ask anybody who's worked in the industry and they'll tell you that (money isn't great in sports careers)...I spent a lot of time doing website consulting after (Fidelity)[email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastPeter never abandoned his love of Boston sports and writing and had kept up doing some freelance work throughout this career, keeping his foot in the sports industry.
[Peter was hired by (now Houston Rockets GM, the Celtics COO) Daryl Morey]
When I started, it was 'here's one person to the run the website' and I said to the Celtics 'look, there's no content on this website...I've never been to Celtics.com (as a longtime fan) and if we want fans to come there, we need to have content'...So I started following the team around and covering the games right alongside the media because I had done that before and that's what I [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastThis is still pre-Twitter, but I would go to practice and write a recap and put it up on the website that afternoon. In 2006, people weren't doing that. Newspapers definitely weren't doing that...Things started to change when people like myself and some of the sports bloggers (saw that Celtics.com had updated news and the newspaper sites did not)...and that eventually started changing...There were a lot of teams that started going down that path...
It was a different time when I first started...Video was nothing that a team was doing at that point. We didn't start doing video until the end of our 2008 season when we won the title. I still have HD video cassettes laying around from the locker room when we won it...
[Peter's staff grew quickly after that and his staff now consists of seven people creating content and reporting on the team.]@njh287 DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastOn buy-in from the top as Celtics.com content grew
Early on, I don't think people got it right away. But, certainly I had a lot of support internally [especially from CMO Sean Sullivan and President Rich Gotham formerly of Lycos, so he 'got' digital]...To this day, we're cranking out a ton of content, and not just content for the sake of content, but very high value content that our partners can be a part of...[Peter talks about his pride in the quality of their content, produced internally and not by their regional sports network]@njh287 DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastCeltics content vs. content from other local media and networks
Facebook really changed a ton of things for teams in this space because where it used to be the (newspapers) had all the distribution, when it comes to the way people consume content now, which is largely through social, we've got nine million Facebook fans on Facebook, we can get content in front of people that the (Boston) Globe will never reach in terms of numbers...
That said, certainly the resources that we've spent and the time and energy and staffing we've put into content we are, in some ways, competitive from the standpoint of size and energy that our town TV affiliate is...We've got a team of three people on the road (reporter, videographer, writer)...following the team everywhere...if you want coverage of every single game, there's only a few places to get it and, certainly from a video standpoint, we're providing the [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastHelpful Tool: Fiverr, particularly for cheap and easy Snapchat [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastThe ROI of Celtics' digital and social content
The concept has been that resources would follow revenue. For us, the monetization model has been creating high-quality content that our partners could be associated with and put their branding on. Facebook has done a lot of work in recent months to try to curtail that and control it more drastically, because obviously they want a piece of that pie now...
In our case, we've got the Amtrak Travel Report, the Amex live-streaming Home Court Advantage pregame show, Optum Practice Report...Putnam is a huge partners of ours and they've got several pieces of branded content. All of the table stakes content that we produce has a corporate partner behind it. As part of their arrangement with us and their deal, there's a carve-out for digital content. So my group is definitely turning a profit because of [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastIn terms of the rate card, that's something I spend a lot of time with my colleagues here to look at what that value is. You can argue about what the value of a Facebook fan is or a video view is...you have to come up with some sort of basis to start charging against your content. We've got a number that we think a video view is worth on Facebook for branded content and we use that number to then extrapolate across the amount of views we expect a campaign or a platform to generate over the course of a season and then that allows us to back into a media value for the campaign...
That's the basic methodology for how we've developed our rate card....It's not an a la carte kind of business (though), but, at the same time, it allows to come up with real world values for the content we're creating...The challenge is sometimes demonstrating (that value) to the [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastI'd say it's more science than it used to be. It used to be a lot more art (in terms of valuing for a rate card)...A lot of that really depends on Facebook and their algorithm and what kind of reach you can expect on your content. You can have the best content in the world, but without distribution, it's meaningless...That's what we're always trying to figure out and maintain how much distribution can we get from our content?
For as big as the social followings are for the NBA and website traffic, we are not the NFL...The NFL is probably in a position where they can probably sell on a CPM basis; every other sports league (and teams) is not in that spot...We're calculating in terms of trying to figure out what our audience looks like and what that value is and then trying to come up with a formula to figure out exactly what that means to our partners in terms of what that media value is they're expected to [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastOn the NBA being at the forefront of digital and helping clubs with digital and social innovation
When we get together as a league in January (annually), digital is always a big topic. (and at Summer League in Vegas, as well as other meetups)...This stuff changes so quickly (making league meetings frequently so important)...It is something the league spends a lot of time and energy on, but I've always found it has been a handful of teams at the NBA...that are really dialed into this stuff and really help the league set a direction with this stuff...It's certainly not MLB where everything is centralized on digital...but the league is still very important in terms of setting the directions and overall guidelines we have to play by (such as streaming)[email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastThe challenge for us to stay on top of this stuff and be on the cutting edge is to do that without bending the rules too much with regard to what the league is asking us to do and not do.
The interesting thing now is (looking at) Facebook Live is...you get a pretty big audience right away and we'd love to have that audience. Right now, that's something we're not really allowed to do, with regard to anything besides a press conference. I'd love to be able to stream a pregame show through Facebook directly to our fans...I think those rules are going to continue to evolve...It's my job to continue to push them on things like this and feel like these are things that are important to the team and here's why they're important.
Obviously, there's a bigger picture sometimes that dwarfs what a team may want to do. But I look it as my responsibility heading up this space for the Celtics to continue to push the league on these types of things and make sure that we're attacking it the smartest way [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastOn the growth of snark in social media and brand on social media
I will say that the personality, or the lack thereof, on our Twitter feed...comes from me. Because I look at what the Celtics brand is, and how it should be represented, and, to me, the Celtics are not snarky. The Celtics are 17-time world champions, steeped in 70 years of history...It's not something that I think is funny (or snarky) at the moment or taking a shot at another team in a public forum just because it might get you a couple retweets...that has always been my outlook and mentality because that's what our brand is. I grew up watching this brand since I was a kid. So, to me, our online presence needs to reflect what our brand [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastThat Complex Sports article (ranking NBA social media teams and mocked the Celtics 'lack of fun and personality' on Twitter and had them low down the rankings)...It's obviously a subjective ranking, number one...and they basically said 'They're not having fun with their Twitter feed.' That's fine, but that's just not our philosophy. @njh287 DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastAt the league meetings in Austin, we sat around and talked about that article a lot. Not because I necessarily wanted to talk about it, but other teams wanted to talk about it. The Portland Trailblazers, in that meeting, said 'We know we're not going to take a shot at the Celtics because that's not what they do and that's not what they are.' So, I think some of the teams in the room got it, and understand that. It's like anything else, some brands don't have anything to lose. Some brands, when you don't have that type of history, you can be kind of quick and loose with how you portray yourself. But, even in that situation, I don't think I would take that [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastTo me, we should be echoing what [head coach] Brad Stevens wants to put out, what [GM] Danny Ainge, what our players are talking about. To me, we should be amplifying and echoing what those guys are all about. To me, the way those Celtics conduct themselves, the way Brad Stevens conducts himself, none of that would fit in with the type of stuff that Complex Magazine was celebrating in that article. And this is not a shot at those guys or the writer...it's simply that what they were evaluating those Twitter feeds on is something completely different from the way we look at the [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastCould we be more fun on Twitter? Maybe occasionally. But, realistically, I just don't look at it that way. To me, you're representing the brand every time you tweet...It's always been about 'we don't want to screw up what all these people have built with their blood, sweat, and tears, and what that brand means to so many people and generations of fans.' Because what's the point? Why would you do that...Who knows? We could change that down the line as more people get involved and have strong opinions on it. Even the brand itself is something that I've felt we needed to kind of hash through and rethink 'what does the Celtics brand mean to people now; maybe it's different than it meant to me as a kid...' Sometimes, you do have to rethink these things. But I think, ultimately, if it doesn't match your brand, then you shouldn't be doing [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports Podcast[My worst nightmare] is for some reason we did something stupid on Twitter and now Brad (Stevens) has to answer for that. Which he had nothing to do with. Or Danny (Ainge) has to answer to it, or one of our players. These guys work so hard to create an environment with no distractions. I don't want to ever be responsible for creating a distraction for them.They work way too hard, I respect it way too much. I've gotten the privilege of traveling with them and seeing it up close...There's no upside. Even if you get 10,000 retweets, then what does that mean? Does it help you sell more tickets? Does it help you sell more merchandise? Does it meet any of the bottom line goals that we have as an organization or as a company? I don't really think so. So that's how I've always looked at it and will continue to look at [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastOn the Celtics being one of many Boston's celebrated pro teams and passionate fan bases
Certainly, we're fortunate to have that history of 17 world championships and all the iconic players that have played here...We're fortunate to be in a place where, first of all, fans are passionate and it's a pro sports town...[Peter mentions that college sports are not followed too closely in that area]...The old rising tide lifts all boats, I think, is very applicable here. There's a ton of crossover between fans who come to Bruins games, who come to Celtics games...If you grow up here, you're kind of brainwashed into it. It's a great sports town like Chicago or St. Louis, New York, Philly all those places are great sports towns and we're no exception that...I think it's nothing but positive for us.
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastWe'd love to be the top story headline all the time, but you have to be realistic...A good example of that is we typically always play a game on Super Bowl Sunday, but we always play at 1-o-clock and there's a reason for that. We know there's a very good chance the Pats are likely to be [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastOn bringing in new coach Brad Stevens last year and how they kept it from leaking on social media
The secret to (keeping the Stevens hiring under-wraps) that...We got word of it internally and it was pretty clear that the story was not going to get out. And the reason it was not going to get out is because...let's just say Brad's agent is not in the typical agent pool...Typically, NBA stories got broken by agents (and agents typically leak the story to a reporter). In this case, we did not have that phenomenon at play, and so that allowed us to keep the story in-house, and then break it actually on our Twitter feed. Which is pretty amazing. That's probably the only time that'll ever happen again...A story of that nature, to be able to be broken on the team's feed...To be able to get that story out on our own feed...that was a pretty awesome moment for us internally...
[Peter talks about searching Twitter to look for any semblance of leaks, stumbling upon one tweet seeing Stevens and Ainge at a restaurant. Luckily, it didn't blow up!]@njh287 DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastShare-able Stat: 68,000 retweets of Usain Bolt's tweet, sent moments after his gold medal win the 100 meter race, including over 40,000 in the first few [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastThe sector besides sports that is doing it right in digital/social media and why
I'm a big fan of what the hotel industry does...They're in the experience business. I think there's a lot of creative companies doing some pretty cool stuff in that space and using social well. The challenge for those guys is always, any time something goes wrong...if a customer has a bad experience, they're going to be tweeting at you. But it's really been cool to see all these companies use Twitter as a platform to resolve those issues and kind of do the surprise-and-delight stuff, and make better experiences for their [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastThe biggest change in websites Peter has seen in his career
It's gotta be responsive. Early on, it was standard space design. People were kind of building sites with very little rhyme or reason for how they were built...[Peter talks about the evolution in the space during the 1990s]...It took some extra effort to learn and build websites with that methodology, but now the mobile device has changed everything. If I had to build a website today, I'd have to go back and do some research and raise my game to be able to build a well put-together responsive website...Responsive design has made everything a much bigger endeavor with regard to building [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastThe amount of time are people spending on the phone. And the intimate relationship people have with their phone. People wake up and the first thing they look at is their phone and the last thing they look before they go to bed is their phone...1 out of every 5 minutes on a mobile phone is spent on Facebook and Instagram, which kind of blew my mind...Obviously, the stats speak for themselves...Mobile is the way the world works [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastPeter's favorite digital or social campaign in his time with the Celtics
Three point play, which is something we did and I've probably talked about in years past, but not a lot recently. This is 2009 and everybody at the time was playing Facebook games and Farmville...And we had this growing Facebook audience of about two million people at the time and knew nothing about them. Everybody was like 'what is this Facebook audience for? We have this database of email people that we can sell directly to, but we have no information on these people on Facebook. To me, that was impetus for 'we need to figure out who these people are' and the best way to collect their data would be to get them to play a game in exchange for the opportunity win Celtics tickets. @njh287 DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastThat first year, we had to invest a significant amount of money to go out and build a Facebook game, which nobody was really doing at the time in the league, and something we actually slapped on the wrist for, by the league. But the following year it was a best practice from the league and they had me presenting about it at the league meetings...We captured about 80,000 names into our database after the first season alone...But the process of going through and actually building that game that offseason and understanding that this would be a way to get fans into our database was pretty groundbreaking at the time...
It was kind of like 'how do we solve this problem and learn about our audience? How do we monetize Facebook and that was exactly it,you turn them into ticket buyers. That first year we got a pretty nice return our investment with people acquired through the app buying tickets...That was a direct source of [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastThe pro sports team[s] outside Boston that do the best job on social media and why
I still love the Phoenix Suns. Jeramie McPeek and his team out there...He's one of the smartest guys in the business and I don't think you hear his name enough. He's done some incredible things with the Suns. He's been with the Suns over 20 years. He started working there in the pro shop and worked his way up to being the VP of Digital there. Which is a pretty awesome story for anybody who is getting their feet wet in the sports business. He's a guy I bounce ideas off of. He's a guy I like seeing at the league meetings because he's one of the smartest ones in the business and he's done some great things with them, and I'm always eager to see what they're going to do [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastThe most popular piece of content the Celtics have shared on digital or social
The one that resonates the most would be Brad Stevens taking the ice bucket challenge...The reason I point to that one is it kind of changed our whole strategy, with regard to Facebook. At the time, we were still putting out links to our website, trying to drive people off of Facebook and to our website. It was starting not to work very well...At that time, Brad had emailed me and (said he wanted to respond to an ice bucket challenge) and he emailed the file (of him doing it) just directly off his phone...
I (needed) to get it up on Facebook quickly and it was a quicker way to do it to upload it to Facebook (instead of putting it on the website and linking to that)...I uploaded it to Facebook and I checked on it later that night and it had done something like 50,000 views within an [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastIt blew my mind...Obviously, the ice bucket challenge is a big deal, but it showed to me the power of what native video could be at the time. So I saw that and for the ext two weeks or so, I (decided to) upload all our video natively to Facebook and see what the numbers look like. And, no surprise, all of the numbers were getting (very high views)...The light bulb went on (to) change our strategy because, at the end of the day, we're trying to get an audience...Yes, this may detract from our website traffic, but our website traffic had already been dropping year-over-year because user behaviors had changed. People were not going out to seek out websites. They're getting there because people are linking off Facebook or Twitter where people are spending their time. That whole (situation) changed my whole outlook on Facebook and we were one of the first teams to start uploading content natively. It changed our whole strategy around it and gave us a much bigger audience (before)[email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastI don't even mind looking at a Facebook (gallery)...it could be a flickr gallery...just don't email me 10 high-resolution photos....I'm not going to tell you that you have an excellent future (in photography), if I don't see something that tells me (that)...
It's very rare that I've (discovered) someone (on the Internet or social media) without them contacting me first.
The other thing is on an Instagram...The basic premise of Instagram and the photos are all messed up with. They're not original files...We're looking for factual images. In the industry we're in, manipulating photos past a certain point of losing your editorial integrity is seriously frowned [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastPeter's most memorable guest on the podcast he used to host, Media Masters
I really loved talking to (longtime Boston Globe columnist) Bob Ryan, talking through his career and how the NBA had changed since he covered the team and everybody flew commercial (airlines) and it was a much different era...the access he had to players and the friendships he had with them. It was just a very different time when he covered the Celtics in the '70s and '80s versus what it's like today with the five-star hotels and the charter planes, and the velvet rope society that the league is now, for the players especially...
He was there for all these incredible games...and saw the team up close back when reporters sat right on the baseline or on the sideline and had the best seat in the house. That's not the case for the media anymore either...That was probably my favorite interview, having had the context of knowing what the league was [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastPeter's biggest social media and sports pet peeve
People just trying to jump into conversations that their team has nothing to do with., just for the sake of retweets. To me, teams are trying way too hard to be cool, snarky, funny, and do stuff in the name of engagement that has nothing to do with their brand and doesn't make any [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastThe best quote/personality in the locker room during Peter's tenure with the Celtics
Kendrick Perkins comes to mind immediately; he was the real talk king of the Celtics locker room back in the Big Three era. If you wanted to know what was really going on with the team, he would just say whatever was on his mind. That said, Tony Allen was hilarious...The stuff that comes out of his mouth is just amazing and hilarious. He's one of the quickest witted people you'll ever meet. I can only imagine what he'd be like in Yo Momma competition because he's just [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastThe best food to get in Boston
For steak Grill 23
For seafood Atlantic Fish
For lobster rolls Neptune Oyster [on Salem St. in the North End]
The chicken fingers at the (TD) Garden always deliver, too...I don't get a chance to eat them very much because I'm not usually in the seats, but if I go for a concert, the go-to item at the Garden is the chicken [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastMore likely to win a championship this year/upcoming season (besides the Celtics): Patriots, Red Sox, or Bruins
It's not even close, it's the Patriots. Even with the suspension (of Tom Brady), and we could have another podcast on that one...Sorry to [sic] deflate that question for you, but I would say definitely the Patriots. Even if they somehow end up going 0-4 (without Brady), I would still say that they've got a legit chance at making the playoffs. And once they get in, I'll put my money on them anytime, figuratively, [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports Podcast Peter's Social Media All-Star to Follow
It depends what you're looking for. For me, I'm looking for people who bring different things to the table...One of the people I love following is this guy Matt Bilisnky (@mattbilinsky), who's a Lakers fan. He's always got an opinion about what the Lakers are doing and he's usually been upset with them, been upset with Kobe, recently. I just enjoy reading his takes on the Lakers and the NBA, in general...His stuff just always makes me laugh. I think he's just a lawyer out in Los Angeles, but I really enjoy reading this guy's tweets and he always cracks me [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastWhere to find Peter and the Celtics on digital and social media
@PeterStringer on Twitter
@Celtics on all the social media [email protected] DSMSports.net
Snippets from Peter Stringer on the Digital and Social Media Sports PodcastThanks very much to Peter Stringer for sharing his experience, knowledge, and personality with us on the Digital and Social Media Sports Podcast!
For more, visit www.dsmsports.net and follow me, Neil Horowitz, on Twitter @[email protected] DSMSports.net