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Six Surprising Ways YOU Can Be More Interesting to Your RecruitsMonday, September 12th, 2011

The majority of college coaches have now embraced social media, creating better messages for their recruits, and a host of other writing challenges.

The biggest challenge in the process?  Coming up with something interesting to say.

Furthermore, there’s the challenge of writing things in a way that actually connects with this generation of teenage prospect.  Both hurdles are extremely challenging for today’s college recruiter, who is being asked to do more  – with less time and less money - than ever before.

So today, we are going to pass along some proven ideas on how to actually be interesting to your prospects, specifically with what you write about in letters, your emails, your blog or social media site:

  • Don’t be afraid to be wrong (within reason, of course):  This is part of an overall strategy of being transparent, which is essential if you are going to write anything on your social media or a blog website.  Being wrong means you’re human, and that’s a quality that our research says today’s recruits are looking for in a coach.  Write about something that could have done differently, or something that went wrong, in your program.  The honesty will be refreshing to your recruits.  Of course, exercise reason…I’m talking about showing that you’re human, not opening yourself up for an NCAA investigation.
  • Don’t be afraid to be right.  Build yourself as an expert, and give away your knowledge to your prospects.  We’re all drawn to people we believe can get us to where we want to be, and your prospects are no different.  Write about your expertise as a coach in your sport, and use it to build your credibility as a college coach and recruiter.  When your prospect accepts you as an expert in your sport, it goes a long way towards erasing other doubts that may exist about your program in their mind.
  • Surprise your prospects.  Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the classic business book “Made to Stick”, say that one of the best ways to set yourself apart is to break people’s “guessing machines.” Take a surprising position, making outlandish analogy, or otherwise do the opposite of what you normally do. As long as it’s unexpected, people – including your prospects – will stop and pay attention.  And in a marketplace overflowing with programs that look and act the same, setting yourself apart from the competition is a key factor in winning a recruit.
  • Make your prospects laugh.  Coaches get so busy trying to coach and teach that they forget to entertain. As a result, large portions of your prospects might fall asleep. And what’s the best way to wake your prospects up? Humor. Successful communicators have been using it for ages, and as long as it’s appropriate for your recruit, humor can wake your prospects up and get them paying attention to your recruiting message again.  Easier said than done, of course, but look for ways to get your recruit to smile and laugh.
  • Make a prediction about the future.  Every once in awhile, use your expertise to make a bizarre or risky claim about the future. Your program’s future, the future of your sport…remember, you’re doing all of this to set yourself apart and differentiate yourself from your competition.  If you have any authority at all, people will take notice. When experts make a surprising prediction, it gets talked about.  As a coach, you aren’t looking for media attention…just for your prospect to take notice and pay attention to your message.
  • Make sure you are ALWAYS telling a great story.  I’ve talked about this over and over again, and use it as a foundation for creating our Total Recruiting Solution plans for our list of college coach clients.  At their core, stories support your key recruiting points, make solid openers, and teach your prospects while entertaining them.  And, a good story can make you a legend in recruiting. I’m not talking about the little anecdotes that pepper Facebook and Twitter and the occasional recruiting letter. I’m talking about the story that haunts you on your deathbed or gets told over and over again at parties. Forget about all the others…tell me that one.  As a coach, tell me great stories about you and your team and your program, and how I fit into that story as a prospect.

Being interesting isn’t easy if you’re a coach, and converting that interest to your writing is even more challenging.  But for those coaches who master the art, there is almost nothing that they won’t accomplish in the competition for the best recruits.

Strive to be interesting creatively, and watch what happens to your recruiting results!

Need help developing your story?  From our customized On-Campus Workshops for athletic departments, to one-on-one personalized recruiting message creation as a part of our Total Recruiting Solution plan for coaches, we have a lot of resources that can help coaches become more effective recruiters.  To visit our website, click here.  Or, email Dan Tudor directly at dan@dantudor.com.

What It Takes to Write GREAT Recruiting BlogsMonday, September 7th, 2009

Blogging for CoachesSo, you are a coach who has been seeing your competition break out and start a blog…

You’ve heard it can give you a unique tie-in with your fans and alumni (true), and also is a great way to tell your team’s story to your recruits (also true).  Now, the big question: How do you write a really great blog?

That’s been a question we’ve been getting lately.  A lot of our TRS clients have started a blog as they start the new recruiting season, which is great because nothing helps tell a great story like blogs with video, pictures and a personal story.

So, to help kick-off the new year of writing and blogging, I wanted to pass along a few writing tips specifically for writing blog posts.  Keep these writing rules in mind the next time you sit down to pound out your next entry into the blogosphere:

  • Don’t fall in love with your own writing. We all enjoy reading what we have written.  Your audience, however, might not be as smitten with your writing as you are.  So, don’t be afraid to edit ruthlessly and cut what isn’t needed to be effective and interesting in your blog post.
  • Your blog post should have one central point.  Stick to it. That means all of your supporting points, funny stories and the rest of the content in your blog post needs to be tied-in to your central point.  Each of your blog posts should have one theme.  Have more than just one theme to talk about?  Great!  Write a separate blog post about that topic.
  • Trim the fat right from the start. Next time you write a blog post aimed at this year’s class of recruits, go back and look at the first paragraph.  Now, cut it out.  Eliminate it.  Chances are, you just cut off some unneeded fluff and opened the blog post with a more interesting sentence.
  • When it comes to language, keep it simple. Don’t use words that are meant to impress.  Instead, keep your language simple and to the point.  And once you’ve made your point, stop writing.
  • Don’t make your exaggerations lazy. Here’s what I mean: Don’t write something like, “Our last game had an incredibly heart-stopping ending!”  Don’t exaggerate, Coach.  And whatever you do, don’t exaggerate to the point where you are no longer believable in the eyes of your recruit.  Sometimes, your quest to write an exciting blog post can decend into a mess of wordy paragraphs that confuse (and maybe even bore) your reader.
  • Is there a shorter, more effective word? Find it and use it.  Instead of “an incredibly close game”, consider saying it was “a nail-biter”.  Something like that is shorter, and it might cause a little intrigue that will make your reader stick with you until you get to the good stuff.
  • Save the scraps. Looking for your next blog post?  It may be left in the edit heap after making all of these strategic cuts that we have outlined here in the article.  Find a new blog post in the discarded remains of your old blog posts.

Coach, writing blogs is easy.  If you can type a Word document, you can write a blog post.

And, as many college recruiters are finding, blogs can help strip away a few layers and let prospects really get to know you.  The result?  More recruits engaged in your story and your program.

When you go to write your next blog post (or your first one), keep these important tips in mind to make sure what you write is…right!

Looking for more new techniques to become more persuasive recruiter?  Bring Dan Tudor to your campus to teach a day-long session on the most effective, most proven recruiting techniques.  We work with entire athletic departments, or individual sports.  Email Dan Tudor at dan@sellingforcoaches.com for the details.