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What’s The Deal With Snapchat?Saturday, March 8th, 2014

by Sean Devlin, Front Rush

Now that Snapchat is en route to being NCAA legal, we thought it might be a good idea to generally explain the app so that you can come to your own conclusions. First thing to know, your players and your recruits are snapchatting. Second thing to know, parents are not. That is a key differentiator, but we’ll explain that later.

The general concept behind Snapchat is one person takes a photo/video and shares it with their personal friends. The photo/video is then destroyed once it is viewed. This means instead of taking a photo and sharing it with the world like Twitter or Instagram, or posting a picture to a network of associates (whether close or not) on Facebook, Snapchat is very personal…sometimes too personal i.e. for the same conclusion that many people come too when they first hear about the app. With that said, its popularity is unquestionable and as a Snapchatter myself, I can attest to its habit forming addictiveness. So what’s the deal?

It’s like sending a text message, but you can tell more of a story with the video and it’s not difficult because the app opens directly to the camera. There is also little consequence because the photo/video will be destroyed so your guard is let down, which makes for less formality and a larger variety of content. Parents aren’t on Facebook which maybe is one of the reasons that their kids are…although Facebook did make a $3 billion dollar offer for Snapchat, which was turned down. The question is, should you be on Snapchat?

I don’t know. I think it’s personality driven at this point and some coaches may be able to partake without turning kids off because they see through the attempt to be “hip”. And for those that can, it could potentially be very effective. The constraints of an expiring video will certainly lead entrepreneurial coaches to have a leg up (at least in the early stages)..the same way that early adopters of Twitter did. Hopefully those coaches can keep it PG because if/when they do, it will be really cool to hear about. The argument that athletes want to be contacted via the medium that they already communicate is a strong one. However, Facebook is proving that their is a counter example so that’s what’s up.

Speaking of time saving tools, Front Rush is the best of the best.  If you’re a serious recruiter, this is one tool you don’t want to be without.  Click here for the low-down on this incredible resource used by thousands of coaches around the country.

Coaching Under The Microscope, Your New RealitySaturday, March 8th, 2014

by Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday 

Wisdom can come from the strangest places.

I’ve written about finding “coaching smarts” at partiesblogs, and growing up.

Now here’s a new one … bottle caps.

Specifically, the sayings under the tops. For example: Dance As Though No One Is Watching

DOSE OF WISDOM

That quote got me thinking, something clicked, I played with a few words, and came up with this …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT

There is a sense of deep coaching-truth to that morphed saying, which is becoming more truthful each and every day.

We do need to coach as if everyone is watchingbecause they are watching.

Ninety-nine percent of what you do as a coach, what you say as a coach, how you act as a coach can be, will be, and probably IS ALREADY, recorded, blogged, and archived.

You now coach under a microscope.

Not a telescope, where someone far away is watching, and could easily miss the intracies of what you do.

The days of coaching secrecy, of things said in confidence, of one-on-one conversations are long gone.

You are now on a slide, under a lens, being watched.

And it is not just one scientist (or referee, or compliance officer, or adminstrator) watching you. For good and for bad, everyone is watching.

DON’T BELIEVE ME?

That’s okay. Ignore me. Happens all the time.

But if you have 3 minutes, go to YouTube and search for *stupid coach*. Thirty-seven million results. I looked through just the first three pages. Numerous examples of a coach, trying to do his/her job, making a mistake, and now becoming an unwilling junior internet star.

That is just the public venue of YouTube. I would guess (don’t know, but would guess) that there are many times more examples on the internet behind the closed doors of some of the other social media platforms.

And it is happening not just during games … but practices, locker rooms, classrooms, parking lots.

Everywhere.

SHOULD YOU CHANGE?

So, should you act differently, coach differently?

Damn yes, if you are doing anything wrong or improper. Stop now. Immediately. First, from the POV that it’s wrong. Second, because you will be exposed, called out, on a world-wide platform. Have you forgotten the unfortunate example of Mike Rice?

But face it, if you are doing things wrong/improper/illegal as a coach … you’re not reading this blog anyways.

Damn no, don’t change, if you are trying your best to coach with the best interest of your players, the game, and those around you in mind. In this case, you can’t coach worrying about someone recording your mistakes. Full speed ahead.

And if your mistakes show up, like mine, smile, learn, and move on.

MY SCREW UP

Here’s an example of one of my screw ups.

We had a boat flip at practice. No one was hurt, just enough bruised egos to go around. We were all trying our best and an accident happened. In this case, we were the ones who filmed it, and posted it. Hoping that others might learn from our error.

I’ve had many emails and several phone calls about that screw up. Each one was either, “Oh, that’s happened to me!”, or, “How can we make sure that doesn’t happen to us?”

In this case, putting ourselves under the microscope was worth it.

Is that an iPhone over there, recording you as you read this post? Probably.

And it is also our new reality.

The bottle cap says so.

Dr. Mike Davenport is a longtime college coach and the man behind the popular website CoachingSportsToday.com.  He is a regular contributor to College Recruiting Weekly.

SPECIAL REPORT: How High School Prospects Use Social Media in RecruitingMonday, November 4th, 2013

Social media – including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other popular platforms – is one of the most confusing aspects of modern college recruiting. Coaches want to communicate effectively with their teenage prospects, and social media is one of the primary ways to do that.

However, as many college recruiters are finding out, how they communicate through social media is crucial…it can determine whether or not you form solid communication with that recruit, or make the kind of mis-steps that exclude you from your prospect’s future communication online.

In partnership with NCSA Athletic Recruiting, the researchers at Tudor Collegiate Strategies – lead by Director of Research, Matt Boyles, and nationally recognized recruiting expert Dan Tudor  - conducted in-depth focus group research with more than 2,000 actively recruited student-athletes in the Summer of 2013.  The resulting data provides college coaches with their first-ever comprehensive look at how today’s teenage athlete wants to be communicated with by coaches who are recruiting them, and the specific actions that could drive a wedge between a coach and their prospect.

The .pdf report is free, and can be downloaded here:

How High School Prospects Use Social Media in Recruiting – 2013 National Study

“This is a very comprehensive look at the social media habits of teenage recruits who are communicating with college coaches”, said Dan Tudor, founder of Tudor Collegiate Strategies.  ”It can be a valuable roadmap for coaches who are serious about understanding what’s allowed and what’s out of bounds in the minds of their recruits.  Also, the differences between males and females, as well as different sports groups, was fascinating.”

This report is one in a series of research studies and other recruiting guides offered by Tudor Collegiate Strategies.  For an overview of their educational resources, click here.

3 Things To Be O.K. With Before You Talk to Your Next Class of RecruitsMonday, August 19th, 2013

In the good old days of college recruiting, it was all pretty straight-forward.

You wrote a letter, and they’d read it.

You called them on the phone, and they’d talk to you.

You went on a home visit, two parents and a polite, enthusiastic recruit were there to meet with you. (And the parents let their kid do the talking).  That’s about the same time we Liked Ike, and gasoline was 25-cents a gallon.

Today, things are different.

Parents are acting as agents and public relations representatives, recruits mumble on the phone because they’re busying talking with their thumbs on multiple social media networks, and they’ll only read your letters and emails if you’re telling them the things they want to know the way they want it told to them.

Talking to recruits – something many college coaches are preparing to do with a new class of prospects in the not-too-distant future – has become a new and more complicated adventure.  So today, I wanted to give you some advice on how best to launch your new communication plan with your new class of recruits.  You’ll have to pick and choose which ideas apply best to you, the way you talk, and your approach with your prospects, but I think you’ll find this a good beginning to developing a better roadmap to connecting with this generation of teenager (and maybe even their parents who are acting as their kid’s agent):

  • Be o.k. with asking them which social media platforms they use, and if it’s permissible to communicate with them through those networks.  Our expanding research on this topic indicates one very important “rule” that this generation seems to gravitate around:  There are different rules for different kids.  About half of the recruits we are hearing from indicate that they have absolutely no problems with a coach communicating with them through following them or direct-messaging them on social media.  The other half, on the other hand, have big problems with coaches who want to use social media to follow them or communicate with them.  My advice: Ask your prospect what they’d be o.k. with.  Keep it simple, keep it direct, and let them know the reason you’re asking them is because you want to be a coach who wants to communicate with them the way they want to be communicated with (they’ll appreciate it more than you can imagine).
  • Be o.k. with talking to your prospect’s parents.  As we explain in our On-Campus Workshops we conduct for athletic departments and coaches, one of the big differences between this generation of recruits compared to past generations of recruits is this: Not only do they want their parents to be involved in the recruiting process, they expect their parents to be involved in the recruit process.  While this is a frustrating fact for coaches, it’s a fact nonetheless.  So, my advice is probably what you’d expect: You should be o.k. with talking to your prospect’s parents in place of your prospect.  Not every time, all the time…but most of the time.  They’ll usually accurately speak for their son or daughter, and actually give you more intelligent, useful information.
  • Be o.k. with texting instead of talking.  In an effort to make you hate where this conversation is going even more than you did after reading the first two pieces of advice, I present the pièce de résistance:  Most prospects would probably prefer to “talk” to you via text messaging instead of talking on the phone with you.  I think you shouldn’t make too much of this inconvenient new fact of life; I guess the question I’d ask is, would you rather have a rather one-way six minute conversation on the phone where you do 90% of the talking?  Or, would you want to have an information-rich exchange over an hour by text message?  I know which one will carry the recruiting process forward (and so do you).  If you sense that a prospect is not going to be comfortable talking on the phone, ask them if they’d rather have text message sessions with you.  It’s not a sign that they are deficient or poor communicators, it’s a sign that they’ve grown up using different methods of communication.  Don’t over-think it, Coach.

Those are the three most important beginning communication strategies as you attempt to deepen your connection with this next class of prospects.  Just make sure you’re playing by their rules as much as you, and not necessarily yours.

Our clients and premium members get even more advice and direction on an ongoing basis.  Want to have access to one-on-one expertise as you approach this next recruiting class?  We’re ready to help.  Click on the links for all the details, or email Dan directly at dan@dantudor.com.  

Viral Videos, Social Media and the Lesson for College RecruitersMonday, June 25th, 2012

This article is really all about a video made my the Harvard University baseball team that has logged over 13,000,000 views on YouTube, but we’ll get to that in a moment…

Let me address the big picture first:  College coaches are constantly trying to come up with an elaborate strategy to dominate social media, and thereby become beloved destinations of every five star recruit in the country.

Maybe you’re one of them.  Or, maybe you wish you were one of them – but truth be told, you’re doing good just to answer the email sitting in your Inbox every day.  Or, maybe you see the whole things as way too complicated for you, and better left to someone else in your athletic department.

Regardless or how you’d label yourself, one thing seems to be universally true in the minds of most coaches:  Social Media is a complicated puzzle that takes more planning, expertise and know-how than you could ever muster during your coaching career.

Let me show you why it’s exactly the opposite of the scenario I have just outlined, and why it’s easier than ever for you as a coach – Division I, small college, tech-savvy or social media dinosaur – for you to use easy-to-use free websites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to promote your program and connect with your recruits.

Which brings us back to that Harvard baseball team video I mentioned at the start:

This is the video they did.  They got the idea on a road trip, practiced a little, and then shot the video the next day.

It exploded online (approaching 14,000,000 views as I write this), went viral, and made them an Internet sensation.  Soon, another team challenged with their version.  Then another.  And another (all legs, no arms!).  All in all, dozens of college teams have joined in and recorded their version.  Harvard’s baseball team and one of their challengers, the rowing team from Southern Methodist, were featured on The Today Show.  All in all, not bad promotion for the teams, and the colleges.

So, what does all this have to do with you?  Everything.

Here are the lessons that I think every college coach can take away from my original points, and this amazing lesson in the power – and ease - on how social media can and should be used in recruiting:

  • All of what you just watched cost nothing. That’s in your budget, so invest in it.
  • All of what you just watched was done with no outside consulting, and no 50-page strategic plan. Not that there’s anything wrong with consultants that will help you with a plan; if that’s what you need to get started, then by all means use one.  But you don’t “need” one to be successful.
  • All of what you just watched was created by college athletes. Not many college coaches could come up with something so mind-numbingly simple and catchy.  My point, Coach, is that you don’t need to come up with the big ideas that will turn your team into the next online sensation…let your team handle that for you.
  • All of what you just watched showcases a team’s personality better than anything you or I could come up with. That’s what social media is all about: Fun, personality and interaction.  So if the majority of what is showing-up on your Facebook or Twitter team sites is electronic news releases or game summaries, I wouldn’t be waiting by the phone expecting a call from The Today Show, Coach.
  • All of what you just watched achieves for these teams something that most teams fail to answer for their recruits:  Why they’d want to play for you on your team at your college. And isn’t that one of the central goals of any coach who is aiming to bring as many great prospects in as possible?

All five of these end results can be achieved with no money.  Starting team accounts, if allowed by your compliance office and division level rules, can be done in about 10-15 minutes.  Still intimidated?  Bring one or two of your athletes in to help you…they’ll be happy to do it.

The big lesson for college recruiters is that this isn’t hard, and it’s the future of communicating effectively with your prospects in conjunction with the right mix of letters, emails and phone calls.

Ignore it at your own risk.

How Facebook’s Timeline Can Impact YOUR RecruitingMonday, January 30th, 2012

by Sean Devlin, Front Rush

Recently, Facebook went live with their new Facebook Timeline.

This is a total redesign of your own personal page (the page that people see when they click your name). Timeline essentially gives you more control over what people see, and how they see it.

We want to go into a bit of detail so that you are aware of what your recruits will see, especially because Timeline has gone from an opt-in to a complete roll-out, which means it affects all users.

From a distance, Timeline is just a running history of your photos, posts, events, apps, songs, and anything else typically associated with Facebook. However, due to its granularity, the first thing you should do is go through and remove anything and everything that does not put you and your program in a good light. This is a common sense best practice but because Timeline goes back to the beginning of your Facebook existence, its worth making sure nothing exists that would make your face red.

Secondly, you should go through and highlight anything that does make you look good and makes your Timeline more compelling. For example, a great photo of the University or team is worth “starring” which will make it appear widescreen and larger. People love photos and starring good ones will enhance your Timeline visually and make it more engaging.

Another item you may want to star would be great events in your history. Teams hang banners when championships are won so use this opportunity to make your own “banners” standout while people scroll through your page. One other thing to take note is that Timeline is going to group things together. An example would be if you have “liked” a lot of things in a particular time frame…Facebook will keep those items in a close proximity.

Now that you have most of the content set-up, the next thing to do is choose a Timeline picture. To clarify, you have your profile pic, but Timeline starts off with a “header” picture that you can choose as well. This choice is really important because its the first thing a visitor sees when they come to your page. Its a good idea to play around with different images and test through your friends to see which one they like most. This image is a good opportunity to show off your personality or the character of your University or team.

Lastly, go through your Timeline from start to finish and get into the habit of checking it with some consistency. Remember, more third party apps will have access to it so you should just always be aware of whats being posted on your site.

Timeline is an opportunity for you to showcase your website to an entirely new audience, Coach.  Take advantage of it!

Sean Devlin is the technical brains behind the best selling web management tool for college coaches, and a trusted advisor for recruiters looking to use technology to become more effective recruiters.  We highly recommend Front Rush for any coaching staff who is looking for an organizational web tool to track their prospects and creatively brand their programs.

The New Facebook Tool Every College Coach Should Know AboutSunday, September 18th, 2011

by Sean Devlin, Front Rush

Facebook released a new feature last week that is very similar to the Twitter ‘follow’.  And as a college recruiter, you should be interested in learning more about it.

The new feature gives users the ability to ‘subscribe’ to other users.  So, imagine a recruit ‘subscribing’ to your feed.  Anything you post publicly can now be seen without even having to ‘friend’ you.

The import point to note here is ‘anything you post publicly’.  You now have the ability to choose where and who you post to.  The way it works is that when you type out your post on Facebook, there is a drop-down in the bottom right where you can choose ‘public’. This way…anyone subscribed to you can read it.

Its still too early to tell how this will impact Twitter, if users will jump on board, or if instead they will suffer from ‘post exhaustion’. Regardless of its infancy, its still another medium to communicate with recruits, alumni, etc and the beauty is that they are already there.

The only concern?  You should double check who you are posting too to avoid any embarrassing comments.  On the other side, you might want to consider “subscribing” to the prospects you are recruiting…you might find out some interesting details about their character, and even their college leanings if they have allowed subscribers to follow their comments!

To set-up your account so that you can have subscribers:

1) login to facebook
2) go to your profile
3) click ‘subscriptions’ on the left hand side
4) click ‘allow subscribers’

After that, you will then be prompted with some settings options.

Enjoy this new recruiting tool from Facebook!

Have questions about implementing this technology strategy into your recruiting campaigns?  The experts at Front Rush are here to help.  Whether you’re a client or not, Sean Devlin and his team at Front Rush can answer your questions.  Email him directly at sdevlin@frontrush.com
 

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.

Is Google+ the Next Big Social Media Recruiting Tool for Coaches?Monday, July 18th, 2011

by Sean Devlin, Front Rush

Google+ has been the recent topic of many conversations, news articles and blogs so we wanted to chime in and give you an overview of what it is, what it can do and what it means for you as a college coach.

Google+ is Google’s 3rd…4th…5th (lost count) attempt at building a social network application, like Facebook or Twitter. On the surface it is sort of a mix between those two popular networks, in that you can add friends, post messages, “follow”, gather content, and more. It allows you to add people to “circles” (Google’s equivalent to Facebook “groups”) and add people that you are not even “friends” with…so sort of like the Twitter “follow” model. It also has some unique features of its own like “hanging out” which means you can have a video conference with multiple people at once. However, if you dig deeper Google+ is not Facebook…its very, very different.

Google put a lot of engineering muscle into this project and has been releasing new features and updates on a daily basis. Its only going to be a matter of time before its true potential shows, in my opinion.  At some point, Google+ will be fully integrated with your Gmail, Google Docs, Google apps, Android devices, and more.  So imagine building a document in Google docs and then just sharing it with one of your circles. Or being logged into Google+ and having a notification pop-up right in your feed that alerts you that changes have been made to a spreadsheet that you have been sharing. Or picture being able to sort your inbox by your circles and being able to reply to all at once instead of having to go in manually like you do now. These ideas are just top-of-head ideas that I came up with when writing this article…the reality is that the integration potential is soooo much more.

So as a coach and a recruiter, should you care?

Well, as a college coach who is staying on top of technology trends to use them to your advantage, the answer is absolutely.  However, will you even remember Google+ in 6 months? That is still yet to be determined. Google has bombed with its previous attempts in the social world but I must admit, this product has legs and feels different.

So, how can you use Google+ to benefit you right now as a college recruiter?  Well, you first need to wait until more people get on it…specifically, recruits.  The problem is that most early adopters of Google+ are also Gmail users. The issue there is that fewer and fewer recruits are using email, so its uncertain when and if they will get on board. In addition, most of the early adopters tend to be males which means coaches of women’s sports will have to wait even longer. The nicety is that by the time recruits are on the system, a lot of major functionally and bug fixes will have been released; enough functionality to help clarify its true use case in the recruiting world.

The current state of Google+ is that its still in “invite” mode which means that you have to be invited to join.  As these things go, the main topic of conversation within Google+ right now is about Google+.  However that conversation is slowly starting to shift as 20+ million users are expected as of the weekend preceding this article (late July, 2011).  The more users the system has, the more value each individual user gets out of it. An Android version currently exists, and and iPhone app is expectedly shortly.

So hopefully that helps clarify Google+ for you. We have invites to it internally, so let us know if you need one…we’ll get you on the list and let you test it for yourself.

Front Rush is the nation’s leader when it comes to technology expertise for college coaches and their athletic departments.  Their cornerstone service is their revolutionary web-based recruiting contact management tool.  If you’re one of the handful of coaches who don’t yet know about this incredible recruiting tool, click here.

How to Use Headlines to Keep Your Prospect’s AttentionSunday, June 12th, 2011

In the give-it-to-me-quick-just-the-facts world that we (and your prospects) live in, what and how you communicate is crucial.

Think about it:  How easy it to tune something out that isn’t worded just the way we want it?  Or skip reading something that isn’t easy to read visually?

Most recruiting letters and emails we see when we begin working with a new client ignore this common sense rule.  And the price to those who send letters that look and sound the same as they did in 1983 is heavy:  This generation of athlete will tune out a coach quickly if the message doesn’t match their need for fast, accurate, interesting information.

The fix?

Something they did really well back in the 1930′s:  Creative, bold headlines.

No, you don’t want to make your recruiting letters look like an old fashioned newspaper…that’s not what I’m getting at.  What I mean is that your text needs some guideposts to keep your reader (the 17 year old impatient kid that you’re trying to recruit) engaged in what you’re saying, and not bailing on your message ten seconds into it.

The best way to do that is to insert a headline every once in a while.  A statement, in bold type, to give your reader and idea of where you’re going and what’s in it for them if they stick with you.  Something like this:

There are some AMAZING benefits to coaches who write with headlines:

Does that make you want to read more?  Does it give you a little taste of what’s to come?  Does it create a little bit of curiosity?

That’s the power of a well placed headline.

So, if you think you’d want to start to use these powerful, easy-to-use weapons in the war of attention you’re fighting with your recruits, here are some tips that we see working for the coaches who are beginning to use them:

  • Try a “How To” Headline.  They work.  We all want to know how to do something, and if there is one group of people who are looking for how to do something (namely, play college sports) it’s your recruits.  Whenever you want to highlight an action you want your prospect to take, start with “how to” to do it.
  • Give them a promised result.  If you are tempting them with a “how to”, don’t stop short…finish it off with a result they can expect once they follow your recommended action.  Let them know what will happen next, what they’ll get from it, and why they should follow your direction.  It’s critical that you give them an idea of what’s in it for them when you if they stick with you.
  • Visually, they help guide your readers’ eyes.  Headlines in the middle of text will cause your reader to jump down the page and stay engaged with what you’re saying to them.  For this generation of teenager, they need all the visual cues they can get to tell them what to do.
  • We remember headlines.  They are a short summary of what we want the reader to know about our topic.  If they don’t happen to read your entire message, the headlines have a powerful way of helping them to remember your take-away from that message.  That’s really crucial as you fight to get your prospects to remember your message instead of your competition’s.
  • They break up your message into logical sections.  Not only does that help your prospect “digest” your message more easily, we find that it helps coaches stay on topic and keep their message simple and on point.  So, if you’re a coach that struggles with what to write, this trick should help you to stay on topic.

So, what should you do next?  Simple…

 Take a current recruiting message and break it up into sections.  Then, add a quick ”headline” to each of those sections.  If you find that it’s too long of a message, or jumps around from topic to topic, break it up into shorter, multiple messages.

Take a fresh look at your overall recruiting message using this proven, easy-to-use strategy.  The result should be a more engaged, interested recruit reading – and understanding – your letter or email.

Are you one of the growing number of college coaches that use Twitter to promote you and your program?  We have a bonus article to give you…it’s all about writing the right headlines when you tweet on Twitter.  All you have to do is click here, “Like” our Facebook fan page, and get these great tips for carving out your place in the Twitterverse. 

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