MarComedy: Don’t make me laugh

For what tickles my fancy in media, communications and life in general.

NBA stands for New Blogging Attempts

with 5 comments

I’m a big basketball fan. I play a couple times a week (and amazingly I can still dunk). I follow it religiously. I even support the home-town Toronto Raptors (despite the occasional heartache and perpetual growing pains). Over the past year, the team has begun to re-build itself thanks to a new general manager and assistant general manager (and a host of new talent). On a recent trip to the Raptors website, I noticed they were promoting a couple of blogs (you can find the links on the left-hand side of the Raps homepage).

I eagerly clicked through to the posts to see what they were saying and how they were going about their blogging activities. I was disappointed. While the blogs were personal and often insightful, there was no way for readers to comment on the posts (though Chuck Swirsky – the Raps play-by-play man – did give his contact info and his blog has an RSS feed). Naturally, I felt this was an opportunity missed and I sent an email to another one of their bloggers – Assistant GM Maurizio Gherardini.

The email went as follows:

Hi Maurizio,

I just wanted to take a moment to comment on your blog. I really enjoy the content and your global perspective & expertise really adds to my own basketball knowledge.

I do want to let you know that your blog, though very interesting, isn’t really taking full advantage of what blogging and other social media applications has to offer. The most glaring example is that there isn’t a section where readers can add comments. Blogging is a great way to establish a dialogue between you and your readers (the bulk of whom are, I would suggest, Raptors fans).

It could really strengthen the Raps brand and the fan’s appreciation of the team to enter into that kind of dialogue. I appreciate that your schedule undoubtedly makes it difficult to post as often as you would like and it does require a time-commitment to respond to comments, but it can add so much value to the whole blog experience.

I would hardly claim to be an expert on blogging and communications, but it’s something I do myself and it’s of growing importance to PR activities. There’s a great book called Naked Conversations that discusses best practices for businesses entering into blogging and the value it can add to customer communications.

Here’s a link to it:

(updated: removed cuz it just takes up too much room)

Congrats to you and the whole Raps team for the great job you’re doing. I’m really excited about the direction the team is going in.

Jonathan

I wasn’t really expecting a response to be honest, but Mr. Gherardini not only responded, he responded within 5 hrs of my original email. His response:

Jonathan,

Thank you for your advice and your support. I must admit, I’ve never had a blog before neither thought to communicate thru it but letters like yours are making me thinking and I will be seriously considering to “open up” the way you’re suggesting and will be discussing it with the people in charge in our organization. I’m appreciating the blogging opportunities more and more every day as I also get feedbacks from all over Europe.

Thank you again….and let’s go Raptors!

Maurizio Gherardini

A trip to the NBA homepage reveals they have other bloggers, but the posts are infrequent and there is no opportunity to leave comments. I have always thought of the NBA as excellent marketers. Their efforts in the blogosphere to date seem half-baked – almost as if they had the ‘hmm…what this blogging all about? I dunno, but we should have one don’t ya think?’ conversation and didn’t give it much thought beyond that. But I am impressed with Mr. Gherardini’s attitude and am prepared to give the NBA & the Raptors a second chance.

Now, if any of you pro PR folk out there are looking for some new business…

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Written by Jonathan Dunn

January 12, 2007 at 1:22 pm

5 Responses

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  1. i believe that the mlse account is one of the coveted account in all of canada!

    Ed Lee

    January 12, 2007 at 7:41 pm

  2. Some teams do a good job with social media. The Phoenix Suns (http://suns.marqui.com/blog/default.aspx) have comments, trackbacks, and some very good blog posts from some people. Dallas has a podcast after every game apparently (Steve Rubel says they do but I haven’t actually heard it myself).

    And by the way, Swirsky’s blog RSS feed doesn’t subscribe you to the blog, just a general news feed from NBA.com. I write a basketball blog pretty religiously at mvn.com/nba-endofthebench, hence my passion for everything NBA-related.

    Chris Clarke

    January 12, 2007 at 10:30 pm

  3. Chris,

    Good points. My remarks might have been a tad sweeping. The Suns blog is a better sign (they’ve always been among the more progressive franchises). I haven’t heard the Dallas podcast, but Mark Cuban (blogmaverick.com) is a frequent and opinionated blogger.

    I suppose I was hoping that the Raps would use their blogs as a way to better entrench themselves as “Canada’s team”.

    Thanks for the link to your hoops blog. I’ve subscribed.

    Jonathan Dunn

    January 13, 2007 at 9:27 am

  4. Hi Jonathan,

    May I ask to which email address did you send this email to Maurizio? I really want to get his email address so that I can ask if he could give me some valuable insight for a Strategy paper regarding the expansion of the NBA overseas I’m currently working on. Any information would be greatly appreciated !

    Thanks for your help,
    Victor.-

    Victor

    December 8, 2007 at 7:47 pm

  5. Victor,

    It sounds like an interesting project you’re working on. I’m sorry though that I can’t give you Maurizio’s email address. I don’t feel comfortable giving it out without his permission. However, I’m sure you can figure out what it is by visiting the Raptors/Maple Leaf Sports website…that’s what I did 🙂

    Best of luck.

    Jonathan Dunn

    December 11, 2007 at 3:36 pm


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