When Did the “Baseball Tonight” Crew Become Such Dynamic Content Marketers?

|Brandon Carter


Photo courtesy of Kat N.L.M. (Flickr)

Evidently it takes seven people to replace one John Kruk. With the gruff ex-Philly out of action Sunday (as well as fellow commentator Dan Shulman), the Baseball Tonight team decided to cover the Dodgers vs. Pirates game with a small army of former players and coaches-turned-analysts, each with a different vantage points throughout the stadium. While Mark Mulder isn’t exactly anyone’s idea of a young Vin Scully, the experiment worked surprisingly well, with each analyst providing insight that was valuable throughout the game.

Here’s what marketers can learn from the BBTN crew’s approach to dynamic, engaging content.

Different Voices, More Perspective

The BBTN crew had, among other talents  on hand, a former manager in Eric Wedge, a starting pitcher in Moulder, outfielder Doug Glanville, and Aaron Boone and Hall-of-Famer Barry Larking representing the infielders to call the game. Between them, they covered just about every facet of the game, from what the managers were thinking  to what the catchers were probably saying to the umpires between pitches. By allowing each analyst to focus on his own expertise, BBTN ended up with much more comprehensive analysis of the game than usual.

Every marketing organization can apply the same approach to their own workforce. Rather than task one or two individuals with coming up with the content for your campaigns, why not leverage employees across the organization who are fountains of knowledge in their respective capacities? In doing so, you can produce more dynamic content for your audience, and reduce the workload for each individual.

Empowering Employees

You got the sense during Sunday night’s broadcast that the analysts savored the opportunity to offer insight at least as nuanced and valuable as the next guy, and it showed. Each analyst seemed genuinely eager to share what they knew and give audiences and insider’s perspective of the game.

For the subject matter experts working in your organization, consider that they are probably rarely asked to contribute their voices publicly to industry discourse. Embracing them as the knowledge centers that they are and rewarding them with a platform to contribute can produce inspired work and a welcome respite from the more routine aspects of their jobs.

Snackable Content

BBTN’s experiment prevented the verbal diarrhea broadcasters are often prone to when they have to fill the air. Instead, audiences got a steady stream of concise, digestible insight from each analyst as they countered and complimented their colleagues’ perspectives with their own. The broadcast began to feel like an actual learning environment — a rare occurrence in sports commentating.

If you want your audience to retain the knowledge you share via your content, focus on making it snackable for audiences with short attention spans. To use a baseball analogy, string together some singles instead of trying to hit a home run all the time.

More Dynamic, More Engaging Content

You might think seven commentators calling a game could get a little unruly or chaotic, but quite the opposite took place. The banter between was less inane than usual; it moved along crisply, was at times funny, and enlivened the broadcast during lulls in action. Rather than fade into the background, the in-game analysis was as engaging as the ball game itself.

Crowd-sourcing or leveraging fellow employees doesn’t have to be central to your content strategy, but it can be an excellent compliment to your usual efforts, especially once they start to feel stale.

It’s unclear if BBTN will continue with their experimental format. On evidence of Sunday night’s broadcast,  here’s hoping they do.

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Brandon Carter

Brandon Carter

Brandon Carter is a Content Specialist at Outbrain. He began his career as a staff journalist for the Maine weekly... Read more

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