College athletics are no longer seen as a niche market. It has entered an extremely profitable era. The new NIL branding policy gives a lot of opportunities to different companies to strike brand deals with student athletes.
Even if you’re not the most popular player or most skilled in the team you can still have a chance to get multiple sponsors. Brands nowadays look for players who are well known online and have a large social media following. Hence, the most crucial thing for any student athlete today is to maximize their NIL branding by utilizing social media platforms and SEO.
Why is SEO helpful for Student Athlete Personal Brand?
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is a technique of optimizing your website to improve your ranking in the search results. To put it simply, SEO is a digital marketing process that can optimize your visibility online.
College athletes can use SEO to increase their market value, digital presence, and NIL branding. SEO can help you increase fan engagements and attract more sponsorships.
Fans are the lifeblood of a student athlete personal brand. Increasing your fan engagement is essential to fostering loyalty to people. A large fan base can provide a lot of revenue through game attendances, merchandise sales, and other profit-generating activities. Learning more about SEO can help boost NIL branding, promote your social media, and increase fan engagement. Read more to know about 7 SEO tips for student athlete branding.
1. Create A Content Strategy
Content strategy is a plan in which you use audio, visual, and or written content to achieve your goals. Having a successful content strategy can attract more audiences and keep them engaged.
Plan your content wisely. Before you make a strategy, try to define your NIL branding first. Aside from being a successful student athlete, what do you want to be known for? Knowing your brand identity can help define what type of social content you have to produce.
Be organized. Create a schedule for your social media posts. Regular content posting is vital in enhancing your SEO because it allows you to create a relationship with your audience.
2. Utilize Significant Keywords
Keywords are a group of words that an internet user employs while researching using a search engine or search bar. In an SEO strategy, utilizing the right keywords can optimize your content for visibility.
Carefully choose and use keywords that you think suit your brand the best. Think of the terms you want your NIL branding to be associated with. To have an idea, do some keyword research on different platforms to find trending topics that you can potentially post about. Fill out your social media profiles with as many important details as possible but make sure that these words are relevant and trendy.
Branded keywords can make your social media profiles consistently rank among top search results. There are plenty of opportunities to integrate keywords into your posts. This is especially true on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube where there are plenty of characters to work with.
4. Share High-Quality Valuable Content
The number one driver of your search engine rankings is high-quality content, and there is no alternative for outstanding content, especially when it comes to SEO marketing. Quality content tailored to your target audience boosts site traffic, which improves your social media page’s relevance and visibility.
That is why it is really important for you to only post high-quality content about your student athlete personal brand. High-quality content means:
- Pictures and videos that have clear images and audio and have high resolution
- Trendy and relevant topic
- Relatable and inclusive theme
- Emotionally triggering (funny, amusing, or deep)
- Informational and factual
5. Be Unique. Be You.
You can show the uniqueness of your NIL branding by producing original authentic content. You can do this by being honest and showing your genuine positive traits through your posts.
Authentic content that comes directly from you can make the audience feel that they can easily reach and connect to you. Authenticity is invaluable when it comes to a student athlete personal brand because this can never be replicated by any other sports brand.
Share some personal moments from your team practice games. Let your personality shine by letting people into your world. Show them the behind the scene moments and hard work you do whenever you are in training. These will not only create unique content, but they will also connect you to your viewers and will make your fans feel closer to you.
Having larger fan engagement means more monetization opportunities. Keep in mind that sponsors usually look for endorsers that stand out. They want an athlete that is genuine and shows their vulnerability. When you have these traits, you become more relatable to other people. Sponsors want to use endorsers that are relatable because this can make their brand and products accessible and relevant.
6. Maximize Social Media Platforms
Maximize your social media platforms by using them in capturing all the highs and lows of your athletic journey. The more personal, intimate, and authentic content you post on your social media, the higher the fan engagement you’ll have and the faster your followers will grow.
A lot of fans use social media to connect with their favorite athletes. Student athletes can use this opportunity to build successful partnerships and receive NIL sponsorship opportunities. Build your student athlete personal brand profile with intent. Focus on being consistent and authentic. Align your personality and the subject matters of your content. Choose and only use social media platforms that you believe can be the best visual medium for you. Be conscious and responsible in everything you post. Use your platform to show people that you are a true professional and that your NIL branding can be an invaluable asset to them.
Create unique content for each social media platform you use. This will show how talented and creative you are. Having unique and different content can also keep your audience interested and excited for your future posts.
6. Be Active
Being active and consistently posting on social media is crucial if you want to increase your SEO, fan engagement, and NIL deals. According to Gary Illyes of Google, “The Context in which you engage online, and how people talk about you online, actually can impact what you rank for”. This only means that the amount of shares, likes, and comments your posts receive can influence your SEO and rank in Google and other search engines.
When you share great content every day such as videos, blog posts, podcasts, and pictures it engages your audience. And when your audience or fans like your content they share it further. Then their followers will do the same. This amplifies your content, increases your NIL branding visibility, improves traffic, and generates backlinks. These are social signals that notify search engines that your platform’s content is incredible and could indirectly improve your search rankings.
Spending time on your social media every day can build your student athlete personal brand and make it more solid for the future. Create pre-season, non-game day, and off-season content! This will keep your fans interested and connected to your athletic career. Other ways of being active are just by simply reposting, liking, sharing, replying, or commenting on the posts of your fans. By doing so, you will not only enhance your SEO, but you will also show your fans that you acknowledge their existence and that you are also interested in and care for them.
7. Start Now
Student athlete personal brand takes time to build, so it is better to start now! A successful professional athlete page requires a lot of work and effort.
Know that SEO takes time to start working. It depends on how long your website or social media exists. So it is better if you start posting photos and videos now!
Start sharing your athletic journey today. It’s better to begin this early. By doing so, you are already slowly building your NIL branding and SEO.
SEO is Free!
SEO efforts are designed to increase the quality and quantity of organic website traffic. SEO marketing isn’t like a pay-per-click campaign in that it isn’t a one-shot deal. By following the 7 SEO tips for student athlete branding, you don’t need to spend a lot of money!
Not only is SEO critical for how your audience searches for and learns about your NIL branding, but it also has a slew of other advantages that may assist your student athlete personal brand, sports career, and business generate more traffic, leads, and revenue.
Over the last 30 years, Nick has been an athlete and worked with sports teams at all levels, including youth, college, amateur, and professional. He has held roles as a business owner, COO, CMO, Vice President, General Manager, Director of Social Media, and instructor of undergraduate and graduate courses at multiple universities. As the owner of Shark Jockey Digital, he currently helps clients with brand creation, development projects, lead generation, website creation, SEO, SEM, PPC, social media marketing, Google reviews, online listings, and campaign management. He is a published researcher, presented at national conferences, and holds degrees including an MBA, an MS in Sports Management, and a BS in Health and Sports Studies. Nick is also a husband and father of 2 girls. He is passionate about building PayToPlayMarketing.com as a way to share the advice he experienced and carefully researched to help his own daughters in the future.