Minor League teams’ social/marketing teams tend to be on the smaller side, causing us to make the difficult decision on what the best way is to spend our time. For us here in Dunedin, our two-person team during games rely on quick turnaround content.
Digital Media Specialist
Dunedin Blue Jays
The interview with Allasyn Lieneck was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.
Tell us about your role as Digital Media Specialist for the Dunedin Blue Jays. What does a typical day look like for you?
As many who work in the Minor Leagues know, your job title doesn’t always cover every aspect of your day-to-day role.
As Digital Media Specialist for the Dunedin Blue Jays, my role includes managing social media and website, graphic design and video editing. It also includes being the team photographer (game day, community events, marketing, etc.).
When Spring Training rolls around each season, I also have a hand in creating the collateral like the program, pocket schedule, local advertisements and more.
Since my role can vary I really don’t have a typical day or specific routine. It depends on what my team needs from me on that day or whether it’s a game day or not.
Throughout the High-A season, you can find me glued to my computer running everything from our social platforms to helping prepare all graphic requests for future promo nights. When game time comes, I head to the camera well and capture content and photos of some of baseball’s best prospects.
I work with our media relations coordinator to post real-time, in-game content, as well as any post-game interviews. After the game, it’s time to go through and organize the photos taken that day while finishing up any other post-game content.
As a Digital Media Specialist, what style do you gravitate toward? Quick turnaround content or long-form storytelling, with high production value? Do you have a preference? Tell us some of the pros and cons you toggle with for each.
Both quick turnaround and long-form storytelling content have a place in the sports industry. A lot of the time what content you tend to use depends on the availability of your time and personnel.
Minor League teams’ social/marketing teams tend to be on the smaller side, causing us to make the difficult decision on what the best way is to spend our time. For us here in Dunedin, our two-person team during games rely on quick turnaround content so we can be sure our fans are up to date with what’s going on in the game. The only issue with this is it only gives the baseline amount of information to the fans.
That being said, I think long-form storytelling can provide fans with the unique insight into life at the ballpark and of the players. Post-game interviews are a good way we’re still able to keep storytelling included in our content. A big reason that fans enjoy the Minor Leagues is that they enjoy the story of the players and learning about their backgrounds as it adds the human element to the team. The more fans and players interact, the more that “family” feeling is added to the experience every time you come to the ballpark.
This season has made it difficult for teams to continue to create this kind of content, but throughout COVID-19 our team has been fortunate enough to produce Zoom interviews with some of our players and coaches providing a different perspective for our fans.
Overall, I can’t really say that I prefer either style, they both serve a purpose and should to be used at the appropriate time to be effective.
What are some of the big creative challenges you face with content creation? What about smaller ones?
In the Minor Leagues, the biggest creative challenge teams are faced with is the limited time and resources we have available. The more you have of those, the more engaging you can make the content. When you have a series of responsibilities outside of content creations that are just as important, the time put in and subsequent detail can limit the content itself.
With that, you learn that you need to be creative by means of finding the best way to deliver your content without reducing the quality. One thing that’s great about the creative community in the Minors (and in the sports industry as a whole) is the comradery and connections. We learn off of each other and are more than willing to answer each other’s questions on how to continue to improve since we’re all in similar situations.
On a smaller and more exclusive content challenge that we face here in Dunedin is we don’t have any video or live stream of our games. Instead of tweeting the video of a walk-off home run or the double play, we are tweeting images of it. Both are effective in their own way, but ultimately video is more engaging in many of these scenarios.
Having worked in digital media for several years now, what would you list as the top 3 most important software/tools/apps to use to increase efficiency and productivity?
One of the best tools that social media managers utilize are social media management software and apps. As stated before, social media is not the only part of my role, making it challenging to constantly keep our platforms updated and relevant to the fans.
For us, I use Sprout to keep up with our social platforms. The app is especially handy because that means I can respond to a fan’s comment or question immediately no matter if I’m at my computer or not. Scheduling posts is another highlighted tool for managers, and each social platform has continuously made that feature available whether you have a subscription to software like Sprout or not.
2 SD To Smartphone Device
A second tool I use every time I can is a dongle for my smartphone that allows me to plug in the SD card and upload my photos directly to my phone. This is a huge example of making do with the available equipment while finding a way to keep from reducing the quality of your content.
Eliminating the time I used to take to run back to my laptop to be able to post content is a lifesaver during games. It means I miss less of what’s happening on the field and quicker in-game updates for the fans. This is actually one of the things I learned about via another content creator at another team!
3 FMX For Project Management
The third is the use of a project management system. I think the first step of proper productivity for a position like mine is finding a clean and efficient way to manage all of your projects. In our office, we use a software called FMX and it’s used for all requests involving all graphics, collateral, photos, etc. that is needed from me.
I’m constantly given new assignments and projects from every department in our organization, both from the Dunedin office and Toronto employees. It can be hard to keep up with it all if there’s not a place that has all of this information in one place. This software lets each person create their requests for me while including every detail necessary for me to understand what exactly it is they want.
In today’s sports media world, how do you capture attention in an audience that has so many options and avenues to choose from?
Minor League Baseball is pretty unique, so many of those who interact with our content are either local fans or hard-core Minor League Baseball fans and are pretty committed to us as a brand.
For the Dunedin Blue Jays there are really only four ways to know what’s going on with our team during a game: radio broadcast, social media, follow the online box-scores or attend the game. In a sports media world that has so many options, I think our biggest strength is focusing on keeping our demographic interested in our product.
It’s also important to understand the different demographics on each social platform. Our Facebook followers are more of the local fans, interested in the community as a whole and things outside of the games themselves. As for Twitter, our followers are more baseball focused and want to hear about how the prospects currently on our roster are performing
What are some of the technologies that you are keeping an eye on that you think, once we get live-action back, will enhance the fan experience and continue to engage your audience?
One of the most interesting trends in professional sports is the use of an official team app. These apps can hold all long-form and short-form in-house content. Everything from player interviews, game highlights and more.
It provides a one-stop-shop for your fans to interact with all of your content. While having to visit different platforms to consume different content may not be an issue for the younger demographic I think for older fans that don’t utilize social media (who are a large part of our fanbase) can now have the option to download a one-stop content holster and get them to interact on a different level than they previously had.
Hayley's Final Thoughts
As a Digital Media Specialist, Allasyn Lieneck takes on a variety of tasks for the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays Major League Baseball club. From team photographer to graphic designer to social media manager, Allasyn is constantly on her feet making sure the Dunedin Blue Jays are in tip-top shape from a digital media perspective. In the Minor Leagues, Allasyn Lieneck expressed the importance of telling a story through post-game interviews. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Allasyn has found new ways to maintain the connection between fans and the players through Zoom interviews. I think it’s amazing that Allasyn’s #1 priority remains as creating not only the best content she can produce but, creating the best fan experience.