2020 Signing DayWe’ve studied Signing Day content across the country closely for four years now at SkullSparks. We’ve also worked Signing Day for teams, creating official content and delivering the day since 2003. Our perspective has been shaped working both sides of the event.

Today, Signing Day content is more important than ever in shaping perception of college football programs. Yes, content is specific to the latest class. But it’s also aimed at the hearts and minds of next year’s recruits and beyond (not to mention fans and donors who buy tickets and support the program).

2020 Signing Class Content Archive | 2019 | 2018 | 2017

Here are our hits and misses from Signing Day Content for the 2020 class:

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HIT:
Options
Some teams trumpeted their signees with layers of content including static visuals, motion and video highlights. Generally, we liked these suites of content for each signee rather than just one big announcement piece. We’re sure the players and their families did too. Different levels of content also gave fans options to see information at a glance or invited them to dive in further.

MISS:
One Shot
Other teams delivered only one post per signee with one type of content. Remember, as the person pulling the trigger, you experienced all your content. But think from your fans’ perspective: some social algorithms allowed only a portion of your content through. Plus, content was competing with everything else fans followed and did on Signing Day. It may have felt repetitive to you but it was likely your followers only had an opportunity to see some of your content.

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HIT:
Comprehensive Strategy
Teams serviced a wide variety of customers on Signing Day. Some fans preferred text and Twitter, others favored the imagery of Instagram. Facebook Live, IG Stories and even augmented reality entered the mix. Believe it or not, some fans still visited the official website. We appreciated teams that delivered across a wide variety of platforms.

https://twitter.com/jesslmcnamara/status/1207400188718960640

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HIT:
Cohesive Design
All that content on all those platforms competed with a ton of noise on Signing Day. Immediate recognition was vital with milliseconds to grab the eye. Savvy teams developed a strong visual style to deliver their brand consistently — both digitally and in the physical world. Strong, cohesive design was even more impressive knowing that creative teams with multiple opinions (and egos) churned out content.

https://twitter.com/PennStateFball/status/1207339923570864129

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HIT:
Motion with Purpose
We appreciated motion content that grabbed our eye and held our attention but also allowed time for processing information. The best motion content delivered both flash AND substance without wasting frames.

https://twitter.com/RaginCajunsFB/status/1207312080929464320

MISS:
Wasting Time
It was brutal to sit through long, branded intros on some signee videos — especially considering fans saw the same pixels multiple times. Seconds felt like an eternity when you were forced to watch the same thing over and over. Smart teams got straight to the point.

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HIT:
Personalizing
With the NCAA’s movement on allowing student-athletes to benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness, several teams hit the ground running. The overall message? This is a place that will help you build your personal brand. It was fascinating to see individual logos and player personality develop within Signing Day content.

https://twitter.com/UCF_Football/status/1207361975493132289

https://twitter.com/TexasFootball/status/1207308985403092992

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HIT:
Insight & Interpretation
Coaches are paid well to know their craft. The vast majority of fans don’t approach that deep understanding of what it takes to build a winning team. We appreciated teams that shared insight on players from the head coach and position staff. Signing Day was a golden opportunity to help interpret and shape perception.

https://twitter.com/Vol_Football/status/1207280777035014145

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HIT:
Welcome
Signing Day was all about the newest members of the team. But some programs shared welcome messages from current and former players. It helped emphasize the camaraderie of the locker room and team atmosphere. We’ve all heard it’s more than just a four-year decision.

https://twitter.com/BoilerFootball/status/1207401898623549440

https://twitter.com/Rickthelaureate/status/1207431832184209408

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HIT:
Emotion
Emotion inspires action. We loved content that shared players’ personalities and backgrounds. Faces, especially without a helmet, humanized the person. Even better, some teams incorporated family in the moment. The planning, coordination and legwork involved were impressive. Yep, it was all about the feels.

https://twitter.com/PackFootball/status/1207373686354919424

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HIT:
Program DNA
Frankly, every team is striving for the same objective. But great brands differentiate themselves in a crowded market. We appreciated team content built on unique program DNA — those things that no other team could come along and appropriate for themselves. Those defining elements were especially important on Signing Day when brands advertised to an audience beyond their normal footprint.

https://twitter.com/HokiesFB/status/1207274378146308096

https://twitter.com/HailStateFB/status/1207292638434451457

MISS:
Clichés
Signing Day was a massive opportunity to shape perception of team, coach and direction of the program. It was frustrating to see some teams squander the moment with overused concepts lacking originality. If your program doesn’t shine on Signing Day, will it ever?

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HIT:
Sense of Place
We’re not the NFL. College teams don’t pull up stakes and move to a new city or state. College football teams represent a place. And they’re responsible for representing that place yesterday, today and tomorrow. We enjoyed team content that weaved in an appreciation of place.

https://twitter.com/CalFootball/status/1207365121422397445

https://twitter.com/GamecockFB/status/1207273208346361856

https://twitter.com/ASUFootball/status/1207364632899272704

MISS:
Overlooking FCS
Content from smaller teams with fewer staff and resources put some larger programs to shame. We hope you didn’t overlook outstanding effort from all levels of college football. We know these teams’ recruits and fans certainly appreciated it.

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HIT:
Taking Chances
In this age of relentless snark, it’s easier to play it safe. Pushing the envelope is notable. After reviewing Signing Day content from roughly 250 teams, we appreciated approaches that were truly different and memorable. Remember, you’re not always the target audience.

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HIT:
Behind the Scenes
Signee info was commodity content shared by multiple outlets. Signing Day was an opportunity for teams to leverage their unique position. Teams could deliver content available nowhere else. Several teams stood out for using social to bring fans and future recruits inside the program.

https://twitter.com/HailStateFB/status/1207720100440076288

https://twitter.com/DukeFOOTBALL/status/1207283216312422401

https://twitter.com/BoilerFootball/status/1207274376158203910

Naturally, opinions abound concerning content and strategy. We appreciated all the perspectives you shared with us. But most of all, we appreciated the countless hours, late nights and creative energy from you — the teams behind the teams.

2020 Signing Class Content Archive | 2019 | 2018 | 2017

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Thanks to the athletics staff working hard behind the scenes to connect fans with the teams they love.

Jason R. Matheson