Friday, April 25, 2014

Running Events - Facebook Group or Facebook Fan Page? How bout' Twitter?

There was a time when Facebook seemed like more of a social forum for the younger generation, but the day has progressed to Facebook being a necessary tool for businesses, and most definitely the running race community.  If you are managing a race, and you don't have a Facebook "Page", you are missing out on race entries without a doubt.

For race organizers new to Facebook, it may be overwhelming at first, and you'll likely try to determine if you should create calendar event on Facebook, a group on Facebook, or a Fan Page.  While a Facebook Calendar event is a nice "extra"to have, it should not be your only or primary presence on Facebook.  Additionally, a group is also a nice "extra" to have, maybe used for specific year events, but not as an alternative to the Facebook Fan Page.  Every half marathon, or any other distance running event, should absolutely have a Facebook Fan Page.  The fans will grow as years go forward, and race organizers will build a camaraderie and online relationship with their runners, and the page will never change.  Runners can always know to come back to the same page, and will see your announcements and shout outs in their feeds.  It's a great place to post scenic pictures of your events, fun fan pictures, pictures of your swag, and your annual bling coming out for your next race.

Additionally, building relationships with national running clubs and local running clubs is important, to be able to monetize on the cross-marketing relationships, which usually can be a great cross promotional marketing tool on Facebook, if you "give" as much as you "take".  Those that expect a shout out from a club, should do the same on their page, as a cross promotional trade and help give visibility to the clubs that are putting the effort in to help share and promote your event.  They shouldn't have to ask, this should be offered.  You will build stronger race community partnerships and relationships that way.

Twitter is also another nice means of growing an online relationship with your runners and draw in more participants.  If you're not a big Twitter user, you can automate all your facebook posts to automatically post to your twitter, by logging into twitter (in a different tab in the same browser), and then go back on Facebook tab and click which will allow you to connect your facebook page to post everything you post on your facebook wall, to your twitter.  Walla!  If you have achieved having a Facebook Fan Page and a, now, more active Twitter page, you are now on your way to creating a great social media presence!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Is Facebook or Acitve Acceptable for a Race to Use as it's Primary Site?

Well the answer really is, .... no.

I represent and manage one of the most up to date half marathon calendar resources on the web, and the half marathon event community continues to grow at a rapid pace.  The number of half marathons growing across the nation has been unbelievable, and keeping dates and links to these events up to date is definitely a lot of work.  The most difficult task is dealing with events that change their links every year, or use tools such as active for their registration but have no real website for runners to go to other than Active or Facebook or Runsignup.  Even worse, Runsignup won't even put a link back to your race site, even if you have one I recently noticed.  While Active and Facebook, or Runsignup, can be used as TOOLS for registration, they really shouldn't be used as a central landing source to provide information about an event.  There are so many free resources out there to create a website page where you can add a link to your facebook page and a link to your registration.  Not only is this easier for runners to find the events year after year, it also will help drive registration by displaying photos and fun info about the event, and also make it much easier for online half marathon schedule websites to maintain the event details year after year.

Some easy to use sites for non-technical - non-web savvy race directors could be:

Blogger (which is what you are reading right now - super easy to set up a page and free)

Wix (very inexpensive and super easy to use templates, very user friendly, and will look professionally done)

Yahoo websites (very inexpensive)

Weebly (pretty sure this is still free)

If you are looking for free, I'd go with Blogger, .... and Wix actually might have a free version, but not positive.  Wix is awesome and I'd recommend it over all that I mentioned.  I've used it for another business of mine, and a local triathlon club I developed a site for.

Anyway, just some food for thought for those changing their link every year, or for those events that use facebook or active only. Also those who do not keep the event details up all year for runners to find, like YMCA / YWCA's .... we've had a lot of issues with keeping up to date and finding the event info and event link, or organizations who don't create an actual page for their event and only list it as an upcoming event part of the year.  These have been our worst culprits to try to maintain year after year, and is frustrating for runners as well.

In conclusion, events that have no actual website year after year, for one, could be gaining a LOT more runners to their events if they had a website up (and all year).  Second, events would make it so much easier for both runners attending their events, and half marathon clubs and directories if they were to keep ONE link up all year round for their event, and not ever change the link.

Happy Running!

Here is another article on improving event sites, on the Runner's Perspective - Improving Event Sites Blog ....

Monday, November 7, 2011

Create a Free or Low Cost Site for Your Running or Charity Event

November 7, 2011
By: Nicole Blomgren, MBA, USAT member, USATF member
Founder & President Fifty States HALF Marathon Club &

Free and Low Cost Solutions

Is your event an inaugural running event or charity event with little or no budget to start out with, but you'd like to have an online website presence other than Facebook and Twitter?  With so many free and low cost methods available in this day and age, here are some free tips for you to get started to create a respectable presence for you event or group.

First, choose if you're looking for something free.  This method could probably get by as acceptable for an extremely small town event, a charity, or some type of function that is not going to be an annual or recurring event.   The 2 sites that can get this job done for you are Blogger or Wordpress.  These sites have user friendly easy to build functions.  As a matter of fact, this site you are reading was created on

Blogger: - create an account, pick your blogger site name, select create, and walla! Blogger allows you to pick from multiple templates, choose multiple colors, font colors, size font, and also allows you to easily add widgets to you columns, such as facebook widgets, twitter widgets, or list other important links.  You can also add follow and subscription widgets, where your users can follow your blog, which notifies them when you add a new update (post) to your blog.  You can even create a Google adsense account and create adsense widgets to make a little extra money, though for an event I wouldn't go overboard with adds on your blog if you decide to go that route.
You can also easily use the widgets to insert pictures, such as your sponsor's logos and add a link back to that sponsor's site!

Wordpress: - create an account, pick your wordpress site name, create, and almost as simple as blogger.  Wordpress also has similar features but it is not as flexible and may not be as user friendly as Blogger.  But I'd suggest maybe experimenting with both and see what suits your specific purpose best.  Both can be created in 15 or 20 minutes and you can see what looks better for your specific presence.  Wordpress has some nice templates and can really look nice, and Blogger has much nicer widget areas to work with in my opinion.

Both Wordpress and Blogger are hosted right no their site, for free, no domains to purchase, easy to update.  No cost to you, and you have a link now that you can direct all your runners to with all your important race, charity or event information.

If you're looking to go the low cost route but don't want to spend an arm an a leg for a website to be developed, how about create your own? With easy to use templates, you can go to an all in one business site which allows you to purchase a monthly plan.  There are many out there and you likely can find quite a few options by using Google, but I would suggest Yahoo Business.  Yahoo business allows you to search for a website name domain, buy the domain, host the domain and pick the create your own website option, where you can pick from many templates, and create a pretty professional looking website that's super easy to build on your own with absolutely no website development skills.  Also, you then have access to the content editor, to be able to change your event date, add information, add results, and much, much more.  This I can tell you, I also have first hand experience.  I utilized Yahoo Business for my first business I ever started, a recruiting firm, years ago.  I loved it! It was super easy and very low cost for a new entrepreneur just starting out in the business world.  Yahoo Business would be perfect for the smaller running events out there, and I promise I have nothing to gain by promoting it, other than the satisfaction of knowing I helped your event create a great presence in our running community.

Yahoo Business (Various Great Deals & Offers):

I would suggest looking over each special option to see which deal is best suited for your organization

25% off Yahoo! Merchant Solutions for 1st 12 Months!

25% off Yahoo! Webhosting for 1st 12 Months!

New Yahoo! Web Hosting Pricing

Free Domain Name when you Purchase Yahoo! Web Hosting Plan

Yahoo! Web Hosting - Build a great web site with easy - to - use- tools

What do you include on your website?

As a leader in a national organization that interacts with runners on a daily basis and maintains the national half marathon calendar, I decided it would be beneficial to add this section on what to add to your website.

Many Race Directors and Event Organizers create their website with one audience in mind, .... their local audience.  They often forget the large audience out there that loves to travel to events in various states, like those in the Fifty States HALF Marathon Club or other similar running clubs that travel to multiple states.  With this in mind, it's important to have clear and visible in the title or description or header toward the top of the event site the following items:

City and State:  Yes, you'd be surprised how many event organizers think that everyone in the US knows of their small town or city is in Utah, or that the name of their city doesn't exist in other states.  Think again.

The Date and specific date per event: Please don't put two dates on your home page and then not specify which event is which day.  If you list more than one date on your home page or have multiple events on different days, make it easy to find or list the date next to the event on the home page.  There is nothing worse than having to dig to find out which day the half marathon is for example.  If packet pick up is on a Friday and Race day is on a Saturday, put the packet pick up under Packet Pickup details, not as an additional event day.

List ALL Events on your Home Page Title: Do not just list the main event on the home page.  If there is a marathon AND a half marathon, don't JUST list the marathon.  Don't make viewers of a site dig for information.  You can list the secondary events like 10k, 5k, etc. in smaller print, but don't leave them completely out of the title.

Race Day Details or Event Day Details and Schedule: Make this an easy to find link or tab.  Again, people don't want to dig for this.

EXACT Address of location to start: This is a big one!  This goes back to the Event Organizers forgetting that they have more than a local audience.  For non-locals and out of state travelers, it is almost a must these days to enter the physical address so traveling athletes can enter the address in their GPS.  Detailed directions along with the exact physical address of start or closest physical address you can find is extremely helpful.

The point here is to keep a national audience in mind when creating any website online.   Put yourself in the traveler, outsider's shoes when you are creating your site, and brainstorm about what you'd be looking for on a website for an event if you never heard of the town, never been to the state, and were looking at participating in an event you found at this particular website.

Have a Half Marathon You'd like Listed?

Is your Event Listed on the National Half Marathon Calendar?

Don't See Your Half Marathon at