Content Ideas for Student-Athletes

Content Ideas for Student-Athletes

The holiday break is a perfect time for student-athletes to refocus on building their brand and develop content for use in the coming weeks. For those who struggle with what content to make, here are 10 ideas to get the creative juices flowing.

  1. Training Tips Series: Share short videos or posts with quick tips on improving specific skills, accompanied by explanations to help young athletes understand the principles.
  2. Behind-the-Scenes Content: Provide a glimpse into your daily training routine, nutrition, and recovery methods to humanize your brand and connect with your audience personally.
  3. Motivational Stories: Share your journey, including challenges you’ve overcome and lessons learned. This can inspire other young athletes facing similar obstacles.
  4. Collaborations with Coaches: Feature collaborations with coaches or mentors, offering insights into the coaching process and how it contributes to your development.
  5. Interactive Q&A Sessions: Engage with your audience by hosting Q&A sessions where followers can ask questions about your training, experiences, or any advice you may have.
  6. Nutrition and Wellness Tips: Share simple and healthy recipes and tips on maintaining overall well-being through proper nutrition and recovery strategies.
  7. Community Involvement: Highlight your involvement in community service or local sports events. This can foster a positive image and create a sense of community around your brand.
  8. Highlight Reels: Regularly post short highlight reels showcasing your best moments during games or competitions. This can create excitement and anticipation among your followers.
  9. Academic Success Stories: Showcase your commitment to academics by sharing stories of how you balance sports and studies, emphasizing the importance of education for young athletes.
  10. Fan Engagement Challenges: Create challenges for your followers, such as skill challenges or fitness routines, and encourage them to share their attempts. This builds a sense of community and engagement.

Remember, consistency is critical in building a brand, so whichever content you decide to deploy, aim to regularly produce and share content that aligns with your values and resonates with your target audience.

Finally, developing a content calendar or setting reminders ensures that you can balance posting content with your other commitments.

If you need additional assistance, either with content ideation or creation, contact us.

We’re Hiring

Seeking college Juniors, Seniors, or Graduate students to fill the following Spring internships. To be considered, send your resume to by January 17th.

Marketing Associate 

The Marketing Associate assists the CEO with a variety of marketing tasks for Firestarter and its clients. 

  • Part-time, 10-20 hours per week, January 30, 2023 – April 28, 2023
  • Paid, $15 per hour
  • Remote work
  • Strategize and execute printed and digital campaigns 
  • Write/edit printed and digital assets 
  • Design printed and digital assets 
  • Develop original or edit videos
  • Manage Firestarter and client social media platforms
  • Compile data for marketing campaign analysis

Ideal Candidate

  • Junior, Senior, or Graduate-level college student with at least one year of on-the-job experience 
  • Self-motivated, proactive, organized, and able to multitask
  • Experience in digital and social media strategy
  • Strong written and verbal communicator
  • Proficient in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator 

Project Manager 

The Project Manager assists the CEO with day-to-day project management and Firestarter client relations. 

  • Part-time, 10-15 hours per week, January 30, 2023 – April 28, 2023
  • Paid, $15 per hour
  • Remote work
  • Schedule and assist with meeting follow-up
  • Manage client portals
  • Assist the CEO with day-to-day project management 
  • Ensure projects are delivered on time
  • Compile lists for sponsorship, endorsements, and speaking engagement leads
  • Compile lists for business development leads

Ideal Candidate

  • Junior, Senior, or Graduate-level college student 
  • Self-motivated, proactive, organized, and able to multitask
  • Positive and teachable 
  • Strong written and verbal communicator

Brand Tips for Entering the Transfer Portal

If you’ve been watching the news, you know that the NCAA transfer portal is one of today’s hottest topics. Over the past several weeks, I’ve been contacted by student-athletes and caregivers asking how athletes can successfully position themselves online and in-person before and after they’ve decided to enter the portal. 

To fully answer that question, I went directly to the source—DI football, basketball, baseball, and volleyball head and assistant coaches—to find out precisely what catches their eye. Below is a synopsis of those conversations. 

Make it Easy

Making sure your social media accounts are easy to identify and contain complete information is the best way to help yourself transfer. Before entering the portal, be sure to update your Twitter and Instagram bios to include:

  • Photo of you (Using the same image from your current program’s website is a huge help) 
  • First and last name
  • Current playing stats
  • Current GPA
  • Phone number (Don’t assume coaches will DM)
  • Link to your highlights 

A Well-Crafted Goodbye

What an athlete says in their farewell letter or post speaks volumes about their character and how they’ll contribute to their next opportunity. In this message, athletes should establish their brand, share their accomplishments, and show respect to their previous program. Most importantly, athletes need to be mindful of spelling and grammar. Don’t go overboard with cool graphics or striking images—what you’re saying matters most. Finally, it’s on the internet, so remember that what you post lasts forever. 

Third-Party Endorsements 

All coaches interviewed agreed that supportive posts from coaches, parents, fans, etc., won’t help you out of the portal. But negative posts about you and negative engagement on your part can hurt you. Before entering the portal, conduct a social media audit to ensure that anything negative you’ve posted or responded to is no longer visible. 

Have a Response Ready 

Eventually, the athlete will have to explain why they’re transferring to coaches, media, etc. Regardless of the reason, athletes should take the time to think through their response. Practicing their statement in front of a supportive audience is also a good idea. Remember, coaches are looking for character and cultural fit as much as they’re looking for athletic ability, so choose your words wisely. 

If you’re a student-athlete or caregiver and have additional questions, feel free to email me directly at

A Student-Athlete’s Guide to Selecting a Marketing Agent

After years of debate, collegiate student-athletes are now on the cusp of being able to profit from their name, image, and likeness. With seven states preparing to enact NIL legislation on July 1, 2021, a buzz is growing in the worlds of sports and business that is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. 

With this new era comes an exciting variety of brand growth and revenue-generating opportunities for student-athletes. So too comes potential short- and long-term brand, financial, and legal risks. 

To help illuminate a path, I wanted to provide athletes and their parents or caregivers with a resource to better understand the process of working with a marketing agent or agency. 

What is a marketing agent?

A marketing agent, publicist, or brand manager can be an individual or agency that provides student-athletes with counsel, strategy, and creative support for traditional and digital marketing, public relations, and events efforts—to help them grow, manage, and protect their personal brands.  

What’s the difference between a marketing agent and a sports agent? 

A sports agent or manager promotes an athlete’s career and plays a crucial role in developing and negotiating their playing contract. While a sports agent will occasionally act as a player’s spokesperson or creative lead, developing and deploying the strategy and creative assets to grow a player’s brand and protect their reputation is the marketing agent’s sole function. 

Does a student-athlete need a marketing agent? 

Hiring a marketing agent will depend on what the athlete is trying to accomplish with their personal brand. If the athlete simply wants education or wants to manage their own brand, they should check with their athletic department, as many have created courses to assist with this. 

If the athlete has access to online platforms like Opendorse or INFLCR, they still may benefit from additional marketing and public relations support. If they’re interested in expanding their brand but don’t know where to start or what they need, having an initial consultation with their parents and a marketing professional is a smart first step.

What services does a marketing agent provide? 

A marketing agent or agency, publicist, or brand manager may provide the following services: 

  • General marketing and public relations consultation and education
  • Marketing, public relations, and events strategy
  • Creative services, i.e., writing/editing, photography, videography, web development, graphic design, app development 
  • Media representation, crisis communication, and reputation management services
  • Daily social media strategy and maintenance 
  • Develop, coordinate, and distribute merchandise
  • Event creation and management
  • Small business or nonprofit creation and management

How much does a marketing agent cost? 

The cost for marketing, public relations, and event services varies depending on the project’s labor hours and out-of-pocket costs. Hourly rates will vary depending on the vendor but can range from $15 to more than $300 per hour. Some agents or agencies require a monthly retainer rather than providing an hourly or per-project rate. 

Before signing any contract, be sure you fully understand how and when a marketing agent will bill you. Once you enter into a contract, you’re financially responsible for any work conducted on your behalf by a marketing agency, agent, publicist, or brand manager. 

Can a student-athlete enter into a contract with a marketing agent without parental consent? 

Laws vary from state to state, but in an overwhelming majority, persons under 18 cannot enter into a contract with anyone without parental consent. When in doubt, contact an attorney or your athletic department’s compliance officer. 

Can a marketing agent provide a student-athlete with a financial advance? 

Federal and some state laws prohibit marketing agents from providing student-athletes with a financial advance. 

What NIL activity does a student-athlete have to report to their athletic department? 

What needs to be reported, when it needs to be reported, and to whom will vary. If unsure, consult with your athletic department’s compliance officer. 

How much money could a student-athlete potentially earn? 

No marketing or public relations professional has a crystal ball to foretell the future. While there’s information and tools available to help professionals make estimates regarding how much a marketing or public relations initiative may yield, nothing in a free market system is ever guaranteed. 

What should a student-athlete expect from their marketing agent?

A marketing agent’s roles and responsibilities to you as a client will depend on your project specifications. When entering into a contract, be sure that you’re clear on what they should be doing for you and what you can expect from them, i.e., how often they communicate with you, what deliverables they’ll provide, deadlines, costs, expected outcomes, etc. 

To maintain a healthy and productive working relationship, athletes and their parents or caregivers should be open and transparent with their marketing agent. Be involved, responsive, and proactive. After all, it’s your brand. 

We’re here to help! Feel free to contact me anytime if you have questions or are seeking assistance with your #athletebrand. 

4 Tips for Student-Athletes to Grow Their Brand

With comprehensive, division-wide guidance regarding name, image, and likeness (NIL) likely still months away, many student-athletes are left wondering what they can do to prep their brand for whatever lies ahead. 

Here are four simple ways to prep your brand for future monetization, the job market, or both. 

Clean it up: One way student-athletes get themselves into digital hot water is by failing to clean up their unflattering social media posts. Take a quiet Sunday afternoon to remove any unflattering or distasteful posts or images. Apps like TweetDelete do all the heavy lifting for you. Remember, if you leave it, you mean it. 

Have a brand plan: As an athlete, when have you ever started a game or match without a game plan? Never! Creating a brand strategy is challenging but an essential element to overall brand success. What’s your end goal? Who’s your audience? How do you plan to reach them? What do you plan to say? These are all critical questions you should answer if you want to achieve long-term brand success. 

Ramp up engagement: When it comes to engagement, make sure you’re always following the two Cs: consistency and community. As active student-athletes, I realize that consistently posting content isn’t top of mind. But if you want to monetize, it a must-do. Additionally, don’t post and roll out. Stick around and like, share, and comment on other people’s content. Being a good community member helps your visibility, too. 

Show us what else you’ve got: It’s easy to post pics from games, practices, and marketing department photoshoots, but that’s not all there is to know about you. What about your classes, hobbies, volunteer activities, and time with family and friends? A crucial piece of brand monetization is connecting with multiple audiences, so be sure to create content that shows all of your passions or activities — allowing you to engage followers who might not even be interested in your sport. 

Just like learning a new position or skill, brand acceleration doesn’t happen overnight. Student-athletes interested in growing their brand should use this time while we wait for NIL to get themselves into good brand-building habits. 

NCAA vs Alston: What that means for name, image, and likeness

Today, March 31, 2021, the Supreme Court will finally hear the arguments in the antitrust case of NCAA vs. Alston. For those who are unaware, back in January, the NCAA voted to indefinitely delay providing guidance regarding how student-athletes could profit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL) citing concerns prompted by a letter from the Department of Justice related to the possible antitrust implications of changing its rules.

Knowing what we know, what can those in the collegiate sports and sports marketing communities expect in the short- and long-term following today’s arguments:

The reality is, for current DI student-athletes or those in the recruitment process, it’s unlikely we’ll see significant division-wide change to NIL policies within the next six months to a year.

Regardless of the immediate outcomes, all DI programs should commit to providing student-athletes with access to equitable education and support services to help create, build, and manage their brands for life-long success.

Stop by my blog next week as I provide student-athletes with multiple ways they can tuneup their brand to prepare for whatever is to come. 





Building a Foundation: An Athlete’s Guide to Launching a Charity

Athletes and coaches most typically launch what’s known as a private foundation, a nonprofit formed, funded, and controlled by a small group of individuals. Private foundations are subject to several operating restrictions not applicable to public charities. They must donate at least 5% of their assets’ fair market value each year to permissible recipients. Private foundations typically use their funds to make grants or gifts to public charities for charitable, religious, educational, or other causes that help the public. Some public charities act like foundations by making grants to other public charities.

Below is a brief overview of the steps required to take a private foundation from conception to implementation:

Pinpoint the Need

Are you interested in helping kids in your hometown? Or maybe you’d like to bring awareness to a national issue? The first step to creating a charitable organization is to select the audience you plan to serve and define how your assistance to that group is different from other charities.

Create a Brand

Once you know who you’re serving, the next step is to develop your charity’s name, tagline, and logo. It’s vital that you conduct research to ensure your potential brand doesn’t infringe on the trademark of another organization.

Establish the Mission

Your charity’s mission should be a concrete description of purpose and intent. It’s a clear and concise expression of the organization’s primary purpose: what it does, for whom, and the basic service it offers. Missions should be complemented with specific, measurable, achievable, and challenging goals.

Arguably the most crucial step in developing your charity is completing all legal and financial requirements to establish the organization. Failure to do so could be costly down the road.

Building a Team

If you intend to hire staff or utilize volunteers, their recruitment and selection should be completed before you officially launch. Additionally, you should select an advisory board or board of directors to help implement and guide the charity in the right direction.

Creating Buzz

Before launching, you should create your organization’s website, establish its social media platforms, and have a plan for continual content creation. It would be best if you had also had a plan for the charity’s official launch. Who needs to know you exist and why? What’s the best way to reach these stakeholders?

Have a Fundraising Plan

Fundraising is the lifeblood of charitable organizations. Before launching, it’s best to have a plan to ensure that the organization is raising funds to achieve and maintain its mission.

Athletes and coaches have a tremendous ability to make lasting change in the lives and communities of those around them. If built and managed correctly, a charitable organization can have a long-lasting and positive impact on the individual’s legacy and brand. Contact us if you have additional questions about how to build or maintain your charitable foundation.

Brand Tips for Professional Athlete Charities

Launching a charitable organization is an effective way for an athlete to grow their personal brand and give back to the greater good. If run effectively, the charity has the ability to amplify and extend an athlete’s legacy well beyond their chosen sport.

Based on my almost 20 years of working with nonprofits, I want to provide some key strategic marketing and public relations tactics to help athletes and their support staff get the most out of their charitable organization.

Have a 365 Plan – Mission-driven activities throughout the year are vital for any charitable organization to achieve long-term growth. Many athletes will host one or two events per year, leaving their mission dormant for months at a time. To avoid brand recession, athlete-led philanthropies should make sure to have a physical or virtual touchpoint for stakeholders at least once every quarter.

Be Consistent With Content – To avoid brand recession and diminishing fundraising efforts, athlete-led philanthropies should regularly develop and deploy content. Images, video, and third-party content like news articles should be deployed consistently via social media and the charity’s website and other owned assets to deepen and reinforce the organization’s mission.

Don’t Neglect Public Relations – Many times, athlete-led philanthropies will forgo earned media because they don’t have the expertise on staff or desire to take it on. Not leveraging the media throughout the year will have an adverse effect on the organization’s growth. If not doing media outreach consistently, organizations should at least make sure they’re engaging the press for their cornerstone events.

Survive Without the Star – The namesake athlete should always remain the face of their charity. That said, the charity’s brand should evolve to the point where the athlete doesn’t need to be physically present at every event or in every advertisement. Having consistent events and overall visibility—and the public support of the organization’s staff and Board of Directors—plays a crucial role in achieving this goal.

A huge misconception is that marketing and public relations has to be all or nothing. Firestarter collaborates with athlete-led philanthropies on a part-time, contract, or project basis to help them plan and execute their marketing, public relations, and events. Before your organization begins its 2021 planning, connect with me to discuss possibilities.





Building a Better Transfer Bio

As teams and conferences began to announce a cancellation or delay of the 2020 football season, I received many messages asking how to craft an effective transfer bio. After consulting with 25 DI head and assistant coaches, I’ve developed tips to help an athlete catch a new team’s eye.

Image – We all know you play football. We can read that in the bio. When possible, use a profile image that clearly shows your face. It helps all stakeholders trying to engage with you confirm who you are.

Name – Don’t forget to have your full name and any nickname you go by in your bio! Neglecting to do so makes finding you tedious for coaches, scouts, media, etc.

Playing Stats and Eligibility – Every coach agreed that including how many reps you’ve taken and your remaining eligibility helps speed up the decision-making process. Many players may feel reluctant to share this info because they fear it may disqualify them, but many coaches agreed that’s not entirely true.

Academics – Every coach agreed that seeing where you stand academically saves everyone a lot of time and energy. If your grades or ACT/SAT scores are lower than desired, it’s best a team know that upfront. Transparency doesn’t always mean disqualification.

Miscellaneous – Use the remaining characters in your bio to give viewers a glimpse into who you are as a person, i.e. other hobbies, awards, your hometown. Emojis are acceptable to use.

Video – Don’t forget to include a link to most of your recent highlight reel. If you’re a freshman or haven’t seen much playing time, using your Hudl account is also acceptable.

Pro Tip #1: Before declaring your intent to transfer, audit your accounts to ensure you don’t have any unflattering images or messages that might hurt your chances to play with a new team.

Pro Tip #2: Work with a professional or have someone review any farewell messages you post to ensure there’s no grammatical errors. If working with a graphic designer, make sure your text is readable, i.e. font is a decent size, text color isn’t too light for the background, and the files are sized correctly for the platform.

Pro Tip #3: If interviewed by the media, take your time and be thoughtful with your responses. Also, make sure the journalist has your social media handles. Finally, share the article across all your social media platforms when it goes live or is published.

Brand Building for the Introvert Athlete

Mastering personal brand building is challenging. For those who are introverted or don’t prefer the spotlight, brand building can feel like their own personal Everest. As I’ve frequently noted, for collegiate and professional athletes, coaches, and administrators, it’s vital to capitalize on their short-term visibility to achieve long-term gains.

For some introverts, how and why to get started can be a sticking point. For others, finding the daily inspiration and energy to constantly create content can be downright exhausting.

Below are tips to help introverts tackle the unique brand building challenges they face:

Have a strategy. Nothing zaps your energy and focus faster than having to reinvent the wheel every day. Creating short- and long-term strategies for your brand content is a lot of work upfront but can save your sanity in the end. This is key for everyone, but especially for introverts. The journey starts with knowing who you want to reach and where to reach them.

Let a reporter help you out. Leveraging earned media is an effective way to get someone else to do the heavy lifting for you. Just about everyone has an interesting story. With so many athlete-focused media platforms emerging, there’s never been a better time to pitch your story to traditional and digital outlets.

Acquire an extrovert. We extroverts are useful for many things. For one, we’re happy to create content and include you in it. Second, we usually have an idea where and when to be seen. Third, it’s our personal pleasure to get you out of your comfort zone. If you don’t have a designated extroverted brand buddy – I highly recommend acquiring one.

Get vulnerable. Carefully manicured personal brands are boring. We know you’re a real person, so let your real-life be part of your daily content—the good, bad, and even the ugly. How ugly will depend on your comfort level, but there’s a direct correlation between authenticity and higher engagement rates.

Give to get. Launching a charity or actively engaging in one allows you to be part of something bigger than yourself. It also provides you with year-round content without you being the main focus. Launching a charity is an involved endeavor. If mismanaged, it could damage your brand. Make sure you know the risks and rewards before getting started. If you decide to forgo launching a charity of your own, there’s plenty of reputable nonprofits who’d welcome your support.

Hand it off. There’s nothing wrong with engaging a professional to assist you with your personal brand. That’s the reason people like me exist! If this whole personal branding concept feels too overwhelming, an expert can collaborate with you to create a plan, develop content, or both.

As an athlete, coach, or sports administrator, your brand is one of your most valuable professional assets. Every day it’s left unmanaged or mismanaged can leave you further behind—and potentially out a lot of money.