Memes, Dreams, and the Bengals Content Machine: A 2020 Recap and Looking Forward to the New Year

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I have to apologize from the onset of this article because, at the risk of sounding unimaginative, this is primarily a story about my 2020.

You still here? Okay, great!

You may have noticed some big changes to the Bengals' social media accounts this year. Those changes are part of a concerted effort to invest in and reimagine our content and engagement with our fans. As we head into 2021, we are looking to expand upon those successes and bring them to all of our outlets including the app, broadcast and gameday entertainment. And if you're wondering who makes me the authority on this subject. Well, I do. I'm Seth. The content guy.

At the start of 2020, I was not affiliated with the Cincinnati Bengals. Don't hold it against me, but instead I was a part of a Kansas City Chiefs team that was responsible for some of the best content in the NFL. We were a content juggernaut. When we went to the Super Bowl we had some of the most expansive coverage ever produced by a club. Exclusive coverage that turned into a lot of Emmys for our team.

Quite literally the day after the Super Bowl Parade, I flew out to interview for what I saw as an opportunity to build something from the ground up as the Cincinnati Bengals Content Director. A position that was created for the purpose of modernizing Bengals content and engaging Who Dey Nation like they had never been before. Let's just say I nailed the interview. 

Side note: Elizabeth Blackburn specifically wanted me to mention that I stood out because I said, "I wanted to bring the 'weird' to Bengals content." And I think we did that in 2020.

By mid-March I was starting my new job at Paul Brown Stadium… in a work-from-home capacity. With COVID being our stark reality, I not only had to acclimate to a new office culture, but convince the team of my vision for 2020. Luckily, they trusted my weird and sometimes poorly explained ideas, and the next thing you know I'm buying cigars to announce our number one draft pick.

Fast forward to April. We're on the eve of drafting the future face of the franchise, Joe Burrow, and I am sweating bullets. This is the first opportunity that our content team has to shine and, admittedly, I was nervous to see how Who Dey Nation would receive it. So, if you're wondering if I read the comments section, I do. In that single night, we garnered more impressions and engagements than any other day in the history of Bengals social. By the end of the weekend, we had over 34 million impressions across all platforms. 

That was just the beginning...

Then came our schedule release (another stay-at-home production), a no-fan training camp, and eventually the 2020 NFL season. For as chaotic and extraordinary 2020 was, we are now approaching the finish line. In that time, we've created what I think is a digital space that our fans can look forward to visiting and be proud of. Since the start of September we've had over 300 millions impressions, we've added over 100k followers (welcome newcomers) and have consistently had one of the highest engagement rates in the NFL. I credit these achievements to our extremely talented content team and the Brown/Blackburn family trusting me to bring it all together.

So you may be thinking to yourself, 'Ya, this is all great, but I don't use social media.' 

And to that I say, "That's cool! I'm actually bringing these content theories to a lot of different Bengals outlets. My favorite being gameday entertainment at PBS."

My background is gameday entertainment. I live and breathe it. There is nothing more satisfying to me than fireworks showering overhead as a couple of F-15s buzz a stadium filled with cheering fans. It's my love, my passion, my vice. So with the new year, it is my goal in 2021 to create a spectacle so engaging, so riveting, that fans will want to relive their experience ten times a year. While we've made great strides in 2020, there are big things on the horizon at Paul Brown Stadium in 2021. And as much as I like sharing secrets, I like surprising people a whole lot more.

And that brings me to the reason as to why I have written my first multi-page paper since grad school… Thank you Who Dey Nation for what was a fantastic first year working in Cincinnati. The collective response to the changes we've made has been overwhelmingly positive and the growing numbers on our platforms is evidence of that. I hope with that established trust we've created in our digital spaces that you will be excited to see all the new things we are bringing to you in 2021 on gameday, in the app, on social and anywhere else they let me get to.

Happy New Year! And let's kick off 2021 with a win on Sunday. Who Dey!

Seth

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