When I found out that Inside Women’s Basketball had been awarded the New Media grant…. I was thrilled, flattered, ecstatic and given a new sense of hope that the work I have been doing for the last two years was for a purpose. The next emotion was a mild sense of panic and a huge sense of responsibility that I now have to accomplish the goal my heart desired, to create the premiere web, mobile and social destination for women’s basketball.
The first order of business was to bring on board colleagues in the business who I respect and believe would help accomplish the goals spelled out in the grant process. Prior to being awarded the grant I had begun talks with Cheryl Coward, the owner of Hoopfeed.com & Lee Michaelson the owner of Fullcourt.com, about the possibility of merging all three of our sites. The idea being to pool our resources and be able to have a more thorough nationwide coverage map of women’s basketball. Also, by pooling our respective audiences, we would increase viewership and put the new product in a place to better reach advertising sales goals.
To get the ball rolling, I hosted a weekend retreat at my home in Atlanta. The three of us kicked off the weekend by attending an Atlanta Dream game, the Eastern Conference Champions in the WNBA.
After the game, it was all work. We had a very long laundry list of things we needed to discuss. First and foremost was what the merger would look like and how we would set up the new company. We are still working through the legal details of merging Inside Women’s Basketball, Full Court and Hoop Feed. The exciting part is both Full Court and Hoop Feed have agreed to match the funds of the New Media Grant which will greatly increase our ability to succeed in this effort.
On a more practical level we began forming and prioritizing a “To Do List” on issues such as budgeting, marketing, branding, sales and the creation of a new site. For part of the weekend, we brought in Steve Yelvington, a well respected media consultant who works for Morris Communications. Steve is a longtime journalist and has worked with dozens of newspapers and Media corporations building out their online presence. Steve’s insight has been invaluable as we began strategizing ways to reach our goals.
By the end of the weekend, each of us was given a short list of responsibilities to research and report back to the group at our next meeting. We left that first weekend exhausted, but with the sense that as a group we have the ability to change the landscape of news coverage for women’s basketball.