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Front Office Sports Today

Donovan McNabb and the State of Football

From Taylor Swift to the Prime Effect, there's a lot going on in the world of football.
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September 29, 2023 | Podcast
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This interview is presented to you by the University of Nebraska — Lincoln Master of Arts in Business with a Specialization in Intercollegiate Athletics Administration

By: Adam White, @FOSAdam

Taylor Stern, Social Media Coordinator, Dallas Cowboys

There are people in this industry who say they are going to do it and then there are people like Taylor Stern who go out and do it. That desire, passion and true love for this industry brought Stern to where she is today — Social Media Coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys, arguably one of the world’s most recognizable brands.

A graduate of the University of New Mexico, Stern made a name for herself in the Lobos’ athletic department. It was by chance that she made a name for herself by using her own name.

“Taylor’s Timeout came from my desire to do more while I was an undergrad. I knew there was a need for more student created content and, like all things in my life, I pitched it to my boss and they said, ‘If you can do it, go do it.’ So I did! It was so much fun because I did all the writing, planning and shooting.”

Building on her experience inside the athletic department, Stern found herself covering major events across the country.

“While I was an undergrad I covered events and games for the Mountain West Conference and then I spent time at the College World Series.”

Only a year after graduating from college, Taylor found herself a part of America's Team

Armed with these experiences and her passion for football, Stern got involved with the bowl system, a move that would pay off in more ways than one.

“In 2013, I was able to cover the Orange Bowl and National Championship alongside Larry Walk. The next year, he asked me if I wanted to go to the National Championship again and I wasn’t going to turn down that offer. It was truly rewarding to be able to cover the last BCS National Championship before it switched over to the College Football Playoff.”

Taking these experiences into her final year of college, Stern was ready to finish up school and begin to make her mark as a professional, something she had been looking forward to since her freshman year.

“Social media allows you to create your own brand, whether you like it or not. What you post can make or break you.”

— Taylor Stern

“When I was a freshman, I knew that I had to get to point B. I didn’t know what point B was, but I knew that I wanted to get out of school on time and I knew that I had many personal goals that I wanted to achieve. I knew that I wanted to have a full resume, and a job right after I graduated from college.”

Not only did she graduate on time, she got a job right after graduation.

Throughout her career, Taylor has relied on her friends and colleagues to guide and push her to be her very best! 

“Because of all the time I had spent in the bowl system and the connections I had made, the Cotton Bowl reached out to me to see if I was interested in interning with them after I graduated. I knew that in order to stay in sports I had to leave New Mexico, so I took their offer and moved to Dallas.”

She would spend the next 11 months honing her skills with the Cotton Bowl until a job at the Cowboys opened up, a job she originally thought she would never apply for.

“I remember moving to Dallas and thinking that I will never work in the NFL. Not that I didn’t want to, I just didn’t think it would be where I would end up.”

Not only did she end up applying, but she got the job. For the last year, she has been thriving in her new role, a role that has been challenging at times.

“Having the team go 4–12 your first year is tough. No one wants to lose, and while it may be tough, it brought everyone together, which was the best part.”

“It challenged me to think of what was new and innovative. We had to come up with unique ways to keep the fan base engaged that weren’t associated with anything we had done the year before.”

Do it for the 'gram! 

While the challenges may have been prevalent, so to were the lessons that came with each one.

“One of the biggest lessons I learned was that challenging situations are some of the best situations because they enable you to grow, learn and push yourself.”

While working in social is a unique role, being a part of America’s Team has its own uniqueness about it.

“The Cowboys are a little bit different when it comes to social media. It is engaging in certain ways and non-engaging in others.”

“It is a delicate line we walk when we try to take risks and put out something new as opposed to being safe and protecting the brand.”

Even though Stern works for a team whose brand may be bigger than most, she knows that no matter what social account you are running, you have to put the team first.

“You have to remember it’s not about you. You aren’t the one out their sweating and working hard on the field game in and game out. I want to make sure I am doing my best to connect these dedicated and passionate fans to the team they love and give them the access I have through social media.”

“If fans feel engaged and connected to the team or an athlete, regardless of the team’s performance, those fans will stay true to their team.”

One of the easiest ways Stern ensures fans engagement is by making each of the social mediums the Cowboys are on have a tailored voice.

“When creating and maintaining a voice for our platforms, we look at each of our mediums and the people who follow them. Let’s use Snapchat as an example. That audience is drastically different then say Facebook so our voice does change a little bit.”

Taylor's on camera experience has allowed her to be able to wear multiple hats for the Cowboys. 

“I wouldn’t say we have a unique voice for each platform, but you definitely tailor it a touch to make the greatest impact.”

In a tough season, it may seem hard to keep fans positively engaged, but Stern and her coworkers developed a campaign that not only went over well with the fans, but with the people who participated in it.

“When you are 4–12, it is tough to have a ton of successful campaigns so you have to focus on other things and, even then, not everything is going to be a grand slam.”

“We ran a very successful campaign at the end of the season with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders called #DCCDefined. We did cameo shoots with the girls and had the opportunity to ask them questions. Instead of asking what their favorite makeup was, or what their favorite hairstyle was, I asked them real questions like ‘What would you tell yourself when you were 14?’ or ‘Describe the women you want to be.’ There were some girls who were crying because it was so raw and real.”

“That campaign worked because we weren’t focused on the engagements; we were focused on doing something that was really different and impactful for them.”

While her first year with the Cowboys went by in a flash, she is so happy to be at a place where she loves her job and the people she gets to work with every day, both on and off the field.

“My bosses and coworkers are so great and so empowering! They truly have let me do so much and pushed me further than I would have imagined. “

“One of my greatest mentors is George Whitfield, the quarterbacks coach. Even though he will never coach me, I truly admire and respect what he does and how encouraging he is to me.”

While her success may have seemed to come about faster than it takes a Snapchat to disappear, Stern attributes much of it to the people she has had pushing her over the course of her entire career.

“Chris Yandle was such a huge part of my success in college because he kept pushing me and believing in me.”

“While Chris has been amazing, it doesn’t come down to just one person because there are so many people that I connect with and respect. From Larry Walk to Erin Andrews, there have been countless individuals who have had a profound impact on my career and life.”

As someone who fell in love with sports because of the stories, Stern has used the power of social media to help tell the stories she once fell in love with at an early age, something she hopes to continue to do for a very long time.

This interview is presented to you by the University of Nebraska — Lincoln Master of Arts in Business with a Specialization in Intercollegiate Athletics Administration

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Front Office Sports Today

Donovan McNabb and the State of Football


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