I've written a fair amount about how publishers should be better leveraging Twitter, Facebook Subscribe, and social products... and even tailored it to verticals like sports. Here is an example of good work by ESPN and their new Grantland property. It's applicable to any publisher who is a network of content producers and/or sharers... and that is the majority of all publishers.
While this is a visual example of how to connect your content producers / sharers, it is also a reminder for brands to think of themselves as a connected network of individuals whose job is, in part, to be part to build the larger entity. This in turn drives more traffic to the overarching brand and builds the individuals beneath.
How it works:
First, Grantland is a new brand / destination (85k followers) operated by ESPN and managed by uber-popular Bill Simmons (1.5m followers). Grantland content is produced by a variety of ESPN personalities, celebrities, etc... and many pieces of content are collaborations between multiple voices.
When content goes live on Grantland (and it does several times a day), all associated personalities promote it. But they do it in more effective way than just retweeting @Grantland33's post. Someone will announce the article and include the collaborator's Twitter handles. Those users then reply in a conversational - but still promotional - manner.
- Grantland and it's contributors are actually followable... if everyone was a circular retweet, this would not be the case. - Grantland got itself off the ground by leveraging larger voices like Bill Simmons and ESPN's top-level brand - It in turn promotes its contributors - Who in turn promote their associates and their brand - Everyone wins as followings grow and content is effectively shared