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A Few to Follow on Twitter

I am frequently asked to recommend a handful of ESPN personalities and brands to follow on Twitter. So that I could have something to point to - below is a far-from-comprehensive list that includes a variety of sports, opinions and types. Additionally, I am excited to announce an integration with Twitter using their new Twitter List widget. ESPN is one of two publishers (London Fashion Week) to be part of the widget launch. You can see them in action here (College Football Nation Blog) and here (Tennis & US Open). @ESPNStatsInfo - really awesome nuggets of timely, relevant sports data

@Buster_ESPN - Buster Olney's baseball knowledge is extraordinary. You'll be smarter by following

@SportsCenter - Breaking news and integration with ESPN's hallmark show, SportsCenter

@SportsGuy33 - Bill Simmons, with frequent content from Grantland

@BillBarnwell - Bill Barnwell is a great NFL writer for Grantland

@AdamSchefter - If you are a football fan, Adam Schefter has the pulse of the NFL and is a must-follow

@DarrenRovell - Sports + Business (and lots of food mixed in). Darren is smart, fun and prolific

@MatthewBerryTMR - a must follow for fantasy sports fans

@ChadMillman - Chad is Editor in Chief of ESPN the Magazine and ESPN's "gambling/sports betting guy"

@ErikRydholm - executive producer for PTI, Around the Horn and DLHQ. Super smart. Co-founder of MotleyFool too.

@wrightthompson. Just terrific, terrific writer

@ESPN_RobKing - oversees editorial for print and digital media. Master of insightful writing in 140 characters. And great at sharing interesting, breaking, unique pieces across ESPN

@ClaytonESPN - No, I'm not adding him because of his fantastic This is SportsCenter commercial. Clayton has the best news around the NFL - all the time.

@ESPNCFB And since it's a Saturday... the official home of College Football on Twitter: breaking news, game updates, trending reports and highlights

Grantland, HBO & Kenny Powers Team Up: Great Integrated Marketing

This is a fun, effective example of integrated / co-marketing done right. Grantland is ESPN's new sports and pop-culture media hub (led by Bill Simmons). To simply sum up Grantland: it is a robust blog with great daily content and it is ad-supported - but the ads are premium (1-2 per page and from just a handful of key sponsors).

This is a little different though. Grantland's header usually features key articles... and one of those is currently an article written by "Kenny Powers" (a fictional star of HBO's popular sports show Eastward Bound and Down). - It of course is eye catching: the Grantland audience will recognize Kenny Powers and be interested in the article - It is relevant: the Grantland audience is an HBO / Kenny Powers audience - It's integrated & clever: Kenny Powers wrote something on Grantland? Much more interesting than an 250x250 ad unit - It's timely: the new season starts next week

ESPN's Grantland & Bill Simmons Show How Publisher Networks Can & Should Leverage Twitter

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.

The result:

- 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