Thursday Thoughts with Jason Beem Jun. 27, 2024

June 27th, 2024

A good Thursday morning to you all! Final couple of days for me down here in Florida before heading up to Virginia for the summer as Colonial Downs opening is now just two weeks away. I’ll share some more thoughts on that meet in a couple weeks as it gets closer. It’s such a fun meet and as it’s grown over the last several years, it’s so exciting to see what it can continue to grow into. There’s a lot of optimism in Virginia right now in regards to racing. 

Getting ready for Colonial has meant planning some content ideas to do during the season up there, both for myself personally and my employers. I suppose anything I do personally does certainly cross over into work most of the time, so it’s all kind of one in the same. I’ve written about content in racing in these columns a few times and because it’s part of my little corner of racing, I’ll continue to. 

On twitter the other day, former jockey Rajiv Maragh asked his followers “what kind of content do you want to see from me?” He got some responses and I’m sure was just trying to engage his followers on what he might enjoy. He’s had great success as a rider and offers a perspective a lot of others might not in racing media. In general, I’m a big believer in soliciting our customers on things they’d like to see or be interested in. When you’re inside the bubble of your work, it’s necessary to get the feedback of what your customers like because sometimes you’re just too close to the product on the inside. 

Personally with content though, I usually throw that out the window. I tend to take the Rick Rubin method of creating. I saw an interview with him once where he said “the audience comes last. I’m not making it for them, I’m making it for me. It turns out if you truly make something for yourself, you’re doing the best thing you can for the audience.” I remember that comment causing a lot of commotion when it came out and from a business standpoint, it stands very opposite of “customer first/customer always right.” But I think with creative endeavors of any kind, especially artistic ones, you have to trust your gut and your vision. 

Now of course, you might get four people that actually want to watch your vision. Which if you’re making content for a business or money, does mean something. So I suppose there is a balance to strike. If I’m going to do something that is intent on promoting a track or a race, sometimes it’s just a matter of getting the facts out there to as many people as possible. Colonial opens 7/11, so my goal in the next couple of weeks is to alert as many people to that fact as possible. Whether they decide to bet and consume our product every day or any day, well that’s up to them and a lot of other factors. But for pure marketing content, my goal is just awareness at this stage. As the season goes on, hopefully the racing and some interesting angles of showcasing it can help drive more and more people to follow along. Plus 12% takeout Pick 5s! 

One thing I’ve always enjoyed doing for myself is making videos on YouTube of my travels and adventures. I’m under no illusion that it’s ever going to turn into much other than my own little personal diary to look back on once in a while. But what’s been cool is that some people seem to enjoy following along and watching them. Most just get a couple hundred views, some a few thousand, but nothing compared to the podcast or other social media videos I’ve done. So again, I think it’s about following your gut but also certainly being aware of what a larger audience might not only enjoy, but really want to consume and consume regularly. I decided a while back that I want to make a short vlog/video for every racing day at Colonial Downs. A mix of my day and the race day. Again, for me it’s really just a way to make a diary for years down the road when I want to reminisce about my days at Colonial. But hopefully some folks will want to tag along as well. 

It seems now that everyone is doing “content.” I don’t even know what counts as content and what doesn’t anymore. That’s why I just try and stay in my lane and do things I find somewhat rewarding and hopefully others enjoy it. 

Have a great weekend!