Confession: I am a Content Hoarder

Last year, I went to Abu Dhabi and like every tourist the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque was a must visit. I knew that it was going to crowded so I got up early and made sure I’d be first in line when it opened. (I was – entrance doors were still locked). I’m not sure how long I stayed but between my iPhone and DSLR I took about 100 photos. Of those 100 photos, I posted two on Instagram. The light was okay, clouds gave it a different background but I wasn’t totally happy with the photos. I went back twice – once for golden hour, dusk and night and another time to retake photos because I didn’t like the composition of earlier ones. Over three different visits, I took at least 400 photos. I posted five more photos of the mosque to social media for a total of 7.

I still have the 400 photos. I think I took 1000 photos during my stay in Abu Dhabi. I posted three photos of other sites – the presidential palace, a selfie with me and a camel and a scenic shot of the Louvre. I still have the 1000 photos from my trip.  So yes, I am a content hoarder. The 20-30 best photos are in folders on different devices. The rest are somewhere on the cloud. And at this point, I don’t have time to delete anything unless my computer tells me to free up space. 

7 photos posted, 7-day trip, 1000+ taken.  And really only one of them I think is great. But for me, that’s about right. I only post high quality images and I don’t want my audience (family, friends, followers) to have to sift through pretty good to see great. On Instagram, I think I know a quarter of my followers. When I post scenic images and caption and hashtag with thought, I get a lot of interest. I’ve kept with that strategy for a few years. 

That all changed in March 2020 with COVID. No one cared about my scenic photos from various local hikes. And I am the asshole that either deletes or archives photos that don’t get likes. If I did get likes, it was from people I knew. So, my strategy changed and I posted more of me – with a story attached. This time the quality of the photos were average but the image and story were authentic. I also asked myself what content brings value and interest. What is my brand? What do I want people to know about me? I am a two-time cancer survivor, stroke survivor and have battled depression. My story is that I don’t give up and I keep climbing but it’s a struggle and it’s important to show vulnerability.

Other platforms? I cultivate and craft my LinkedIn page to highlight the content I produced at work. Facebook – I log on every four months, post four photos and leave. Twitter is a reflection of my work and the brands (NGO – Special Olympics, V Foundation) that I am passionate about and volunteer with. 

How many photos are on my phone? 13 months – 33k. I look around my house, I hoard books too. I have a book shelf with about 20 of my favorite titles. The rest are in large bins in the basement. Physical content from work? I had an entire storage locker with papers, tapes (I work for ESPN), documents. It was about 20+ years of content crap. When I thought I was going to get a job in DC, I started throwing things out. When I didn’t get the job, I was angry and spent a few days getting rid of everything. 

My work though I arrange content by folders and sub-folders. I spend at least an hour a week organizing content and deleting content I don’t need anymore. I also backup my computer often. I am a feature producer at ESPN and I generate a ton of content for projects. I have to be organized especially during edit. All of my work is stored on hard drives and I have about 50 drives – nothing has been deleted. I never know when I will need scenic of Cameron Indoor Stadium. The shoot was in 2014, the drive is in a box in the closet. 

Content Strategy Report

This content strategy report is for Fairmont State University and provides analysis for their website. 

As stated in the RFP, Fairmont State University needs to redesign the look, navigation and architecture of the website to support enrollment growth. The website should be the primary marketing tool, and clearly represent the positioning statement, brand drivers, brand personality/brand characteristics, and value propositions. The aim is to leverage these brand elements to strategically increase enrollment. 

This content strategy report provides the following: 

  • Review current state of website. 
  • Content audit and analysis of the Fairmont State University website. 
    • Determine if the existing content aligns with the business objective
    • Identify content opportunities and improvements
  • Competitive analysis of the website and their three competitors 
  • Strategic Alignment Statement 
  • Core Strategy Statement
  • Messaging Framework
  • Content Design Recommendations
  • Writing Style Guidelines 
  • KPIs 
  • Next Steps

As The World Turns

“(Women in the 1930’s) wanted to be entertained, they were busy, they were working around the house and when they had an opportunity to sit down they wanted to be entertained. (Procter and Gamble) began to realize (it was important) to provide them storylines, to provide them entertainment…deep characters, rich characters, storylines that actually had meaning that women can relate to. And this is how we got into soap operas…You can try to sell your story or you can try tell your story and that’s what we were doing.” Greg McCoy – Senior Archivist – Procter & Gamble. Content Marketing Institute: The Story of Content Documentary

Three weeks ago, I used this quote as the opening paragraph for a blog post about Procter and Gamble’s content marketing strategy.  As noted, part of P & G’s strategy is branded content.

Brian Clark, Copyblogger CEO, said “Proctor & Gamble invented the soap opera in the 1930s with radio because they couldn’t figure out a way to reach housewives,” Clark explains. “Radio was new, and they created stories to appeal to that demographic. And then television showed up and they transferred it to television, and by the 1970s, soap operas are the most profitable form of television.”

In that way, P&G was adapting its content to new platforms, much like brands do today. Except back then, brands only had to adapt to new platforms every 10 years, while now, they have to adapt every 10 months. Grauerm Yael. Exploring Seinfeld, Buzzfeed, and the History of Branded Content With Brian Clark. Contently. March 12th, 2014

So what exactly is branded content?

Ulrike Gretze defines branded content as, “Paid content that is created and delivered outside of traditional advertising means, using formats familiar to consumers, with the intent of promoting a brand — either implicitly or explicitly — through the means of controlled storytelling.”

Branded Content is still highly effective. Here’s why: When a consumer watches branded content, their brand recall is up to 59% higher than it is with display ads. Viewers are also 14% more likely to seek out extra content from the same brand. As far as ROI goes, these are strong numbers. Consumers like branded content because they believe the content is more consumer-focused. Since the message isn’t a sales pitch, it creates trust between the brand and the consumer. Traditional advertising does not have the same outcome. ONESpot. How Effective Is Branded Content? Key ROI Insights for Content Leaders. ONESpot. December 6, 2016.

Yet, branded content is a slippery slope, even for “trusted brands.” 

The USC Center for PR’s 2018 Global Communications Report indicated that “42% of PR professionals were concerned about the increasing prevalence of branded content. Nearly half the respondents thought it was somewhat or very difficult for consumers to distinguish branded content from editorial forms of content. Yet only 15% thought using branded content was somewhat or very unethical.”

“Fewer than half (47%) of PR professionals indicated that certain organizations or industries should not be allowed to use branded content strategies. The top five listed by the respondents were tobacco, hate groups, political organizations, alcohol and firearms.”

The history of advertising and tobacco is well documented. The CDC writes, “Scientific evidence shows that tobacco company advertising and promotion influences young people to start using tobacco. Adolescents who are exposed to cigarette advertising often find the ads appealing. Tobacco ads make smoking appear to be appealing, which can increase adolescents’ desire to smoke.” A ban on cigarette advertisements on TV and radio went into effect in 1971. 

As the World Turns … Fast forward 40 years.

As old rules no longer applied, Big Tobacco began using internet platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, to bypass advertising bans. They began paying social media influencers to promote traditional tobacco products as well as e-cigarettes online. And they were very successful at it. Those who track the industry’s activities online say it is notoriously difficult to tell what Facebook calls “branded content”. Rowell, Andrew. Big Tobacco wants social media influencers to promote its products – can the platforms stop it? The Conversation. January 23. 2020

After pressure on the industry to act,  in 2019 Facebook and Instagram announced what many saw as a long-overdue update to their policy on tobacco. 

Is this branded content ethical?

Immanuel Kant boiled the ethical value of actions to a two-question framework.

Can I rationally will that everyone act as I propose to act?

Does my action respect the goals of human beings rather than merely using them for my own purposes?

If the answer to either of these questions is no, the action is unethical.

Using that framework, branded content by tobacco products (and others) is unethical. 

Rowell explains that in the first paragraph. “Its fundamental problem is that one in two of its long-term users die from tobacco-related diseases. And it (tobacco companies) have to be innovative. As one ex-marketing consultant remarked: “The problem is how do you sell death?”

CNN also answers the question of ethics and branded content with Juul (e-cigarettes and vaping). The investigation looked at Juul’s social media practices and branded content and how it targeted teens.. The report says, “Teens are not aware that e-cigs contain high levels of nicotine particularly on a developing brain and more likely to lead to traditional cigarette use.”

Time magazine also looks at Juul’s content marketing strategy and branded content starting at 2:26 on the video.

It is acceptable on ethical grounds to prevent tobacco, hate groups, political organizations, alcohol, and firearms industries from using branded content strategies. But what about everything else? We as an industry need to create a framework of transparency and common code of ethics.

As Hany Farid write, “If fake news is the virus and social media is the host, then advertisers are the vaccine. Social media platforms survive because of advertising dollars. The corporate titans of the world have tremendous power to effect change by withholding advertising dollars until these platforms operate in a more socially responsible way. If they want to partake in the solution, then they should wield this power. But it’s not all on the companies: We as consumers have to get smarter and more critical of what we read and see. We need to get out of our echo chambers and engage with facts and reality in a less partisan and myopic way. We have to demand that social media platforms and advertisers act more responsibly. Farid, Hany. The dystopian digital future of fake media Quartz. September 25, 2018.

 It’s still the Wild West but it’s up to us to change that. 

Belfast City Council Content Analysis Report

The board of directors has asked you to do a content analysis of the digital platforms to see if the organization’s Website and other online content are aligned with business objectives contained in the management strategy prepared by the Bernard Marr company.

The Content Analysis report that includes the following:

  • The problem by explaining what in the Marr report is relevant to what digital content can accomplish.
  • A Content Alignment Summary
    • The business goals the digital content should help the organization achieve.
    • A rundown of what you understand about the audience.
    • Observations about the current content: What kind of content is present, what is missing, and what value does it hold for the audience?
    • Does the content align with the business objectives?
  • Based on the business goals, what are some Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the digital content?

Cover Image Copyright: Belfast City Council

Content Audit and Analysis

The following report is a content audit and content analysis of Team Rubicon.  The tool used to obtain the results was Screaming Frog SEO. The information found in the audit included URL/page numbers, image numbers, titles, meta descriptions and headers.

Team Rubicon is a non-government organization (NGO) that serves communities by mobilizing veterans to continue their service, leveraging their skills and experience to help people prepare, respond, and recover from disasters and humanitarian crises.

The report is prepared by Miriam Greenfield who is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in interactive media from Quinnipiac University. She’s been a Team Rubicon volunteer since 2015 and served as Team Rubicon’s Northeast Deputy Communications Manager in a volunteer leadership capacity from 2017-2019.

All photos used in the report were taken by Miriam.

How to make bread?

In March 2020, that was the question on people’s mind. The year over year keyword search trend increased 11 times. The year over year topic search tread increased 402 percent. 

Why? People change during a crisis.  Why does that matter? Content strategy needs to adapt to changing times. 

BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front): The overall goal (definition) of content strategy is the same. The Xs and Os (strategy itself and tactics) are constantly changing.

In her groundbreaking article, Content Strategy: the Philosophy of Data, Rachel Lovinger said, “The main goal of content strategy is to use words and data to create unambiguous content that supports meaningful, interactive experiences. We have to be experts in all aspects of communication in order to do this effectively.” Lovinger, Rachel. Content Strategy: the Philosophy of Data. Boxes and Arrows. March 27, 2007. 

Kristina Halvorson writes in 2008, “As website functionality has increased and web users have become savvier, sites have had to meet the demand for sophisticated interaction and more content to support it. But simply more content won’t do; it has to be accurate and relevant. It has to be meaningful” Halvorson, Kristina. The Discipline of Content Strategy. A List Apart. December 16, 2008. 

14 years later, both are still true.

Back to bread and what it means for content strategy.

In uncertain times, behavior changes. Last March was no exception. And while people were lining up at groceries stores, they were also online searching for recipes and scheduling times for food delivery. With everyone at home, internet usage exploded and traffic to online stores selling essential items and food surged.

Edwin Toonen, a strategic content specialist, says, “While people are stuck at home, they spend a lot of time online. And they behave differently — they search differently and have different needs. If you have a content strategy for your site, now might be a good time to go back and see how you can adopt these new insights. And with it, find new ways to get your message across in a way that is not considered out of place or tone-deaf.” Toonen, Edwin. Adapting Your Content Strategy to Changing Times.Yoast.com April 20, 2020.  

So, what can you do to adapt your content strategy keeping in mind the definition and ultimate goal?

Toonen writes, “It’s a good idea to ask yourself: who am I and who do I want to be? Can I hold this course or do I need to pivot? How do I add value and does this value align with what people truly want right now? If you’re not comfortable with what you’re doing, you should change it up. In general, these are the times that SEO can prove its worth. Don’t just focus on content, but invest in all-round SEO. Improve your site. Get those technical issues fixed, work on the site speed and build a solid site structure.” Toonen, Edwin. Adapting Your Content Strategy to Changing Times.Yoast.com April 20, 2020.  

He recommends – do your research, adapt your tone, adapt your message, use essential tools for data

There is a favorite question people like to ask, “What are you going to do when things go back to normal?” 

My answer – this is normal, the new normal and it’s constantly changing. Content strategists need to adapt and evolve to this normal as well.

Houston, We Have A Problem!

…And without budget, buy-in, and a plan for success there will always be a problem.

Recently, I was named communications chief for an ERG (Employee Resource Group). Last week, we had meeting of the ERG leadership group to discuss goals. Membership engagement and membership growth are the two big ones we decided on. As comms chief, content marketing and content strategy will play in a big role in meeting those goals.

So, I searched for existing content on the employee intranet. I didn’t find much – the content was outdated, missing and didn’t contain any useful information about the ERG. The previous comms chief migrated some content to Sharepoint and Microsoft Teams. I logged on to Microsoft 365 and searched for the ERG content. Again, the content was outdated and missing. I specifically looked for my ERG group’s page and I couldn’t find it. Eventually, I did. The content was strong, well organized and useful. Just took three days to find it. 

I had a meeting later in the week with all the comms chairs and it was a similar story. I learned that the ERGs at my office are part of a much larger global diversity and inclusion corporate initiative. And we recently migrated new information architecture. 

The comms chiefs identified the problem and what’s wrong with the content. According to Meghan Casey in the book “This Content Strategy Toolkit,” that is the first step. Content is a mess, we are migrating to a new content management system (CMS), and the content could and should better meet the needs of the organization. Specifically, as Casey pointed out, there is bad content, content isn’t readable, visitors can’t find anything. Casey, Meghan. “The Content Strategy Toolkit.” Newriders. 2015.  Page 6-7.

Assuming we did a content audit, analytics review and user testing and the data backed up our hypothesis, the next step would be budgeting and buy-in. Without budgeting and buy-in, there isn’t a project to prepare for success.

As Casey writes, next is making the business case for the time and resources. And the case must be presented in terms of return of investment (ROI) and risk and reward. What are the missed opportunities, risks and non-monetary costs? Casey also notes “that change is difficult, decision makers need to support that change upfront.” Casey, Meghan. “The Content Strategy Toolkit.” Newriders. 2015.  Page 15-16. 

Casey lists several components for making a successful agreement. Salesforce also has good resources to guide one through the process.  Tiffani Bova writes for Salesforce and says, “An effective sales pitch should be a two-way street — adding value for both parties. It’s an opportunity for sellers to learn more about the customers pain points, requirements, and expectations, and of course an opportunity for prospects to get the answers they couldn’t find from an online search…Effective sales pitches require upfront work.” Bova, Tiffani. How to Make a Good Sales Pitch: 8 Tips to Give You an Edge. Salesforce. June 27, 2019. 

Getting a budget and buy-in does require a good, researched, thoughtful pitch.

Sales pitch tips infographic

Via salesforce

After getting resources approved and buy-in, the next step according to Casey is to get the right stakeholders involved and get them aligned on what the project should achieve, why you need their help, setting expectations about what you need and when. The key is managing the project efficiently while keeping everyone informed and engaged.  Casey, Meghan. “The Content Strategy Toolkit.” Newriders. 2015.  Page 25. 

Lynn Winter wrote for Pantheon a guide to prepare your client for a strategy plan. She writes of its importance, “Content and its creation has become a big challenge for project managers, causing endless delays and budget overages. So, what do you do about it? Besides having a kick-ass content strategy plan, I think it’s critical to get the start of the project right. I recommend holding a pre-kickoff meeting with the client’s project manager and key content stakeholder to cover specific items. While every project is unique, there are five topics I would suggest tackling in that meeting.” Winter, Lynn. How to Prepare Your Client for a Content Strategy Plan. Pantheon. September 26, 2017. 

Her tips include:

Identify the Content Team

Establish a Content Budget

Understand the Process

Choose Testing Options

Comfort Team

Winter concludes with “Preparation doesn’t guarantee to solve the content problem but it will give you a fighting chance. Then we can move on to worrying about the next thing that will kill our budgets and timelines.”

Bottom Line: Without buy-in and budget, there isn’t a project or solution.

Note: Featured image built with Canva.

Thanks Mom

“(Women in the 1930’s) wanted to be entertained, they were busy, they were working around the house and when they had an opportunity to sit down they wanted to be entertained. (Procter and Gamble) began to realize (it was important) to provide them storylines, to provide them entertainment…deep characters, rich characters, storylines that actually had meaning that women can relate to. And this is how we got into soap operas…You can try to sell your story or you can try tell your story and that’s what we were doing.”  Greg McCoy – Senior Archivist – Procter & Gamble. Content Marketing Institute: The Story of Content Documentary

As soon as I heard those words, I got emotional. McCoy was referring to Procter and Gamble’s content marketing strategy from the 1930’s “when Procter and Gamble began producing radio content called ‘soap operas.’ They created original content as part of their marketing.”  Content Marketing Institute: The Story of Content Documentary. But it wasn’t soap operas that got me emotional. It was hearing “Procter and Gamble” … “Deep characters, rich characters, storylines that actually had meaning that women can relate to.”  I stopped down the documentary and googled “Thanks Mom.” I watched one of the videos and cried ugly tears. 

Grab tissues. I’ll wait.

“For the 2010 Winter Games, P&G teamed with Wieden+Kennedy, the powerhouse ad agency, created a campaign called Thanks Mom. The emotive and tear-jerking, award-winning ads came to life focusing on thanking mothers for helping their children become champions. Then in a light-hearted way, it lays out some brands that fall under the P&G banner. These brands help mothers and these mothers help you.” Digital Marketing Specialist Smart Insights: Campaign of the week: P&G and The Olympics Thank You, Mom. Smart Insights, July 17, 2018

Wieden + Kennedy said of the campaign, “At first blush, P&G doesn’t have an obvious connection with the Olympics. But every Olympic athlete has, or had, a mom. And P&G loves moms. That became the connection that drove the creation of a powerful idea that would play out across a broad range of content and experiences. We didn’t make the athletes our heroes; we celebrated their moms. We created a fully integrated Thank You, Mom campaign that acknowledged a mom’s rightful place in these Games. The tagline, “P&G, Proud sponsor of Moms” was used to tie in all elements of the campaign. We empowered our consumers by providing a way for them to participate. We developed a unique digital platform for consumers to thank and honor their own moms.” Wieden+Kennedy  P & G: Thank you, Mom. Wieden+Kennedy. July 2010. 

According to Wieden + Kennedy, “Thank You, Mom was the biggest and most successful global campaign in P&G’s 175-year history with: $500 million in global incremental P&G sales, 76 billion global media impressions, over 74,000,000 global views, And over 370,000,000 Twitter interactions.” P & G: Thank you, Mom. July 2010. The case study, Medaling in Media: P & G Proud Sponsor of Mom” list additional top line results:

·  Most successful campaign in P&G’s 175-year history delivering $200MM+ incremental sales (USA) and record-setting ROI results 

· Portfolio linkage increased 11% 

· 33.6 Billion earned media impressions

· 17 Million YouTube views globally 

· Social buzz for P&G’s 3 largest brands increased on average by +66% 

Source: The ANA Education Foundation

For over 90 years, Procter and Gamble’s content marketing strategy – concepts and practices – hasn’t changed that much. While platforms and the way people consume media has drastically changed, the basic premise – knowing your audience, telling deep, rich power stories, staying true to your brand – is still the same. The Content Marketing Institute said, “From radio, to television to digital, P&G has always been on the leading edge of the owned media movement.” Content Marketing Institute: The Story of Content Documentary.

In summary, according to the Harvard Business School case study Procter and Gamble: Marketing Capabilities, “P&G had become known and recognized as a marketing machine. It was the largest advertiser in the world, with 2010 spending of $8.68 billion. From the company’s early exploitation of broadcast media (radio and television) for its soap products to more recent experiments in digital media for its men’s hygiene brand Old Spice, P&G was a seasoned marketer with strong consumer research, a powerful innovation network, and the world’s largest financial commitment to advertising.” Henderson, Rebecca and Johnson, Ryan.  Procter and Gamble: Marketing Capabilities. Harvard Business School Case Collection. May 2012.

If you look at the last 15 years, what has changed is content strategy.  Not the defintion but the tactics.

In 2007, In her groundbreaking article, Content Strategy: the Philosophy of Data, Rachel Lovinger said, “The main goal of content strategy is to use words and data to create unambiguous content that supports meaningful, interactive experiences. We have to be experts in all aspects of communication in order to do this effectively.” Lovinger, Rachel. Content Strategy: the Philosophy of Data. Boxes and Arrows. March 27, 2007.

On behalf of the Content Marketing Institute, Robert Rose published in 2013 a much-needed clarification between content strategy and content marketing. In the article, How Content Strategy and Content Marketing Are Separate But Connected, Rose stated: Content strategy and content marketing are two very different practices. Rose goes on to state that “… content marketing is a marketing strategy — an approach that uses content to deepen our relationship with customers” whereas content strategy seeks to “… manage content as a strategic asset across the entirety of the organization.” Rose, Robert, How Content Strategy and Content Marketing Are Separate But Connected, October 2013, https://rb.gy/ta6bpj (accessed 30 January 2020) Content Marketing Institute.

Similarly, in 2016, Ann Rockley published an article on The Content Marketing Institute’s website titled Why You Need Two Types of Content Strategist. “This became a watershed moment to separate the strategists who cared more about defining the content itself and its user experience aspects, and the strategists who cared about the infrastructure needed to automate and scale content delivery.” Rockley, Ann, Why You Need Two Types of Content Strategist, Feb 2016, https://rb.gy/wxlini (accessed 30 January 2020), Content Marketing Institute.

The definition of content strategy remains the same, the way content is delivered, the infrastructure behind and strategy itself has changed dramatically and constant evolving. 

One example – Procter and Gamble, like most businesses have a website. But it wasn’t enough for their needs. They created different microsites fully developed with content for their target audience.

1. Pampers.com


“This microsite caters for the company’s Pampers products. Apart from the diaper promotions on the site, parents can read a lot of useful information about taking care of their babies. It has information on sleep, nutrition, skin care etc. It is a useful resource for parents”

“The microsites – created with content strategists – offer several benefits including effective branding, makes the homepage less crowded, makes email marketing made easy, effective search engine optimization and easy to measure ROI.”  Asaolu, Hephzy How Procter & Gamble Boosts Its Business With Content-Rich Microsites Business To Community. March 18, 2015. 

A personal note – I am a feature producer for ESPN. In 2015, I was assigned with directing and producing commercials for ESPN’s coverage of Special Olympics. These commercials aired during commercial time, show content time and digitally. One of these commercials I produced had a “Thanks Mom” theme that aligned with the Special Olympics brand. In 20+ years as a producer, it’s some of my best work. However, after the commercial aired, I couldn’t find the content. There was a Special Olympics landing page on espn.com but it was difficult to find. Searching key words for the commercial didn’t produce any results. If you can’t find the content, it’s useless. I needed a content strategist. 

Here’s my “Thanks Mom” commercial.

22 Peaks

For the past 11 years, I’ve produced short and long form content for ESPN’s Veterans Day coverage. I’ve also served as Project Manager for all Veterans Day content.

In 2017, I produced and directed a feature story on Bethie Coverdale. When a she needed a high school senior project, she decided to put her love of the outdoors to good use — highlighting the veterans-suicide crisis as she summited the top peaks in her state. Joining her as she climbed: veterans, willing to share with her their own powerful, personal stories.

 It was one of the most logistically challenging and also most rewarding. It involved hiking up steep terrain in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with a film crew trying to follow a determined young woman on a mission.

The feature won a Gold Medal at the New York Festival Awards. 


Special Olympics

Since 2015,  I’ve a significant role in planning and creating vignettes, features and written content for ESPN’s Special Olympics coverage. I’ve also served as a field producer for Special Olympics Winter World Games, Special Olympics USA Games and Special Olympics World Games Summer and Winter Training Camp.

Stories have included:

Chevi Peters: Born with a life-threatening liver condition, Peters wasn’t expected to live past the age of two. Thirty-eight operations later, the 31-year-old powerlifter competed in four events at the Special Olympics World Games last July in Los Angeles. While he can deadlift 350 pounds, Chevi’s strength goes far beyond the lift of a barbell, with his remarkable will to win – and will to live.  ESPN SC Featured captures Chevi’s quest for gold.

Aoife Beston: Aoife is a two-time Special Olympics World Games athlete from Ireland.  Her mother Mary is her training partner and biggest fan. “I don’t believe in putting obstacles in Aoife’s way. She is an inspiration to us all and shows that with commitment, encouragement and dedication, any dream can be achieved.”

Aoife’s story was part of a special series of original vignettes were produced as a part of ESPN’s Special Olympics coverage and appeared on ESPN television and digital media. The vignettes provided powerful snapshots of Special Olympics athletes, coaches and teams from around the world, as well as other notable people, places and historical stories relating to Special Olympics.