One example is the video and article from former Milwaukee Bucks
forward Larry Sanders in 2015 about why he left the NBA, which Ms.
Robertson said really resonated with readers and started a
conversation about mental health struggles and anxiety. Mr. Sanders
revealed on The Players' Tribune that part of the reason he left
professional basketball was because of his battle with anxiety and
depression. "I think a lot of people were drawn to that and can
relate to it," said Ms. Robertson, adding that the site's best
element is "whenever we can humanize and connect with the stories
As head of content, Ms. Robertson's responsibilities range from
day-to-day to long-term content strategy development, including
creative ideation across written, audio, video, digital and social
platforms. She also works with the partnerships, sales and business
development teams to see how the content is performing and how it
might create new revenue opportunities.
While The Players' Tribune is very young media company, Ms.
Robertson said it's muscling through a challenge that almost all
publishers are facing today: how to "grow and scale without losing
that engagement and quality of content and without being overly
reliant on Facebook and other social platforms." She said media
companies have to adapt to distributed content models and "fish
where the fish are" by scrutinizing metrics such as average time
spent on site pages and platforms.
The business goal right now for the privately held Players'
Tribune, which closed $40 million in Series C funding in January,
is to focus on audience growth and revenue. From a content
standpoint, Ms. Robertson said the company wants to expand its
offerings. This year, the brand intends to create more videos,
including short-form content and feature-length documentaries, as
well as more audio, such as athlete-hosted or documentary-style
But that doesn't mean the publisher is straying away from the
written word, said Ms. Robertson. The Players' Tribune is looking
at how to diversify its editorial features and serve up
athlete-generated stories in new and exciting ways.
So what advice does Ms. Robertson have for other storytellers
Be a great human: "Someone told me once to
surround myself with people who expand me and my world view, and I
think about that a lot when we're building teams and telling these
Empathy is as important as passion: "Passion is
a strong indicator that we're moving in the right direction, but
you also have to have empathy. Whether you're a storyteller or a
creative person, I think one of the best characteristics you can
have is empathy because it offers diverse perspectives and that's
critical to success—not just for business, but as a human
Have an expansive media diet: "I try to be
completely informed with the conversation happening in sports, but
I'm also very much looking at places like The New York Times and
The New Yorker because a lot of the ideas that athletes or our
creative team come to us with are not sports stories, but human
interest stories and socially conscious stories."