Sports fans and business blogging – spot the difference

23rd April 2018 | Posted in Blogging, Content creation, social media

Sports fans and content

Last night I listened in to a webinar about sports marketing and social media*.

This is odd for two reasons. First, it was all about football in Europe, and I only ever pretend to be interested in that to keep other people happy. Second, it was about engaging with fans on social media. And I don’t generally work in social media.

However, I have been involved in copywriting for a company in the sports fan engagement business, so I want to keep up with what’s driving their behaviour.

And I found plenty of points that can be applied to the art of business blogging – something that actually is within my remit as a copywriter.

A theme throughout the expert conversation was the need to engage sports fans with content that gives them value. Across the social media platforms that can mean opportunities to interact with clubs, share photos, enter competitions, or get the low-down directly from the players.

Just one night’s sleep after the webinar, and my inbox is already showing an example of sports marketing gone wrong. In “A celebration of everything that’s wrong with badge-kissing partnerships”, The Drum reports that Manchester City fans found sponsor reaction to the club’s success at winning the league laughable. Too obvious, practically patronising.

Blogging doesn’t offer anything like the same level of immediate engagement, but there’s still plenty of scope to add value to the reader’s world. Not doing so risks damaging the brand rather than enhancing it.

We’re talking about different sorts of audiences here with different reactions. Get it wrong with sports fans and you will be mocked. Get it wrong in a blog about business processes and probably all you’ll do is raise collective eyebrows.

But any sort of information dissemination or interaction is supposedly about building trust. And if what you publish isn’t credible, people may think twice about asking you to help them solve their challenges.

The solution is to ensure your content comes from experts. They don’t have to write it. That’s what people like me can do. But they have the knowledge and the experience to truly understand the issues facing the reader. They can empathise, offer fresh thinking on common problems, and really add that vital value to the discussion.

What can be learn from sports marketing to use in our blogging?

  1. Add value

Be funny, thought-provoking or informative.

  1. Be aware of your audience

Who are you writing for? Is your content fit for purpose for different levels of knowledge, language or culture?

  1. Have an end goal

What is the purpose of your blogging? The end purpose of any marketing activity is to make sales overtly or by more subtle means. Building customer relationships is part of that journey.

Offering value that’s relevant to the audience is a stage in that process. When we talk about open rates and visitors to sites, we’re assessing the value of our content, so that we can tailor it further to engage our customers more. They’re not end goals in themselves.

Meanwhile Spurs are out of the FA cup for this year, so sadness in some parts of this household. Roll on the rugby internationals I say.


* Webinar hosted by ScribbleLive “Fan Engagement: From Sports Team to Global Brand”

An interesting update. Manchester City football club is addressing concerns that today’s children aren’t as interested in soccer as previous generations have been. The club has introduced a kids’ app in a drive to bring youngsters on board and make them fans at an early age. And they’re having to do that in the light of high concerns around data privacy, especially for children.

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