Football clubs are some of the most lucrative business properties in the world, particularly when it comes to their influence across the digital landscape. Football clubs make up approximately 66% of the top 30 most internationally followed sports clubs. You would think this dominance in the digitalised era comes down to football clubs being ahead of the curve regarding their comprehensive knowledge of their audience, high valued marketing and keeping up with the latest trends. However, this isn’t always the case. Despite the enormous outreach clubs have across social media (SM), it’s not being optimised. This blog will focus on what football clubs can do to maximise impact from their content strategy.
Typically, player transfers, team line-ups, in-game updates, pre & post-match reactions are critical components of a football clubs content strategy. COVID19 threw a spanner in the works due to the significant lack of matchday content to create. Majority of clubs reverted to posting previous club achievements, at-home training regimes, archived matchday footage and raising awareness about the virus.
It didn’t take long until clubs jumped onto the Chinese video-sharing app, TikTok. The app has become the fastest growing global SM platform in the last 18 months, with over 500 million active users. The app is highly dominated by Gen Z audiences, with 41% of users being 16-24 years old. Spurs, Manchester United, Liverpool, Inter Milan and Bayern Munich are some of the clubs that are scoring big numbers on the medium. Most content consists of skill, goal and celebration compilations that are synchronised with viral app sounds and challenges. In July 2020, 13 football clubs made the top 20 TikTok list of most engaged sports teams. FC Barcelona was 1st with 420m+ interactions. They produced the notable ‘FC Barcelona challenge’ which encouraged their audience to put a blue top on top of a red one, which coordinated the colours of the club kit.
The critical theme football clubs rely on in their content strategy is matchday footage. Despite the high levels of reach, engagement and traction these clubs receive, they’re not necessarily offering any other value to their fanbases aside from continually reflecting on previous events. Do you think this suggests football clubs know their audience?
Clubs are relying on matchday content because it’s what they anticipate is the highest source of engagement. Although, according to Goran Milosevic, only 3% of Real Madrid’s fans live in Spain which indicates 97% of Madrid’s fanbase may not appreciate mass amounts of content they can’t access in person. As COVID19 has significantly numbed the feeling of attending matchdays, football clubs need to think beyond the pitch to entice their global consumers.
Plus, despite the millions of followers that clubs have across SM, those supporters are virtually ‘anonymous fans’. Club’s don’t hold a thorough understanding of their fans behaviours, emotions and interests considering their content strategy have longly remained the same.
So, what’s the solution for football clubs to turbocharge their content strategy? Firstly, they must build a comprehensive understanding of their fans. This can be accomplished by owning fan shared data to build a robust psychological profile of each demographic to create a more robust marketing approach.
Being a fan of the beautiful game, I’ve realised than sports consumers are interested in more than the final product. If matchday content remains as the catalyst of a club’s digital strategy, they should place more emphasis on the events that produce that ‘final picture’. This can include higher volumes of pre-game footage during game week and post-match reactions.
Ensuring your fans feel appreciated is the number one priority to sustain your audience long-term. This can involve clubs player meet and greets happening more frequently (once safe to do so!), recognising fans during live matchdays and creating more interactive challenges away from the pitch.
To conclude, football clubs can turbocharge their content strategy by putting their fans at the heart of their initiatives through accessing robust data sets, thinking outside the pitch and ensuring they produce appreciative content to their audience.