Marcos Castro, whose Hangouts I tune into on a regular basis had another one the other day. His guest was Alex Kunawicz, a former Liverpool FC employee. Alex just resigned as a LFC Head of Content, and is working on a launch of a new company. I am sure we will know what it is Alex is ‘cooking’ pretty soon. Before joining Liverpool, Alex worked as a journalist and producer for BBC and Abu Dhabi Media. He was also a press officer and a journalist at Preston North End FC.
Even though Alex just resigned from Liverpool FC, his work at the club was the main topic of his conversation with Marcos. These are my 8 takeouts from this Hangout:
1. Football is a 12-month business
“There is no such thing as a regular day at the office”, Alex said. There are no working hours, you have to be alert 24/7 when it comes to social. The easiest workday is usually a matchday because it’s always the same, so everything is ready in advance. It’s the other days of the week when a lot of marketing and content has to be prepared and delivered to fans around the globe.
Also, special events, such as pre-season tours, new signings, charity events, and in LFC’s case, Steven Gerrard leaving the club, it is this type of events that take a lot of planning and preparing for.
2. Access is everything
When building a content strategy of a sports brand, you obviously need good content. You need to deliver content that nobody else can. Alex pointed out that they have access to the team. Although the access they have is somewhat limited, it is more then what other media have. This is a big advantage when creating behind the scene content, because fans like to see the other side of sports, and what their favorite players do off the field.
3. You have to keep your content cycle
Keep a calendar of events throughout the year, it will definitely help your content creation. Sometimes it is hard to get good content during summer, so charities or any type of events are very valuable during that quiet period to keep the content cycle going.
4. Posting in local language gets you loyalty
LFC has 49 channels in 20 languages. They have people creating content for them, for their fans, in different countries. Many clubs just translate their announcements to different languages, which is not always the best solution.
Liverpool hires people in different countries for one main reason – people communicate in a different manner in different places. The message Alex tried to send was ‘always hire local people to create content for you’. Local social and digital teams can give you a massive advantage in reach. Also, whenever you can, don’t post in English, but in a local language. “You get a lot of loyalty and respect for doing that”, Alex said.
5. Behind-the-scene always works
This has been said a million times, but people want to see behind-the-scene content. As simple as a photo gallery from training, ‘which is surprisingly some of the most viewed content we have each week, which is funnny because anyone can lean over the fence and take a photo’, Alex said.
As long as it is the content fans cannot see on a daily basis, they will love it, and it always engages a large audience.
6. People will pay for good TV
Liverpool is one of few clubs that have a 24 hour tv – LFC TV. That is a lot of content, and to make it all worth it, they needed subscribers.
Alex pointed out that “if you didnt know the movie, you wouldn’t go and watch it before seeing a trailer, right?” It’s the same with LFC TV subscription, you have to give people something, a minute or two of previews in order to tease them, to get them interested. It’s tricky, because it is what your subscriptions depend on, so they have to put in a lot of thought in these teasers. But, if the content is good, people are willing to pay for it.
7. Keep control of your content
Because in the past, some of the media had a bad habit of taking video clips from Liverpool, and embeding it into their website to make money, the club now has a different policy in place. They still give out videos to media, but they don’t allow media to do anything with the video besides embeding it to their website. It is a lot of great content, and Liverpool had every right to do such a thing. This way they keep control of their content.
8. Think global, act local
There are many things you can do to create a global audience, but there are certain things you have to keep in mind.
It is very important to have local teams that can create country/culture specific content. They have information people in Liverpool cannot get. Also, if you sign a sponsorship deal with a company on the other side of the world, show appreciation by sending a club ambassador to their country to interact with fans, to show your commitment toward that company and their country, and your potential new fans. As Marcos said, “think global, act local”.
Thank you Marcos for another insightful Hangout, and Alex good luck with your new company!
PHOTO: YouTube Screenshot