Cover your game like a professional
I have noticed that a lot of clubs don’t have good coverage of their games on their official social channels. And I am not talking only about small amateur clubs. Some professional clubs also fail at covering their matches on their digital channels as well as you would expect from them.
“If you want to be treated like a professional, ACT like a professional” – unknown author.
“Tips and plans of action contained within sports marketing guides can be tweaked and optimized within many different industries to achieve common goals of increased awareness, larger social networks, or interactive customers” – Gary Parkinson, Scribble Live blogger
Having good coverage of your games throughout the entire season is crucial if you want your club to be seen as a professional one (you don’t have to be a professional club to present yourself as one).
The most annoying thing for most of the fans is not knowing how their team is performing when they are not at the game. Ok, the most loyal fans will find a way. They will text their friends who might be at the game or someone who knows someone who is at the game and they will find out the score.
But what about those fans who are not so passionate about your club, and you want to make them passionate? The easiest way to transform them from average supporters to loyal ones is to give them a variety of content on all your digital platforms (nowaday most of the fans are connected with your club through social media channels). And the number one priority in creating content is covering your games in a professional way.
If you are a small amateur club with a small budget and low human resources, nobody expects you to have sophisticated visuals and infographics about your game. Nobody expects you to have a super-modern, minute-to-minute live stream on your official website (or social media channels).
But, most of the clubs MUST find a way to have two or at least one person who will cover the game in an efficient way. Later in the text I will give you some of examples what every club can do to have a great (and professional) coverage of the game. You will find out how to give your fans all the necessary information they need (or even more than they expect), and to the others (sponsors, competitors, journalists, etc.) you will give an impression of professionalism.
So, let’s start.
1. Announcement of the game and the official report
First and foremost – announce your game and to write a report about it. It mustn’t happen that you don’t have an official announcement of the match on your official website and social media channels. The announcement should consist of information about your squad (who is playing, who is missing, etc.), info about your opponent, venue and other useful information. Your supporters must know that your team is playing, where, when and against whom.
After the game, it is not only enough to put a score of the match on your official website. You should also write a report from the game. Who scored the goals, who scored the most points, who was the best player, how many fans were at the game, or if something specific happened, your fans want to know – immediately after the game. So don’t wait the next day to write the report. Try to be prompt and publish it half an hour or an hour after the game at the latest.
2. Textual live streaming
As I have written before, your fans are eager to find out the result of your team during the game. Most of the time, when talking about smaller amateur clubs who are not broadcasted on national television, your club is the only source of information about the game for your fans.
It is not so important to have a minute-to-minute textual stream, but your fans need to know at all time what the result is. If you are covering a football club, you should write something every time one of the teams scores. If you are covering sports with lots of points (basketball, handball, etc.), try to write a result at least every ten minutes.
3. Statements after the match
Beside the official report from the game, your fans are most interested in statements of their idols. You have an opportunity to bring your fans exclusive comments of your players (before any media). In fact, with publishing their comments, you help media write official statements of your players without much hassle.
There are several ways how can you publish comments of your players after the game. You can implement them in the official report. You can write a whole new article consisting only of statements. Or, you can take your mobile phone, film one or few of your players giving statements and publish that video on the official Facebook page. Your fans will be grateful.
4. Photos from the game
Just like statements after the match, you should have a deal with your official photographer to send you photos from the match as fast as he or she can. Having a few photos from your game is important if you want to act like a professional club (and your sponsors will be grateful if their logo would also be seen on them).
Fans who were not at the game like to have as much information about your match as possible. They want to see game action, the atmosphere from the game, and you know the famous quote “A picture says more than a thousand words.”
5. Press release
Ok, if your club is the most popular in your sport or region, or it is a sport which by default has excellent media coverage, it is not so important to write an official press release about your game and send it to the press. But, if your club or sport has to fight with many other different clubs or sports for already crowded media landscape, you should consider sending a press release the same day your match was played.
Some of you may now say, „Really, more writing?!“ Well, if you have enough capacity it would be great if the press release would be different from your official report (bullet 1), bit if you don’t, you can send your official report to media. It is important that they have the most relevant information they need to know about the game.
In that case, they will more likely cover your game than in the case you didn’t send a press release.
6. Facebook Live streaming
Live streaming on Facebook is currently one of the most popular and most efficient social media tools. You should definitely use this option, not only for game coverage but also for many different reasons (press conferences, the announcement of new players, live interviews with your players, etc.).
We don’t recommend you to stream the whole match, but to stream warms up before the match, or filling the stands, is an excellent way to attract supporters who live nearby the stadium/arena, and they still haven’t decided whether they want to attend the game.
We had great success with live streaming of an outdoor futsal exhibition match at Šalata (Zagreb, Croatia) between Futsal Dinamo and Greek club Doukas.
Nowadays most of the professional clubs use visuals because 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual and 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text
To make good visuals you need to have a designer. If you have someone in your team, or you know someone who can help you with it, we recommend you to have at least two visuals during the game. One before the match (under which you can have textual live streaming), and one after the game (with the final result). If you are capable of having a visual for every player who scores a goal, like Barcelona and Real Madrid does, you should use it.
So, the main point of this article is – you don’t have to be a professional club to look like one. With good coverage of your games you can make your fans, sponsors and media very happy, and you can attract new ones.
In this article, I have listed seven things that I think are essential for an excellent coverage of the game. But, if you don’t have enough capacity to use all of them, it doesn’t matter. It is important that you see with your team, which of this advice you can use, and which you can’t.
The most important rule for game coverage, which I haven’t mentioned before, is to set standards and not to deviate from them (it means you will start giving fans less content). The worst thing you can do is to get your fans used to a certain standard and then suddenly, after few games, stop delivering.
If you do not have enough capacity or time to use all of the mentioned advice, then choose the ones you can. And, if you realise you can use more, none of your fans will complain.
If you need more advice on how to cover your games, do not hesitate to contact us.