Richard Clarke is the managing editor for Arsenal Media Group driving all the content for Arsenal fans around the world, we chat with him on ABC Grandstand. In a recent visit to Perth I sat down with Matthew Gepp to discuss what has worked for West Coast Eagles and what they have planned for 2014.
On this podcast you’ll find out about:
- What are key drivers for Arsenal Media group?
- Why Arsenal is in the global fan development business
- How Arsenal fans compare around the world
- Importance of appealing to your aspirant fans
- How Arsenal integrate players into Twitter engagement
- How West Coast Eagles use Eagles Vision to connect with fans across Western Australia
- Importance of educating athletes on positives and negatives of social media
- Understanding your fan demographic when posting content
- Value of social media promotion for your branded content
Resources from the episode
- Find Richard Clarke on Twitter (@mrrichardclarke) and Linkedin
- Check out Arsenal.com and on Facebook and @Arsenal on Twitter
- Arsenal Slow Motion highlights as discussed on podcast
- Getting ready for an @Arsenal Twitter takeover
- MLB social media stats from World Series
- Fenway goes wild during final out of World Series – check out how many phones out
- Compare with photo from Pope inauguration from 2005 and 2013
- Connect with Matthew Gepp on Twitter (@schismd) and Linkedin
- Find out more about West Coast Eagles, like them on Facebook and follow @WestCoastEagles and how big Western Australia is
- Example of Eagle Vision
- A few tweets from Nic Naitanui makes page 3 news in WA
- Some more posts activations for The Swoop built using Digital Cheer Squad
- West Coast Eagles podcast launched in 2013
- Sounds of the game thanks to Daniel Pinne at the Melbourne Cup.
- Thanks for iTunes reviews in Australian iTunes and USA iTunes.
- Have you signed up for weekly Sports Geek News?
- Are you following Sports Geek Podcast Pinterest board?
Congrats to @Arsenal
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) November 2, 2013
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Sean: Welcome to episode 24 of the Sports Geek podcast. On todays’ episode we talk content with Richard Clark from the Arsenal Media Group and we sit down with Matthew Gepp from the West Coast Eagles to talk digital and fan engagement.
DJ: Welcome to the Sports Geek podcast, the podcast built for sports digital and sports business professionals. And now here’s your host, who introduced Twitter to Australia, Sean Callanan.
Sean: Thanks Dj Joel and yes I remember Twitter Brekky as it was known on Twitter quite fondly running a couple of events at Etihad Stadium and at the SCG where we helped Twitter introduce itself to the Australian market and the sports entertainment market, so that was a fun couple of events and I’ll link the show notes back to those events. My name is Sean Callanan from Sports Geek, hopefully after 24 episodes you do know that. Thank you again for downloading and listening to the podcast. We recently reached the 7500 downloads milestone, so very proud of what we’ve done so far. I’m looking forward to producing more content for you guys in the sports digital space to help you do what you do best. On today’s episode I’m lucky enough to chat with Richard Clark, the managing editor for the Arsenal Media Group and specifically talking about content and what they produce for Arsenal fans. And then recently I was over in Perth talking strategy and planning for next season with the West Coast Eagles. So I sat down with Matthew Gepp and talked about what they do from a point of view of digital, social and fan engagement. Later in the podcast a new segment for the Sports Geek podcast.
Grandstand Breakfast on Grandstands digital.
Francis: http://sportsgeekhq.com – Good day Sean how’s it going?
Sean: I’m good thanks Francis. Yourself?
Francis: Not too bad, I’d be better if you turn on you mike I reckon.
Sean: Is that better? Do you hear me now?
Francis: We can hear you now. How’s your week been?
Sean: It’s been pretty good. Spent some time over in Perth with the West Coast Eagles. Working with different time zones, but yeah it’s been a fun week.
Francis: It’s been interesting as a baseball fan, you know Red Sox fan, watching the world series roll through the last few games and just seeing some diagnostics as they call it in the industry on the world series on social media. Just the level that it reached. It’s a great game for people because you’ve got the time to indulge in the second screen experience.
Sean: Yeah definitely and I think also, just the fact that the amount of fans… you know the initial reaction as a classic photo where people are sort of showing their growth on social media. They’ve been using the Popes’ inauguration five or six years ago on the personal phone, in the last one everyone had a phone. That’s what I saw at the Boston Red Sox, it’s like baseball shared a wine in the stands. Everyone was jumping up and down, but they were all jumping with their phones out. So the amount of content that has being pumped out of fan way from that first person experience, and you as a mad Red Sox fan, gets to take in that experience. And even talking to Peter Stringer at the Boston Celtics, he was remembering 2008 as a Celtics fan, but just the amount of content that’s getting shared from even that short period of time from the fans point of view it just makes everyone feel a little bit closer.
Francis: Just the way that it’s presented though, the sport, there seems to be a pattern of genericsism coming through. And we’ve seen that in the major league baseball has a template for sharing content across all the franchises and it’s great, it’s accessible, it’s quick, it’s incredibly tactile, so you can use it really simply, but it looks very similar. And now we’re seeing that with the AFL. They’re doing the same thing; they haven’t come up with anything. It has quite the same depth to it, it’s not quite the same way, but it feels the same way. So the media’s gone inhouse and are now providing their own content to their fans by passing traditional media.
Sean: Yes, so the major league baseball model’s the one that’s trying to be replicated, so there’s major league baseball advanced media, they’re the tech company behind it and they produce a lot of content for a lot of the teams, so that’s why there’s a little bit of the sameness. It provides a shared services model and yeah we’re seeing leagues sort of follow that. The NBA has something similar. All of the sites are the same and AFL is following the same path, sort of the same department. It’s a model that lets you provide league wise system and a certain level of service. Whereas if you look at the UK and Europe and the big football power houses, they all have their own media organizations in their own rights. They set up their own website, they’ve got their own TV channels and producing absolute mountains of content, but without the restrictions of ‘It’s got to be in this framework. It’s got to be in this style website, or it’s ‘all gonna be in this style app’. So there’s a lot more flexibility that the football teams in the UK and Europe have.
Francis: And they can control their editorial direction.
Sean: Well yeah exactly. And they get to tell their own story and produce content that’s specific to their fans and customize it however they want.
Francis: With that though it probably does create you know haves and have nots. Clubs that can’t do and clubs that can do. We’re the biggest one’s currently in the world who are making the most of social media as a way to reach out. Particularly goes with the global branding.
Sean: Well from a UK football point of view… and I think we’ve got Richard Clark on the line. We’re trying to get him as we speak. He should be at the phone, he’s just putting the kids to bed. Arsenal are doing a great job I don’t need to tell you that.
Francis: No I’ve been a member and subscriber to the Arsenal flyer so I use it as a first point of view for the call a lot of the time when it comes to information on the club.
Sean: Yes, so they’ve got a… from the digital point of view, they’ve got digital membership and they’ve got a bunch of programming that is specific to the Arsenal fan. Whether it be around match day, or with previews, and highlights to the location specific content to setting up country specific pages from a social media point of view to reach out to those fans.
Francis: So they do it literally region by region?
Sean: Yeah they do and that’s what it does offer them, but the thing is, where it is different, they’ve got a whole content strategy about ‘’Well we’ve got to deliver to our fans’’ and the idea is to build that relationship with your fans so you can upscale them and sell merchandise and all that kind of things. The commercialization comes after it, but they’re just producing absolutely awesome content and the fact that they’ve got that platform with the Arsenal player… if you haven’t signed up and haven’t looked at it… every time I come in here you’re showing me off different things and I was actually showing the guys at West Coast they had slow motion recap of the game and it was very pretty.
Francis: That was the Arsenal-Tottenham game from early in the season. It was an eight minute mini film that took you from walking through the front door with the players into the change room, out on the pitch ground level, footage of the game itself which was different to word by word description of the match and it gave you a sense of being on the stadium. It was a really nice, concise and, as a fan, totally captivating vision. If you can never get to the Emriates Stadium at least you felt like you were there. It was a really smart move.
Sean: Yeah and so the difference is, unlike other teams, we can look at the NBA, and Major League Baseball and AFL, a lot of that is getting cut from the vision the broadcasters are doing, whereas Arsenal’s got their own entity, their own cameraman, you’re getting a completely different perspective.
Francis: They also provide their own in house commentary too, so you can listen to the Arsenal call of the game with an Arsenal perspective. Richard Clark the managing editor at Arsenal Media Group in London there in Highbridge house and he joins us here on Grandstand. Good day Richard how’s it going?
Richard: I’m very well. How are you?
Francis: Really well. Just quickly, well we talked about the film, as an example, that the team there at Arsenal Media made, around the Tottenham Hotspur derby, the north London derby, earlier this year as an example of how smart or misspoke media content for the website. Tell us about putting that together, it looked like an enormous amount of resources went into that.
Richard: There were a lot of resources going into it. We have an international television show. It goes out to a hundred countries, twenty six broadcasters tape that. And that was part of that, it was actually produced for that, but we produced a different cut which went on the website. A slightly more extended cut. So resources were thrown into that. We had maybe three or four people working on it, two cameramen, two producers. We have a huge team on a match day because we’re doing a tone of content across all of our media, from TV, certain media, digital, everything. So everyone chipped in on that particular piece.
Sean: So Richard just from an overall content and strategy point of view. What’s your key driver, running your apartment? What are you trying to get out of everything that you are delivering over all the platforms?
Richard: We’re trying to reach and engage with Arsenal fans all over the world. We’ve got… fortunately we’ve got one of the most historic football clubs to work with and arguably the most global sporting league in the world. And that’s a wonderful asset to have. I’m an Arsenal fan; I grew up as an Arsenal fan. I love the club and I see my job as trying to create Arsenal fans around the world, all over the world and to give them that love of the club that I grew up with.
Francis: And doing that I guess there were different expectations across borders and culturally and that must be difficult to manage sometimes, because you’re not speaking to a homogenous audience at all.
Richard: You know what. I’m not sure I agree with that because I’ve been all over the world watching Arsenal, and covering Arsenal, working for Arsenal. Whether I’ve been to China, or whether I’ve been to the USA, or whether I’ve been to… wherever. If you go in a bar and watch Arsenal play what you will see is fans, tens of fans, hundreds of fans, depending on where you are, they will be wearing Arsenal shirts and they will be singing exactly the same song you hear in the stadium, because they are aspirant in my opinion, to the fans within the stadium. So I actually try to appeal to them in the same way, because those fans around the world, when they go into the bar, they are trying to be those fans in the stadium. Be as close as they can, dress the same way, talk the same way, discuss the same things, chant the same songs, and that makes it a little bit easier than you would expect.
Sean: So Richard what are some of the content types and I guess segments that are really hitting the mark for Arsenal fans?
Richard: Well we have something called Twitter takeover which is something we’ve developed ourselves, or at least twisted our own way. And that is… we have an hour where we do this Twitter take over and we’re gonna have six players coming in. And we will not give you notice of who it is. But we’ll tell you for example: ‘’Thursday morning ten to eleven’’. So just before the first guy comes in we’ll say: ‘’Ok, it’s Olivier Giroud, get your questions in now’’. It’s an immediate thing, it’s a rush, it’s a buzz. We set up a hash tag #ask Giroud’ we’re giving them a little bit more of a close up experience, so he does ten minutes of q and a with the fans and then we say: ‘’Ok the next guy is, Santi Cazorla’’, and the hash tag is #ask Cazorla’ in he goes. That has been a fantastic driver for us. Fans actually love that. We’ve managed to have that hash tag ‘ask Giroud’ ‘ask Cazorla’ or whoever it may be, very often out trending number one globally. So that’s (12:43 not hearable) social media, piece of content at the moment.
Sean: Well you must be doing something right. I think you’re about to take over three million Twitter followers which will put you at the fifth most… fifth biggest football, or sports team in the world.
Richard: Yeah that’s right. We’ll be… we’re pretty much been the biggest Premiere league team on Twitter and we are very, very excited about that. Eight thousand away, I think, at I speak at the moment from three million, and we’ll be the fifth biggest sports team in the world. That’s a big thing for us and we know that we need to grow and develop that particular presence, because obviously social media is the easiest way to talk to your fans, directly to your fans, engage with your fans, and we need to get a bit more sophisticated, we need to do more; I’m not satisfied with that three million figure. I want grow it and develop… as I say create those Arsenal fans around the world. That’s really what I see my job to be.
Francis: Richard Clark’s with us, managing director of Arsenal Media Group in London. Richard what about the buy in? You need the buy in from the coach and from the players. Do they get it and is it hard to have them? You know there are so many demands on their plate and sometimes twice a week travelling, a hell of a lot. How difficult is it to have them fully engaged with this, so that they provide such an experience for the fans?
Richard: Players are very, very amenable. Yeah they’re obviously under time constraints, and pressure, and the play lots of games a season, sixty games a season, between the middle of August and the middle of May. But you’ve got a player like Lucas Podolski who… another piece we did, we did learning London with Lucas Podolski. We got him into a black cab and drove him around London for a couple of hours, filming it for our TV show. A piece of it went on the site. He was tweeting as he went, and posting pictures, etc, etc. and that created a buzz in itself. He wasn’t really supposed to be a live event, but it turned into a live. That’s just one of the examples of our players basically going with us in what we want do and the way we want to contact and engage with our fans. So they’re a pretty good bunch I’ve gotta say.
Sean: So if you’ve got them aboard then you’re half way there. Good of you to talk to us and good luck with the game coming against Liverpool this weekend.
Richard: Thanks very much. Cheers now.
Francis: Richard Clark managing editor at Arsenal Media Group. On the grand thermometer of sports teams actually using social media as a main cut through when it comes to building their supporter base and their brands.
Sean: And the thing here is it’s about driving traffic and checking out their website. I mean works on mobile, sponsor design, all that kind of stuff. If you haven’t checked out what Rich and the Arsenal guys are doing I’d definitely suggest you do so.
Francis: Sean where can people find you in the digital realm?
Sean: sportsgeekhq.com or if they just look up Sports Geek in iTunes.
Francis: It will be there. Thank you very much sir.
Sean: Thanks mate.
DJ: If you need help with your content look in for a content brainstorming session with Sports Geek now. Go to sportsgeekhq.com-work.
Sean: Thanks again to Richard Clark from Arsenal Group for joining us on ABC Grandstand. I was hoping we would open with a long time listener-first time caller, but again great to have you on and congratulations for reaching that three million follower milestone on Twitter. And if you haven’t checked out what Rich is doing there at Arsenal go to Arsenal.com and check out some of the contents that their playing. There’ll be some links in the show notes to some of the things that we discussed, like the slow motion video effect that they put out. So I hope to have Rich back on the show, maybe for a little bit of a longer chat later in the Premiere league season. As mentioned on that Grandstand view I was in Perth catching up with the guys of the West Coast Eagles. They’ve been a client for a couple of years so we’re doing a little bit of a review of 2013 and looking forward to 2014 and what we can do in digital and social over the next twelve to eighteen months. So I was able to sit down with Matthew Gepp from the West Coast Eagles and discuss those planes for the podcast. Here it is.
Sean: Very pleased to welcome from the West Coast Eagles, been working with him for a couple of years now, Matthew Gepp. Welcome Matthew to the Sports Geek podcast.
Matthew: Thank you very much for having me Sean.
Sean: First of all just introduce yourself to the Sports Geek podcast listeners. Can you tell us a little bit about how long you’ve been with the Eagles and what your role is at the Eagles?
Matthew: Sure. So my title is that I am the coordinator for social and digital, so all the fun stuff we’ve got around the football club to do. I’ve been here for nearly three years now. I was the first person in this role, they created it out of need I would think.
Sean: Yeah you can thank me any time.
Matthew: I will. So Sean was laying the ground right before I actually started here, so I was like his first protégé to look after when I first came on, so we’ve done some good work together.
Sean: In that time the digital department from the Eagles point of view is really growing, as it has with all the teams, so what’s the makeup of your digital team and the production at the Eagles.
Matthew: It’s all done through our communications department. Compared to some of the footy clubs we’ve got a pretty small communications department. There’s myself in charge of all the website and all the digital. We have another guy that’s in charge of all multimedia. We’ve got a media liaison who’s also now doubling as a multimedia guru as well. We have two camera guys. And we have a media liaison over in Melbourne dealing with the Melbourne press. Obviously we’re so far away we need to kind of keep ourselves relevant and that is his job over there.
Sean: Thank you for providing us… we’re actually over at West Coast Eagles. We’re recording this in; I think you turned it into the dungeon where you record a lot of your digital and audio video.
Matthew: It’s exactly what it is and that’s what we refer to it. The players know…. That’s the dungeon, that’s where we record all the content for the club. We work at Paterson Stadium which is a blessing cause we’re right near the Oval, but it’s also negative because we run out of space, so we converted an old property storage closet…
Sean: So that’s the smell?
Matthew: That’s the smell. …into this recording studio and we record all of the Eagles Vision which is our TV program, all the interview, player interviews are done here. We record the podcast, so there’s five guys in here sometimes. And just outside those doors is where the players will record all the challenges and all the stuff that we do for the website and for the TV show and bits like that. So yeah all the content’s filmed and recorded in here.
Sean: So you’ve got Eagles Vision and we had a chat with Jonathan and gone down the path of doing a TV show. You guys have Eagles Vision that runs on Channel 7 locally and then you sort of follow that similar path of taking those pieces cause a lot of it is storytelling, featuring the players, featuring what they’re doing in the community, a bit of back story. You want to tell us a little bit about Eagle Vision and sort of where that’s positioned in what you guys are doing?
Matthew: Eagle Vision is indicated on the 7 network and on JWN site. It’s a half an hour program that normally runs prior to a West Coast game on the weekend so ties in well with obviously what they’re showing. As you said it tells the story from inside the footy club. Now not like the club in Hangadoo in terms of the other kind of football orientated programs we’re seeing. We kind of tell the stories about the guys going out to school, they show us what’s in their fridge, we do a tour of their house, catch out with their pets… So it’s a kind of a light hearted look. It’s different then a football game on the weekends. It’s a side of the guys that you probably never normally get to see. So we like to holler that, and all the pretty blokes, most of them. So we like to give them a bit of air time and let people get to know them and especially the fans that live down in Cumberland. They can’t get down to a game and try to meet these guys. This is probably the best chance they’ve got, apart from jumping on Twitter, to converse with the guys.
Sean: I guess it’s useful to point out for people who are listening overseas, just the space size of Western Australia. We’ll put it in the show notes, but Perth is at the bottom corner of Western Australia, pretty much a third of West Australia. Very spread out as far as the population goes. But for a long while you were Western Australia’s only AFL team. The Dockers have since come on to also compete in this space. From a digital point of view and some of the content that you’re putting out, you mentioned there that obviously the players are getting engaged on social. How do you try to leverage what they’re doing in sort of keeping them in line, but also use their content with in you’re trying to do?
Matthew: Keeping them in line is always fun. I always look at it.. and when talking to other people… when you have a younger brother, the one that’s twenty years old; the way that he uses social media and the way that I use social media is very different and these guys are in the same age demographic, most of them. Some of the guys are a little bit older and they don’t use it at all, but, with the young guys for us it’s all about education. The more they now about it, the more they know about the dangers and the pros and cons of social media, the better. We’re trying to educate them as often as possible, and if there’s any changes, these things can change, putting platform in a couple of weeks and you have to be across what it is, how it works and how you report on those kind of things. So keeping them up to date with everything what they’re doing in terms of that, and then I encourage them to go on and use it because it’s good for them, it’s good for the footy club, and it’s good for their brand. We’ve got Nic Naitanui who’s one of the greate users of social media in the AFL. He has 4100 Instagram followers and however many thousand Twitter followers for him it’s great for the footy club. Showing what he’s been doing in the off season. Obviously he’s been injured last year, but he’s used it to illustrate to his fans the work he has been putting in the press and that’s just good for the footy club. So we encourage things like that.
Sean: I did notice, even in the paper yesterday three Instagram providers from Nic Naitanui and a couple of tweets became a page 3 article, so it just shows the intense focus that all your boys are under as far as understanding that social is another media platform, and anything they send can and will be used against them in the court of public opinion.
Matthew: And it will be. Here especially with one paper in town and it can get a bit of a slow news with only two footy teams. If they got a chance to write about anything footy related, if the boys got a comment on the game or something like that it will make it into the press. The boys have become very adapt in understanding that everything they write, they might as well be writing straight to the journalist. I’m happy to say I feel a lot safer with the boys using social media now than I did when I first started.
Sean: Yeah definitely. Cause they’re learning all the time. What I wanted to touch on, you seem a little in what I’m doing in heading over to the US and investigating what teams are doing over there. I’ve been on a few Sports Geek trips and caught up with team just to sort of see what they’re doing. Couse you can’t study so much from far. I mean you can study everything from the Internet, but it’s also a bit of actually meeting people and seeing what they do on the ground. You’ve been over to the States a couple of times now. Can you give us an insight on some of the things you have found out and learned from those visits?
Matthew: Sure. Let’s just say, Perth most oscillated city in the whole entire world. So trying to learn what’s going on and keep your fingers on posts can be quite hard from the computer experience. I’ve lucky enough that the Eagles have sent me on a couple of fact finding missions to find out about who are the best users of social media. I’ve been to New York last year in October about this time and spent six weeks there, touring around with different sports teams and organizations. Meeting with the Jets, the Giants. Baseball was finished so I couldn’t do that. Meeting with the Rangers. Going and experiencing game days over there. I found that to be one of the most enlightening experiences that I had. Just seeing all the activation, different things they’ve got going in the game. Obviously their sport differs a little bit to ours in terms that it’s a bit stop-start, time-outs. Especially with the NFL way they break for a player come backs. So there’s a lot of things that I took from what they’re doing at Met Life stadium; using the screens, using sound. All that kind of things I think we can come back and roll out to an Australian market. It’s also great just to sit down… and I sat down with the guys from Miami Heat. They were the NBA champions the year before and to listen to them that they have the same kind of battles getting access to the basketball department, the way here getting access to the footy department. Made me sigh a big sigh of relief because they were facing the same challenges and they’re still trying to figure out whether they need a full digital sponsor or whether they’re going to break it down. Made me feel a lot better about what we were doing over this side of the world. We went so far behind the eight ball. At the same time it also gave me the opportunity to attend a few conferences and things like that and hear the social guys from ESPN speak. I took a big thing about second screen applications for companions while watching sport. I think that’s going to be a big market over here over the next few years and those guys are already well ahead of the curve in the way we should be doing and how you go about it.
Sean: I do agree from a game day point of view. I think Australia and the Australian market does membership and ticketing exceptionally and I think we’re world leaders, especially in the AFL scene in selling that membership message. But I do think game day activations and really connecting with the fans on game day and then also tying digital to it is something that’s really key. So we spent a couple of days here at Paterson’s talking about twenty fourteen and trying to really tick that box on game day. Do you want to tell us a little bit about some of the plans you’ve got around the nest, sort of connect digital with game day? And give us a bit of an insight into the West Coast Eagles demographic, you’ve got a full stadium.
Matthew: That’s the important thing to understand about our situation here at the Eagles. We’re different to a few of the other teams here. We’ve got limited info structure, in terms of the stadium; it can only fit 40000 people and we have 67000 full members and a wait list of a 7500, so to begin with we’ve got a different audience we need to cater for. So yes we need to cater everybody that’s sitting in the stands and at the same time we need to cater to all the people that can get into the stands. When you talk about demographics of our user base and our membership it’s a quite old demographic. These people have held on to their ticket for years, and years, and year and they never let them go. So you got to serve that market and at the same time you got to serve the school kids who still love their footy, play their footy every weekend, but they can’t go to a game at this moment because there’s not a seat available for them. So you’re kind of serving to the masses.
Sean: So for the last couple of years we’ve done a lot of work to actually be serving those fans outside the stadium. One because of the restrictions of the Wi-Fi, the fans can’t get access to it, but we also want to develop that relationship. There are plans for a new stadium, more capacity… and you don’t want to lose that generation of fans that haven’t made some connection.
Matthew: Completely right. That was one of my key focuses when I first took this position, to engage these kids. They can’t get into the ground, but they still want to have a relationship with the football club. They still love the Eagles, they still love their favorite players, they just can’t look at the game like their mates so how do we make them feel like part of the football club?
Sean: So there’s the developing of the fear of missing out. You’re really tweaking that with that younger demographic. We looked at the stats yesterday around the social media demographic and the fan base for the Eagles and it’s very young. 75% of all your fans are under thirty five or something along those lines. But the graph on the other side from the membership point of view goes the other way. It’s a very older demographic. So do you want to talk about having that as a problem?
Matthew: It is a problem.
Sean: Cause for you as a social… doing social and digital, you’ve got a large quote of your fan base consuming this content you’re producing.
Matthew: We’re going to work on bridging the gap. I know it’s going to be one of the things as our focuses serving those members and educating the older members about the new ways to go and get this information. Obviously they’re all pretty comfortable with receiving email. We have a great hit rate on opening on emails blast. Are they consuming that content? Do we need to teach them how to go about consuming that content? That’s a big challenge. There’s people like your mom and dads. I have enough trouble trying to get my mom to use an iPod. Think about that mentality and applying it…
Sean: Is that where you sort of see the nest, keep coming in to give a visual… give a face…
Matthew: Giving digital a face is what we’re about on this stage now, so we’re going to have a few different bits of activation. You talk about the nest which will be a match day pre game center where we’re going to have a few iPods and people can come, and we’ll teach them how to follow West Coast on Facebook, how to jump on Twitter, we’re going to have a few photo boots, pushing photos on their social platforms and our social platforms, we’ll have a few players there. It’s just going to be one spot, a hub, for people that come to the game a little bit early and want to meet players and actively support the footy club on game day we’re just going to give them another way to do it. Hopefully by giving it that presence it becomes a little bit more prevalent in how they go about consuming media from then on forward. So it’s like an education session.
Sean: It is. So we did talk about doing it. I really think it’s important to always be training your fans, especially the different demographics. We’ve broken down the segments for you, and looking at the big number… you know we can all look at the big number, but we need to break it down. And so we are going to be focusing on how we can grow the plus forty fan base from a Facebook point of view. I just wanted to… one of the things we’re going to use in doing that is to try to engage them with the Swoop which we’ve had for a couple of years now. Which is digital Cheer Squad social media flyer system. What we did find when we first launched it, when it was very… the balance between Facebook and Twitter wasn’t quite there. It was really a good way to convert Facebook fans to Twitter to get them to understand what Twitter is. So we’re going to really change the focus of that and effectively try to hit those new fans. And what we agree to do yesterday with the guys at fan development is to help connect that older demographic with their teenage sons, or nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and sort of say well there is something that you can connect those generations a little bit that they’re both following West Coast Eagles on Facebook and they’re both seeing that photo on Instagram and those kind of things.
Matthew: I think you hit it right on the head by saying that’s how you get those older family members involved and that’s how it happens in the household anyways. I was talking before about my mom with an iPad. That’s because I’ve gone and educated her on how to use it. So if we can get the kids educating the folks over something that they’re all very interested in I think that’s the best way of going about it. So as you say plans to get kids tagging their mom and dad who are on Facebook. Parents are on Facebook everywhere.
Sean: Yeah and it is growing like… I do joke about it, but they call the Silver Surfer, the Silver Surfers, the older generation on Facebook, because they are on there. They’re there to keep up to date with it. And their kids, they’re grandkids photos that are getting posted and reconnecting… which is what Facebook is there for. They’re not just as brand savvy and sharing as much as the younger demographic.
Matthew: I think you’re right again in saying that mom and dad don’t know how to go on and look at West Coast Eagles on Facebook, that they’ve got to go and find their kid. And that against is a learning process that they’re going through as we move on everyone is going to get more adept in using those platforms, but as you say we need to serve this market here and now, so coming up with strategies in which… you know it’s not intrusive if you have your kid tag you in a West Coast Eagles photo.
Sean: But it’s also telling them of the content that you’re producing, so part of that demographic is they don’t know what they don’t know. They don’t know that you’re producing this great content on digital. So talking from a social point of view, Facebook and to a less extent Twitter, is a broadcast channel for the Eagles. And so what we’re trying to do, and I think one of the things that you said that you already got their email address and you’re communicating in that way. But if you can increase the amount of points of communication with that demographic then… you’ve gone from twenty seven emails during the season to twenty seven email plus all the Facebook posts. It just allows you to get that content, cause they don’t know what they’re missing out.
Matthew: The more they see we can get that in front of them the more integrated it is into everything that we do from a match day to being on Eagle Vision, to being on our web, to making sure I answer the questions from the podcast. Creating that full strategy where it is integrating across everything, talking about putting Twitter handles and Facebook things on media backdrops and what not, and making sure the website is very fan friendly. As you say, the more we get it in front of them and the more that they see it, it becomes less scary and the more uptakes you can have. I think it’s scary to a lot of the older people… getting on Twitter and following the West Coast, getting on Twitter to begin with. Especially with Perth, we talked about it being the most isolated city in the world. The east coast started picking up Twitter probably a year and a half before it started taking on here.
Sean: But even from what we did with the Swoop we did find that once fans signed up, they followed the Eagles, they followed Rick the mascot, then they followed all the players. They were quite happy. They had a West Coast Eagles branded Twitter. And so a lot of those will be consumers of your content. They want to engage, they want to retweet all your hash tags and those kind of things, but it’s a means for them to get the dialogue.
Matthew: Gamefying fan engagement like we did with the digital Cheer Squad with the Swoop. It was surprising that they were sitting on a traditional media back droppers and hosted on the website, these older generations still check the website for news starting to see this platform that was on a website, something they can understand and by the time they clicked it they’re going to start learning about Twitter and Facebook, and we might be the reason that they’ve gone on to that which is great. As you said now they’ve got a West Coast Eagles branded news feed and timeline because we’ve directed them to go on and follow and they go and they get all their info. So they’re learning and it evolves from there. They’re watching videos on YouTube and they’re posting it to their sons personal page.
Sean: That’s what you want. Talking very much like Zuckerberg now. So I guess the final thing is that you built up an audience, you’ve got a really avid fan base. They’re consuming what you want. I think the next thing that comes under the pipe is how do you go monetize this? How do you get money out of this? We’ve been work shopping the last couple of days, here about how to help a commercial team put these proposals together. That’s still a working progress.
Matthew: And I think it will be for quite some time. I don’t think anyone in the world has the formula, the exact price tag ‘see that’s how much a post should sell for’. And I think it’s… I think we’re learning about it as well. We’ve gone from shopping out Facebook post where it’s just an ad to getting it integrated into something we do within the football clubs, so it’s not such a hard sell. I think that’s the key for us, getting integrated, figuring out how much each property is worth.
Sean: I think that some of the things we did when we were workshopping yesterday is really looking at what a property is, the podcast is the example. It’s a twenty two to twenty eight minute podcast. It has some ads in it for your properties. But we were sort of saying what we could sell, that is a sponsorship to a sponsor. First of all we need to find a sponsor that wants to be in that space. They want to be active in the social sense and those kinds of things. But what I sort of find when breaking it down, some people in a commercial sense will just look at that product and that’s it. And they’ll want the promotion that you as a social… that you will give it. So when we broke it down it was ‘oh this is going to be put on a Facebook post every week, twenty five Facebook posts’. That’s going to be tweeted multiple times by the team account. The players who run it are going to tweet it out which has a far higher engagement with fans than anything else. So when we broke it down to that, there is the value of the promotion of the product itself does have value. So I guess part of that is educating the sponsors and the commercial teams, I guess of the world not just the Eagles. Pitching that as a product in its own right, but making sure there is value for them. If we can do something that gets a partner for the podcast then we can do something that gets called to action, whether it’s turning out to a store, running an event to the store, so that’s multiple things you can pivot off a particular piece of content, or a game day activation that you want integrate across all things that you’re trying to do.
Matthew: I think you’re right. The podcast is an interesting realm. We’ve run it last year with no sponsorship just to make it a medium and just make sure we can do it properly. And it’s ended up right. By the twenty forth we kind of had a down path, but we weren’t selling any space or any advertising on our property. As you say we’ve come to the realization ‘we’ll they’re not just going down to the fifty eight hundred people that downloaded the podcast, that’s also going to out to the thirty thousand active Facebook users that we’ve got and pretty much everyone that’s on Twitter as well. Open your eyes up to realize you’ve got a much bigger rate; just the fifteen hundred that download that podcast are going to see it as well and if you integrate it properly then you’re looking at, instead of fifteen hundred, you’re looking at eighty thousand people that are going to go and see that post, and then being able to articulate that. That’s the important thing.
Sean: That’s some of the stuff that we’ve been working on the last couple of days so again thank you for having me out here.
Matthew: Thanks for coming.
Sean: I look forward to the next season. You got any trips planed going over to the States?
Matthew: There’s no fact finding. It’s purely, purely leisure. I’m going to escape the heat of Perth. It’s already thirty five degree her today. I’m going to go to the states for five weeks, probably catch some bass, a little bit of football, cooler weather…
Sean: So you already an NBA fan I did see you filing up a league pass today. So just for the podcast give us some prediction for the NBA season coming up.
Matthew: Brooklyn Nets, PG, KG coming across. If they can get them all playing together I think they’re going be really, really nasty out on the field. The Bulls the same. The Bulls look good. Rodes is back. Now he can drift back and not be the main point guy this time. And then Cliffers for total dominance over the Lakers this season. I’m going to go to the Cliffers-Lakers game in early January at Staples. I’ll be wearing my Cliffers jersey and just reveling in the fact that Lakers are gonna struggle this year. So that’s that.
Sean: Hopefully my scar brother Kobe Bryant’s on the court when you’re there. So thank you very much for being here on the podcast.
Matthew: Thanks a lot for having me.
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Sean: Thanks again to Matt Gepp from the West Coast Eagles for that chat and it was good staying a couple of days in Perth, although moving across country does mess with the body clock with the different time zones. I actually started the day, that Sunday heading out to Perth (42:00 not audible) at 4 in the morning and then I finished up in Western Australia. I think it would have been 2am in my time. So it was a long day, but a couple of fruitful days over at west coast. Just my keep taking away from the stuff that we did was really to be aware of targeting content for your audience. And that little clicker is my reminder to say let’s hurry up and get this show over. As I mentioned I have to dedicate episode 24 to my scar brother Kobe Bryant making his return from ‘achillies’. Hopefully we’ll see him on the court very soon. I’m absolutely loving the fact that he’s taking the fans on the journey from a social media point of view. So this one’s for you Kobe and hope to see you on the floor very, very soon. Also just to finish up I’ve got a new idea for another segment for the podcast and I want to call it Social media post of the week. That’s pretty much… I’ll have to give the head lead to Lee Ellis, the Aussie on the Stardust podcast who does the Tweet of the week looking at the NBA. So this one is really Social media post of the week. So if you see a sports team, or an athlete, anything that’s in the sport social media space put out a post on Facebook, Twitter, Vine. And it can be a fan engagement post, it can be a sponsor activation post. If you think it’s good work send it and I’ll put out nominations. Send me a Tweet @Sean Callanan or @Sports Geek with some nominations and I’ll share one each week. This week I’m going to give it to FC Augsburg which are a football team out of Germany. I did not understand this post, but they somehow worked a puppet video into Facebook, so I’m definitely giving it this week. In the show notes go to sportsgeekhq.com-24. I will have a link. I’ll have that Facebook post imbedded in the show notes. I want see more sports teams using puppets in their video work. This week’s Sounds of the game, that noise there. We’re just doing these things to remind me of segments. That Sound’s the game segment. Thanks to Daniel Pinne from Melbourne Storms. He was lucky enough to go to the Melbourne Cup, which is a Kentucky derby and here is what he grabbed at Melbourne Cup day. It has been a big week at Melbourne Cup day, always is. And I hope to catch up with some of the digital team behind Melbourne Cup week. They had 100 000 people turn up to the course to attend and cheer on horses. If you didn’t know we actually have a public holiday here in Melbourne for a horse race, that’s how sports mad we are in Melbourne. That wraps up another episode of Sports Geek podcast. As I’ve said before you get the show notes at sportsgeekhq.com-24. If you can share that on your LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, any platform that allows you to share links. Obviously not Instagram cause it’s just photos. You can find Sports Geek on iTunes player.fm and now I’m deciding to upload the back catalogue, or up to Sound Cloud at soundcloud.com-sportsgeek. If you got any suggestions, any feedback, if you got a Sounds of the game audio clip please send me an email. Sean@SportsGeekhq.com. And now here’s my closing two cents, don’t forget any post is a chance to deliver your personal strategy.
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