Sport and New Media Tips From YouTube and Chelsea FC 2

You might think that an article talking about a Premier League football club has no place on this site, but is two-way. While promoting the sport of sailing and how it can offer sponsors great value, it also aims to educate those in sailing about best practise from other sports.

[cleeng_content id=”595233283″ description=”99 cents or 10,000 hours. The path to being an expert can be easy or hard. ” price=”0.99″]The final panel at the Sport and New Media conference in Manchester included Jeff Nathenson, Head of Partner Management for YouTube in Northern Europe and Jerry Newman, Chelsea FC Digital Media, Digital Product Manager. They had some real takeaway advice from those doing, not just talking about it.

There is no doubt that YouTube has changed the sporting landscape. The ability to be able to broadcast high quality – or low quality video around the world is available to anyone with a £15 webcam. As Nathenson says – Youtube is a great equaliser. Chelsea Football Club and the smallest teams have access to the same tools and the same audience, but you need to put in the effort. It’s great to see then that Mirsky Racing Team have started doing video updates. If they can do it, then there is no excuse for some of the bigger, more well funded sailing operations not to be doing it.

While some brands might be scared of putting out content that has lower production values, despite making truly awful corporate videos, Nathenson says that User Interface is not important. Think of Twitter and Facebook and YouTube, not exactly the most good looking or friendly sites. Instead it is the content that is king. Some of the most successful videos on YouTube have no beginning, no middle and no end. What they do have is personality.

What YouTube knows, from millions of hours of content being uploaded and watched every minute of every day is that the old rules don’t apply.

Jeff Nathenson’s top tips for being successful.

1. Do not block comments. Turning off the ability for people to engage with your content limits the conversation. If people are writing negative comments, they are a refection on them, or YouTube rather than your brand or the content. Even if there are negative comments, there is no way for you to stop them.

2. Be flexible and be able to move quickly. YouTube is only 5 years old. Many other big tech brands have come and gone in the space of a few years. While Facebook and Twitter and Apple iPhone Apps might be the big thing now, they might all be replaced by something else just around the corner. This leads into point 3.

3. You are going to make mistakes. There are no gurus in this space. Some people have got lucky, some have applied good old fashioned marketing and business fundamentals to the new platforms and had success, but the ones who do best are those who experiment early and often and learn from mistakes.

One thing I disagree with Jeff Nathenson on is his comment that “you can throw a rock out a window, hit a teenager and get them to run this stuff for you.” I believe that if you have spent a lot of time and money in building a brand, then if you do decide to become more open and more public with your consumers via these mechanisms then it needs to be integrated with the rest of your communications.

Having one voice from corporate with one culture and another completely different voice on new media can have long term implications. You need to be true to your company culture and just as people should be themselves on social media, so too should brands not try and pretend to be something different.

Some sporting organisations make the mistake of lumping all fans together as a homogeneous mass. While there are some broad values that could be applied to the supporters of one club versus another, large global brands like Chelsea FC have a fanbase that spans nationalities, socio-economic types and different access to technology.

As Jerry Newman was speaking, Facebook was announcing that 700,000 Chelsea Fans were being reclassfied as 700,000 people who ‘liked’ Chelsea FC. The club’s Twitter stream is attracting new followers at a rate of 2000 a month. For Chelsea, new media is an unofficial channel that can be more nuanced, less corporate and careful.

Newman’s top tips are similar to those of many who spoke on the day.

1. Understand your customers. Not a new media thing. Not even a sport thing. Just a fundamental of business. New Media allows for a feedback mechanism that is honest and in real-time.

2. Always be learning and Act on what you learn. This speaks to the power of analytics and data. Who is watching what? Where are fans coming from? What languages are they speaking? Where are the conversations happening. Why are some pages never visited? YouTube, Facebook and other top channels provide powerful insights and metrics about demographics that can be used to create more value.

3. Interact. Don’t be afraid to engage. This is the thing that scares some people the most. The fear of negative feedback paralyses businesses from getting more involved, however sports fans are by definition fanatical about the athlete or team that they follow and for every negative comment there will be brand advocates – one eyed supporters who will fight the corner of the brand. Think about Apple – for every person that is sceptical about the iPad, there are hundreds who will defend it – even if they have never seen one.

See how smaller rights owners are putting some of these thoughts into practise. Proof that you don’t have to be Chelsea FC to make it work.[/cleeng_content]