This week’s thought is looking at the digital space and how, in my view, there are four very simple questions we need to constantly keep asking ourselves.

Digital is a little bit like my three-year-old granddaughter… it doesn’t sit still.

There are so many ever-evolving channels and mediums to consider. Add to this, the best and most effective structure, content strategy and of course the ever-challenging high-level executive buy-in with ROI and you have a cauldron of dilemmas.

Engagement and interaction are very much now at the heart of your fans and they are speaking to you across multiple digital channels and devices.

Couple this with expectations that have never been so high and again you have a multitude of challenges. Fans today want personalised, one to one conversations with their clubs and it’s difficult on a mass scale for you to be in the right place at the right time, saying the right thing.

One thing is for sure; your digital strategy has to be built around creating authentic and intimate relationships (sorry, I always use these words). I’ve said many times, when you are planning any digital marketing strategy, just remember good is no longer good enough anymore. Driving the culture of questioning all your campaigns and researching and testing campaigns and content is the only way you stay on the right side of the curve.

For us at Fanalyse and for me personally, I constantly ask myself four very simple questions to ensure we are on the right digital highway in our search for digital excellence.

1. Where are we in our strategy and what stage are we in our journey?

Again, a quote I always use is, “this is a journey and not a destination” and as we have said previously, the goal posts and expectations keep shifting.

We all need to take a breath and have a look at where we are right now, allowing us to understand what needs to be done to get where we want to be.

If you are starting this for the first time, a full digital audit is important to get an understanding of what metrics matter. This isn’t a tick box exercise, but more of a strategic approach to your channels and output.

You really need to be objective at this stage and see where the weakness in your communications and campaigns are. Finding your weak points will also highlight your relative success.

Once you have completed question one, you will have a much better understanding of where you are and how you can maximise your offering and ultimately engagement, leading to enhanced ROI.

Question two has always been a bit of a bugbear with me and that is:

2. Are you making the most of your content?

As a sports club, you hold all the bees and the honey. You have unlimited access to the pot of gold. That’s your players, your management, your fans and their stories.

Content creation is improving dramatically, but even still today there isn’t enough value put on this area. High-quality content should be at the heart of any digital strategy. Creating compelling, exclusive articles, videos and live events are key.

It’s all about the quality and this is an area we can’t scrap on. Don’t go for quantity, people don’t have time to sift through this and the channel will die, leaving you with a whole new problem. Poor quality content is a direct representation of you and your brand, so don’t compromise in this area.

Once you have understood where you are and you’ve started to devise quality content with key performance metrics in place, what’s the next step?

You can have the best content, but how do you then actively amplify the reach and build your social media. This leads me nicely onto question three and is for me the single biggest question on social media.

3. How human are you on social media?

Technology for me is all about making you more human, not less. As such, creating human interactions based on social engagement is a very important role within your strategy. If you are using your social channels as a broadcast channel, you’re heading in the wrong direction.

Allowing fans to digest social media in a way that’s comfortable, whilst sharing experiences and interacting with the club and other fans in a conversational dynamic is the ultimate goal.

You shouldn’t fill social feeds with hard sell broadcast messages, as people don’t want that and will very quickly turn off and unfollow.

Building trust and attention, wrapped around quality content, engagement and interaction will lead to more traffic and conversion. Like most things, content marketing is a numbers game and the more you can attract, the better your case to sell the ROI in question one will be.

Finally, a very common mistake I think we see is when people sit down or bring in consultants to build their digital strategy is they are very front end, or half circle as I call it. Lots of time, effort and energy goes into creating and distributing the content, but how many of us know the effects of our output? Question four is the most important:

4. Are you measuring your results?

Leaving your digital strategy to chance or to the opinions of people in the office is a risky business. You can’t allow your digital output to be based on your thoughts alone. For me, “if it ain’t broke, fix it” should be the approach.

Your last campaign has to be better than the one before, but the next is going to be a killer. If you can’t quantify your output, how are you ever going to improve? Engage, design, deliver, measure is a mind-set I have been working to for many years. Please don’t negate this part of your strategy, as you will be doomed to fail and also you will be swimming in your own thoughts and ideas, which aren’t healthy.

Asking yourself these questions on a regular basis will certainly allow you not only to build a digital strategy that resonates, but also one that has longevity going forward.

Invest more into the content and campaigns that are working across your channels and not the ones you like or your CEO signs off on. Campaign costs are one thing, but results and development are another.

Talk to us about your content and social media plans. Our Fanalyse Content Intelligence team can no doubt help.

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