Guest Blog: Yeovil Town FC’s Digital Media Editor Lewis Hancock on signing announcements
Our overall strategy is to create content that is engaging and fun. In previous years, at Yeovil and clubs all over the world, the norm has been to reveal signings with the bog-standard player holding up a shirt with the tagline “*insert player* has joined the club”. We wanted to be different and be interesting. Granted there’s only so much you can do with the resources you have so if we came up with something we liked and could create something worthwhile, we’d test the water.
Being at a, slightly, smaller club also means we can be a lot more nimble with our content. I think bigger clubs’ media teams can have their reins pulled from the powers above meaning their creative side isn’t particularly shown as it isn’t in line with their club’s brand. At a club like Yeovil it’s all about trying to raise the profile of the football club in any way possible. I’ve had friends bring up in conversation that we’ve signed Jake Gray. These are people who support Premier League sides and don’t take an interest in the lower leagues so it proves what we’re doing is working.
Anything announcement related is pretty close to the publish time for us. I came up with the idea for the Snapchat map the day before and I made the video about an hour before we put it out in the public. With James Bailey’s countdown conundrum, it was a really quick turnaround. I arrived in the office on Tuesday expecting us to produce something with him but he had to go back to Manchester before returning to Yeovil. We’d toyed with a countdown style announcement for a while so I created our conundrum graphic (kindly assisted by Rachel Riley!) in a fairly short space of time. Because it was a last-minute job, I didn’t expect it to prove as popular but it went down really well.
The reaction has been overwhelming, if I’m honest. When I thought of the Snapchat maps idea, I didn’t have any idea how much it would pick up. Most importantly our fans have been pleased with how we’ve announced our new players but we’ve also received tweets from people all around the world, high-profile accounts and digisport fanatics which is brilliant for us. To be held in the same regard as the likes of Roma, Liverpool and Arsenal, considering the media budgets they have, is unbelievable.
This type of engaging content has to be an ongoing theme for signings moving forward. Not just for us but for other football clubs too. The digital age is progressing fast and those in the industry have to keep up with it. It is difficult as there’s only so much you can do without going too far into the cringe category but it’s certainly good to be inventive. We’ll continue to try and come up with innovative ideas.
I’m also a really big fan of Everton’s work. Their announcements aren’t necessarily outlandish but I really like the smooth transitions they use and the simplicity of them. Southampton are also another club who always seem to be ahead of the game in a media sense.
The main plus from this activity has been the numbers in terms of engagement on Twitter. Our followers have gone up by nearly 1,000 (big for a club of our stature), while our tweet impressions and profile visits are up by 77% and 76% in the last 28 days respectively. Jake Gray’s announcement alone has had 159,000 views to date, while James Bailey’s countdown graphic has had 70k impressions. To have Sport Bible, Sporf, The Telegraph, The Sun and various betting agencies highlighting what we’re doing has definitely helped with that.
It’s also gone down well with the squad. The manager noted they were chatting about thousands of people on Twitter that had interacted with the way we’d announced Jake Gray and James Bailey. It’s good they’re talking about it and none of them have said they’re unhappy so that can only be a good thing!