This week I sat down with Martin Crawford, Snack Media’s Head of Content, to find out his views on how to ensure your football content is engaging for readers.
In a saturated online football market the need for quality pieces has never been greater and with brands willing to spend big in order to tap into this audience demographic – the need to be both unique and engaging has never been so important.
Throughout my 10yrs at Snack Media, the content landscape has changed an incredible amount. When the company started out in 2007, football blogging was very much in its embryonic stages with the likes of Football365, FourFourTwo and Goal leading the way in this field; however, whilst for the large part stayed true to their own editorial style and standpoint many rivals starting adopting the quick win method of producing click bait stories which although will generate page views and subsequent revenues, ultimately did little in ensuring website retention from these visitors. There is little to no engagement from these users – something that clearly impacts their ability to attract the big brand campaigns, with agencies preferring to target websites with engaged audiences – opposed those with scale as once was.
Creating an engaged audience has not been any easy task over the years, as a startup business you need to generate scale and revenue before transitioning the content to a level that is strong enough to achieve organic growth. Unless you have the wealth and backing of holding companies to fund your editorial platform that the likes of Haymarket and Perform have done then you really have to fight a lot harder to build an engaged audience and this often takes longer to achieve.
At Snack Media we have found that the need to differentiate our content has never been more important within this saturated space. We would be wrong to admit that we have never delved into the dark arts of click-bait content in the initial growth of our websites; however, we have worked extremely hard in the past few years to produce an editorial product that differentiates itself from others within the marketplace. Ultimately in the long term that will ensure that the websites stand the test of time and will see us benefit from the brands that are conscious about the type of content they want to associate themselves with.
In practice, it is easier said and done and it is amazing to see how few publishers fail to evolve their content – instead continually using both tired and outdated methods. Whether it’s the use of video, infographics, or simple analysis to bring increased colour to content delivery you will have a greater chance of garnering organic growth – as you are providing the visitors with more depth when they click on your website.
Content remains king in this space and those publishers that go the extra mile will be the ones who will dominate in the long term as the football online audience become more discerning about their choices and subsequent sites they wish to consume their football content from. More significantly so are brands and therefore the good publishers are the ones in a few years are likely to clean up.