Digital bootcamp

What tools you'll need for your club's communications

Interacting and engaging with potential and existing members is an important task you'll be faced with on a daily basis. The way you communicate on behalf of the club can leave a lasting impression on you and the club as a whole.

Be it a brand new under-15s player, the parent of that youth player, or a potential club sponsor, you'll want to nail every piece of communication that leaves your clubhouse. For that, we can't cover it all in one week.

For now, we'll discuss what tools are best suited for communicating with different sectors of your audience – followed by how you communicate next week.

Consider your audience at all times

Before you send any communication on behalf of the club, or as a club coach or team captain, you need to get into the mind of who will be on receiving end.

Selecting the right avenue for getting your message across can maximise the performance of that communication, helping to the get correct response from members or whoever the intended audience is. Here's a selection of the most popular digital methods of communication and where you should consider using them.

Email

Ideal for: Parents, officials and adult club members

Chances are you've got yourself an email address, and chances are you're a fairly regular user (after all, you got here thanks to your email).

For most adults, email is our daily communicative staple – particularly to people we don't know personally and therefore haven't exchanged phone numbers with. Due to it's links with working life, email is something most of the adults at your club will check everyday, so it can be the most effective place to get hold of them.

There are some drawbacks. I don't know about you, but I get a stack of emails, and reading every single one of them is just not on my agenda. If I speak for you, then no doubt I speak for a number of your members.

It's important that your email stands out from the crowd then. You've already got the upper hand by having that connection to them by way of being part of their club, but that doesn't mean you can bombarde members with endless messages. Essentially with email then is just to not over do it. Another disadvantage to the email is you can only send them to those people whose email you have – so it's no place to be raking in new members. Plus, youngsters aren't as invested in email as you and I, preferring to use methods further down this article - it's just cool yea?

Treat emails as a communicative tool to your current adult members, and send them for important club announcements that concern them.

Social Media

Ideal for: Alerting members to club announcements

By now, you're undoubtedly well versed in the hows and whys of social media – but essentially it's just another way of communicating with the community. As we've already touched on, social channels are great for engaging members in a fresh, modern way with interesting video and image-based content.

Due to it's constraints (namely something like Twitter's 140 character limit) and the way in which it's generally used, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram aren't the best place to announce important club announcements. Besides, chances are most people won't be scrolling their feed at the time you post and thus, it could easily get missed.

Leave social to the lighter side of communicating with your audience, engaging potential and existing members – and use it purely as a means to point people in the direction of this next method of communication.

Website content

Ideal for: All club's news and updates

Content, namely in the form of generally news items or match reports, has cropped up in a number of weeks during your digital revolution, as it touches on a number of key areas to your online growth.

And here again, content plays a key role. There should be a consistent stream of content making it's way through to your club website, keeping your members informed and painting your club as a exciting and engaging club to parents and potential new members.

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In the digital age, the club website is the first place everyone goes to get the latest info for their community club. Help them to stay informed by creating content on all the relevant events at your club.

With content that's held on your platform online, you're free to go into as much depth as possible safe in the knowledge that it is relevant to each and every visitor to your website.

Whatsapp

Ideal for: Team-based announcements and team building

Text messaging is old-hat these days. In it's place are instant messaging service such as Whatsapp. Powered by the internet, Whatsapp allows easy, accessible messaging on your smartphone, and makes communicating with groups and sending media a whole lot easier than the previous method.

In February 2016, it was announced that Whatsapp had one 1 billion active users, that's nearly one in seven of the world's entire population.

For communicating amongst your team members then, Whatsapp is great for that tight-knit team-based chat. Setup a feed containing all your squad's members, and they'll constantly be in the loop over team selections, fixture changes and pretty everything that you want to inform them on about the club.

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It does of course come with the same disadvantages of many of these communicative platforms – you can only reach those you already have the relevant information on. Like an email address, Whatsapp can only reach the people who's phone number you have. Still, due to its suitability to communicating with people you share something in common with (i.e. a member of the same sports team), Whatsapp is the perfect platform for informal chat with current teammates.

In person

Ideal for: Adding a professional touch for sponsors

Whilst this final avenue is not exactly digital-based, it is perfect for one particularly vital communicative scenario – sponsors. Sponsors are essential business partners for your business (as we mentioned quite a lot a last week), and they'll appreciate you giving up your time to attend a meeting before, during and after any agreements.

Look after your sponsors and they'll look after your club's bank balance. Often the best way to do that is via communication that is in person (although regular emails tracking the progress of your partnership are always a bonus).

We'll have more on communicating with sponsors next week, but ensure your club are looked upon as professional by conducting regular and informed meetings with sponsors.

Next week

We'll give you some time to get acquainted with any of the above communication tools you're not already familiar with. Next week, we'll delve more into the finer details of what to say to your club's different audiences.

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Content Marketing Specialist.
Amateur cricketer.
Professional Ryan Sidebottom look-a-like.




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