Blog entry by Niall Judge
In this post, Helen Beckley and Sophie Burton from Energise Me reflect on the importance of a positive online presence for sports clubs and groups, and their collaboration with Club Matters on some brand new resources on the subject.
When we were approached about co-creating a Club Matters tool kit and other resources around ‘Online Presence’ it came at the perfect time for us. Energise Me had run several Club Matters courses, along with 3 mini social media training sessions. A strong theme emerging from participant feedback indicated that although the courses were useful, attendees felt the need to take a step back and assess what their organisations currently had in terms of online presence, and how they could make it more effective. We found that many felt their club wasn’t fully represented online.
Some organisations had different ideas about what they were about and who it was for, even within their own committee, so it was clear that further support would be welcomed. A toolkit that would not only help focus organisations to think about the messages they want to share online, but something that would support them with actually doing this, was needed.
Knowing that the mention of websites and social media can make people's eyes glaze over, or turn them into nervous wrecks if they don’t think they have the required expertise, we all knew from the outset that this needed to be simple and accessible! The resource would not only need to be thought provoking, but actually gave some ideas on the ‘how to’ rather than just ‘why’. With this in mind, simple, concise and easy to use became our mantra.
We were also conscious that our workforce have many responsibilities, especially at this current time as sport and physical activity returns after lockdown. We didn’t want this to become another thing that’s put on the ‘To-do’ list that never actually happens, because it’s regarded as a low priority or too time consuming. Introducing a quiz as part of these new resources seemed like a positive way to get people started. Short and snappy, it provides examples of 'how' to get things right and what ‘good’ might look like, to get people thinking.
After completing the quiz, the checklists throughout the toolkit help organisations think about key areas like showcasing their offer, accessible design and inclusive imagery when observing their own online presence, along with hints and tips to help them update their current presence. Again, it needed to be simple and easy to use, but allow the organisation to see where they can make changes without feeling overwhelmed.
Working with Club Matters has been a great experience. Their knowledge of how this would fit in alongside other new, exciting resources was useful. Club Matters is a great programme that we use and promote at Energise Me, so we are very happy to have been able to codesign these resources. We are sure that it will be of great use to any club or organisation that wants to develop or improve their online presence with a view to supporting current participants and attracting new ones.
For other organisations that, like Energise Me, support clubs and groups, we have some extra advice below:
- It’s important that we remain sensitive that this last year has been a tough time for sport. As such, we must be mindful that this is not seen to be more work for organisations.
- However, for clubs and groups starting to return and looking to increase membership, this could be a great tool for them to reach out into the community in a different way.
- Reconfirming with everyone what their organisation stands for and who it is aimed at can be a really useful starting point. Suggest to clubs and groups that this could be used as a great welcome back training session, especially if new members have joined leadership roles during the last year, and help confirm the message they want to share with their local community.
- For any organisations that mention needing support with social media or their website, this is a great tool for them to use. It is practical and focusses attention.
- This toolkit is not designed to tell organisations their approach is wrong. It’s about guiding them to explore how an online presence can be used as an effective marketing and promotional tool.