Special Club Rugby Saturday Six Pack: Ways to Improve Your Club’s Communications

With few games taking place around the country, this weekend’s Saturday Six-Pack will instead outline some of the most effective ways to improve your club’s communications; ultimately, getting your club noticed by those in your local community, and the USA Rugby community as a whole.

1) Keeping Social Media Up-to-Date:

One of the biggest tools at a club’s disposal is social media.  It is an easy and efficient way to communicate fans, the local and wider communities about how your team is performing. However, social media is only as effective as you want it to be. Leaving a page or account dormant will make it hard for your team to be noticed. Updating it weekly with upcoming fixtures, lineups and final scores are three pieces of content easily produced and of value to your team’s social media presence.

Out of all the content that can be created for a team’s social media page, the most important piece of content is the final score. It is the one piece of content that anybody following your page will be looking for. This allows people in the community, interested in your team, a simple way of following the teams progress throughout the season. While the assumption can often be, “Those who need to know will already know,” it’s a dangerous assumption to make. Score reports can be a small post which takes minimal effort, along the lines of, “Team Blue 10 beat Team Red 8”. It is simple content and keeps fans engaged. Even your team suffers a loss, it will not hurt the team’s brand power to advertise the score. Eventually, these tweets or posts can be developed into scorecards and that is an easy spot to sell sponsorship to. 

The Chicago Lions are an excellent example of how easy but effective reporting scores online can be.

 

2) CMS Data Entry:

One of the most effective resources and first points of reference to people looking find the scores of fixtures is USA Rugby’s Competition Management System (CMS). The scores that are reported into this system are then embedded into USA Rugby’s website on the Club Rugby Competitions page. If teams do not update their scores to the CMS in a timely manner, it will leave an incorrect score publicly facing and can give the general public a false impression on the outcome of the game.

Further to this, the CMS provides a valuable resource for people looking to gain more information about a team’s performance over the years, in particular writers. Those who do cover the games rely on the CMS to supply accurate, timely information to be placed into the system in order for them to correctly report. Without both teams entering information in a timely manner often the recaps, and previews can be inaccurate and show a team in a less flattering light than they deserve. With USA Rugby’s focus on promoting the club game across all divisions, getting the scores in accurately on time is a great way to ensure good free publicity for your club.   

3) Photos:  

One of the easiest ways to improve communications and marketing of your club is through taking action shots at each home game. All it requires is a camera and someone who can point and shoot. Cameras nowadays are built to deliver professional level photos to amateur level shooters. Photos are a great piece of content for clubs to produce. Players love to see shots of themselves playing and they often will reach further than any other piece of content produced. Players will make shots from a game their profile pictures, and share albums through their own pages so friends and family can see. On top of your players enjoying the photos, publications will often look to team’s profiles to find high quality photos when writing reports. If there aren’t any good photos to be found, it can often be a great marketing chance gone to waste; as they will look to another team for the action shots.

As an example, Morris Women’s RFC take great photos at most of their games, their Facebook albums provide a solid example of what can be done.  

 Facebook | Morris Women’s RFC

4) Video:

Social media is constantly evolving and what you see on your timeline is never the same as what it was 6 months ago. One of the big changes that is being seen across nearly all social media channels is a rewarding the use of video. Videos have become the most common form of content that pops up on timelines. This is a result of their high engagement levels and they are what the general public wants to see. The best sort of video to promote your club is a highlight video. Whether it is a big tackle, brilliant hands or just a simple try, showing off impressive skills of your players can perform and the fun that they have doing so, is a great way to promote your players, teams and club. The only thing to remember is make sure the camera is horizontal and the content is appropriate.

Two of the best clubs for producing video content is the Wisconsin Rugby Club and Schuylkill River. During the season, Wisconsin produces great video highlights of key moments of the game.

Schuylkill on the other hand, presents photos in a stop start video fashion to create engaging content and something that stands out from the rest of the crowd. 

5) Player Spotlights: 

Another strong way to help promote your club is to write profiles on your players and let the general public know about their achievements. One of the best ways to help grow your club in terms of recruitment and in terms of brand power, is celebrate your athletes’ accomplishments off the pitch. There are some tremendous people who are successful different fields of life playing club rugby throughout the U.S. If you can highlight the success of the players within your club, then people will associate your club with success. People want to associate themselves with successful people, so advertising your individuals and their successes will help people garner interest in your club. It also demonstrates the personalities within your club. It acts as a great recruiting tool for when new players to the area are looking to join a team of likeminded people. Player profiles help those new players find their new home.

As an example, Wisconsin Women’s RFC on Twitter produce excellent player profiles that help shed a bit more light on the athletes that make up their team and club.

6) Websites:

Another key component to effective communications is the use of a website. Websites serve an important function for teams, as it serves as one-stop-shop for all the information a fan following a team, competition or region could possibly need. Websites don’t need to be the glossiest channel of your communication efforts, but they do need to contain the most information. Fortunately, websites now are much easier to create and manage than ever before. Websites can easily host and embed the majority of information fans will be looking for, so managing the website becomes automatic and not as laborious. Two features that are worth embedding on your websites are the various social feeds from your teams and your team’s schedule and standings from USA Rugby. All of these features are easily added to your website and in combination with other items you choose to produce will help improve communications around your team, club or region.

Rocky Mountain Rugby provides a nice illustration of how the CMS standings and schedules can be embedded into a website. 

 
Santa Monica’s website shows how seamlessly they are able to include their Instagram feed into their main page.