The Importance of Being Accessible

The arrival of British Summer Time signals a flurry of FOMO and anxiety-inducing worry for many audiences as they pick from the umpteen activities available every weekend. With so much happening from now until the end of September, it can feel a little like your messages become lost in the roar of voices shouting about sunshine, festivals, big sporting events and vacations. 

 

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From a sporting perspective, the weekend of 9th/10th July is a case in point. Finals for both men and women at Wimbledon will clash with, among other events, the F1 British Grand Prix, as well as football, boxing and UFC with The European Cup Final, and rematches for Fury / Klitschko and McGregor / Diaz respectively. While the core audience for these events might not exhibit much overlap, the sporting airwaves will be full of conflicting calls for attention.

At first sight, it might seem impossible to get your message across without adding to your audiences’ already overloaded minds. But fear not – it’s times like these when a return to basic social media and PR fundamentals will serve you best.

Define clear goals for the summer period and plan out what key dates or events align best with your brand. If you’re working up to one big event, make sure you keep the content flowing after it’s over. While the days that follow the UK’s big summer-time events may be time to breathe a sigh of relief, it’s also the best time to relive the successes with all those who were there, and all those who might attend next year.

TwitterLogo_#55aceeAs always, the platform and delivery of content should be relevant to those who you want to reach. The top brands on social media use a variety of platforms when promoting themselves and their events, cross-referencing them to ensure their followers can see them where it’s most convenient. Accessibility is the name of the game.

It goes almost without saying that with the growth of mobile content consumption, it is critically important to make sure your content performs well across any platform. That way the audience can engage and enjoy whether they are out making the most of the weekend sunshine, or following from multiple screens at home. New and old technology-powered solutions abound to deliver content to your audiences.

In motorsport, the FIA World Rallycross Championship starts this week Portugal, broadcasting each event live online for free. The short race format of four or six laps on small circuits are great for quick viewing on its own platform. For a relatively small annual fee, the FIA World Endurance Championship and FIA World Rally Championship also offer live broadcasts and highlights programmes through their own bespoke mobile and web apps.

 

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Other series are taking advantage of the in-the-moment capabilities of Periscope. With many journalists and TV personalities picking up on the trend, it’s a great chance to follow exclusive behind-the-scenes events at race series, especially well utilised in Formula One, the WRC and Formula E.

A live stream is nothing if nobody knows about it. Last year we worked with the traditional British summer favourite Henley Royal Regatta to assist in the promotion of their live YouTube broadcast. 2015 was the first time ever that the world-class event was broadcast and so the organisation was eager to capitalise on the excitement. We encouraged rowing crews from all over the world to submit their training videos to our video team to help make the event as accessible as possible. As a result, Henley Royal Regatta gained not only reciprocal content for the general public but stronger engagement from the wider rowing community.

 

 

The challenge for events, or brands engaged with them, is always going to be keeping fans appropriately engaged when they are not competing. As well as live action, it’s also important to engage with your audience between events, even when you benefit from a regular calendar of events. Hyundai Motorsport aims to leverage their WRC campaign both during events and in the downtime between the action with previews, reviews, competitions, “Best of” videos and a host if other tactics to keep the momentum going and fans tuned-in.

In the business of long summer days, juggling work commitments, social engagements and the odd vacation, content should be fun and light while aligning with brand values. Remember to keep the pressure off and refrain from overselling your message. Just like in life, there is no need for your brand to cave to the compulsion to do everything and be all things for all people. Keep it clean, simple and focused. After all, you don’t want to be stressing your audience any more than they already are!

 

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Follow SQN’s resident New Zealander, Sarah Byles, on Twitter here or talk to us about your summer social strategy tweeting @TechandSport.