Football, PR and Coronavirus

Football, PR and Coronavirus

When I wrote the post about what football clubs were doing to fill the gap with no football it was always something I intended to revisit later on, expecting that given time to plan content there would be a change in approach.

 

While many club media staff have been furloughed since my last post, some still remain. This post is going to revisit what clubs are doing on social media, but also look further afield at what clubs are doing as there is more to PR than just posting on social media.

 

The social media focus of this post will be relatively brief and more generalised than last time as that was largely covered in the first post.

 

The first real change worth highlighting is that clubs are no longer playing connect four against other clubs, this is something I think everybody who follows football clubs on Twitter will be glad about – there are only so many games you can sit through before it becomes boring.

 

The other big change is that a lot more clubs have started showing games from the past. Some, like Exeter last time, are still premiering games at 3pm on a Saturday while others are posting one a day Monday to Friday for fans to watch at their leisure.

 

Both of those methods have plus points, but the clubs posting games daily tend to be going for games from the ‘current’ season whereas clubs premiering games tend to be going for big historical matches.

 

I think if you gave fans the choice, they would probably go for the one historical match a week rather than five from this season a week, but I don’t think you’ll find many complaining either way.

 

Another common feature has been player Q&As. Some clubs started this and had to stop with the players being furloughed, but some are still going giving fans the opportunity to ask questions to their favourite players.

 

The final thing I’m going to mention that caught my eye is very much club specific. Hartlepool United to be precise. Pools set up the ‘Pools Panel’ giving results for the games scheduled to be played that day.

 

 

This was probably the best idea I’ve seen throughout this period. Unfortunately, it was cut short when staff were furloughed, and then later made redundant.

 

Away from social media, this is a good time for clubs to improve their reputation when it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility.

 

One club that has really stood out to me is Stevenage. Within days of the season being suspended the Hertfordshire club set up a Coronavirus Community Careline helping people with meals, supplies, phonecalls to try and help people feeling lonely and sending food to the local hospital with messages of support printed on what would have been match tickets.

 

While many clubs have implemented a few of these ideas, Stevenage are very much leading the way in their response, especially when it comes to lower league clubs.

 

Elsewhere, Chelsea a club just over 30 miles from Stevenage, but at the opposite end of the football wealth scale, are also making a good name for themselves.

 

 

I’m always reluctant to believe tweets from accounts like this one as they often aren’t accurate but having looked into it everything this tweet says is true.

 

While you might see Chelsea paying all their staff their full wages on that list and not think that’s anything to shout about, there has been Premier League clubs who have taken advantage of the government’s scheme and furloughed staff.

 

There’s been a lot of debate over whether top-flight clubs should be furloughing staff when they make hundreds of millions and pay players millions over the course of a year. Personally, I don’t like it. But that’s easy to say from the outside when not involved with running the businesses.

 

Lower down the pyramid, Championship clubs almost all make a loss every season and clubs in Leagues One and Two, and non-league, still mainly rely on matchday income to help them run day to day, so these clubs I would expect to see use it.

 

But there is a financial gulf between those clubs and the Premier League which I think makes the backlash reasonable.

 

I want to finish on a positive point, so one more thing that has caught my eye is clubs offering up their stadiums to be used by the NHS. The first club I saw do this was Plymouth Argyle, who offered their new grandstand and changing rooms.

 

 

There are now a number of clubs who are offering their grounds for similar purposes.

 

As I said last time, these are only the things that have caught my eye, and there could be more good work going on elsewhere that I’ve not seen

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