Part 3 – Top tips to driving a social canoe slalom

Quick video created on the iPhone 6

This is the third in a series of posts describing the journey from print to digital supported by print in the world of canoe slalom. Last week’s post described the shift to micro-blogging using Twitter.

Content is king. Creating value for readers requires great content. Creating a continuous flow of high quality content is time consuming although surprising simple.  We can see that content that includes photographs, audio and video gains an increasing number of likes, shares or retweets.

Tip 1 – How to make the most of Twitter

Start by establishing hastags for each event or series. I have increasingly pushed organisers to specify their hastag for an event very early on and encourage everyone to consistently use the same hastag. This makes it easier to trend a topic and easier for others to search and follow a specific topic. It is good to see the ICF encouraging use of #ICFslalom for 2015 and beyond.

Keep Tweets short, less than 140 characters so they can be retweeted without losing important links. A good proportion of tweets should contain a link or photograph although not every one.

My Twitter feed is embedded into the Sportscene.tv/liveresults page.

Tip 2 – How to get live time quotes and pictures

The art of gaining insightful quotes is asking the right questions. This comes with practice as well as an intimate understanding of the sport and what will interest readers.

Many of the international elite canoe slalom community are on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, which has made obtaining live quotes from athletes at events easier. I try to maintain a balance and not to unnecessarily disturb paddlers mental focus at races. Not every athlete will respond and this is fine.

These social channels have also made it possible to ask the community for a photograph of a specific athlete and request permission from photographers to use their pictures in subsequent articles or posts. Always state to whom the photograph is credited.

Absolute delight for Daniele Molmenti (photo courtesy of Sportscene)
Absolute delight for Daniele Molmenti (photo courtesy of Sportscene)

Tip 3 – How to create yourself as a brand

You are you own brand and social media channels enable you to control the message. Paddlers and teams can prepare what they might say as a quote and can use those providing coverage for a race to extend their own brand image. Take advantage of this opportunity. My brand is @gregiej

I communicate links to all the articles I have written across multiple platforms, which have included Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. These link back to where the core pre or post race content is posted which has tended to be either Sportscene or my own blog.

Building a following on any of the channels is hard, doesn’t come easy and requires time and patience. However, we know that good content gets shared and so your following will expand. It is incredibly exciting to see highly influential members of the paddler community or media outlets retweet your content to their own followers.

BBC Sport journalist Ollie Williams interviews Lizzie Neave (K1W) after securing her Olympic place at selection (photo courtesy of John Gregory)
BBC Sport journalist Ollie Williams interviews Lizzie Neave (K1W) after securing her Olympic place at selection (photo courtesy of John Gregory)

Tip 4 – Plan ahead

For the London Olympics I posted at least once a day which got me to the top of Google searches. I tried to write a couple of days ahead and send questions to current or retired paddlers asking for quotes maybe a week in advance.

I have detailed spreadsheets and analytics of athlete’s results and I have a structure template for the race previews or reviews which allows me to create content very quickly. That said, several articles have been weeks in production before they finally appear on the Sportscene website.

C1W Canoe Slalom
C1W athlete results analysis 2014

Final tip in planning is to proof read extremely thoroughly. Get help if necessary and cross check spelling, which nation a paddler is competing for, in which class and double check the results.

World Paddle Awards

World Paddle Awards

I am honoured to be nominated and shortlisted as Media Ambassador 2014 for the very first World Paddle Awards. You can read more about the 47 shortlisted nominees across 7 categories. You can read more about me and vote here.

Next week there will be part 4 in this series of articles I look back at some of the key articles I have enjoyed creating over the last 25 years.

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One thought on “Part 3 – Top tips to driving a social canoe slalom

  1. Pingback: Part 4 – My personal top 3 pick of the mix canoe slalom | Canoe Slalom blog

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