Media coverage and the team selected to play Hartpury
I know that praise for the greater coverage of the club in the Coventry Telegraph this week has been forthcoming from the messageboard already, but I thought I’d add my own appreciation of what appears a greater willingness on the part of the club to share its news with the sporting community in Coventry and beyond.
Whether it is the club pushing for the extra newspaper copy, or the paper following recent discussions on the messageboard and deciding there is enough interest in the National 1 side amongst its readers to increase the coverage, is not clear.
I guess it doesn’t matter in the sense that readers aren’t going to worry as to how it was brought to them, they’re just interested in the content. However, you’d hope it was the club pushing for the extra publicity in order to create additional interest in a club where gates are down and where we know the potential for 2000+ attendances is very real.
It’s a great start to the new year and maybe a sign that the club are themselves responding to the many concerns expressed on the messageboard and elsewhere about supporters feeling marginalised and removed from a club that has always sold itself as being a community club.
The challenge now is to keep the news from BPA on the back pages of the Coventry Telegraph and then see if there is any noticeable impact on the attendance figures over the next two or three home games. And not just the CT, but also on social media sites as well.
When news other than pre and post match interviews are published, there is always a much better response in terms of the number of times the post is ‘shared’ (when a reader ‘copies’ it across to his or her own social media sites so that others can read it) – thus potentially increasing the readership exponentially.
Scott Morgan’s post Loughborough comments – 14 shares
Pre Loughborough comments – 4 shares
Post Blackheath comments – 2 shares
Devlin Hope article – 185 shares
Chairman reveals BPA development – 55 shares
Backroom staff reshuffle – 39 shares
Matt Price returns from injury – 61
And as one poster on the messageboard pointed out, the number of ‘shares’ that articles about Wasps attract are far fewer than the above. For instance, compare the 185 shares for the Devlin Hope article with 35 for ‘Wasps favourite’ – Ashley Johnson both published this week. The evidence is clear – readers of the Coventry Telegraph would seem to have more interest in the Coventry RFC than they do in Wasps and we should use that to our advantage.
Away game reports also tend to get more shares than home game reports do, if only because the majority of supporters won’t get to away games and are therefore more interested in finding out what happened in the game. Nothing surprising there.
The Devlin Hope article was hugely interesting and has been a very popular one by all accounts. So the lesson for Cov is, one or two features a week on players or backroom staff, or even general club news, is going to impact far more than simple reviews and reports on National 1 games.
By looking at personalities and issues within Coventry, it would seem the paper is able to get far greater response from its readers and with articles being shared on social media in much greater numbers, they are reaching a much wider audience.
And it’s free…
Now if I can see that, then someone who works in the field of advertising and marketing should be able see potential sources of advertising that are much less obvious and even more lucrative in terms of spreading the message that Coventry is very much a forward-thinking club that is ready to make a sustained push for promotion.
The power of the Internet is huge and the real benefit of cosying up to the Coventry Telegraph is not really in the interest it creates amongst those who buy the paper copy on a daily basis, it is in the huge potential fan base that could be generated from the tens of thousands who can access the articles worldwide through the Telegraph website.
Take me for example. I make frequent references to the newspaper in the blog (which I credit!), yet I live outside the area the paper is aimed at and I don’t have access to a paper copy. I only get that information from their website or any other that has had the article ‘shared’ on their site (eg the messageboard or on someone’s Twitter or Facebook page).
And this blog, whilst only having a readership in the low hundreds, has reached 58 countries across the world now in four months. And many readers will click on the hyperlinks to look at a particular article I’ve referred to in more depth. And sometimes those readers will then share the post amongst their friends, generating additional coverage for both the club and for the Telegraph.
It makes sense, therefore, to give the readers what they are most interested in – articles about the people behind the faces, about the changes taking place, about the issues facing the club…anything and everything. It’s not hard to come up with ideas for stories. Given I’m a long way removed from the club and have no contact with anyone from within it, I still manage to write a post a day. Anyone inside the club will have access to a dozen potential things to interest supporters about at any given time.
It does mean a greater workload for John Wilkinson (or one of the other sports editors/reporters) and it would require someone from the club to do some preparatory work, but the benefits would certainly seem to be worth it to the club and probably to the Telegraph as well.
A couple of things spring to mind following the announcement of the team to play Hartpury on Saturday.
Firstly, prior to the Loughborough game, Scott Morgan explained in an article in the Coventry Telegraph that:
We’re also at the time of year when we need to look at some players with a view to next season, which is why we have rested George Oliver for this week and made a few other changes.”
It now seems that George Oliver has been ‘rested’ for another week.
It will be at least 4 weeks now before he returns to the Coventry colours, by which time his rest will have turned into a vacation. George Oliver has been one of our most consistent players this season and it seems odd that he should continue to be left out given we are playing a team 3rd in the league away from home and are ourselves struggling for consistency.
Alex Woodburn continues in the back row, having come off in the 22nd minute of the second half with what looked like concussion. Certainly his legs had gone and he was staggering uncertainly when he stood up after the knock. Alex had been prominent up to his injury and is clearly someone for the future, but I am surprised he’s retained given the injury and his relative inexperience when compared to George Oliver.
However, I can only assume the doctors have given him the all clear to return, so perhaps it’s a question of what I thought I saw rather than what actually happened.
Chad Thorne’s return to the front row is understandable , but there is always the risk with Chad of conceding unnecessary penalties, but I’m sure he will have realised the responsibility he carries and of course will be well aware of Scott’s new sanctions put in place to act as a further deterrent. He and Andy Brown have been very impressive for a number of games recently and if they can once again dominate the scrums, then we have a much better chance of coming away with the points.
Matt Price once again starts at hooker, despite Hope receiving all the plaudits for his 55 minute ‘cameo’ last week. I’m not sure what else he has to do to get a starting place, but he’s had a very good week and must be feeling a lot happier than he was a week ago.
George Tressider’s inclusion at scrum half is probably the biggest surprise and not many of us outside the inner sanctum will have seen that coming. There are a number of possible explanations for this – Wayne Evans isn’t fully fit, he’s lost a bit of confidence, the coaches have lost a little confidence in him, Tressider adds something that Evans doesn’t, the coaches are looking at Tressider as a possible replacement for Evans next season and want to see more of him..and probably a few others as well. Presumably there will be something from the club to explain the decision…?
I thought Wayne had a decent game against Loughborough and a very good one against Ampthill so it has come as something as a surprise that he’s on the bench. However, if he’s not here next season, then the need to experiment with different options would make sense.
The backs are beginning to have a more settled look and it now seems as if this is pretty much our strongest line-up and certainly is the one I’d be putting out, other than the inclusion of Dan the Man when he’s match fit. James Tincknell is a class act and played regularly in the Championship prior to his accident. If he can recapture his form, and he has shown glimpses of it when he’s played, then he’ll be a very useful addition to the team and could make a really strong pairing with Rob Knox. With Luke Eves, Derek Eves’ son and a very very talented payer, taking his place opposite lining up opposite Rob, it should be a fascinating contest.
It’s not going to be the easiest of games and Coventry will certainly need to be focused from the first whistle and remain so for a full 80 minutes. This is a very strong Coventry side, stronger than last season in many respects, but Cov do need to get a few wins under their belt, wins against teams in the top half of the league rather than the bottom which is where most of their successes this season have come from.
I guess Hartpury College, away, is a pretty good place to start.