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The power of communicating (creating a sense of belonging)

14 Feb 2024

To start this section, if we go back to the definition of leadership we use which is:

“the process of social influence, which maximises the efforts of others, for the achievement of a goal”

a key component of the definition is “the process of social influence” which is fancy wording for communication. Having strong, effective and most importantly consistent communication engages people who are then much more likely to contribute to the running of the club and its goals.

Appoint your communications team early
One of the very first teams that needs to be established each year is the club’s communications team or sub-committee. We say communications team, not person, because the time required to undertake all the communications activities is too big for one person, even in the smallest of clubs.

How to create a communication strategy

Many struggle to work out how, what and when to communicate. The answer relates to who your specific audience is and what do you want them to do. For example if you wanted Council to contribute $100,000 to a new facility then you would use a very targeted, personal communication strategy that would involve creating opportunities for the Mayor, Councillors and the CEO to come to the club and experience your vision. If on the other hand you wanted to engage past players then a fortnightly email may be a better strategy.

Club produce so much news we want to hear

Some struggle to decide what is too much or too little communication but the reality is that for sports clubs it is really easy to create a high quality communication plan.

The best way to do this is to imagine you have to go overseas in the middle of the season:

  • What information about the club would you want?
  • When would you want it?
  • How would you want it?
  • Would you want to know the scores throughout the day?
  • Would you like to see the coaches final address to players or their match report after the game?
  • Would you like to see photos and videos of key moments?
  • Would you actually like to see the game live?
  • Would you like to know who the best players were?
  • Would you like to know what is happening at the major social event that is happening while you are away?

Of course you would and you are not alone. Clubs are only now realising this almost insatiable appetite for club information and investing the time to provide people with the information they want, when they want it, in the format they want it.

Just because people are not at the physically at the club does not mean they are not interested.

Just because people are not located in your suburb, town, state or territory or even country doesn’t mean they are not interested. Just because people haven’t played for many years at your club doesn’t mean they are not interested.

They absolutely are and if we engage them and create a strong sense of belonging between them and the club they will continue to help and support the club in anyway they can!

Unlike many commercial businesses, community sports clubs produce a never-ending supply of stories and information genuinely wanted by its audience.

So let’s answer the initial question, what would you want to know if you were away from the club for a couple of weeks?

Well potentially it would look something like this:

Saturday – live score updates, results, best players, coaches reports, injuries
Sunday – injury updates and photos from the previous night’s social events
Monday – stories from the weekend’s competition and social events
Tuesdays – information from training, Injury updates, tribunal outcomes
Wednesday – Upcoming social events and general club news
Thursday – Selection updates
Friday – Reminders about upcoming events
Saturday – live score updates

Unquestionably the most successful clubs have very strong communication strategies that seek to:

  • engage their audience
  • create a sense of belonging between them and the club
  • grow their audience
  • influence the audience so it engages in club activities and the achievement of club goals.