Australia’s biggest content marketing agency

Australia’s biggest content marketing agency

Disclaimer: Written by a die hard Hawks fan who is very, very happy after his team played the perfect match in the Grand Final on Saturday. He is already dreaming about the trifecta next year.

What do the AFL and content marketing have in common? Put quite simply, the AFL is Australia’s biggest content marketing agency.

The AFL is a content creation beast and its internal team feeds the masses of AFL fans on a 24/7 basis all year round.

The AFL has its own news platform ( and a whole suite of amplification channels that ensures all its audiences have constant access to all AFL related news.

Obviously the media plays a very important part in sport, but the AFL’s news room style approach to communication means they are not reliant on the media in getting its key messaging out to the audiences it is targeting. Not everyone can have the resources that they have available – they have over 100 staff who produce and promote news, views and video content. And they do a great job.

How do we know that?

There are more than 800,000 members of the 18 AFL clubs around Australia and crowd numbers throughout the season put other sporting codes to shame.

Results like this do not happen overnight though. A strong strategic approach, consistency and considerable hard work are essential ingredients.

Here are three tips that you can learn from the AFL that can be applied to your own organisation or department:

1. Know what content your audience wants

The AFL uses a fantastic mix of graphics, stills, text, audio and video to feed information to its audiences.

This audience is not just the 800,000 plus AFL members, but the millions of other Australians that have a level of interest in the sport.

The website and the app for smart phones and tablets uses a mix of all these forms of content during games and immediately after games. You can see a range of videos with match highlights, audio and visual of player interviews, match reports and all the key stats.

It doesn’t stop there…throughout the week there is a constant flow of content that keeps football addicts (including myself) up to date with the latest news.

2. Always have an aim or objective 

All communication and content marketing strategies must have an aim or objective. Unless you have these, there is no point in communicating.

The AFL’s aim? Get people to watch AFL (awareness) and then convert them (to become a member). The AFL’s objective is being met, with 14 clubs increasing membership numbers in 2014.

3. Use an editorial calendar 

We harp on about editorial calendars at contentgroup, but they are so important. They are strategic documents that guide your approach to communication. They also keep everyone accountable.

Because the AFL has turned itself into a news channel, they need content every day, and they would have a calendar that guides the content approach.

Their calendar goes beyond the football season and they know that football-aholics, like myself, crave the game all year round.

The AFL Premiership Season is the prime focus, but as soon as Grand Final day is over trade news starts kicking around again. Take last year for example – the game’s biggest name Buddy Franklin announced his move to Sydney the week after picking up his second flag with Hawthorn.

Barely has the dust settled on the season when the draw for the next season comes out at the end of October, while the AFL Draft takes centre stage in November. Clubs go back into full training the following month and before long the NAB Cup rolls around.

This shows the importance of content all year round. Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Once you’ve started you need to keep it up to get the best results.

A strategic editorial calendar guides all this work.

So when you are planning your next strategy, think about the AFL and how it’s approach to communication has positioned itself as the leading content marketing agency in Australia.

Photo: Dion Gillard

David is the Head of Consulting at contentgroup and possesses a love of writing. While he could write and talk about sport all day, his focus is now on helping public-sector clients tell their stories.

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