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How to be successful in online sport communication

As a sport enthusiast or professional the main way you engage with sport organisations and their content is likely online. Whether that be following your favourite team and sports stars on social media, browsing sport organisations’ websites or listening to their podcasts.

The ways in which users want and expect to consume sport content is vast. That’s why before engaging in the numerous channels of online communication, sport organisations must consider the various factors which influence it and the essential components for success.

In this post we explore said factors, adapted from Strategic Sport Communication. 

Model for online sport communication

Conceptualised by Kim Miloch of Texas Woman’s University, the Model for Online Sport Communication (MOSC) addresses the key factors which influence online sport communication and the elements required to be successful. The model takes into account all aspects of an organisation’s online communication including its social media, mobile apps and digital video content.

The MOSC highlights seven factors which it sees to be most pertinent: 

  1. Individuals’ level of involvement with the respective sport entity
  2. Individuals’ motives for internet use
  3. Content of the sport entity’s online media
  4. Design of the sport entity’s online media
  5. Performance of the sport entity’s online media
  6. Usability of the sport entity’s online media
  7. Commerce of the sport entity’s online media
Image from Strategic Sport Communication
Factors 1 and 2:
  1. Individuals’ level of involvement with the respective sport entity
  2. Individuals’ motives for internet use

The first and second components of the MOSC illustrate the role of people’s involvement with the sport entity and their motives for using the Internet. These components are presented first because they form the basis for individuals’ desires, needs, and expectations when visiting a sport entity’s online platforms. In other words, depending on the person’s needs, one of the remaining components may influence the effectiveness of the entity’s communication more than another component. For example, if someone desires to download a podcast, the performance and usability components of the model may be most pertinent to that person. If the podcast takes too long to download, the individual will not be satisfied, and the opportunity for effective and enhanced communication will be lost. In contrast, if someone visits a sport entity’s website to retrieve game statistics for a specific player, then the site’s content, design, and usability components are likely to be most important in the online communication process. This person will want the content quickly, and the website should easily lead him or her to the desired content through its design and usability.

Therefore, the influence of individual motives in the online sport communication process should not be overlooked. These motives influence people’s needs, and online sport communication should address those needs. The remaining five components of the model—factors three to seven—address the online needs of sport consumers. These five factors are not limited to websites; rather, in today’s ever-expanding technological environment, they also apply to other forms of online communication such as social media, digital videos, podcasts, and smartphone apps.

Factor 3: Content of the sport entity’s online media

The third component of the MOSC focuses on content. A sport entity’s digital communication should deliver content that not only meets users’ needs but also reflects positively on the mission and values of the organization. That said, users desire a range of content, and the sport entity should provide it quickly.

Factor 4: Design of the sport entity’s online media

The fourth component of the model reflects the importance of design in online sport communication. Whereas sport entities are bound by the design and interactivity features of social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, the design of their own website can influence user interaction. Interactivity differentiates online sport communication from other media and, when well enabled, can greatly enhance communication with sport consumers.

Factor 5: Performance of the sport entity’s online media

The fifth component of the MOSC focuses on the performance of online sport communication platforms and the importance of enabling users to access and download certain features in a timely manner. When sport entities rely on third parties to deliver their messages, it is incumbent upon the organisation to choose partners that provide a consistent and reliable service. For example, if an organisation has its own podcast, it may choose to make it available for download via its own website as well as through third-party applications such as iTunes or Stitcher. The organisation must select these third-party applications carefully.

Factor 6: Usability of the sport entity’s online media

The sixth component involves usability—that is, people’s ability to use the features of the site to gather the desired sport information. If a sport entity’s communication mechanisms are not readily usable, communication becomes much more challenging, and the sport entity struggles to get its messages out to its publics.

Factor 7: Commerce of the sport entity’s online media

The seventh and final component of the model focuses on commerce. The internet is not only a highly effective communication tool but also one with great potential to promote and market products; the role of online sport communication in marketing the entity is examined as part of this component.

Summary 

The components of the Model for Online Sport Communication are instrumental in cultivating high-quality communication and helping the sport entity develop an effective online presence. It is a model which will be useful for students and practitioners alike.

Strategic Sport Communication

Adapted from:

Strategic Sport Communication

Pederson et al

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