Normally, events and competitions provide the basis for Touch Football Australia’s (TFA) content for their social and web channels.
So when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and all events and competitions were suspended, TFA had to reassess their content plans and generate content that would engage their community in different ways during this time, when they can’t be engaged through on-field action, and have more time and a bigger appetite for digital content than ever.
Here are some of the initiatives implemented:
In lieu of being able to access athletes for interviews and profiles, TFA have begun writing more profiles on their elite players, which have been driving surprisingly good traffic to our website. With people all over the world experiencing challenges at the moment, it’s a good time for us to share stories about some of the challenges our athletes have faced and overcome, including Logan Flanagan’s story about living with Type 1 Diabetes, which was the highest performing content on TFA’s social channels and website for the week, Sammy-Jo Curtis’s story about missing her Australian debut due to COVID-19 and Aaliyah’s Paki’s story about 18 months out of the sport due to injury. TFA found the story angles by surveying their elite playing group and asking about the biggest challenges they’ve faced in life.
Skills enhancement content
People missing playing sport and looking for new things to do provided an opportunity to promote drills people can do to improve their Touch skills. With this in mind, TFA had Australian Men’s Open Coach, Phil Gyemore, put together written instructions covering ‘5 Touch Football Drills You Can Do In Isolation’. As well as running on TFA’s channels, Men’s Health magazine ran the article on their channels: https://www.menshealth.com.au/touch-footy-tips-to-do-in-isolation. TFA are currently having Australian players film drills clips from their homes so we can run drills videos on their website too.
The Late Switch podcast
TFA had planned to begin a podcast in line with the 2020 NRL Touch Premiership (NRLTP), hosted by Touch commentator Scott MacAllister. When the NRLTP was suspended, TFA decided to proceed with the weekly podcast without the NRLTP focus, with guests including current and former Australian Open players, coaches and referees. TFA run the full videos on the Touch Football Australia website (https://touchfootball.com.au/the-late-switch-podcast/) and run short teaser video clips throughout the week to promote the full podcast/videos.
Without live sport to watch on TV, people have an appetite for watching old games of Touch, so TFA have been running full games on their YouTube channel, including one for each #ThrowbackThursday. TFA gave presenting rights for full game reruns to their partner Mater.
Ballers in the Kitchen
With #CoronaCooking trending while people have more time to cook in isolation, TFA have started a weekly ‘cooking show’ style segment that runs on Instagram and Facebook stories. TFA organised for elite players, coaches and other identities from their community to film and take photos of themselves cooking at home.
TFA Club Podcasts
With face-to-face club administrator servicing currently restricted, TFA has begun producing a podcast to provide servicing (tips, advice, guidelines and ideas) to their sport’s administrators via a podcast.
Australia is now beginning to ease restrictions and some states are looking to return to community sport, with strict physical distancing guidelines in place.
By Alice Ellis, Touch Football Australia