Why people must appreciate the business model behind the content

The sheer volume of accessible content in the age of social media and the world wide web is almost impossible to quantify.

Gone are the days where having your written (or spoken) word is limited to those successful few who have forged out a career in journalism or an equivalent profession.

In the modern age we’re all publishers – just a click away from getting our voice heard. And that is continuing to pose problems and blur the lines between the professional and the norm.

The young generation now expects content at its fingertips. It’s now the norm. They have no real understanding of where it comes from – they think someone like them is generating it.

Not an office full of journalists, content specialists or otherwise.

This poses a challenge for those heading up said publications, who have to consider the business model behind the content.

Back in October, we had our own experience of this first hand regarding this story about Scott Moore.

This story started actually started through a source of my own a few days prior. When an anonymous local newspaper story mentioned the incident, that made me decide that we ought to run a story, but that we should try and verify it as best as we could first.

Trigger numerous calls between me and the site editor, and eventual author of the story, John Davidson. He contacted the Wakefield club, the player and his agent for comment, and to make them aware of the story we were running.

After a variety of responses, that shall remain private, we made the decision to run with the story that night, Sunday October 16, after numerous edits and plenty of deliberation, knowing that we would want to try and beat the publication of the Monday trade papers.

Within barely 10 minutes, the crux of the story had been picked up by the excellent Facebook page, Rugby League Banter Page, in an image.

It didn’t credit us, and it got a lot of attention. It led to a Twitter exchange with the people who run the page, and to be fair, we ironed out the issue. The point was made that we had spent a lot of time sourcing the story, taken all the legal risk with it, and they had jumped on it and almost pinched the traffic.

While of course in this day and age, content is recycled on a regular basis, it was important that we made the point here, and the guys behind the page did understand. If we aren’t getting the traffic, we don’t generate the revenue, and that means we cannot pay the journalists who produce this sort of story.

In the grand scheme of things, our little experience doesn’t make a great deal of difference.

However, when a social media powerhouse the size of The Sport Bible gets involved, then it goes up a notch.

The guys at Squawka have (rightly) taken offence to their being blatantly ripped off by The Sport Bible, which boasts a phenomenal 9.2 million likes.

It’s easy to share someone else’s content. But if that someone else stops generating the content, then where do you go?

There are of course pages that are powered by volunteers – that’s the very nature of social. But clearly, a page like Squawka is reliant on professionals researching and generating its content.

Their business model, of which I have no inside knowledge, is surely to generate revenue through advertising and partnerships, which will be negatively affected should their traffic or engagement levels decrease as a result of their content being ripped off elsewhere.

The third example that I will draw from is more from a consumer level. People reading the content, who may have in the past paid for it in newspapers and magazines, want it for free and don’t have an appreciation that those behind the content have to make a living.

Unfortunately, that can mean some intrusive advertisements.

One I’ve noticed a few newspaper websites use of late is the Google poll, where users have to answer a minimum of one question before reading the story, just one click.

But this is too much for some:

I posed the question “would you rather pay to see the article or answer the question” and the answer was effectively do neither. Publishers can’t win!

So as content becomes even more bloated and regular, the business models behind the content become thinner and thinner.

There will be a tipping point eventually – here’s hoping that quality prevails.

Sport’s strangest rules and regulations

There is a heavy reliance on rules and regulations in sports, but what happens when certain unusual circumstances play their part? We took a look at some of the strangest sporting rules.

Ever been timed out in cricket for not getting your pads on quick enough? Maybe you forgot to sign your scorecard in golf and got disqualified from the tournament? Well if you have then you’ve been unlucky enough to get caught out by two of sports more unusual rules.

SBO’s new infographic has compiled some of the world’s weirdest sporting rules, scouring the rulebooks for ridiculous and long-forgotten statutes that still technically apply.

The rules seem to be so niche that you wonder how they ever became an official part of the game. Just imagine losing a game of chess because the referee rules that you are showing too much cleavage or having to replay a game in tennis because you simply took your cap off during a match.

Others include;

  • The driver who gets the most mentions in Formula-E receives a boost of power to their electric engine
  • In archery, each arrow must be marked with the initials or name of the archer and you are allowed only 40 seconds to fire each arrow.
  • Taking your shirt off during an athletics event will result in disqualification.
  • In baseball, if the ball becomes lodged within the umpire’s mask, then all runners will advance one base.

At some point or other, following a freakish or specific incident perhaps, these rules were officially written down and ratified. Only every now and then do they ever come up, and that’s usually in a pub quiz round.

Whether those circumstances will crop up in sport at some point in the future is beyond us, but sleep soundly knowing that the rule book has you covered.

Five things we can learn from working in sport

It’s sometimes easy to forget the life lessons that you can get from working in sport.

It only occurred to me recently when someone asked me what makes a successful sports team, and how those theories could be applied to my own life – both personally and in business.

Everyone’s opinions of what makes a winning team may be different, here are five of mine:

Stability

I’m a firm believer that a successful team is a stable one. On the hunt for success, sports teams and businesses can experience a large turnover of players/people. While making changes is necessity to grow, you’re best adopting a pattern where small quality improvements are made around a steady core which not only promotes stability, but ensures personal development and growth too.

My best sporting example of this has to be Featherstone Rovers rugby league club. In 2009, they finished sixth in the Championship. Over the close season, they added just one player and went on to finish top of the table for the next three seasons.

Work Ethic

The best teams work for each other at all times. There are no slackers and there are no egos. Even when someone is having an off day, the others pull together to fill that void. Sometimes when more than one person is having a bad day, a successful team will pull together to find the result in whatever way they can, maybe if it isn’t conventional or the prettiest way of doing things. No one has ever won anything without working hard.

Dedication

To be the best at something you’ve got to not only want it, but work at it. The superstar achievers of British sport, such as Andy Murray and Lewis Hamilton, have been so focused, dedicated and determined on their end goal from a very young age, and they are now at the pinnacle of their lives. They have reached the peak of the industry that they work in. It takes a special kind of person to want something so much that they become incredibly dedicated to making it happen.

Togetherness

This perhaps ties in with the three above. And I know you’ll say that not everyone in winning teams get on – take Andy Cole and Teddy Sheringham in Manchester United’s 1999 treble winning football team for example – but generally team spirit and togetherness is crucial. The ability to stand next to someone and believe that they will do what it takes to achieve the end goal, and also knowing that they think the same of you.

Taking each week as it comes

It’s a sporting cliche. “We’re just focused on the next game.” Sure, there’s no harm in having a long-term aim or an overriding goal. But if you don’t focus on the here and now too, achieving those goals at the end become an even greater challenge.

Got any more to add? Let me know in the comments!