Engaging the mobile generation
With teams of mobile reporters now working at all major European handball events, the EHF engages quickly and effectively with its continuously growing fan base.
It was at the Women’s EHF EURO 2014 in Hungary and Croatia that the EHF Media and Communications Department first used mobile journalism for its coverage and employed mobile journalists as part of its media team. However, 2016 marked the year in which the mobile journalism strategy showed its full potential.
The smartphone has become the defining device when it comes to news consumption. At the Men’s EHF EURO 2016 in Poland, mobile and tablet usage accounted for 54 per cent of visits to the official website, www.ehf-euro.com. For the first time, mobile use had exceeded visits from desktops.
From a social media perspective, the EHF’s social media channels on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat – channels which are aimed primarily at mobile users – have an accumulated following of more than 500,000 people.
The challenge for the EHF’s communications team is how to produce and create media-rich content for a variety of channels to engage quickly and effectively with its audience. The answer is: mobile journalism.
For the Men’s EHF EURO 2016 in Poland a team of eight mobile journalists joined the EHF Media Team. Training was provided with a two-day mobile journalism workshop led by former BBC journalist, Mark Egan, in Warsaw. Additional channels such as the “EHF_Live” Twitter account and “EHF Live” on Snapchat were created as dedicated platforms for mobile journalism.
This record-breaking event saw the EHF’s digital channels grow their reach by more than 300%, engaging an audience of more than 60 million thanks in no small part to the extensive behind-the-scenes content gathered by the mobile reporters.
Over the course of the 2015/16 season as well as the beginning of the 2016/17 season, mobile reporters regularly covered the “Match of the Week” in the VELUX EHF Champions League and teams of three mobile reporters were part of the EHF Media Teams at the Women’s EHF FINAL4 in Budapest and the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne.
Furthermore, mobile reporters covered the European Beach Handball Tour Finals in Thessaloniki, the U16 Beach Handball EUROs in Nazaré and the EHF Beach Handball Champions Cup on Gran Canaria for the first time.
The handball year ended with the Women’s EHF EURO 2016 in Sweden, and the coverage provided by the EHF’s mobile reporters over the course of the 15-day event proved that within the span of less than 12 months the EHF’s mobile journalism strategy had taken the next step forward.
A dedicated Snapchat mobile reporter was added to the team for the first time, bringing a new level of personality, creativity and originality to the coverage, unleashing the potential of Snapchat as a captivating storytelling tool in particular for young audiences.
The results gather at the end of the event showed further growth for the EHF’s channels. On the @EHF_Live Twitter account, more than 1.2 million impressions were reached and almost 500 new followers gained. An increase of 16 per cent and the EHF EURO Instagram account more than 1,500 followers were added.
Of course the aim of the EHF’s communications strategy is not just about the online world but also ‘real world’ engagement with fans.
At the Women’s EHF EURO in Sweden, the story of a fan’s lost flag turned into what was to become a truly memorable experience: