By Seb Lauzier, MD Elan

“What are we doing wrong? We spent a small fortune getting these guys involved and after a week we only have 702 views on Youtube… why aren’t the numbers higher on this video?”

If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard a sports sponsor say words to this effect..

First things first, the content probably isn’t the problem. Hopefully it’s made to a high standard (sorry this may sound old school but I just don’t buy “it’s only for digital so it’s OK if it’s a bit rough around the edges”. With every year and certainly each generation, expectations around production standards are going up, not down).

So let’s assume the content is decent. It’s been thought through, maybe even as part of a series. Perhaps it involves a personality or two that people might actually know about, which will have cost the sponsor and/or their agency a bit of money. So the content is worth watching.

Most of the time my first question is: who agreed to publish it?

Sometimes at this point, there’s a pregnant pause and mouths slowly fall open. At which point I say: please don’t tell me you’re pinning your hopes on a sponsor’s youtube page, or on the rights-holder helping you out by re-tweeting or posting your video.

Not all sponsors do this – the savvy ones will spend two dollars on syndication and content placement for every dollar they spend producing it – but too often in my experience agencies and sponsors in sport plan and make the content and only then think about where it’s going.

Sometimes you get lucky and create a viral video, but it’s rare. If you want eyeballs you have to start by asking where they’re coming from and what platform they’re on. Or who are they following and being influenced by? Because here’s the thing: only when you sit down and do that first will you create content that is going to resonate on that digital platform, content the client will want again. You may even end up cutting four subtly different versions of the same piece for non-exclusive syndication clients, but by thinking about that before you hire a camera or start a storyboard, you put yourself ahead of the game.

Without wishing to sound all Jerry McGuire, you might be better off entering into a meaningful, targeted dialogue with one syndication partner and giving them exactly what they want, rather than creating something you hope everyone will want to put out, or watch.

And if the video is for your own platforms, the principles are the same: sit down first, figure out where the content’s going and how it needs to be produced. And if you need help with that part, just like one of our global clients, get in touch with Elan Media Solutions because we’d love to help.