Tuesday, 27 May 2014

The wonderful world of netball

by Gen Simmons@gensimmons1

Contact…stepping…three feet…here if you need… all common netball terms that I’ve become quite accustomed to in my 15 months working in netball.

Beginning the role of Digital Communications Manager with the ANZ Championship netball league in February of last year I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I had played netball back at school so I knew the rules but I can’t say I followed the sport at the elite level. Boy has that changed now!

Last year I was thrown straight into the ANZ Championship Pre-Season in my first week of work and I quickly picked up on all I needed to know about the ten teams (five from Australia, five from New Zealand). By the time the 14 week season was underway I was able to reel off all 120 players and come the three week Finals Series I could tell you what all the players social media presence was like – ie. Caitlin Bassett LOVES cupcakes and Wendy Frew has the cutest little boy called Archie. Getting through my first season juggling a website, an ANZ Championship eNewsletter, a Facebook Page, two Twitter accounts, a YouTube channel and Instagram was quite a relief.

This season I’ve felt much more comfortable with the ANZ Championship and I’ve been a lot more involved in the communications plan for the season so that I know what’s coming. In 2014 I’ve also taken on the Netball Australia and Australian Diamonds digital channels as Digital Communications Manager for Netball Australia so there has still been plenty of learning.

Currently we’re in Round 12 of the ANZ Championship and with two more rounds before Finals we still don’t know who will actually be playing finals and where they will be. It certainly keeps things interesting but is a nightmare for the operations and events team to plan.

My big thing that I’ve been working on recently is the ANZ Championship All-Star voting platform (http://www.anz-championship.com/all-star) which launched last Friday and is a major fan engagement tool. The All-Star Team is 100% fan voted and adds another element to our weekly digital plan.

The ANZ Championship channels run pretty similarly week to week during the season with reviews on Tuesdays, previews on Thursdays and game posts Sunday and Monday. I’ve found the things I need to plan for are the Netball Australia and Diamonds channels so that they are keeping populated with interesting content.

With the Netball Australia channels we try to keep a more organisational view and showcase out pathway and junior programs plus the different ways we engage with the community. The Facebook Page for Netball Australia was only created last year so it’s still building slowly with our larger fan base on our Diamonds Facebook Page.

The Diamonds Facebook and social media channels focus just on the Diamonds and can be a little bit more fun than the more neutral Netball Australia and ANZ Championship pages. With the Diamonds Squad and the Australian Commonwealth Games Team announced recently we’ve been able to generate a lot of interest and discussion which has been great. A highlight was running a few Twitter Q&A sessions with National Coach Lisa Alexander which we hope to do some more of in future.

As you can see the world of netball is pretty busy but it’s a lot of fun to work in especially in the digital space where you’re right there communicating with the passionate netball fans. Make sure you’re keeping an eye on all our channels during the ANZ Championship Finals, Commonwealth Games and the Test Series later this year as we’ve got some pretty exciting things planned!

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