Content brand of the week: Manchester City, the clever content club leaving the rest of the league feeling blue.

I thought football fans couldn’t read?

Woah there, yellow card. Not only can we read, but some of us can write as well. Sort of.

I’ll take your word for it but how can a football club be a content brand?

Football clubs (and their players) have long been treated as brands but more recently we have seen them embrace content as a means of engaging their fans. The current form team in the content marketing world has to be reigning Premier League Champions, Manchester City.

Ok, let’s talk tactics

You’ve twisted my arm. First off, City’s website has had a right going over. What would have once been nothing more than the latest scores, a ticket booking line and a black and white picture of 75 goal legend Ernie Toseland (funniest name I could find), now resembles that of a classy media publisher.

City homepage

Posh innit? More important though is what’s behind that fancy carousel and the neat tiles with the clear CTAs.

Wait, there are more important things than clear CTAs?

Seemingly so. City has clearly embraced the content marketing stalwarts of storytelling and social media – most obviously seen in its #citystories strand, where users are encouraged to share personal stories about the club.

City saved my life

Other examples of this like ‘City Tales’ pop up all over the website and on top of mega social media stats…

City's social stats

…the club has its own television channel, newsletter and news feed. Much like Eric Cantona, these guys are keen to engage the crowd.

Hold on, City has thousands of people watching from the stands at matches every week, why does it need to be content marketing?

The club may have thousands of people watching ‘once’ a week but City wants its fans or ‘Cityzens’ to be engaged throughout the week and throughout the close season. This means the club needs to be producing more than just the odd seven goals on the weekend.

Don’t just drop in terms like Cityzens without explaining yourself.

I thought the ref might not have seen that one. Cityzens is the pun-tastic word that represents the end goal of the club’s marketing endeavours. Cityzens are (paying) members of the Manchester City community and theoretically the most loyal fans. It’s also a play on the traditional nickname for the club as a whole – ‘the citizens’.

The Cityzens membership scheme is the last piece of the puzzle that tells us Manchester City are following the content marketing rulebook to a tee. The club is attempting to build a giant database of loyal, engaged users by taking an ‘always on’ mindset to its content, storytelling and social media. A database that will eventually do what any good content marketer wants their audience to do – part with some cash.

At the end of the day, no one can give them any stick, they must be over the moon.

Where next?
More posts by Matt Comras
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