Sometimes ideas come to me in the weirdest place. This week, whilst in the middle of one of the best concerts I have ever heard in my life I realised something. An Epiphany. Which is quite ironic as a) I was born on Epiphany (6th January) and b) I was in a church (The Union Chapel). There I was listening to Scala sign Creep when I simply had to stop and write down my thoughts.
We sit at our laptops, PC’s, iPad’s and the like writing all of our good stuff on a daily basis, sharing it with a small community of like minded people. We are in essence fuelling our own fire. But there will come a time when our product will become a commodity, homogenised. There will be little left to cover and then we will all start writing about the same things. I dread the day Beckham announces his retirement for instance.
When the Euro2012 starts next year we will all be watching, listening, writing and reading about the same thing. Every game will be previewed and reviewed from every different angle there is, but the end result will never change. But there is another world out there. A world where people do not spend hours online, not just because they can’t but because they do not want to. What can we do to reach out to them?
Hang on in there – I am getting to the point.
Last season I emailed 100 non league teams and asked them if they wanted me to provide them with content for their programmes. I didn’t ask for a fee – just a credit if they used an article and a copy of the match day programme for posterity. Out of the 100, 31 bothered to respond, and 29 said they would love to have stuff. They ranged from the likes of Kidderminster Harriers and Cambridge United in the Blue Square Bet Premier down to the likes of Lordswood in the Kent Senior League. The articles were all generic football ones – some of which that had appeared on these very pages such as our look back at Subbuteo or our Non League manifesto. Examples of how the articles looked can be found here. For some clubs the requirement to produce a programme is an expensive chore (and it is a league requirement) so any help that can be provided is a welcome opportunity.
So why don’t we, as a community, offer some help. Many people already contribute to their own club’s match day magazine or periodicals. But what if 50 of us all donated 1 article? That would mean that any club who wanted to take part would have two less pages to worry about for the whole season, but also would be putting well written, topical and independent articles in front of their fans. Fans who more often that not will have never of heard of who we are, and of our work. Fans who will then come back for more from our websites.
It doesn’t have to be brand new or exclusive content. It won’t harm our search engine rankings by replicating material off line. We all have an article or two that we are quite proud of I am sure that we could donate. And think of the warm glow you will get in seeing your article in print. Who know where it may lead to in the future?
All we need to do is create a simple portal where clubs can go and download the articles themselves. It would take all of 10 minutes to set this up using Calaméo (an example of how easy here). They can them use as few or as many as they want.
That is my idea. Not revolutionary, not life changing but one area where we can give a very little back to the small clubs. So who is in?
STOP PRESS – 22 JUNE 2011 – The portal is now live and kicking – head on over to Nonleaguenotes.co.uk to see how it all works.
BTW – Scala were fantastic. If you ever get a chance to see them live then go…especially the cute one to the right of the conductor’s elbow in the above video.