Utilising major events to boost participation.

Written by Natalie Doyle

May 25, 2022

Ellen White celebrating a goal for England Women

2022 is an exciting year for women’s sport.  We’ve already had the Winter Olympics, Six Nations and the Cricket World Cup and we still have the Football Euros, Commonwealth Games, Rugby World Cup and Rugby League World Cup to come!  Inevitably, when women’s sport is in the headlines, more women and girls start to consider taking up those sports, so how do you utilise major events to boost participation in your club? Here are our top tips:

1. Think about how people are going to find you. The most likely route that people will take if they want to find somewhere to play a certain sport is to Google the sport and where they live. Give it a try for your area and see whether your website or social media channels come up. Perhaps you might have some budget to do some Google advertising whilst the major event is taking place? There is also lots of guidance online around Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), which basically means making sure your website is more likely to come up in these searches.

2. Make sure all your information is up-to-date. If people do find your website or social media channels, that will be their first impression of your club so make sure it looks good! Add some recent content to show you are active online. Make sure that any contact details are accurate. Make sure that the person responsible for responding to messages from the website or on social media is prepared for the fact that there might be more enquiries than usual and that they respond in a welcoming, helpful manner.

3. Piggyback on hashtags. If people are discussing the events on social media, they will likely be using a particular hashtag to do so, so jump on that hashtag to promote how you can help people get involved with the sport. Use it to talk about your club and the opportunities you have to get involved in playing or in other areas.

4. Have a clear call to action. Depending on your sport, the major event might be taking place at a time when you’re not usually having training/fixtures. If people have been inspired by a major event, you only have a limited window of opportunity to hook them in, so could you maybe have a taster session running or an open day to capitalise on this potential additional interest? You could even arrange a screening of one of the matches/events so that people can come down and get a feel for the club. People don’t want to hear that their first chance to take part will be in a month’s time – they’ll look elsewhere or lose interest, so make sure you have something to offer them.

5. Give people a memorable experience. Essentially, people will stick with a new sport if they enjoy.it, so make sure that when they come down to their first session, or your open day, you give them the best experience possible.  I talk about this further in a previous blog post so feel free to check it out here.

It’s an exciting time so, most of all, enjoy that more people are watching the sport that you love. This year could really accelerate the strides that have been made in the visibility of women’s sport and we’re all lucky to be part of it.

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