Content is king.
It has been since the inception of the Internet and it forever will be. Bill Gates was quick to point this out in 1996.
“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting. The broad opportunities for most companies involve supplying information or entertainment. No company is too small to participate.”
Twenty3 started life as Football Whispers. Not only would we produce original content for our own site, but we’d also provide written and video support to partners such as Sky Sports, ESPN, Yahoo Sport, Optus Sport and Relevent Sports Group – the company behind the International Champions Cup.
We had to assemble a content team full of chameleons, capable of pivoting from an in-depth scout report on a player to producing an on-the-whistle match report on the same day.
Now servicing the likes of Squawka and LiveScore, our content team – who cover everything from editorial to video – must be just as nimble and knowledgeable. Concise but informative. Fronting it up is Tom Bodell, the Head of Content Services at Twenty3.
“We have to be whatever the client wants us to be. We have to be able to cater to their needs.
“Not everyone wants to dive headfirst into data. Not everyone can. Some are at the start of their data journey and want help understanding and improving their data output. They recognise that it is a specialist field. It’s about horses for courses and you have to know what you’re dealing with and how you can assist.”
One day, the content team can be putting together a video focusing on a particular player or team. The next, they’re tasked with creating an announcement video for Cristiano Ronaldo’s big reveal as LiveScore’s Official Global Brand Ambassador.
No two projects are the same, which is why it’s important that Tom can call upon such a diverse and nimble but highly knowledgeable team:
“The beauty of the Content Services team is that it’s full of experts in their relevant fields, but as everyone is so versatile and open-minded we can be very flexible for our customers. Yes, our knowledge of how to make the most out of data makes us unique, but that’s by no means all that we do – just look at the content we produced for LiveScore in their announcement of Cristiano Ronaldo as their Official Global Brand Ambassador, for example.
“Given we’re a relatively small team, we pride ourselves on providing customers with that personal touch and intimacy, while also offering the professionalism and expertise that you’d expect from a heavyweight unit.”
Tom, who has worked in the world of content for close to a decade now, knows how demanding the content world is. He was part of the team sent to America to cover the 2018 International Champions Cup when the company was covering all aspects of digital for Relevent Sports Group.
His and the team’s fluent use of the Content Toolbox allows Twenty3 to offer a point of difference for our clients. It’s a product that has given our Content Services outfit the power to produce better content more efficiently.
“I’ve previously worked for a football club and on a newsdesk. In both roles, I would’ve loved the Content Toolbox. We didn’t have the access to graphic design resources. You could get the odd match graphic and that was on a good day. I would have loved that access to supplement the content I was producing.“
The demand within the content sphere has dramatically changed during Tom’s time working in this sector.
“It used to be enough for a full-time match report to include player quotes. Now people want to see stats. They want to analyse games themselves or at least have the option to do so with the stats and graphics published by those posting content.
“Immediacy has never been more important. This is where I feel the Content Toolbox comes into its own. We’ve been producing content surrounding the Euros for LiveScore. An example: we covered Italy vs. Spain in the Euros semi-final and the prevailing narrative was Pedri was having a belter of a game.
“With the Toolbox, we could go in and look at his live numbers. Better than that, I could show you he’s completed all of his passes with a graphic. That is what puts you as content producers above competitors.”
The skill isn’t necessarily reacting to the new trends but predicting them. Due to the team put together by the management, Twenty3 have made a habit of being trendsetters, not followers.
“I joined the Football Whispers in 2017 because I wanted to be at a smart company. The avant-garde at football content’s data revolution. We’re the first company I’ve worked for that tries to find a solution to a problem.
“Everyone is pressed for money, time and resources. It’s easy to save money; it’s a lot harder to have the ideas and follow through with them for making life easier and quicker. At the end of the day, that is what the Content Toolbox does. You can create more, better and quicker. We’re always improving and refining it, too.”
The Content Toolbox is built with users in mind. We’ve been able to assemble a kit that we feel helps users become experts. That extends to internal staff. With clients to service and the world of football news moving at a ferocious pace, time is invaluable.
Tom recognises this and leans heavily on the tools available to him to ensure everything runs smoothly.
“The Toolbox is an unbelievable time saver. Words are great – my degree is in journalism – but I’m at this point where I can appreciate the fact visualisations can tell a story better than words can.
“I can make a point about a team and back it up with graphics or visualisations. I can look at average position maps, passes and movements maps, heat maps and flank attacks to support an argument. You can turn opinion into fact and arm the reader or viewer with knowledge they won’t get elsewhere.”