Content marketing comes in many forms, shapes and sizes. All dependent on the subject matter, the source of information, the audience and the angle it's delivered.
As the Content Manager at Oulala it is my job to produce interesting, insightful and entertaining content which needs to be as engaging as possible to our community. Due to being a start-up, this content must also be relevant to outside audiences and appeals enough to readers that it diverts the external communities to the site. Of course this also aids brand awareness too.
Football is a great source when producing content. There are new stories every day, matches every week, most days in-fact. Different competitions such as the Premier League, other European Leagues, domestic cup competitions, European cup competitions and also international football. Even transfer activity in the summer when there is no football. It's a 24/7 game, non-stop news.
However, stats bring a challenge. Many hold the view that stats are generally boring. Standing alone, with no depth, they are. But with the right story and the right creative angle they can be as entertaining and interesting as you want them to be.
Each morning I review the football news. Looking at what the hottest topics are. My aim is to find anything that pops out as subject matter that can be covered from a statistical point of view. Sometimes it's simple, such as a record being broken, but sometimes it can take a while to be inspired by a hot topic and create a statistical angle from it.
Whether it's a big game approaching and a simple comparison of the two teams past statistical performances against each other or a particular player facing his previous club and the angle being that of his performance stats for both clubs since his move. If one player is winning rave reviews about his recent performances a comparison of himself against himself, either in the current season against his previous season or in the first half of the season against the second half of the season, the options are pretty much endless.
The database makes the stats available to sort and retrieve the relevant information and then to compile it into an article reviewing the specific teams or players. An infographic, which are of course also hot at the moment, is produced by the designers to add an extra visual element to the content, which is also very useful from a social media angle, aiding the sharing and engagement of the content.
OulalaGames was born in August 2013. A start-up European fantasy football game based in Malta. It has many unique gaming features, many of which are powered by big-data.
One primary feature is its points system, which is at present the most diverse points system in the fantasy football industry. Its matrix is made up of 70 different criteria, that's 70 different actions that any footballer on the pitch could perform at any given time. Whether it's a successful tackle, a block or simply scoring a goal. Every moment is recorded and accounted for. The masters of big data and statistics in football are of course Opta. Oulala's relationship with Opta is a vital and integral part of the game.
Opta feed Oulala data that includes 300 individual actions that players perform during live games from the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, German Bundesliga, Italian Serie A and French Ligue 1. That's 48 football matches every weekend. Oulala's system receives the data from Opta as soon as each action is performed and sorts the 70 specific criteria it uses for the game and then transfers the data into points, again live. The entire process takes less than 30 seconds, from the actual event happening to the points appearing live on the site and into a user's team.
Oulala's database of football stats and player performance data covers the last three seasons in the main five European leagues. It includes 98 clubs and over 3,000 players. Each week during the season, approximately 1,200 of those players are involved for their respective clubs.
Each and every week an average of 60,000 actions performed by these players are recorded by Oulala's system.
It's no secret that the use of stats and data is growing rapidly in the world of football. Watching a game on TV or reading a match report in the paper, you are presented with a whole host of performance based statistics.
Each article produced is normally 200-300 words long. It is shared to a select number of contacts in the UK media and each article is usually published by 10-15 different external sites, including national and local newspapers, TV broadcasters, online magazines, sports and football news sites and independently run blogs.
Since October 2014, I have produced approximately 125 data driven articles. They have mainly appeared on UK websites but have covered a total of 22 countries. The content has featured on almost 200 unique websites, totalling over 1,300 individual publications.
Big data is crucial for content creation and marketing in sport. The options in how you choose to use it are endless.
Russell Cane, Content Manager at Oulala Games
You can follow Russ on twitter here: @RussCane