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Re: Women´s Cycling Round table
« on: December 15, 2015, 11:58 »
Question 4.
Much of the promotion of Women's cycling comes from people like yourselves. What could "we" do better? How can The Social media sector/teams/sponsors/races promote women's cycling in a better way?

Cycling Direct Stuart
We could be far more pro-active and work between ourselves in a far more open fashion to better the sport.  Currently it's all so secret and intrinsic "jobs for the in few" at the expense of the sport.

Stefan Wyman
I think it needs to a far more joined up approach.  Some teams are good at social media, some aren’t. The good ones all have their niche. Races at the top end, especially some in the USA have fantastic websites, and use of social media.  I see under the WT proposals a minimum amount of video coverage needs to be produced, but I think we will see a vast array of quality and types of coverage. 

Some kind of review of current practice needs to be carried out and a standard formula (Minimum standards) put in place as part of the registration process of a race.  For example, every race should have a website with a minimum amount of information on it….like a start time, a sheet of places and times the race passes, results.   

A simple central twitter account with someone travelling the World Tour Scene tweeting directly from races would be easy, cheap (ish) and hugely productive.  A central pool of photo’s for teams/press etc to use, timing chips so results are quickly published.  Simple things, huge benefits. 

In women’s cycling, teams are good at highlighting their own achievements, but actually, we all need to be a little less self-focused, and try to grow the sport in general.  Each slice of bigger cake is going to be much more fulfilling than a big wedge of the tiny little cup cake we have now.

Guy Elliot
In SweetSpot we have a great PR team led by Pete Hodges with Grace Metcalf.  They focus heavily on social media right across the year and especially in the build up to the race in June.  They find it tremendously frustrating getting teams to even reply to e mails asking for information that we could use on social media for their benefit.  When I mention this I often hear "Oh teams have limited resources" but failing to reply to simple e mails asking for very basic information makes life difficult for them - so for example we want to put out pre-race publicity on all teams and they are trying to hit print deadlines only to tell me despite several e mail reminders quite a few teams have not even replied or called.  I also have to say I find (some) riders' agents very difficult to deal with on occasion - simply not answering e mails or returning calls; there have been many occasions when I have thought I am totally wasting my time trying to contact them.

It would be better if we were all joined up on a social media strategy but I am not sure how we could make that happen.  If we could somehow work better as organisers, teams, riders etc that would help and I think if the UCI appointed someone like Sarah Connelly as a Social Media guru that would make significant progress - she does a massive amount of work, entirely unpaid as a supporter, and attacks everything with such boundless enthusiasm and knows everyone.  We should be using that  talent and enthusiasm. She is slightly eccentric which is a plus as she looks at things in a different way which is just what we need.   I also get mildly frustrated at initiatives that are launched to change women's sport which then fade away.  Purely as an example, when a recent women's cycling initiative was about to be launched in London I heard about it just by chance and was approached by several major national sports marketing companies asking what it was and whether  they should attend.  I tried to get information on what the launch was about but could not get anything and so the marketing companies didn't turn up.  Some of these initiatives seem like a series of well intentioned actions that no proper Marketing Director would sign off as they claim they are going to change the world whilst we all know they won't.  That creates an own goal.

If you look at Rabobank and Wiggle Honda they pretty much tick all the boxes in the way social media works and interfaces with organisers.  They contact us before The Women's Tour agreeing a communications and marketing strategy  with Pete and Grace and they get it bang on so I would say they are the benchmark for what we need and they prove it can be done.  I also like and respect the way Bigla handle their social media and several other teams do their best on limited budgets but Rabobank and Wiggle Honda set the standard.

Yolanda Álvarez
I think we cannot do better as most of us do this out of any economical interest. On top of that, more than often we see how official sources use our information, time and work and claim it is theirs! We could report this aloud and proud so that sponsors, promoters etc do not take advantage of out time and effort and concentrate in their own stuff.

Social media sector has contributed a great deal to women's cycling growth. Still, a better way could be paying more attention to riders. Most have interesting personal and/ or professional stories which pass unnoticed

Karl Lima
Focus on the positive sides of women cycling instead of looking for problems. I have been guilty of the latter myself.

Fan-made media is great but I think the real potential is in the teams and races engaging with the public better. Some teams are great and they're hard to fault, given their limited resources but some could do so much more. Perhaps teams 'buddying up' with their 'home' races for cross-promotion would help. Or races pooling their resources for race communications on social channels. To build a following for a group of races rather than races acting in silos. The potential fans are there, it just needs to be easier to access for everyone.

Sarah Connolly
Grow our audiences, and keep the emphasis on what newbies need to know.  I don't always live by this, but making it easy for new fans is the primary thing.  I remember how weird I found everything, and cycling *is* complicated.  I personally struggle with my balance of anger and  positivity, and it can be super-hard to have to explain to people when they get to the "WTAF?" stage of understanding the sport, especially when (like I was) new fans know about sports that have more equality, like athletics, or swimming, or triathlon. 

And we should promote each other more.  Again, it can be hard if one feels that other people don't promote you, or seem to actively not want to share an audience, but it's the right thing to do - someone might not like my "voice" or approach or whatever, but they could follow a link and find someone who is perfect for them.  Yeah, they're not following me, but they wouldn't be anyway, and now they're following the sport.  Races & teams can do the same - share, share, share, and everyone benefits. 

Re races and teams - there's some great examples of this - I love how Boels, as just one example, help fans follow races via Richard Steege's livetweeting, and Bigla had a great social media strategy as a brand new team, and how Vårgårda grew their media coverage, from a live ticker & radio, to fixed cameras on finish-line, to adding fixed cameras on the hill too, to live stream, un-geo-restricted.  If a race or a team thinks "well, I don't have the money", talk to other places that do it well - Energiewacht Tour, for example, is completely staffed by volunteers, and have wonderful internet coverage and social media.   Ask for advice, and for teams, see if any riders are up for getting involved (paying them a bit more, of course).  I have always had a dream of the UCI doing this, pulling together a set of examples of where promotion is done well, with tips on how races/teams made it happen, but until then, keep reaching out until someone answers!

Suze Clemitson
It would be great to see the UCI really up their social media presence as far as women's cycling is concerned and become a real part of the social media conversation around the sport. I'd love to see teams/sponsors providing social media hubs at races so fans could get connected at races and really build the narrative around a race. More fan consultation run in real time through social media to build the level of engagement and give fans the sense they're being listened to. Sponsors to make special offers linked to riders and races they're involved with - giving away freebies to fans who have the codeword posted on social media, for example.

Jessi Braverman
Promote each others’ work. Ask good questions. Give good answers. Challenge teams and race organisations to set a high standard. Hold the governing bodies and the media and brands accountable (over and over and over again). Celebrate the change we see (yay to female sport director course with scholarships on offer!) while pointing to places where we still hope to see change (boo to riders that haven’t been paid and are without recourse to have their contracts enforced).

Frame it all as an equality issue. To me – that’s the biggest difference between women’s cycling and men’s cycling. The latter is sport and entertainment. The former, as the Aviva Women’s Tour so aptly demonstrates, is a social movement.

I will never forget when Guy Elliott of Aviva Women’s Tour said to me: “The disparity between what is on offer for men and what is on offer for women at the highest level of cycling is a commentary on the inequality endemic in our society. There are moral and social reasons for promoting equality. The objective of the Women’s Tour is to send a strong message that women do not have to be second best.”

It is a sentiment I share but have never so eloquently articulated. And I thought yes. This. This is it.

Rinse. Repeat.
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  • « Last Edit: December 17, 2015, 10:13 by just some guy »
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