Being an ardent Cricfan, ESPNCricinfo is like the Bible to me. Like the pug from those Vodafone advertisements, I have been religiously following ESPNCricinfo ever since I had an internet connection. ESPNCricinfo happened to be my drug which did justice to my life’s ideology, “Cricket is life, rest is mere noise”.
But, it longer seems to bring in that positivity and adrenaline rush. With a heavy heart, I am admitting the fact that it has lost its mojo. There are vultures flying around to grab the piece of meat and the threats are serious. If not taken care now, people will drift away to other players like Cricbuzz & Sportskeeda and within no time relevant website traffic is surely going for a toss leaving to substandard viewership, thereby killing the voice of Cricket eventually.
I’ll be very honest and unbiased. Here are the things which are completely lagging in ESPNCricinfo currently –
Not at all youth centric.
Cricinfo needs to break the barrier of monotonous technical reporting. Even if they have to write technical blogs, they should make it interesting by relating it to something a youngster likes. For example the latest TV shows like Game of Thrones, True Detective, Breaking Bad and Suits. Hire young blood. Don’t be the Nokia of smartphone. Please evolve!
No focus on girls.
Females constitute 48% of India’s population. In an era of feminism, Cricinfo offers nothing to that segment. They must create some content keeping their interests like Travel etc. in mind.
Bad mobile app.
Considering the fact a lot of population travels in cabs and mobile is the way, this is a must. They are missing out on user engagement. I do not use Cricinfo’s app. It has TOO MUCH of content. They need to declutter it and make the app swift.
Your average word length per blog is above 1000. They need to reduce it to maximum 700. And a slightly casual approach should be taken. It is high time Cricinfo invests in a bit of trolls and memes on social media with a bit of bantering on Twitter. Also, the Blogs are plain vanilla. No doodles/ caricatures are used to generate curiosity.
Presence on social media is less.
Cricinfo’s presence on Twitter, Instagram and Quora (the most user loving site after Facebook) is very minimal. Quora consists of variety of users with experts on History, NASA, Dating, Football, Books, and Photography etc. Moreover, there is no thought process to encourage user-generated content. Till day, I have not come across any promotion where guest writers are being encouraged.
The write-ups have become too insipid and the editor needs to revamp his strategy before it’s too late.
Bad Promotional Ads.
Also, their sponsored ads on Facebook aren’t well targeted. People do not have time to read so much. In case of Canvas ads, keep the best four with the catchiest titles for promotions. Half the people do not click because of the dull title. Ad copies need to break the shackle of mediocrity.
If I were to manage the editorial team for a day, here’s what I would put things to their table.
Play the man, not the odds –The fact that I have seen a lot of movies and sitcoms, I can easily play with the psychology of the reader as I understand what he/she wants. For example I wrote a blog why is Virat Kohli the Jesse Pinkman of Cricket, involving two of the most talked about personalities in Cricket and TV industry. It was not only admired but shared like anything.
I’d encourage more such write-ups.
Explain things to a layman – For instance if you would ask me to describe the difference between Lara, Tendulkar and Dravid. I would not even go into their records. I’d say –
Let’s say Cricket is a pizza.
Sachin is the cheese – Delicious. Loved by masses. Essence of it.
Lara is the topping – Veggies/Bacon/Jalapenos etc. Flamboyant to see.
Dravid is the crust – The foundation. Gets overshadowed with other lucrative layers but if not baked well, the rest won’t taste good.
I would suggest not to go by the copybook style of writing and try out such things.
This is surely going to be a big plus.
Woo women – Again, people who love to read are mostly females. They need to design content which the women would like by read by drawing parallels with the books they love or anyhow. And don’t forget women gossip and they have a huge following. Once a female likes a Blog, she will tell 5 of her friends in person and just imagine a girl with thousands of followers sharing a Cricket Blog on her social media profile and the kind of men it would bring on the link. Pure organic bliss!
Quirky Merchandising – Cricket is no less than a Superhero. I designed this quirky piece of clothing sometime back. When Batman can sell, why cannot Cricket. Moreover with these new-gen kids going gaga over Football and their merchandise, it’s time to act cool and get push such products.
“In short, Cricinfo currently publishes what they think is right, ideally it should be the other way round.”
Their numbers have dipped from 150m to 100m in the past six months and more damage is expected to occur.
That’s it for the time being. I’ll update more loopholes. I care and cannot let the Voice of Cricket tremble! I hope it reaches to some sensible person in the management and some adequate action takes place.