The Laws of the (Content) Game
In this month’s post, Rachel, Capital Content’s Head of Marketing, talks about the surprising parallels she’s noticed between the laws of football and the laws of content creation.
Since we started working with Surrey FA, we’ve enjoyed teaching the marketing team how to harness the power of video to achieve their goals and connect with players, staff, volunteers and supporters.
Unfortunately, while Surrey FA’s knowledge of content creation has steadily grown, the same can’t be said for my understanding of the beautiful game. When James, Head of Marketing & Partnerships sent us branded hoodies, my first thought was ‘I love free stuff!’ but my second thought was ‘What if I wear it out and someone asks me a football question?’
I decided enough was enough and set out to learn the laws of the game. It was only once I started researching that I realised that the laws of football aren’t so different from something I know very well: the laws of content creation.
Law 1 - The field of play
From markings and dimensions to logos and emblems, a lot of work goes into making sure playing fields are fit for purpose.
Prepping a set for a Capital Content shoot isn’t quite on the same level, but it’s still really important. We identify locations that suit the brief, right down to which corner of the room has the best background and lighting, and then secure the necessary permissions. On the day, we arrive early to make sure everything is shipshape for filming, including setting out marks on the floor to show people where to stand.
Law 2 - The ball
And here I was thinking the ball just had to be round. I suppose it is the heart of the game – without it, we’d just be watching *looks up the number of players in a team* 22 players run around aimlessly for *looks up the length of a match* 90 minutes.
The content creation equivalent is the camera. We need something that’s lightweight and sturdy, shoots in 4K and at 50 frames per second, with a Zoom lens and the ability to plug in a microphone.
Law 3 - The players
We don’t have rules for the number of people who can be in a video, but we do have rules about who should be featured.
When it comes to picking spokespeople for your brand, you need to put your best players forward. We’re talking about your David Beckham’s and Cristiano Ronaldo’s, the reliable and engaging brand advocates who you trust to talk with authority and personality about your product or service.
Law 4 - The players’ equipment
In a previous job, I once received some professional photos for an emotional case study and the guy was wearing a t-shirt with a big pig on it and the word ‘PORKCHOP’ in huge bubble writing (apparently it’s a movie reference). On another occasion, a woman being filmed for a video insisted on wearing an armful of bangles that drowned out her speech as they jangled together.
In the same way footballers are required to dress in a way that clearly identifies what team they’re on and doesn’t distract from the game, we ensure the people featured in videos dress the part. That means wearing branded clothing or uniform where relevant, or at least dressing neutrally so their story can do the talking.
Law 5 - The referee
If the referee is the person who enforces the Laws of the Game, who enforces the Laws of the Content Game?
At Capital Content, it’s our Head of Production, Chris. He takes responsibility for checking equipment, prepping the set and capturing shots based on the discussions and decisions made in the planning stage of the project. This is his bread and butter, so it’s a good time to step back and let him take charge.
Law 6 - The other match officials
Chris may be the content ref, but he couldn’t do it without some other key players.
This includes the Production Assistant who comes along to assist on the shoot, the representative of the brand itself who makes sure messaging nuances aren’t missed, and the various people across the organisation who give feedback during the editing process. Like football, content creation is a team effort.
Law 7 - The duration of the match
After reading this section on The FA website, I now understand why matches seem to go on so much longer than promised (and the origin of the Surrey FA podcast title ‘Stoppage Time’ just clicked).
As content creators, we aren’t often dealing with a captive audience who’ll sit through 90+ minutes. To keep up with shrinking attention spans in the era of Reels, TikToks and stories, we encourage sub-60 second ‘episodes’ of content that grabs attention in the first three seconds.
I’ll save the other 10 laws for another time, but essentially: we’re not just pointing a camera and footballers aren’t just kicking a ball. A lot of thought and preparation goes into ensuring a content creation project runs smoothly, and my exploration of the Laws of the Game has taught me the same can be said for football.
If you want to learn more about The Laws of the Content Game, Capital Content have broken it all down in their new online training course, Content 101. Access it free by signing up at capitalcontent.co/content101.