“We wanted to build excitement for the event on social media and on our website in the weeks before, and we realised that the best way to do that was to bring the stories of athletes to the forefront, and tell them in a way that would resonate well with our social media audience”
The 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar, were record-breaking both on and off the field of play. More athletes than ever before participated; more countries than ever won a medal showing the growing strength of the Paralympic Movement; and more media and broadcasters than before covered the World Championships.
With athletes amassing 54 world records, the event also created waves in digital media.
An innovative mix of digital platforms ensured that during the competition, the event had a reach of 26.3 million across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Periscope, YouTube and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) website – more than four times the reach achieved by the World Championships two years previously in Lyon, France.
But it was not just about the 10 days of competition – IPC Athletics had a content strategy to maximise the buzz before and after the medals were won.
“We wanted to build excitement for the event on social media and on our website in the weeks before, and we realised that the best way to do that was to bring the stories of athletes to the forefront, and tell them in a way that would resonate well with our social media audience” said Craig Spence, IPC Director of Media and Communications.
In the lead up to Doha 2015, “My incredible story” videos introducing some of the athletes competing were posted on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, with subtitles in English and Arabic. These videos - as the title suggestas - told the stories of some of the athletes competing. By creating Arabic version, the organising committee aimed to bring para-sport to new audiences in the region. The compelling videos resonated with the social media audience, with some of them accumulating almost 200,000 views.
On the IPC website, two article formats were published before the event. #SuperheroSunday articles highlighted who athletes had been inspired by, and “Five facts about…” articles gave a brief summary about the Ones to Watch in a list format.
“The pre-event campaign garnered an additional reach of almost 10 million, which helped to propel the amazing performances of athletes into the spotlight,” said Spence.
During the event, there were daily previews and reviews of each session on doha2015.org, together with flash quotes from the mixed zone and a livestream.
Video content was especially successful. A daily highlights show called #Doha2015, which was sponsored by IPC International Partner BP, gave a behind-the-scenes look at the championships, whilst live Periscope chats and Twitter question-and-answer sessions were used to allow fans to interact directly with the athletes.
IPC Athletics also captured the moment on Instagram with short clips of athletes reacting to their successes from the mixed zone.
“It was our ambition to use these World Championships to raise awareness about para-sport and disability in Qatar and across the region,” said Mr Ameer Al-Mulla, CEO of the Doha 2015 Local Organising Committee at the Closing Ceremony.
“With front page coverage in the local papers every day, coverage on all major TV channels and our hashtag #BeyondIncredible trending on social media - I can say with pride that we have achieved this.”
To find out more about the IPC’s Top 50 Moments of 2015, visit the dedicated page on the IPC’s website.