Three steps change chess journalism, with immediate effect

Chessdom tries the method with success during the World Championship

The World Chess Championship 2010 is over, Viswanathan Anand won a third consecutive title after a hard fought battle with Veselin Topalov. Fantastic games were played on the chess board and they will be analysed for years. This was the most viewed World Championship on the internet, probably the most present in printed media, and surely competing for most time on TV for a chess competition.

The championship entered major Indian and Bulgarian networks in prime time, hit the first page of google news, wikipedia, and other top world sites (screenshots below)

Was the quality of the games higher than in previous championships? Or the volcano controversy increased the interest? Or the growing popularity of chess around the world was the basis of this media explosion? Probably it was a combination of all of the above, but one ingredient remained silent for the past few months.

Chessdom.com decided to test a three step event promotional system with the WCC 2010. After permission and green light from the organizers, our team launched a series of promotional activities, all based on three years of careful research and preparation, to test them in real market conditions.

Find the details below the graph and expect more information on Chessdom.com in the next days.

stats

Alexa.com is a rough (very rough) estimation tool for traffic of a website, however, it gives a slight idea of the magnitude of a webpage.
On the graph are compared Anand – Kramnik match (yellow) and Topalov – Kamsky match (red)
compared to the Anand – Topalov match (blue)
Although imprecise, it is visible the magnitude difference between these events.
We are expecting precise details of visitors from the official website staff.

1. Early start

The championship coverage success is conditioned by the early start of promotion for an event. Up to now the most common procedure was press releases to be sent out by championships after round 1 or even in some cases after round 5. This caught interested media unprepared, with no quality newspaper (online or printed) space, and with no time to react. In general, mass media is not fast, it is composed of large organisms of journalists that need natural time to adjust. According to the current experiment, promotion and news spreading should start minimum 3 months before any event, and if TV presence is needed, 6 months is optimum.

The result of this early promotion on the WCC 2010 was obvious. A day before the “volcano situation” the visitors on the official site (and even on the Chessdom itself) topped some of the playing days of the previous World Championship in Bonn. The Anand – Topalov match was with mass media presence and material long before the start of event in a serious number of countries.

2. Reports on the fly

As the early promotion from the previous point was present, the mass media had another problem to face with the start of the event. Their viewers were expecting the championship, but who was going to do the reports for them? Chess is not an easy matter, especially if you report on it for the first time. Not all media can afford to have grandmaster commenting, and there are surely much fewer grandmasters than sources reporting.

The best solution to the problem is to use material from the official website.

Again we come to the old dilemma, official websites start usually publishing 3-4 days late, which kills all interest and converts news into history, which is not material for large networks. Thus, Chessdom.com contacted the organizers of the match and proposed something radical – to have a report ready for them at the moment the final move of a game is made!

The task was taken by Chessdom’s chief editor Goran Urosevic, who already has high expertise in writing and reporting for top media around the world. A report was ready daily 1 minute after the game, technical time required 3-4 minutes for publishing by the official staff of the competition. Thus, maximum 5 minutes after the end of the game, media were able to pick up the report directly from the official website in the desired format – concise, right to the point, and presenting the key moments of the day.

The reports themselves were on the news of over 10 large sports TV networks, hundreds of newspapers, agencies, etc. The total number is not known as (especially in the last days) the Chessdom team simply did not have the capacity to track down the exact number of sources that used the material as basis for reports.

3. Free information

As already detailed, early start of promotion and timely reporting is key to the success of any event. However, there is a third very important component without which success cannot be achieved – all the information should be FREE.

Since 2007 Chessdom is moving towards this model, sending free photos and reports to all sources that request it. Having the information flowing through the partners network keeps everyone happy – the official event for being present in more sources, and the publishing site for having the needed information. A true win-win situation for the organizers, journalists, and chess in general.

How many sources benefit from the Chessdom free information? The number is a little less than a thousand and is constantly increasing. For this event we hope that our numerous partner publishers are pleased with photos and news. We hope the next event we cover with this system will have the numbers increased. And, of course, all provided information will be again for FREE.

Conclusion

Of course these three steps just outline the whole promotional process, as the inside story and know-how is much more complicated. But one thing is certain, the method is tested and with immediate effect on chess reporting, making this World Championship the most seen on the Internet in the history of chess.

This was achieved with a lot of enthusiasm and close to zero budget and surely will be much more effective under different circumstances. But the system had proven its efficiency, and all parties are satisfied with the results.

To continue in the same direction we need your help. No matter if you are organizers, chess fans, journalist, sponsor, or chess enthusiast, contact us with your ideas.

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50 minutes were needed for World Championship news to appear in the sports section of google news and it was moving towards the top position

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In only an hour the news was already on the main page of google news

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The news was also featured main page in Wikipedia after the finish of the event

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