Edition #164 of Industry Insider sees us travel to the Balearic Islands as we sit down with Albert Salas, director of communications for RCD Mallorca!
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
I’m Albert Salas and I’m director of communications at RCD Mallorca. Prior to my role at the club, I was a journalist and later head of sports at the broadcast service on the island, IB3.
What do you do in your current role?
My current role oversees all internal and external communications and media at football club RCD Mallorca.
That means I have to be across everything at the club as we handle all print, broadcast and audio: from the manager’s press conference to a community project on behalf of the foundation, all the way through to what is being written and broadcast about the team locally, nationally and internationally.
We’re back in LaLiga this year and of course that comes with significant interest in any side competing, but we are also a forward-thinking, innovative group with numerous ongoing projects such as a stadium redevelopment, enhance community programmes and international growth, which requires me to maximise and optimise our internal content, organic traffic, external media and strategically-placed opportunities.
I also manage our brilliant media team and the work which we produce to not only engage with a global fanbase, but also extend our reach, enhance our quality and underscore the values our club stands for.
“Normal” isn’t a thing in sport so what does an “average” week look like for you?
Anyone in sport will tell you that it is a demanding, 24/7 job, and media and communications are no different.
Those in positions similar to mine will always have their fingers on the pulse should something need to be reacted to, while proactively we will be creating content, handling press relations, engaging with stakeholders and promoting the club in the best way possible.
The work during the week all leads up to the big event: match day.
We’ll be among the first in and the last to leave to ensure things run smoothly across our match day show, external media, press relations, press conferences, broadcast interviews, media duties and social media.
How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
I’ll go into how I ended up here at RCD Mallorca a little later, but I’ve always been incredibly passionate about football.
That adoration for the sport has led to other projects outside of my usual nine-to-five, including a book on the best players to have represented RCD Mallorca (‘Los cracks se visten de rojo. Antología de 102 años de mitos mallorquinistas’) and co-directing a documentary on the club called: ‘Cent anys després’.
What is your number one focus when it comes to your work?
Our communications strategy has several key focus points with consideration to our unique position and club objectives.
We are on an island which has to cater to a local, Mallorquin-speaking audience, and beyond that, we have to deliver to audiences in wider Spain and internationally.
That means creating diverse, tailored and language-specific content which is a challenge in itself, but across markets such as Japan and Korea where we have a large following, in addition to our home and European audiences.
The content itself has to constantly be improved and reworked as we strive to cater to what our fans want, the manner which they require it and on the platforms they exist across.
Providing engaging and entertaining content is something we strive to deliver as a team.
RCD Mallorca is a proud club with a distinct set of values which we are keen to promote at every opportunity possible, but also draw attention the exciting developments we have currently underway which I previously talked about such as the renovation of our stadium, foundation work and supporter experiences.
To summarise, there is no ‘No.1 focus’ within our department, but rather key strategic objectives the entire club works towards across different areas as we all have a role to play in developing RCD Mallorca for the better.
Can you tell us about a time you failed and what you learned from it?
I am failing for 55 seconds of every minute, and I use the remaining five seconds to learn from my mistakes!
On reflection, I had a bit of difficulty when I became head of sports at IB3 – the local broadcasting service I spoke earlier about.
I wasn’t quite ready for that role and had to take a step back, although had I not felt that way and followed through with action, I would not have been available for a position at RCD Mallorca.
The club – who were heading towards relegation from the Segunda División – and myself started at a low point and neither of us want to experience that again.
In short: failure led to an even bigger challenge, so it is important not to view every setback as a disaster and look for that next challenge.
A step back can sometimes be required in order to take a giant leap forward.
What are you excited about in your industry at the moment?
The opportunity that we have each day to overcome new challenges.
We have the possibility to connect directly and unfiltered to our fanbase with a number of different channels that we can create to the size that we want.
Technology has allowed clubs to better understand their fanbase, and it has been a huge step forward.
You can drive forward with that information, or you and the club can remain static and not cater to what your audience wants.
If you could change one thing about your Industry, what would you change?
It is a problem which exists in wider society and has an impact beyond sport, but speaking strictly from my professional perspective, fake news is an issue and something I would like to change – or to better put it, address.
People are free to write what they want as a matter of free speech, but we have to alter that environment given that people use new, innovative channels which can quickly diffuse both true and false information.
It would be fantastic to see more institutional campaigns with information over how to spot fake news and hold greater accountability to sources of news.
Sport is a hectic industry, what do you do to switch off?
I have been switching off the wrong way for the past four years! Three months ago, it became apparent to me how important it is to exercise both your body and mind.
The health benefits are obvious, but it goes beyond that in a professional and personal sense when working in a high-pressure, demanding work environment.
I can now watch neutral football games as an interested viewer – a passion of mine which perhaps did not really go beyond RCD Mallorca after I entered the sporting sector – as I have found that right balance in what is a rollercoaster industry.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
Enjoy it and think big.
We are living in a new era of communication and the possibilities are endless.
Nothing can prevent you from going directly to where you want to target and that is something incredibly exciting for the next generation.
- Any social links you want to plug?
You can also follow me on Twitter at: @AlbertSalas1981.
Thanks for reading our Industry Insider with Albert Salas! If you want to read more from the series, you can do so by clicking here.