Welcome to Industry Insider by Behind Sport. For this edition we sit down with Craig Bratt, Media Officer for Exeter City FC in League 2.
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
My name’s Craig Bratt and I am the media officer at Exeter City FC having taken up the official role last month. Before that I’d volunteered in the media team between January and the curtailment of the season and was lucky enough to be offered the opportunity to take over from the outgoing media officer. I have previously worked in the media team at several other football clubs. I started at FC Halifax Town while studying at the University of Huddersfield and also took up an inter ship at Fleetwood Town in my final year, which led me into the media officer role at my boyhood club Crawley Town for the 2018/19 season. I then moved to work in Gibraltar for six months working in the social media team for William Hill before moving to Cornwall, which is where I am currently. After a short time as a journalist for a local paper, I was made redundant in January, which had led to my current roles.
What do you do in your current role?
In my current role at Exeter I am responsible for several media duties throughout the week and on match day, alongside our marketing manager Scott Palfrey. This involves coordinating and conducting interviews with players and management, writing website and programme content and managing the club’s social media output across our channels. I also played a big part in promoting the club’s Football v Homophobia campaign last season and worked with the Proud Grecians to help promote equality and inclusion within football. This is something I will continue to work on throughout my time at the club as it is something I am very passionate about.
What does a normal week look like for you?
At the start of the week we plan ahead for the next match and if we are playing on a Tuesday I will spend the day ensuring all our match graphics are up to date with the correct badges, as well as coordinating the press bench – even more important than ever currently to ensure social distancing. On Thursdays we have our press conference with the manager and a player which we currently do remotely over Zoom, so beforehand I will collate the press call and send it out to all the relevant parties from the national and local media. Then on a match day it’s full steam ahead with ensuring the media area is ready for the press, before getting into the full swing of things on social media during the match. There are also a few media volunteers that we manage. Then after the game it’s all the usual stuff like doing the interviews and uploading content to the website.
How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
From quite a young age I had an interest in sport but it wasn’t until my early teens that I found a passion for sports writing. It wasn’t until I was given the opportunity to sit in the press box at Crawley Town for a game that I realised it would a career that I wanted to get into, and from then onwards I did various things such as writing blogs and match reports in my spare time. I went on to study Sports Journalism at university and that is how I got my foot in the door within the industry. It was after my redundancy in January that led me to contact Exeter City, asking if I could work with them on a temporary basis so I could continue working in sport. I was fortunate enough, and very grateful, that they took me on.
What are you excited about in your industry at the moment?
For as long as crowds are not able to attend matches, clubs will have to keep coming up with innovative ways of engaging supporters throughout the season, and I can’t wait to see how clubs do this. There are so many new and exciting ways of creating content these days and I really enjoy seeing digital content teams going the extra mile to connect with supporters. There seems to be an increase in the number of clubs recording pre-match shows, something that Exeter City have done for a while, so I’m glad that other clubs are now doing similar.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
Never be afraid to work for free to start off with. It is by volunteering that you gain experience and sometimes these can lead to permanent paid roles within the same organisation. But also, it’s okay to ask for expenses to cover your travel to the place of work – remember, it costs them very little in comparison to what a paid role would cost them. I’d also encourage people to ask those already in the industry for advice. I’m lucky enough to have contact with the sports editor of the UK’s biggest news sites and he has been more than willing to offer advice and guidance. My boyfriend is also a journalist and we’re always sharing ideas to help each other. If you can speak to the right people and seek advice, they’ll set you on your way. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
How to follow Craig Bratt on social media…
Follow me on twitter @craigybratt.
Thanks for reading our Industry Insider with Craig Bratt! To read more from the series click here.