Gorkana Meets…Christopher Harris

Published: May 07, 2014

First, tell us a bit about World Soccer Talk and what the site covers.

World Soccer Talk is a daily news, analysis, and opinion website that covers all the major leagues around the world. We’re constantly seeking out remarkable soccer stories to share with fans of “The Beautiful Game.” If it’s anything related to soccer—whether it’s stories, footballers, videos, or products—we cover it as long as it’s interesting to world soccer fans.

Tell us about your blog’s audience. What sort of traffic do you get? What posts and stories have been most popular?

We generate 1.5 million page views per month with most of the traffic split between the UK (30%) and US (50%). The audience is primarily males between the ages of 18 and 34. But the big difference with World Soccer Talk is that our readers are hardcore soccer fans who literally eat and breathe the game seven days a week, so these are supporters who know the game inside and out.

As far as types of posts and stories that have been most popular, it’s often our opinionated articles about the latest hot topics. We’re never short of opinions. Oftentimes the opinions may be controversial, but those are the ones that stimulate debate in the comments section and let writers stick their necks out regarding tough soccer topics.

What are some things that distinguish World Soccer Talk from other soccer news outlets? Do you plan to expand or develop the site to include any new features?

The biggest difference with World Soccer Talk is that we’re an independent, self-funded, and profitable publication that isn’t tied to mainstream media companies, so we have the freedom to be opinionated about any soccer topics we want to cover without fear of reprisal. As a result, we’re more tuned into topics of interest to soccer fans that other websites would neglect—whether it’s opinionated articles about footballers, commentators, TV coverage of our favorite leagues, or other topics that are near and dear to the hearts of soccer supporters.

In addition to the written articles, we also publish other forms of media. For example, our weekly World Soccer Talk Podcast is the longest running soccer podcast in the world (eight years and running). We’ve also launched a YouTube channel that features exclusive documentaries showing behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with ESPN (for their World Cup 2014 coverage), NBC (for their Premier League coverage), and Tampa Bay Rowdies (who are thriving in the latest incarnation of the North American Soccer League in the United States).

As far as the near future, we have several major announcements that’ll we’re looking forward to unveiling (including our World Cup coverage plans). These are hot on the heels of other recent announcements. For example, we just published our first soccer eBook and launched World Soccer Talk apps for Apple and Android devices. Plus we’re continuing our social media presence, where we already have more than 100,000 followers.

What have been some of your favorite soccer events, teams, athletes, or other stories to feature? Have you done any notable projects with them?

While we cover the major leagues and soccer stories from around the world, the Premier League has — and will always be — a main focus. One of our main differentiators with our coverage of the Premier League is to give soccer fans the tools they need to enjoy the experience, so we publish TV listings, we review apps that enable fans to watch games or highlights on the go, and we interview the announcers and commentators that bring the games to us. We cover what the experience of being a soccer fan is like, whether it’s for the Premier League, the World Cup, or other major leagues around the world.

Some of our favorite events we’ve covered have included NBC’s launch of its Premier League coverage in the United States, where we worked closely with NBC’s PR department to get everything set up. Another notable project was Euro 2012, where we worked with Adidas to have one of our talent on-site in Ukraine and Poland, sharing a daily “from the street” perspective of what the tournament was like through podcasts, articles, and videos. We’d love to do the same at World Cup 2014 in Brazil this summer if we can find a partner.

What inspired you to start World Soccer Talk, and how did you develop it into the widely read, internationally established site it is now?

The initial inspiration for World Soccer Talk was to bring soccer fans together to chat about their favorite teams, players, and leagues in an online forum. This was in 2005 when watching soccer on US television was a lonely experience. I knew there were people spending their Saturday mornings watching Premier League matches on US television, but there were no places for them to chat with each other online. We launched the website in November 2005, and it has grown by leaps and bounds since then.

Over time, so much blood, sweat, and tears have gone into the site to make it what it is today while so many other soccer blogs have disappeared. The two main reasons why it’s developed into a widely read international site is that one, we have an incredible community of hardcore soccer fans who read the site on a daily basis and participate in a very active comments section. Two, we have a wonderful team of writers, podcasters and videographers from around the world that develop remarkable and original content for us. We really believe we are “the voice of soccer fans.” And it helps that our content is for soccer fans, by soccer fans.

What are some of the PR, marketing, and promotion opportunities you’ve worked with on your blog? How can PRs help you develop your blog’s content?

While we’re based in the United States, we work closely with many PR agencies in Europe and around the world, since our readership is global. To name a few projects we’ve worked on recently, we helped launch a new TV ad campaign for Emirates that featured Cristiano Ronaldo as their new global football ambassador. We also worked closely with DishWorld, part of the United States’s DISH satellite company, to launch their legal online streaming service that offers soccer coverage. And we’ve done exclusive interviews with high-profile names in conjunction with PR agencies, including John Terry, Paul Scholes, and Ian Rush.

PR companies can help us develop our content by including visuals such as photographs and videos with their story pitches. We also feature product reviews (books, clothing, apps, merchandise, etc), but we ask that PR agencies let us know in which countries the product is or isn’t available since we have such a global readership.

First, tell us a bit about World Soccer Talk and what the site covers.

World Soccer Talk is a daily news, analysis, and opinion website that covers all the major leagues around the world. We’re constantly seeking out remarkable soccer stories to share with fans of “The Beautiful Game.” If it’s anything related to soccer—whether it’s stories, footballers, videos, or products—we cover it as long as it’s interesting to world soccer fans.

Tell us about your blog’s audience. What sort of traffic do you get? What posts and stories have been most popular?

We generate 1.5 million page views per month with most of the traffic split between the UK (30%) and US (50%). The audience is primarily males between the ages of 18 and 34. But the big difference with World Soccer Talk is that our readers are hardcore soccer fans who literally eat and breathe the game seven days a week, so these are supporters who know the game inside and out.

As far as types of posts and stories that have been most popular, it’s often our opinionated articles about the latest hot topics. We’re never short of opinions. Oftentimes the opinions may be controversial, but those are the ones that stimulate debate in the comments section and let writers stick their necks out regarding tough soccer topics.

What are some things that distinguish World Soccer Talk from other soccer news outlets? Do you plan to expand or develop the site to include any new features?

The biggest difference with World Soccer Talk is that we’re an independent, self-funded, and profitable publication that isn’t tied to mainstream media companies, so we have the freedom to be opinionated about any soccer topics we want to cover without fear of reprisal. As a result, we’re more tuned into topics of interest to soccer fans that other websites would neglect—whether it’s opinionated articles about footballers, commentators, TV coverage of our favorite leagues, or other topics that are near and dear to the hearts of soccer supporters.

In addition to the written articles, we also publish other forms of media. For example, our weekly World Soccer Talk Podcast is the longest running soccer podcast in the world (eight years and running). We’ve also launched a YouTube channel that features exclusive documentaries showing behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with ESPN (for their World Cup 2014 coverage), NBC (for their Premier League coverage), and Tampa Bay Rowdies (who are thriving in the latest incarnation of the North American Soccer League in the United States).

As far as the near future, we have several major announcements that’ll we’re looking forward to unveiling (including our World Cup coverage plans). These are hot on the heels of other recent announcements. For example, we just published our first soccer eBook and launched World Soccer Talk apps for Apple and Android devices. Plus we’re continuing our social media presence, where we already have more than 100,000 followers.

What have been some of your favorite soccer events, teams, athletes, or other stories to feature? Have you done any notable projects with them?

While we cover the major leagues and soccer stories from around the world, the Premier League has — and will always be — a main focus. One of our main differentiators with our coverage of the Premier League is to give soccer fans the tools they need to enjoy the experience, so we publish TV listings, we review apps that enable fans to watch games or highlights on the go, and we interview the announcers and commentators that bring the games to us. We cover what the experience of being a soccer fan is like, whether it’s for the Premier League, the World Cup, or other major leagues around the world.

Some of our favorite events we’ve covered have included NBC’s launch of its Premier League coverage in the United States, where we worked closely with NBC’s PR department to get everything set up. Another notable project was Euro 2012, where we worked with Adidas to have one of our talent on-site in Ukraine and Poland, sharing a daily “from the street” perspective of what the tournament was like through podcasts, articles, and videos. We’d love to do the same at World Cup 2014 in Brazil this summer if we can find a partner.

What inspired you to start World Soccer Talk, and how did you develop it into the widely read, internationally established site it is now?

The initial inspiration for World Soccer Talk was to bring soccer fans together to chat about their favorite teams, players, and leagues in an online forum. This was in 2005 when watching soccer on US television was a lonely experience. I knew there were people spending their Saturday mornings watching Premier League matches on US television, but there were no places for them to chat with each other online. We launched the website in November 2005, and it has grown by leaps and bounds since then.

Over time, so much blood, sweat, and tears have gone into the site to make it what it is today while so many other soccer blogs have disappeared. The two main reasons why it’s developed into a widely read international site is that one, we have an incredible community of hardcore soccer fans who read the site on a daily basis and participate in a very active comments section. Two, we have a wonderful team of writers, podcasters and videographers from around the world that develop remarkable and original content for us. We really believe we are “the voice of soccer fans.” And it helps that our content is for soccer fans, by soccer fans.

What are some of the PR, marketing, and promotion opportunities you’ve worked with on your blog? How can PRs help you develop your blog’s content?

While we’re based in the United States, we work closely with many PR agencies in Europe and around the world, since our readership is global. To name a few projects we’ve worked on recently, we helped launch a new TV ad campaign for Emirates that featured Cristiano Ronaldo as their new global football ambassador. We also worked closely with DishWorld, part of the United States’s DISH satellite company, to launch their legal online streaming service that offers soccer coverage. And we’ve done exclusive interviews with high-profile names in conjunction with PR agencies, including John Terry, Paul Scholes, and Ian Rush.

PR companies can help us develop our content by including visuals such as photographs and videos with their story pitches. We also feature product reviews (books, clothing, apps, merchandise, etc), but we ask that PR agencies let us know in which countries the product is or isn’t available since we have such a global readership.

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