No Sport – No Problem! How IPC grew its page followers by 1250% in just a month

Winning, even when the race is cancelled

This week the Paralympic Games were due to start in Tokyo. Stories of amazing feats by athletes, competition drama, and video of fans celebrating should have been part of their content diary this month. But with the global pandemic causing all major sporting events to be cancelled – how do you keep audiences hungry for sport engaged when there are no races to show? 

That’s a question content producers at World Para Sports, a department of the International Paralympic Committee, were asking themselves back in the spring. As a small team of four responsible for producing all the digital and editorial content for 10 International Para sports Federation, across 21 Social Media channels and nine websites, they faced a challenge to make sure every sport was covered with enough content.

“The main challenge we faced with the lockdown and all the events cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic was how to quickly adapt our content production to a world without sport events considering our budget and the size of our team” says Rafael Maranhao, IPC Public Relations Senior Manager

“We were supposed to have almost one sports event per weekend until May in the lead up to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. All of a sudden, we didn’t have those events anymore and we had to find a way to keep our sports visible,” says Rafael. 

The answer: Use Archive and Athlete Generated Content

Rafael says they decided to rely on archive footage and athletes interviews produced during the World Championships in 2019, as well as relying on Stock-footage and B-roll to fill the gap. 

> Remember these races: 2 & 4 years apart: 

They also used a lot of athlete-generated content, either posted on their social media or contacting athletes directly to produce the content for them. 

> Building a Pool in Lockdown

Planning Makes Perfect

To ensure a steady flow of video for so many different sports and channels, the communication team created a content diary, planning ahead and deciding different recurring formats for each day of the week. For example, during Pride Month they decided to highlight LGBTQ+ Athletes with a series of profile videos: 

Another example from the Global Accessibility Awareness Day:

“Wochit provided us with a tool to quickly produce engaging digital content in different formats. We produce vertical videos for Instagram Stories, portrait videos for Instagram feed and Facebook (as the content is mostly accessed by mobile phones), and horizontal videos for Twitter,” said  Rafael Maranhao, IPC Public Relations Senior Manager 

The results

By shifting strategy from event-based clips to regularly posting a high volume of short-form ‘snackable content’ – as well as tagging athletes in posts, World Para Athletics and World Para Swimming channels managed to grow its page followers organically by on average 1250%

Comparing June to July/August, IPC found: 

World Para Athletics – Growth in page followers

  • Facebook :  +209% 
  • Twitter : +361% 
  • Instagram: +203% 

World Para Swimming –  Growth in page followers

  • Facebook: +5000% 
  • Twitter: +1526% 
  • Instagram: +201%  

4 tips to use archive assets in your storytelling 

There are four ways you could consider using Archive in your storytelling, says Mark Egan, an Online Video Consultant, and Smartphone journalist consultant:

  1. Relive
    This is when you take archive footage and play it without alteration. People love nostalgia and the content could be tied to anniversaries, like an Olympics Opening ceremony or World Record race being played back.
  2. Reframe
    This is when you use the same content to tell a different story
    Like IPC did with their 2 years / 4 years ago video above, you take a historic moment, but you reframe it in a new context.

  3. Retell
    Similar to reframe – but you add something new like an interview with people to talk about their memory of an event – and giving audiences a new meaning to that part of history.
  4. Re-package
    Joining the dots. Pull together lots of different archive assets to tell a new story.


We are so proud here at Wochit to see content producers – often with little or no video experience – come up with such a wide range of creative ways of engaging with their audiences.

Keep up the good work Rafael and all the team at the World Para Sports and see you in Tokyo 2021!

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