A TRT CHRISTMAS MESSAGE
IT'S BEEN a rough year, but the support and interest we've seen in our humble little website has been a standout and, argues TRT's editor, a shining light amidst a sea of challenges.
WORDS: Richard Craill
I AM not overstating or over dramatizing the fact when I say that without The Race Torque this year would have been much, much worse.
When the motor racing world, much like the rest of reality, imploded when the Australian Grand Prix came to an abrupt halt just before 10AM on Friday, March 13 (the irony of that still grates), the potential was there for things to get somewhat dicey.
As someone who relies on going to car races as both a full-time profession and as the outlet where much of my social life exists, the sudden loss of both income and the community aspect of going to events was somewhat daunting.
However, in TRT there existed an outlet on which attentions could be focused. The site offered a regular diversion away from the issues of the year, both personal and professional ones and the broader ones in the wider community as it battled the early, worrying stages of the pandemic, lockdowns and the like.
And while having the website as an outlet helped the business side of my own 2020, it also allowed the social aspect to continue too; if via outlets like Zoom. But Zoom beers with mates are still better than none at all so they were embraced.
As it turns out, the reaction to what we have done this year has been absolutely one of the biggest highlights of two thousand and twenty, both personally and professionally.
We don’t generally broadly trumpet our numbers here at TRT, mainly because a) it’s not our style and b) compared to the major media players in our industry they’re relatively tiny.
Rather than chasing big ‘clicks’ thanks to daily news reporting, our strength has always been about playing to our niche’ and this year that little corner of the motorsport media landscape became substantially bigger; despite for most of the year there not being that much motorsport with which to do what we do.
Our total website traffic is up more than 85% on last year and that is coming off the back of a 70% increase on the corresponding 2018-2019 period.
We’ve almost doubled our total pageviews year-on-year and the gain there over 24 months is something close to 200%.
Our Podcast audience domestically has just about doubled, while our tie-up with Radio Show Ltd., the people behind Radio LeMans, that we arranged prior to the point the Pandemic started took our stories about Aussie motorsport to an international audience in the hundreds of thousands.
More than a million people have been reached by our social channels at some point this year; all the metrics on Facebook and Twitter are up by miles.
The numbers are fantastic and of course they do help: they’re great for what we’re doing with our partners and they’re great when it comes to trying to tell the stories we are telling.
But it has never been why we do what we do. We’re not driven by chasing ‘record clicks’ for the site – but getting them certainly does motivate to go further and harder to keep delivering the kind of content people apparently want to read.
For instance, we genuinely love the reaction to our Power Rankings columns after each Supercars round – it is a surprise to find out just how many people within the industry read them, indicating that we’re probably about at the right point of offering up a balance between having a laugh and also getting the key issues that need to be addressed out in the open (in a rational and informed way, of course).
The team of Mark, Dale, Tony and myself each bring something different to the equation and I think that’s why what we have, works.
To have been recognized in the top three media outlets this year in the recent Supercars Media Awards was an enormous source of pride for our little team, who do it for the love and not for the money.
Thanks to those blokes and everyone else who has contributed this year for their support.
We’re fiercely proud of the community we’ve built who, for the most part, interact with us sensibly and thoughtfully – and sometimes with great humor – which continues our mission to be the antithesis of a regular Facebook comments cesspit.
Thanks also must also go to Cris Gillespie and the team at National Transport Insurance, who have been mighty in their support of the site. We were proud to work with them to provide content for the Truck Assist social media channels during the Eseries, and then beyond that when the Supercars Championship resumed racing in June.
Cris and his team are enormous supporters of motorsport in general and we’re outrageously proud to have their support.
Which brings me to the final point of this missive.
You may not know that the TRT you’re reading now evolved out of a website designed and built for a racing championship that very nearly – but not quite – got off the ground about five years ago.
The site was paid for and fully developed when the political knife of motorsport despair was stuck in our plans, so the opportunity was there to repurpose it for other uses and as such in early 2017 it became The Race Torque.
It’s served us well, but we’ve also reached the limitations of this particular platform and design.
Which is why we’re going to give the site it’s first major birthday early in the new year.
It will mean that the pages of TRT will be offline for about a week from 1 January, but like a recovery from a New Year’s Eve hangover, will hopefully return brighter, slicker and refreshed a few days later.
It’s a big investment in time and money but we think it’s more than worthwhile because in the end it will help us deliver what we’ve been doing better than ever in 2021.
To everyone who has supported, commented, read, questioned or interacted with TRT this year, all I can say is thanks.
It has been a genuinely bright, shining light in an otherwise dumpster fire of a year.
Wishing everyone a safe Christmas and New Year.