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Digital challenge is red hot race!

By David Watters

The race to crown the first winners of the inaugural EVO-STIK League Digital Challenge is hotting up with five thousand pounds in prize money up for grabs at the end of the historic fiftieth anniversary season!

With the online stats of the league and clubs already soaring this season, the Northern Premier League's title sponsors are handing out £1,500 to the most digitally minded clubs in each division to celebrate the milestone 2017-18 campaign and inspire fans, players and officials to carry on embracing an online future over the next five decades.

To create a level playing field for clubs of all sizes and transparency for the competition, the stats of all 68 on key platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were benchmarked in September so the winners come from those demonstrating the biggest rise in web traffic and quality of social media engagement by next May.

And as added incentive to stoke up the competition to make a shortlist of finalists to be judged by a panel from the NPL and Bostik UK, the parent company of EVO-STIK, an additional £500 is also on offer to the club attracting the highest number of views or downloads for a unique piece of video content featuring EVO-STIK branding.

The EVO-STIK League's social media manager James Heyes believes the competition is a huge opportunity to drive the web traffic and social media engagement of the competition and its member clubs before the stand-out success stories are unveiled at next June's end of season awards night in Blackpool.

After monitoring their progress since the start of the season, Heyes was looking forward to a fierce online battle to create brilliant graphics and video content breaking out after clubs were formally 'challenged' by the EVO-STIK League earlier this month and officially informed of the rules.

Heyes said: "There are no clear winners emerging yet as about 30 clubs are really making decent attempts already to engage with their fans so there are plenty of contenders. More and more are starting to go viral too as we have seen from Twitter's heat maps and we're pretty much getting noticed nationally every week now with clubs like South Shields and Scarborough regularly featuring.

"Others like Warrington, Stourbridge and Whitby are building up their footprints successfully and on the creative side, clubs like Stalybridge Celtic, Frickley Athletic and Droylsden are among those looking good already.

"The winners aren't going to come from just the raw stats, simple tweets and news stories as we want to see social media being used to its fullest and not just to gain followers or go viral. It'll probably come down to doing something nobody else has done before or something so brilliant it just gets everybody talking."

He added: "I've already been really impressed and the cash prizes from our sponsors means there is an extra incentive for all our clubs to become even more digitally minded for the next fifty years. It's the perfect competition for an historic season. Let the battle begin!"

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Where next?

Trophy is chance to make amends Matlock Town's fans can look forward to their side making up for their early exit from the Emirates FA Cup when the Gladiators kick off against EVO-STIK League rivals Glossop North End in the Buildbase FA Trophy on Saturday, writes Ian Richardson.
Tuesday's South Division action review There was only one match in EVO-STIK League South on Tuesday night with Daniel Dubidat the hat-trick hero for Alvechurch away at Peterborough Sports as they won 3-1, writes Pitchero's Steve Whitney.

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