Sportex Time-saving marketing resources for physical & manual therapists

The all new sportEX website

Over the last 6 months there’s been a huge amount of work going on behind the scenes at sportEX, stimulated by 4 main motivations:

  1. A desire to vastly increase the flexibility and options for people wanting to engage with our content
  2. A strong yearning to create a totally different type of business model, one built on a basis of cooperation and ethiconomics (1) and driven by a “virtuous circle”.
  3. A quest to build a state of the art publishing platform that harnesses the last 5 years of web developments in delivering and building community through learning and professional development.
  4. An aspiration to use our new platform to widen our content framework into areas outside just sport.

In order to achieve our goals, we’ve completely rethought and restructured just about every aspect of what we do from the financial modeling, planning and budgeting, to the way we commission and pay for content, and finally through to the way we deliver this content.

(1) Ethiconomics = a name given by author Philip Birch, for the principles and practice of ethical business

The starting point

At the heart of everything we do is the interaction between you and the content we produce. We want to create the very best content we can to help you do your job in the most effective way possible. In order to achieve this we’ve done several things:

Refined and expanded our content structure:

In collaboration with some of our longest serving most committed subscribers, we’ve identified the ‘streams’ of content that you feel would add most value to your work (see Box 1 for details of the content streams).

Appointed hand-picked content commissioners:

We’ve identified 1-2 commissioning editors per content stream who are responsible for commissioning articles under that topic area. These are people who have a strong track record for developing ‘translational’ content. ‘Translational’ content has always been our USP – the ‘read it now, use it in an hour’ approach. We publish for practitioners, these are hands on people who want to know how to translate the research evidence into practical application.

Throughout we’ve focused on the “virtuous circle” approach:

Authors will earn up to 25% of all sales of their content and commissioning editors will earn 1-2% of sales for every article they have commissioned for the entire time that the content is live and available through our platform. The clever bit is in the algorithm that calculates how these royalties are divided particularly when content is sold as part of a ‘subscription’ to a bigger product. Here we use an algorithm that takes total sales and then divides it proportionally based on number of times that piece of content has been purchased as either a single item or as part of a group, combined with a range of engagement measures like social media influence, discussion activity and viewing statistics. The end goal is that great content is rewarded - the more an article is purchased, read, engaged in and shared, the more of the content royalty pot it will earn.

Implemented a self-refining, constantly improving content model:

The platform allows (and actively encourages) authors to regularly update, enhance and improve their content so that not only does it always remain current but the author always has the power to make it better (and encourage more sales). If the content isn’t updated then after a period it expires and ceases to earn royalties.

It’s a simple philosophy both in functional as well as economic terms that is designed above all to be fair, transparent and one in which everyone wins.

So where does the other 75% go?

  • 25% is for our affiliates who help to promote and sell our content through their own channels (if you’re interested in becoming an affiliate email me
  • 25% is set aside for costs relating to publishing the content, mobile app publishing, supplementary content resources such as images and animations
  • 25% goes towards business administration including customer technical and billing support, salaries, ongoing platform hosting and support costs and marketing.

Our goal with this new platform has been simplicity, transparency, mutuality and ongoing self-refinement.

New targeted advertising opportunities

At last we have a whole range of advertising opportunities available also. You can advertise at any point on the site. This could be within a given content stream, under a given tag (keyword section) or even down to a specific article (particularly useful for authors of articles wanting to promote other activities such as books they’ve written or courses they’re running). And as you’d hope, the process is simple and transparent.

STEP 1: Navigate on the site to the position you want to place your advert

STEP 2: Pick the advert type you want ie. Banner size – just under the existing banner will be an “Advertise here” link – go ahead and click it!

STEP 3: Choose the start and end dates for your ad and the system will calculate the price and display this as well as some other options in the same area so you can adjust your booking to fit your budget

STEP 4: Once you’re happy, place the booking and you will be asked to upload your artwork which once approved will go live at the time designated.

Key features of the new site

Community building

Throughout the site you’ll notice a start on the community building aspect and content engagement through the discussion forums at the end of all pieces of content. There are also many social media sharing opportunities throughout the articles.

Flexible purchasing

From a purchasing perspective you can now buy as little or as much content as you want right down from a single article, a stream of content, a ‘tag’ or a bundled subscription to the journals.

A simplified payment system

Our previous system had 7 different payment types with discounts based on payment methods. It was over-complicated (if you’re currently paying by one of these methods, don’t worry, we’ll continue to support it and you don’t need to change anything), but going forward it’s not only much simpler but also much more flexible thanks to the existence of a next-generation payment system known as Stripe. (see Box 2 for more details). 


Initially we will be working backwards from recent to the older material, to add the content archives. The April 2015 journals will be the first fully functional content to be launched along with PDF versions of articles as far back as we can go at launch. By the end of April 2015 the site will contain every article we've published since our launch in 1999! 

Multi-media and multi-platform friendly

While we’ve launched initially with articles (as historically this has been our main format of content), the platform is built to host all types of media securely including video, audio, presentations and any type of media you want to throw at us and we’ll be expanding the media offerings as we take on more content creators.

Subscriptions and payments with Stripe

  • The first BIG benefit is that Stripe takes responsibility for adhering to the stringent PCI Compliance rules that in the past has made the wonderful but hugely expensive ability to store credit card details completely prohibitive for small companies. Only behemoth retailers like Amazon could afford the sort of security this requires, that is until Stripe came along to give us ‘little guys’ access to the same convenience and security.
  • This means once you’ve entered your details once, Stripe securely stores these, meeting all the required PCI standards, and when you login to make a new purchase, there’s no need to enter your details again. It simply looks at your existing plan with Stripe, updates it to take account of the new content and off you go. One click purchasing! This means you can add content streams to your subscription, or delete them at any time in the year and all the billing will adjust accordingly at that exact point in time.
  • It does however mean that your subscription expires the minute you lapse it – if money is owed against unused days this is credited to your card. Transparent and fair, as we like it.

Content streams

sportEX medicine

  1. MSK diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation articles and case studies (16-20 articles per year)
  2. MSK Research into Practice (16-20 articles pre year)
  3. Pain, brain and sports performance (8-10 articles per year)
  4. Current trends in sports medicine (4-6 articles per year)

sportEX dynamics

  1. Manual therapy articles and case studies (non-sport)
  2. Current trends in manual therapy
  3. Sports-specific manual therapy articles and case studies
  4. Manual therapy research into practice
  5. Movement, assessment and retraining (to come)

We will also be adding two new dedicated streams of content on taping and business development commencing later in 2015.

In summary

This is a very short overview of the foundations of a much more complicated project that I believe will form a new way of publishing and growing communities in professional sectors not only in our core area of physical and manual therapy but across a whole range of vocational groups. This is just the start. I hope you enjoy the new site!

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