We spoke to USA Volleyball’s Marketing Communications team to hear how they have successfully adapted Your Court for a mobile-first audience.
“Foleon’s templates provided a strong foundation for the development, production, and customization of Your Court. Additionally, the platform’s customer service team responded to requests quickly and mitigated issues effectively.”
USA Volleyball is the National Governing Body (NGB) for the sport of volleyball in the United States. Our vision is to be a leading world-class organization in all aspects of volleyball, to engage and inspire our nation through a cultivated passion for the game and continue success at winning Olympic and Paralympic medals.
Prior to the development of Your Court, we created a web-based, digital version of a printed magazine with bonus pages and features. We also created an app called VolleyballUSA, which contained digital versions of our print publications, past rulebooks, and two editions of SPIKE, our digital-only publication for junior athletes. Neither VolleyballUSA nor SPIKE had outstanding download numbers, and we sought to increase engagement by providing a fun, interactive experience for members. Additionally, it’s critical that our members and the public look at USA Volleyball as a world-class professional sports organization.
Our print magazine, although filled with quality content, no longer represented our youthful demographic. It did not reflect the growing popularity of the sport or position USA Volleyball on the cutting edge of volleyball coverage.
USA Volleyball worked with Trefoil Group, an integrated marketing agency with proven digital expertise, in the development of this publication. Trefoil Group researched several other platforms but ultimately recommended Foleon because the platform allows USA Volleyball to host the publication and deliver it to readers via email, seamlessly integrate video, and enable data collection and analysis via third-party integrations and Google Analytics. Foleon’s responsive nature, availability of pre-built templates, and the ability to integrate social sharing functionality were also instrumental to Trefoil Group’s recommendation.
Eighty percent of our members comprise females age 12 to 18 years old. Armed with knowledge about this demographic’s content consumption preferences – specifically, interest in video and social media – along with data showing that the majority of visitors view the USA Volleyball website via mobile, we decided to strategically shift the way in which we present this publication. Our hope was to communicate with our members in a way that they are most comfortable: via phone or tablet. In essence, we wanted the opportunity to communicate with our audience digitally in the hopes of more effectively engaging and building affinity.
Additionally, we had received anecdotal evidence that print publications weren’t being read or appreciated as they once were. It also appeared that we could save money by foregoing printing and postage expenses. Coupled with the fact that our print vendor reported a significant decline in ad sales, we decided that a digital publication would be more effective than a traditional print magazine.
The opportunity for USA Volleyball to create a digital-only publication presented both possibilities and uncertainties. Without a successful example in the U.S. Olympic sports family to leverage as a foundation for development, USA Volleyball was breaking new ground and forging its own path for this digital-only magazine.
The transition from a print publication to a digital-only format was streamlined and straightforward. We were able to successfully leverage Trefoil Group’s digital expertise to elevate our brand and bring our publication to life.
Foleon’s templates provided Trefoil Group with a strong foundation for the development, production, and customization of Your Court. Additionally, the platform’s customer service team responded to requests quickly and mitigated issues effectively.
The metrics we consider to be most valuable in assessing the performance of this publication are the total number of users, the average age of a user to measure how well we are reaching our target demographic, and engagement with the magazine's content. Key analytics for engagement include time viewing content, video views, responses to our fillable forms, and online submissions.
While we didn’t identify quantifiable KPIs for the initial issue, we definitely realized and exceeded our goal of developing and disseminating a beautiful publication to our members. We’ve received positive feedback from members, athletes, and stakeholders to date, and we’ve even fielded requests from our top athletes to contribute to future issues.
If we hadn’t pursued a digital publication, we would have continued delivering text-heavy articles to our members via a traditional print magazine. We wouldn’t have been able to gain insight into the most popular content, and we certainly wouldn’t have the opportunity to learn more about our audience through their online behaviors.
We distributed Your Court via email to our membership base. Additionally, although we did not aim to promote the publication via social media, several content contributors shared links to the publication on their networks, thereby increasing the opportunity for engagement.
Brand affinity is one of USA Volleyball’s top priorities. We plan to continue leveraging current technologies to tell our story and increase interest in the sport of volleyball through strong content, eye-catching design, and interactivity with our members.
Foleon is very user-friendly, and the customer support team is responsive – day or night. Don’t be afraid to use your creativity and think outside the box. And don’t underestimate the importance of partnering with a strong team in the development of your magazine.