Keeping an entire school community up-to-date with athletics news can be a serious ordeal without the proper tools. Schools have to manage dozens of athletic events each week, with frequent nights with multiple games or practices. Keeping multiple website pages, a mobile app, alerts, and emails up-to-date can be an impossible task for a small team.
From the office or from the sidelines Athletics Manager and Composer empowers your webmasters and coaches to quickly and easily send emails with dynamic content, update website pages in just a few simple clicks, and automatically update the mobile app with no extra work required to ensure everyone receives the most accurate information the moment it’s available. Here’s how:
1. Add Dynamic Athletics Content to Messages
Messages, our email marketing module, allows you to create custom, repeatable dynamic content that automatically pulls in athletic events and information into emails. Dynamic content can also be created for Posts and Calendar events.
To add dynamic athletics content to your messages, simply drag a Dynamic Content element from the Content menu of Messages into a message, click the panel, and select an athletics entry from the list. Adding a Dynamic Content element creates a placeholder that is set to one of the pre-created configurations, such as athletics events.
Once the message is sent, that dynamic content placeholder is replaced with live content from your school’s website, such as a recent game recap or schedule information for an upcoming game. You can preview dynamic content by using the Test Send feature or by clicking the Preview button when creating the message.
To create dynamic athletics content, head to the Dynamic Content menu from the main Messages menu. Dynamic athletics content allows you to select specific teams that can appear in that Dynamic Content element. Create multiple elements so you can quickly add dynamic content for each sport or team when building emails.
You can add an Advantage, Division, Gender, Result, School, Season, Sport, Team, and Type filter. Subsequent filters can further refine the teams that appear in the Dynamic Content element.
Once you have your teams selected, control which information appears in the Content Details menu. Choose from: Icon/Color, Team Name, School Name, Opponent, Date, Time, Advantage, Location, Dismissal Time, Departure Time, Return Time, Pickup Time, Transportation, Status, Result, Score, and Read More.
You can also choose between Recap and Custom Directories, but we don’t recommend those two options since they may contain HTML content that’s not compatible with the email format. However, they are available if you would like to use them.
Finally, the Formatting section allows you to control how many events will appear, the order they’ll appear in, the date format, the spacing between events, and if you want to link the event title back to the default athletic page.
Dynamic athletics content gives you an impressive amount of control to build and refine your emails with athletics content that automatically populates your emails to save you time and maximize the value you get from Athletics Manager and the Messages module.
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2. Allow Coaches to Update the Website with Coach Mobile
Your most dedicated fans, parents, and alumni want the latest game updates right as they’re happening. These passionate fans don’t want to wait until after the team returns home from an away game to see results, scores, and recaps.
Coach Mobile is an easy-to-use tool found within Athletics Manager that empowers coaches to quickly post updates to the school website from their phone, no matter where they are. Using Coach Mobile is as simple as logging into your school’s website with an admin login and accessing the tool under the Athletics Manager section of your website.
To update scores or other information for games that have just finished (or are still going on), coaches can head to the Recent menu and manually enter a result (win/loss/tie/other), score, and recap. Then, the coach taps Update and Publish, and the results are displayed live on the site and sent via alerts to those that have subscribed to receive athletic results.
Coaches can also make adjustments to upcoming games in the Upcoming menu, view games in a calendar view in the Calendar menu, and view information about individual teams in the Teams menu. Admins can restrict coaches to only view and edit information for their respective sport. For example, a football coach can be restricted to only view and edit information for the football team.
Of course, coaches can make all of the same updates from the computers once they’re back in the office. Either way, your coaches will always have the means to provide up-to-date, to-the-minute information to your parents who absolutely need the latest information as soon as it’s available.
3. Send Athletics Alerts to Subscribers
Finalsite Alerts integrates with Athletics Manager so real-time notifications are sent to constituents who have subscribed to receive athletics notifications via email or SMS text messages.
Use alerts to send score updates, game results, recaps, and important information regarding games that have been postponed, changed, or canceled due to inclement weather or schedule changes. These real-time notifications are sent whenever an Athletics Manager admin makes updates.
4. Add Athletics Content Anywhere on Your Website
While most of the work for Athletics Manager is done within the module itself, adding athletics information to any page on your website is quick and easy thanks to the Composer’s WYSIWYG editor and athletics modules.
Composer’s ease of use allows experienced webmasters and coaches who still prefer to keep everything written on score cards to add content anywhere on your website in seconds. Updates made by module admins are reflected across your website, ensuring site-wide accuracy to further save you time.
“Athletics Manager is so robust and has a lot of features that make it easy for website managers and coaches to keep things updated. At the same time, Composer allows the pages to look dynamic and pulls the user in to enjoy the experience while they get the information they need,” said Emma Christiantelli, Trinity-Pawling’s Website Manager/Digital Marketing Specialist.
Let’s take a look at Trinity-Pawling School’s best-in-class Athletics pages to see how athletics information can be displayed on your website. We recently covered how Trinity-Pawling built their athletics section in a separate blog earlier this year.
Let’s start with one of their most-visited pages: the Scores page.
Currently, Trinity-Pawling has the page setup with an Athletics Event Element that pulls in scores from two seasons: winter and spring. Ten entries are displayed with a Team Name, Opponent, Date, Time, Advantage, Result, Score, and Details Link.
Making changes is as easy as selecting different options, such as switching the Seasons to Fall for the upcoming 2019-2020 school year, selecting a filter to limit the scores displayed to just football, or changing the details displayed to either show more or less information.
Either way, Athletics Manager and Composer’s athletics modules gives you complete control over your athletic’s pages in just a few short, easy steps.
5. Create Unique Team Pages With Athletics Elements
Creating athletics pages on your school website is a short and simple process, but the real magic begins once you start creating individual pages to highlight each of your school’s athletic teams.
For the hundreds of students, parents, and alumni that regularly check your website to follow the latests sport’s news, having a dedicated page for each sport or team provides a convenient hub where they can quickly find all of the latest score, roster, and schedule information.
For example, Trinity-Pawling has a page for each team that can be accessed by clicking on the thumbnail image for that team on their Teams page.
“It makes the page a little more exciting to look at, especially for prospective students,” Christiantelli said. “It makes the overall feel of the school more real to them.”
From there, visitors are taken to a hub of information for each sport. Let’s take a look at Trinity-Pawling’s Varsity Baseball page, though all of the team pages are laid out similarly.
The Varsity Baseball page has tabs that provide quick access to team overview and off-season training information, a Meet the Coaches section, a Meet the Players section, Schedule, and a Season Scores section.
The Meet the Coaches section contains four coach profiles with information and pictures pulled from Constituent Manager. It’s a simple way to give parents, students, and alumni a quick way to contact the coach through email or phone, as well as additional personal information about each coach, such as hometown, hobbies, and fun facts.
The Meet the Players section displays a roster through an Athletics Roster Element and an image of a Facebook post that acts as a student athlete spotlight. The roster pulls in a list of players that displays the athlete’s number, position, class year, grade level, and hometown in a grid view.
“It’s so nice that I can just log into Athletics Manager, add in the players, opponents, scores, etc., and it dynamically displays under the correct team,” Christiantelli said. “It’s efficient, and it saves a lot of time.”
The Schedule section displays 10 upcoming games with the team name, opponent, date, time, advantage, status, and detail link options checked in the Athletics Event Element. Link to event recap, team alert to feed icons, and display option to load more are also checked under the Controls menu so visitors can see more of the schedule and click the Details or View Recap links to learn more.
Finally, the Season Scores section is set up similarly to the Scores page, except the scores displayed here are specific to Varsity Baseball, which means the Team Name option under the Content Details menu no longer needs to be selected.
Athletics Manager and Composer provides you with dozens of options to create your school’s athletics and teams pages the way you want. We’ve taken an exhaustive look at Trinity-Pawling’s athletics page, so let’s now take a look at how a few other schools have created their athletics pages.
Strake Jesuit College Preparatory’s athletics section with a hero video that dominates the page with a sliding schedule directly below and quick links to other athletics pages further down. A social media feed pulls in athletics-related content for a constant stream of new information.
Culver Academy also uses a hero video at the top of their athletics homepage with quick links below to ten of the most-popular athletics pages. Visitors can scroll down to see recent athletics news, read about the school’s athletes of the month, and further down for more information about the school’s athletics facilities and coaches directory.
Finally, McCallie opens their athletics section with another hero video to highlight their student athletes with quick links to individual team pages further down the page, athletics news below that, and a sliding scoreboard that displays information from the most recent games further down still.
6. Automatically Post Updates to the Finalsite App
With the release of our new Finalsite App for Android and iOS, keeping your school community updated with the latest athletics news is easier than ever. The app features Composer’s Create Once, Publish Everywhere (C.O.P.E.) functionality so content published on your website is automatically published to your app as well.
Schools can select which teams appear under the Athletics section of the app to determine which upcoming games populate the list view. You can choose to display every single team at the same time, or limit the number of teams to the current season: football for the fall, basketball for the winter, baseball for the spring, etc.
Your constituents can then use the filter option to select only the teams or sports they care about. Any team or sport they do not select is removed from their list view. Constituents can also switch between viewing past games to see scores and recaps, or they can view location and transportation information for upcoming games.
Schools can also create a folder under the Resources section of the app specific to athletics where staff, coaches, parents, alumni, and even students can upload photos from athletics events thanks to individual permissions within Resources, our multimedia and document management module. Of course, we recommend checking each photo once it’s uploaded to make sure they’re safe to share before making it public for everyone to see.
Whether you’re building your athletics pages for the first time, updating scores from the sidelines through Coach Mobile, or viewing scores and recaps through the new Finalsite App, Athletics Manager makes it easy for every member of your school community to stay engaged and up-to-date with the latest athletics news.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As Finalsite’s Product Marketing Specialist, Andrew writes blogs and creates videos to share information about all the latest and greatest Finalsite products. Andrew has more than 10 years of video production experience and a journalism degree from the University of South Carolina. He has an incredible passion for movies, television, reading, and writing fantasy and science-fiction.