D3soccer.com Version 2.0 Plan
Over the last several months, we have spent time assessing the content and operations of D3soccer.com. There have been many lengthy discussions among ourselves, numerous informal conversations with several of our volunteers and site visitors, and a “Senior Capstone” project produced by a group of students in Hanover College’s Business Scholar Program.
Many important findings came from these reviews and discussions.
First, we start from a base of strength: we are widely regarded as the “go to” place for thorough, timely information about NCAA Division III soccer. We have a loyal base of long time visitors, and a small group of dedicated volunteers who are DIII soccer enthusiasts.
On the other hand, there are many weaknesses, including limited geographic match reporting, inadequate coverage of the women’s side, an out-of-date website design, and minimal use of social media. We also recognize that the current way the site is being run is not sustainable over multiple years; while we greatly appreciate our slate of volunteers, just two individuals do the bulk of the work — a setup that is not tenable in the long run.
Eight initiatives have been developed to address areas of identified problems and opportunities:
- Expanding geographic coverage beyond the current Northeast / Midwest portfolio of weekly columns.
- Providing enhanced coverage of the women’s side.
- Developing a social media presence.
- Striving for more year around presence. No longer go dormant, or nearly so, in the offseason.
- Migrating to an updated web design, with improved support for mobile devices.
- Conducting a program of market research to understand our visitors and their opinions about the site’s strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities.
- Vigorously recruiting additional volunteer staff, including a college intern outreach.
- Identifying revenue sources to support ongoing expanded operations.
We are pleased to announce that we have made solid progress in many of these areas; you will see this starting the first week of September. Adding to our regular services, weekly columns, and occasional editorial content provided in 2017 and earlier seasons; we have some exciting new expanded coverage planned for this fall:
- Four new weekly columns reporting on highlighted women’s matches in the Mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic, Great Lakes and West NCAA Regions.
- A national “Team of the Week.” Coaches, this is your chance to spotlight the outstanding performances of your players.
- A newly minted “Director of Social Media” who, along with a volunteer or two, will be actively communicating with our audiences and building on our initial forays started earlier this year.
- At some point in the season, we will be introducing a regular podcast discussing topics of interest from the D3 soccer landscape.
Rather than being dormant as we were this past offseason, we have identified some new content, along with resurrecting the “Coaching Carousel” and the “Recruiting Class Announcements” features which we hope will keep you (our readers) informed and involved. This means that DIII soccer does not disappear after first weekend in December — it simply moves to other venues.
Let us share some updates about our leadership team.
First, everyone should know that Chris Shirk has been doing incredible yeoman’s work for the last several years keeping the site alive and performing at an outstanding level. However, he has a growing young family and increased demands from his professional work life. Something had to give.
Last year Chris was able to reduce his time committed to D3soccer.com somewhat; this year, he needs to reduce further in a meaningful way. He is not, however, leaving, and will continue to provide input, counsel, and advice.
Jim Matson, who founded the site in 2007, has also faced increasing demands on his time from his business portfolio. He, too, has gradually had to reduce his time spent supporting the site. However, D3soccer.com is his “baby,” and — like any good parent — he will continue to be involved as well.
Jim Hutchinson joined the team working in the background in October 2015 and has taken on an increasing role ever since. This became even more evident last season, as we attempted to offload some of the demands on Chris.
To help successfully implement our plans and operate the site, we have made a few adjustments in responsibilities of these three people.
Effectively immediately, Jim Hutchinson — who shared this role with Chris last season — assumes the role of Managing Editor. He will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the site.
Jim Matson continues as Publisher, providing leadership and strategic direction. He also will continue performing several operational support tasks, most notably in Top 25 and All-American processes.
Chris continues as Special Consultant and Advisor, a role and title he assumed at the start of the 2017 season. Chris will advise Jim particularly on the “back end” operations of the site.
To provide strategic oversight, ensure continuity, and realize the benefit of their collective knowledge and experience, Jim Matson, Chris Shirk, and Jim Hutchinson will operate as a team with a formal, structured communication process.
Now entering its 11th season, D3soccer.com has an established and well-deserved reputation as “Your No. 1 source for Division III soccer information”. We intend to build on this legacy and position this site for the long run.
With all the transitions in responsibilities, as well as new initiatives supported by new volunteers, there are bound to be a few glitches and changes of direction along the way. We appreciate you bearing with us while we implement our plan.
And as always, we’d be remiss if we didn’t take this opportunity to ask for additional volunteers to help with this season. We are especially in need of people who can assist with the tasks of editing, fact-checking, and publishing our expanded line up of content.
|Jim Matson||Chris Shirk||Jim Hutchinson|
|Publisher||Special Consultant||Managing Editor|
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