Issuu recently chatted with Suzanne Miller, the Senior Marketing Communications Specialist for the City of Plano Parks and Recreation Department. She has been with the City of Plano for over thirteen years and has been responsible for establishing, implementing, and coordinating the communication strategy for Plano’s parks and recreation department.
Our parks and rec department has a website, a monthly newsletter for the entire department, a weekly newsletter that our senior center puts out, and a catalog that we distribute three times a year. This catalog includes around 7,000 classes which are offered by our rec centers. We have many popular activities, some of which sell out on the first day they open. As I mentioned, we create these catalogs three times a year, with a digital going up on the website, and around 50,000 copies are mailed out.
Last year during Covid, we didn't mail it out as most people weren’t coming into the centers anyway, but we still published on Issuu. Surprisingly, even though people weren’t coming in as frequently, the online edition had very high read rates.
For the design and layout we use Adobe Creative Cloud, and for ads within the catalogs we use Illustrator. There are a few other tools we use in conjunction but for overall layout we use tools within the Adobe Creative Cloud.
We actually discovered Issuu at a conference, around ten or so years ago. We had looked at a few other options but Issuu just seemed to be the easiest to work with. We saw a demo and that was that, we’ve used Issuu ever since. When we go to these conferences we're always looking to improve what we do, find new ways of going about things, and use the tools that can evolve with us, and that’s something I appreciate about Issuu. You didn’t always have all of the features that you do now, but you’re always building. Having used Issuu for over a decade, I appreciate that Issuu is always evolving, and constantly striving to be a better product.
We use links on every catalog we publish to make it easy for customers to go directly to sign up for classes, but we also use stats to better understand the flow of traffic. During Covid, obviously a lot of things went strictly online, so understanding online traffic is very important. I love all of the statistics available with Issuu. I can see how long they were on the page, where they went, what classes they clicked on, and how that translates to registrations. We had a manager asking about signups and it was really an amazing experience to be able to show her how customers go directly to sign up for a class, how long they stayed on each page, and what they clicked on.
A feature that I wanted and recently realized you already have is the auto detected links so our future recreation catalogs can automatically be linked at the bottom of the page. Though another feature I would love is the ability to edit single pages. It doesn’t happen very often but every once in a while I’ll need to edit a single page from the catalog. Currently, in order to do that, I have to re-upload the entire catalog and re-add links or other changes manually.
The City of Plano has their own newsletter which includes a little blurb mentioning the parks department, and the parks and rec department’s newsletter has around 8,000 subscribers. All told, we feasibly send to around 50,000 people.
This is probably the same everywhere across America, but youth swim classes sell like hot cakes. Right now tennis is also huge because it's outdoors and a lot of people are looking for outdoor activities, thus tennis classes are selling out very quickly. We open registration at 8am on a Saturday morning and usually in the first couple of hours the swimming and tennis will be completely full. When we publish summer camps in April they also sell out almost immediately. Any classes for kids and youth tend to be the most popular.
We have four recreation centers and a senior center. The senior center is on its own, in the adults 50+ section of the website, but the other four centers’ classes are all included in one brochure. Generally people go to the closest center to their home, but we have all of them available in case another time or class better fits their schedule and they can see it all in one place.
Thank you! Issuu has been a very easy platform to work with, I’ve really appreciated working with you guys.