Release Your Wild, Archery 360 Join Forces

Posted by Shannon Rikard on June 2, 2014 in Archery Growth, Members
Bucket full of arrows photo peter thoeny - flickr 800x627 Photo: Peter Thoeny - Flickr Creative Commons
“At the start, we set Release Your Wild to live on Facebook and Twitter, and made Archery 360 an all-encompassing website. Soon it became clear that young archers we recruited through Release Your Wild needed more information to progress. Archery 360 is the perfect resource because it already has the information beginners want.” - Blake Shelby, an ATA Board member and vice president of sales and marketing at Precision Shooting Equipment Inc.

Archery 360, an online publication targeting new archers, and Release Your Wild, a social media campaign designed to introduce teens to archery, have banded together to give those new to archery a clear and informative pathway to ranges, coaching, archery shops, outreach programs and practice opportunities. Blake Shelby, an ATA Board member and vice president of sales and marketing at Precision Shooting Equipment Inc., said making Release Your Wild the campaign arm of Archery 360 is a natural transition.

“At the start, we set Release Your Wild to live on Facebook and Twitter, and made Archery 360 an all-encompassing website,” Shelby said. “Soon it became clear that young archers we recruited through Release Your Wild needed more information to progress. Archery 360 is the perfect resource because it already has the information beginners want.”

Maintaining high interest in archery is a priority throughout the archery industry. ATA helped USA Archery launch the Explore Archery program, an easy next step for those who become interested in archery through Release Your Wild, Archery 360 and other outreach programs.

When Explore Archery launched in early May, USA Archery said:

“Explore Archery was developed by USA Archery and the ATA with the support of the Easton Foundations. The National Field Archery Association (NFAA), National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP), and the Archery Shooters Association (ASA) have also endorsed the new program.                       

“Explore Archery was developed in response to the tremendous growth in archery over the past two years, fueled in part by bow-wielding Katniss Everdeen and ‘The Hunger Games’ franchise. USA Archery has experienced a 77 percent* membership surge in the past 12 months alone, and the ATA recently reported that 18.9 million Americans participate in archery.”

Release Your Wild

This social media campaign launched in November 2013, shortly before the release of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” In two months, 11.8 million people got fired up about it. Of those, 90 percent were under age 18, and 65 percent were girls.

The ATA contracted Weber Shandwick, a public-relations firm with offices in major media, business and government capitals worldwide. The firm executes goals defined by the ATA’s Campaign Committee, which outlines the campaign’s purpose and objectives while providing input on strategies and tactics to achieve success.

“Weber Shandwick’s expertise and contacts enabled our message to reach the audience we identified,” said Jennifer Mazur, ATA’s coordinator of archery and bowhunting programs. “We look forward to combining their powerhouse with ATA’s team to maximize our reach and drive more people to archery.”

Archery360

Archery’s recent popularity boost uncovered a need for easy-to-find online information for beginners, such as how to shoot, where to shoot, what to buy, and how to buy it. The ATA created Archery 360 to help fill this void. The website complements the ATA’s Release Your Wild advertising and social campaign.

While the campaign targets teenagers through social engagement, Archery 360’s content-heavy site expands on the Release Your Wild messaging with news, how-to’s, additional resources and an archery-shop locator.


What ATA Members Should Know

Allowing Release Your Wild and Archery 360 to produce content in tandem — one as an authority in community growth through lightweight, social engagement, the other an editorial authority offering substantive archery news and resources — matters to ATA members for two main reasons.

  1. Membership Value-Add. The Board wants ATA members to understand the role ATA plays in recruiting new archers. Membership dues support these kinds of important initiatives.
  2. The Evolution of a New Consumer Group. Archery manufacturers and shop owners need to know what types of new customers they might see in their business, and how to capitalize on these customers’ interests.

“I’m excited about the campaigns’ success and am proud the ATA has taken the initiative to recruit and retain the next generation of archers,” Shelby said. “When working with electronic media, we must keep up with changing trends. We are adapting to the needs of our market with this effort.”


Up Next: Retail Archery Academy

Now that Release Your Wild, Archery 360 and other programs have piqued interest in the sport, ATA is launching the Retail Archery Academy to help retailers accommodate recreational archers in their shops. Jay McAninch, ATA CEO/president, said the Academy is one of the most important programs the ATA has ever launched for retailers.

“Most archery retailers know the bowhunting business really well,” said Michelle Zeug, ATA director of archery and bowhunting programs. “The Academy is designed to educate retailers about recreational archery and help integrate it into their stores.”

Think of recreational archery as a puzzle, with websites, classes, Daily Deal sites, merchandising and other marketing as pieces of that puzzle. The Academy helps retailers assemble those pieces into a strategic plan.

For more information about the Retail Archery Academy, contact Michelle Zeug, ATA director of archery and bowhunting programs, at (612) 209-1484 or michellezeug@archerytrade.org.

*updated May 22

Feature photo: Peter Thoeny, Flickr Creative Commons