Winning the Internet

Creating a killer new media program takes hard work

After a great run, the Winning the Internet blog has been retired. However, you can still keep in touch with New Media Mentors here.

hard workAll week I’ll be writing about my key take-aways from my last year as a mentor for New Media Mentors. Yesterday’s take-away was about approaching new social media tools strategically.

Today’s insight is all about rolling up your sleeves: Creating a killer new media program takes hard work.

As part of the New Media Mentors pilot, I’ve had the fortune to work with different types of personalities and organizations. I have consistently found that the people that get the most out of the program are the ones that aren’t afraid to invest serious time and brainpower in developing their new media programs.

In my experience, creating a killer new media program requires most, if not all, of the following:

  • Strategic thinking: The most successful organizers use some kind of strategic planning process when planning a new campaign, and think strategically when working on even the most mundane tasks. This allows them to work with purpose and to weed out tasks and projects that don’t get the organization closer to their goals.
  • Appreciation for messaging: The top performing organizations really think about their audience, and what the organization can offer them. They understand that it’s not enough to have a noble cause—they have to find a way to cut through the clutter and communicate with supporters and others.
  • An eye for opportunities: Creating your own news can be hard. The organizations with the most outstanding new media programs tend to look for opportunities in the news, and pounce on them when appropriate.
  • Commitment to timeliness: The best online organizers realize that above all else, it’s important to be relevant. This may mean dropping everything and getting to work at 8pm on a Saturday if that’s when a story’s hot.
  • Regular measurement and analysis: Most organizations that are successful didn’t get there by guessing! They take measurement and analysis seriously. This means carefully measuring results, analyzing them after every campaign, and doing a larger-scale analysis periodically. Testing is also deeply integrated into the organizations’ cultures.

If you didn’t notice, all of these are hard! The truth is that when you’re working strategically, one size doesn’t usually fit all. “Top 5 lists” and generic recommendations can be helpful, but there are no quick fixes for this stuff. Developing a new media program that is strategic takes time, energy and deep commitment. It requires hard work. Period.

Photo by hvaldez1.


About Melissa Foley

Melissa is the Director of Training and Mentoring for Netroots Foundation and New Media Mentors. She aims to use her MBA + nonprofit background to teach organizations to use new media tools strategically.