The Enduring Value of the Online Communications Tripod

June 4th, 2009

Working on a presentation for tomorrow’s Vocus user conference, I’m stuck by how often I keep coming back to a simple model for online organizing: the tripod. The basic idea (which I stole from Josh McConaha a while back) is that most online advocacy campaigns end up with three essential components:

  • An online hub (usually a website although it could be a MySpace profile, a Facebook fan page or a blog)
  • Some way of keeping in touch with people (usually email though it could also be Twitter or a social network)
  • Online outreach (everything from blogger relations to video to social networking)

The great thing about this idea is that it breaks online communications down by function, into a structure that’s easy to digest. People often get overwhelmed by the sheer number of communications options available online — paralyzed by the plethora of channels! But the tripod model puts the pieces in context without isolating them from each other, since each reinforces the other: online outreach sends people to the website, where they’re captured on an email list, which in turn keeps them involved in online outreach, and so on.

Once a campaign has the basics down (the website’s doing its job, the email list is up and running), outreach should be a natural extension, with the choice of tools being driven by an organization’s goals and capabilities. While a policy-driven campaign might benefit from publishing a blog, for instance, a group that’s more focused on media outreach might find blogger relations a good fit, and a campaign with a strong spokesperson could score a hit with online video. Just as long as the pieces work together…


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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Online campaign planning:&hellip  |  June 5th, 2009 at 9:28 am

    [...] goes right into my toolbox, alongside the ladder of engagement. > Read Colin’s full post « Greenpeace: Thank you, Earth Day [...]

  • 2. levjoy dot com - Up and r&hellip  |  August 11th, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    [...] Colin Delany explains the “enduring value of the communications tripod” using his standard down-to-earth and reasonable way of explaining [...]

  • 3. e.politics: online advoca&hellip  |  December 7th, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    [...] The Enduring Value of the Online Communications Tripod [...]

  • 4. Jafa Moot 2009  |  February 14th, 2010 at 6:44 am

    Really good read..learned a few things. Love this blog.

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