Steps to a Successful 2012 for the News Venture

As the New Year is now underway, what are the steps you and your staff are taking to have a successful year? It’s time to take advantage of the month of January and start with a clean slate to identify new strategies to help your news venture grow in the coming year. The Hub has some tips to help you get started on the path to a successful 2012.

Revisit your mission and goals. The beginning of the year provides a fresh start to reexamine where your organization has been in the past year and where it should be going this year. Review your strategic plan with your staff and ask the following questions – are we meeting the mission we set? Did we accomplish the goals we set for last year? What are the steps we need to take to move our goals to the next level this year? What goals or objectives did we miss?

Taking a moment to reflect with your staff on your overall mission and goals can open your eyes to things you may have missed, opportunities you didn’t notice before, and provide a moment of inspiration and motivation for your staff to see what new ideas they can offer up for the new year.

Digital Storage. A key part to any organization is having enough storage capacity to handle digital files. Last year, do you know how much digital space your staff used to store digital files? Do you have enough space for this year or do you think you will need more? Does each member of your staff have a backup copy of their work? Do you have server redundancies in case your website(s) go down this year? January provides a good time to review your digital storage capacity and see if you need to expand in the coming year.

Sharing. Nowadays, any news venture must have a social media strategy. As part of that strategy, how do you share your content with the publics you serve? You may have a Twitter account and Facebook page that you update and publish content to, but how do you allow people to share the content you have on your site?

Do you feature options on your website for people to easily share content – do you have Twitter, Facebook and Google+ buttons on each page of your site? If so, should you expand to other sharing options? Services like AddThis and ShareThis provide an additional layer to allow your readers to share your website content across a myriad of social media channels beyond the typical ones out there.

Networking. In order to expand your news venture, networking is a key part of the game. This January, identify different ways you can network this year than you did last year. Are there conferences that are outside of your field (but distantly related) that you could attend? Expanding your networking circle to people not only in journalism or media fields but to other areas such as geography, computer science, and economics may lead to some interesting interactions and perhaps collaborations down the road. Every field has an annual conference or meeting. Identify those fields you think may be interesting and find out if you can attend at least one meeting or conference this year.

Think also about ways you and your staff can meet a new person each week. Push your staff to get out there and attend different interest group meetings such as Hacks/Hackers for example. These kind of interactions may not lead to immediate returns but meeting people from other fields and in other contexts may lead to future opportunities or be a catalyst for inspiration.

Creativity Breaks. Any digital media organization nowadays must operate on a 24/7 schedule, especially news ventures. The constant stream of work can sometimes drain creativity and inspiration among your employees. To kick off the new year, identify ways you may be able to offer creativity breaks to your staff. This can be an hour you allow the staff to determine or you specify the day and time each week that everyone takes a creativity break (Fridays at 4 p.m. for example). The guidelines of the creativity breaks can be set by telling them they can read their favorite book or magazine during that hour, review blogs or other sites on the web they enjoy, listen to music or if they enjoy programming or coding, allowing them to experiment with making a new web application during that hour.

The creativity break can be a dedicated hour once a week that allows your staff to stop their daily work and take a moment to get their creative juices flowing. This kind of break can make your staff more productive throughout the week and the creative activity may actually lead to a new initiative you launch in the organization.

The time is ripe to set the pace for the year. Take the month of January to identify new and different ways to operate this year and you may be surprised to see where it leads you at the end of 2012.