Even though the Heritage Foundation unveiled a new version of its popular blog, The Foundry, just a year and a half ago, the think tank has seen such a change in the media landscape and in Washington that it launched yet another version today.
At the new Foundry.org, writes Communications Director Rory Cooper, Heritage “can offer better navigation and content, more compelling video features, enhanced commenting and reader engagement, and superior ways for you to share our content and spread the conservative message.”
And with nearly 350,000 fans on Facebook, 145,000 Twitter followers and more than 710,000 members, Heritage has a large audience that can share that content.
What explains the success? Heritage wants to say the growth is “organic.”
“We actually started our Facebook growth pretty organically, in fact we got to 300,000 organically,” [Director of Strategic Communication Rory Cooper] said. “A lot of organizations use Facebook advertising to build up their fan bases. They look at the cost per fan and decide the investment is worth it. I do think that for a lot of organizations that is a worthwhile investment, but we didn’t have to do that. We have done a few small short term campaigns on Facebook, but mostly they were issue based, they weren’t to build up fans.”
That may be true--they don’t seem to need to pay a service to find 10,000 Twitter followers in 48 hours for them--but it’s also a factor of other things at work.
The Heritage Foundation has spent very significant resources in getting the message out. It has, arguably, the most extensive communications team of all the think tanks--one that is extremely prolific, disciplined and knowledgeable on the policy issues in its realm.
While some may just see a sleeker, re-packaged Foundry, one standout feature is Scribe, Heritage’s new outlet for the work of the investigative unit led by Rob Bluey, who writes that “there were so many stories to research and investigate that it was a natural extension of our policy work.”