I recently had the opportunity to read Colin Delany’s e-book How to Use the Internet to Win in 2014. Since I’m a digital consultant myself, I didn’t expect to learn a lot, but I did pick up a few things along the way because Colin’s a smart guy and we all have different perspectives and experiences., For the typical candidate or campaign who doesn’t immerse themselves in online and mobile communications every day, this quick read has lots of useful nuggets and insight.

Unlike many digital communications books, this one focuses on practical advice rather than offering a philosophical rant. If you’re putting together an online outreach program for a political or issue campaign, this book provides a great roadmap for getting started.

Colin’s straightforward and folksy style demystifies some of the technical jargon and hype.

One of the most important points he makes is about over-reliance on social networks at the expense of email:

One final rule of thumb in Facebook outreach: move people onto your email list as quickly as possible, because email appeals have a much higher response rate than Facebook posts or MySpace messages. Not every one of your “friends” will join your list, but a campaign is likely to get more work and more donations out of the ones who do. Still, campaigns will frequently find that their most-committed supporters “hang out” on the campaign’s Facebook page whether or not they’re also on the email list. As we’ve said before, don’t think of email and Facebook as an either/or proposition โ€” ideally, they play well together.

Spot on advice, although I’m not sure why he mentioned MySpace — but I did just load the page just to make sure it still exists! (kidding … sort of).

He also debunks the notion that you need a dedicated mobile app. I have long advocated that such efforts rarely pay off in politics and advocacy — even at the national level, but certainly at all levels below that. There’s an alternative approach:

As an alternative to platform-specific grassroots/canvassing apps, BTW, many vendors are turning to mobile-optimized websites, which can provide similar functionality without requiring different technology for iPhones, Androids, etc.

Of course, there’s much more than just these highlights, but you should really download the e-book on your Kindle or as a PDF to get the full suite of advice that Colin Delany has to offer.