By Kathryn Todd
With the 2015 State of Digital Media Marketing Conference taking place at UMSL Campus next week, we began to think about all the amazing marketing talent residing in our hometown of St. Louis. One St. Louis marketer who is blazing the way for how non-profits leverage digital and social media is Emily McNew. Emily is currently the Digital Marketing Manager at United Way of Greater St. Louis, where she is responsible for implementing the overall vision for United Way’s digital experience; including website and mobile, social media, email marketing and other digital and online marketing. In addition to her work at United Way, Emily is also the Marketing Communications Manager at STL Up Late, St. Louis’ only live late night talk show featuring the most talented and engaging guests that St. Louis has to offer. Recently we had the chance to catch up with Emily to discuss digital marketing, St. Louis, and more! Check out the full interview below:
Tell us about your day-to-day routine as the Digital Marketing Manager at United Way of Greater St. Louis
My day-to-day work generally falls within social media, email marketing and website management. In particular, I’m focused on continuously improving the digital experience for our constituents. This usually involves balancing our current technical capabilities and budget with an industry that is constantly changing and improving, and an audience that is getting increasingly accustomed to really great and personalized online experiences with brands. For us, this means things like working to make the online giving and volunteer sign up processes as easy and enjoyable as possible, and helping donors feel personally connected with the cause through our website, blog and social.
What are some tips you have for keeping a balance between digital and social media?
I think they both play different and very important roles. Social is great for gaining exposure to new audiences, and building relationships with new and existing donors. But I’m always conscious of the fact that with social media you’re operating on rented ground – we don’t own those channels and therefore the amount of control we have over it is limited (with things like changing algorithms). It’s important for us to deepen the relationship enough that we can acquire information like email addresses so we can stay connected that way, on our terms. At the end of the day, we find that email converts better than social – but social is important for being discovered and staying top of mind.
Tell us more about your involvement with STL Up Late, the city’s only live late night talk show
We start our 4th season this weekend, and now have over 30 people that make up the cast and crew. We’re all volunteering to do it, which is a testament to how much fun it is, and how much everyone believes in what we’re doing. In terms of marketing, there is a core group of 5 of us that work together to book guests on the shows, create content, sell tickets, etc. My focus is ticket sales, website and email marketing, but it is all definitely a group effort. The show is built on the idea of showcasing the things we love about this city — and poking a little fun at it too — so it’s hard to not have a good time while doing it.
Learn more about STL Up Late.
How has working with nonprofits benefited you?
Outside of working with nonprofits as my day job – I do serve as a board member and communications co-chair for the Gateway Media Literacy Partnership. I’m a big advocate for media literacy — especially in this digital age where everyone with a smartphone can be a considered a journalist and we have access to so much information 24/7. People need to be taught to think critically about the messages they are consuming on a daily basis. Right now, my focus with GMLP on the communications committee is revamping the website to be more user-friendly and actionable, and position them as the valuable resource in our area that they are.
In general, I consider nonprofit marketing to be my niche. My whole professional career has been in nonprofits, and it’s what I wrote my master’s thesis on. The sector provides some really unique marketing challenges, and I just love going to work every day feeling good about the work that we do. It’s a huge motivator for me.