12 Months of Public Library Marketing Ideas

We begin each new year with high hopes. We set resolutions, and we’re determined to carry them out. Unfortunately, research shows we’re usually unsuccessful. About 45% of Americans say they always make New Year’s resolutions, yet just 8% of us keep them 

Gretchen Rubin, the author of “The Happiness Project,” offers a few tips for sticking to your New Year’s resolution. These four are easily adaptable to public library marketing:  

  • Create specific goals 
  • Monitor your progress
  • Hold yourself accountable – publicly 
  • Avoid the urge that something has to be “perfect” before it can be “done” 

So, in the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, as we enter the holiday season and close out 2017, here are a few ideas you can adopt for your marketing program, one for each month of the upcoming year.  


Expand your newsletter subscriber list. Try one – or more – of these 25 ideas from marketing software company, Hubspot. Tip #11 is a very easy change to make!  


Create a Snapchat campaign. This ultimate guide from Business Insider can get you started. Libraries will find the ideas for building anticipation, telling stories, and combining video and images most useful.  


Take an online marketing course. WebJunction offers several courses and webinars specifically designed for public library staff. If you are a LibraryLinkNJ member, you can try one of the many online learning options from Lynda.com free of charge.


Incorporate video into your marketing. If you haven’t yet invested in a video strategy, it’s time. In 2014, 64% of consumer Internet traffic was to videos. In 2019, that number is expected to be 80%-90% of all consumer Internet traffic.  


Start a live broadcast. Facebook Live has exploded this year…. Interactive streaming video services Periscope and Meerkat gained traction last year, and some say they are set to explode this year. Always wanted to have your own TV talk show? Here’s your chance. 


Make your website mobile-ready. As you’ve probably noticed, everywhere you go, people have their eyes glued to their smartphones. So it should come as no surprise that mobile Internet usage exceeded desktop usage way back in 2014. A mobile friendly site will make it easier for your visitors to read your content on their phones.  


Post more frequently to your blog. Not sure what to write about, especially on a weekly schedule? A blog is a fantastic outlet for sharing news, educational instruction and proof that your library adds value to the community. Start with these great content ideas. 


Commit to writing better email newsletter subject lines. They’re so important, yet how often do we dash them off quickly, with little thought? A great subject line will entice more people to read your newsletter. Try these ideas for making yours stand out in the crowded inbox. 


Research and experiment with an emerging trend. Early adopters of emerging trends are usually retail businesses or major corporations. But these tools have potential for public libraries too. Here are 10 Marketing Trends to Think About for 2018.


Create serial content. We don’t need anyone to tell us how powerful storytelling can be. But the public’s growing appetite for serial storytelling is exciting and instructive. There are several inventive ways to start your own local “serial” focused on a single topic: create a weekly event series at the library, on your blog or perhaps through a podcast.  


Hire a freelancer. The “gig economy” – where freelance writers, artists and experts of all types provide their services on a cost-effective, project basis – can provide public libraries with services they wouldn’t normally be able to afford. Dip your toe in by commissioning an image through Fiverr for just $5.  


Measure your 2018 marketing results. Have your resolutions paid off? Do you gain more Facebook followers and newsletter subscribers? Did your blog help you get your budget passed? If you’re not sure how to measure marketing success, here is an oldie but goodie tip list and infographic that hopefully will help.  


You can adopt any or all of these resolutions. Do one each month, or start them all from the beginning of the year. Keep me posted throughout the year on your progress in the comments below! 


About Tiffany McClary

Tiffany McClary is the Director of Communications, Marketing & Outreach for the New Jersey State Library. She coordinates marketing and public relations initiatives in order to enhance the reputation of the State Library, and promote the value of NJ libraries and the services and programs that they provide to residents.