Author Archives: Tiffany McClary

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.

Video Series Part 3: Lights, Camera, Action! Tips to Make Your Video Shoot Go Smoothly

So far in this series about how to create a marketing video for your public library, we’ve covered the pre-production process and how to choose a video spokesperson. This post provides some useful tips for the shoot itself.

Whether you decide to hire a professional or do-it-yourself, these tips will help you become familiar with the process, know what to expect on the day of the shoot, and improve the quality of your video.

Put together your video team

Every video shoot needs at least five people. Of course, the spokesperson (also known as the “talent,”) needs to be present and already familiar with the script. You’ll need a camera man whose job it is to capture the video. Likewise, you should have a dedicated audio person, who ensures the sound quality is good by monitoring volume levels and listening for unwanted noise. A director, much like the Hollywood kind, can assess the performance and give instructions to improve delivery.  An assistant can keep track of takes, mark up scripts with changes, and handle miscellaneous tasks.

That is of course a perfect case scenario. If you don’t have 5 people, don’t worry! Work with who you have. As we know in the land of stretched budgets and resources, we often need to wear multiple hats to get the job done.

Get the lighting right 

Too dark, too light, too many shadows: lighting can affect the quality of your video in big ways. If you’re new to video and on a tight budget, it probably doesn’t make sense to buy professional photography lights. Instead, work with what light you have. First, turn off overhead lights, which tend to create unwanted shadows. To improve your setting’s lighting, find three lamps and place them strategically around the subject to accentuate and create natural tones.

Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse  

Be sure to provide your spokesperson with the script a few days ahead of your shoot. On the day of the shoot, rehearse a few times and have the director provide feedback. Once everyone is comfortable, begin shooting, but aim to get two to three takes of each section of the script. This will give the editor plenty to work with in post-production.

Shoot small sections

Don’t attempt to shoot the entire script at once. Instead, break it into pieces at logical break points. Review each take after shooting, adjust and shoot another take or two. During the editing process, you can string together the best takes.

Mark timings as you go

As you progress through the script, have the assistant note the start and stop times of the best takes. This will make it easier to find them during the editing process.


You don’t have to be a professional to shoot good quality marketing video, but it does take a bit of knowledge and some practice. You can find plenty of advice by searching Google, but I found this video from Wistia and the accompanying Forbes article to be very helpful.

We’ll cover the editing process in our next post. Check back soon for the next installment of this series!


Video Series Part 2: How to Choose the Right Spokesperson for Video News

In an earlier post, I covered how your public library could gain more publicity by announcing news via video. That post covered the pre-production process, including how to define your audience, create a storyboard, write a script, and choose a setting.

There’s one other piece that I didn’t cover, but which is very important: How to select the right video spokesperson. This may sound easy, but it can actually be quite challenging. At the outset, you may want to choose based on relevant roles in your organization. For news about children’s programs, for example, the logical choice would be the children’s librarian.

However, to ensure your message resonates with your target audience, there are several other criteria to consider. Here are five qualities your video spokesperson should have.

A Demographic Match with the Audience

Your audience is more likely to trust someone they can relate to. That’s why matching your spokesperson to your target audience is so important. If you’re reaching out to Millennial moms, you’ll get better results if your video spokesperson is also a Millennial mom, one who can make a personal appeal.

Loves to Be On Camera

Much like the fear of public speaking, being on video makes many people uncomfortable. Be sure to choose someone who isn’t intimidated by the camera. Even better, find someone who loves it! Their enthusiasm will come across in the video, and your shoot will be much easier.

Exudes High Energy

This is especially important. A fair amount of enthusiasm and energy will be lost between real life and your recorded segment. If your spokesperson relays information in a normal tone, they could come across as flat or dull on video. But a high-energy delivery is certain to hold the attention of your audience.

Speaks Clearly

It’s incredibly important for your spokesperson to be able to speak slowly and clearly. Of course, rehearsals are essential for anyone, but a confident and articulate speaker will be able to deliver your message clearly and efficiently. Competency in this area will pay off during the shoot itself because you’ll have fewer takes. But it also pays off in the editing process because you won’t need to spend much time fixing flubs.

Channels Your Brand Personality

Because video is a visual medium, appearance plays a major role in how successful your spokesperson will be at delivering your message. The best candidate will have a personality and style that matches your brand. Most importantly, they should be passionate about your library and initiatives.


As you consider potential spokespeople, it’s a good idea to audition a few candidates on camera first. This will give you an opportunity to evaluate and compare performances.

We’ll cover the filming process in our next post. Check back soon for the next installment of this series!


Video Series Part 1: Got Library News? Announce It with Video

Big news! Your public library is… having an event, receiving a large donation, starting a new program. You want your announcement to generate a high level of excitement in the community, but the traditional press release simply isn’t going to do the job.

Why not add some luster? Instead of putting your news in black and white, make your announcement with video.

Check out this video we just created at the State Library on NJ Makers Day:

Video is exploding as a medium. YouTube says it now reaches more US 18-49 year-olds during prime time than the top 10 TV shows combined, and people are watching 100 million hours of video on Facebook every day. Apps like Periscope and Meerkat have made the process of live-streaming events and news accessible to anyone with a smartphone. So it hardly comes as a surprise that 87% of online marketing professionals are incorporating video content into their marketing strategies.

That’s because videos are highly effective marketing tools. Sixty-four percent of viewers say they are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video, according to ComScore. In addition, videos can have a long shelf life. They can be shared in social media, promoted in your newsletter, and posted on your website.

But don’t be fooled: putting together a video news announcement that will get a lot of views, shares and comments is a lot of work. While your video shoot may take as little as a few hours, most of the work is in pre- and post-production. In addition, every video must be supported by a solid marketing plan.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll take you through each of the stages involved in creating a video announcement: Pre-production, the video shoot, post-production, and promotion. Let’s start with pre-production.

Define your target audience

Just as with any communications initiative, the first step is to define your target audience. In your research, you’ll find some groups are more receptive to video than others. For example, younger adults are more likely to watch video than older generations. According to Pew Research, 82% of 18-29 year olds use YouTube, but only 34% of those 65 and older do. And Facebook is likely the best place to post a video news item if you want to reach Generation X moms, data shows, while Instagram is best for younger Millennials.

Create a storyboard 

A storyboard is the video equivalent of an outline. Because it combines visual, audio, and written components, video can be more complicated to produce than a standard press release. Storyboarding – the graphical representation of all the elements of your video, arranged in the order of appearance – simplifies the process by allowing you to map the sequence at a high level. It makes it easier to envision the setting, the props, the announcer, and the flow of your words. To learn more about this process and to download some storyboarding templates, read this article, which offers a concise, clear explanation of what storyboarding is and how it works.

Write a script

Many believe that creating video is faster than creating a blog post because writing isn’t absolutely necessary. Nothing could be further from the truth. Do write a script and be sure your spokesperson rehearses before recording. A script ensures all the important points are covered, and rehearsals are invaluable for nailing the right tone and energy levels.

Choose a setting

Where you choose to shoot your video is as important as what you say and how you say it. Choose a spot meaningful to your announcement, but not overly cluttered. Be sure to avoid visually noisy backgrounds, which can be distracting. A clean, sharp background will help your spokesperson stand out. Likewise, steer clear of spots where sound easily interferes. Pick a quiet location, away from traffic noise and the hum of voices. Finally, consider a place that shows off the subject of your announcement. For example, if you’re promoting a new art exhibition, you may want your spokesperson to stand alongside a featured piece of artwork.


This upfront work may take some time, but it’s invaluable. The planning process can help you avoid mistakes, and it will vastly improve your final product. In my next post, I’ll discuss what qualities you should look for in an on-camera spokesperson. Check back soon for the next installment in this video series.

Bring the Maker Movement to Your Public Library

Libraries around the state celebrated NJ Makers Day last month (check out what the State Library did here). The fun doesn’t need to be limited to this one annual event. Here are some tips you can use for marketing your Maker events all year long.

What do Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, Joy Mangano, and Toni Morrison have in common? Each one has turned an idea – or several – into reality. And all are great role models for the growing Maker Movement, a DIY community that encompasses technology, arts and crafts. Libraries across the country are supporting this educational movement by creating Makerspaces and holding Maker Faires. Back in 2013 the New Jersey State Library and LibraryLinkNJ, the New Jersey library cooperative, partnered to fuel these efforts financially, and last year announced a competitive grant program for NJ libraries to help fund mobile mini-makerspace kits for joint use by a partnering public library/branch and public school library (Kindergarten – Grade 8).

What exactly does a Makerspace look like? According to American Libraries Magazine, “Kids gather to make Lego robots; teens create digital music, movies, and games with computers and mixers; and students engineer new projects while adults create prototypes for small business products with laser cutters and 3D printers.”

Former President Obama considered the Maker Movement as a national priority because it encourages creativity and invention, can inspire more students to excel in STEM programs, promotes innovation, and has the potential to help solve societal challenges.

In many ways, the Maker Movement is a perfect fit for public libraries. It’s an extension of what many libraries already offer through writer’s groups and art exhibits. Makers benefit from the library’s extensive reference resources. But it’s also an excellent way to engage the community and increase visits to the library.

How can public libraries ensure the success of a Makerspace, hackathon or Maker Faire? Here are eight ways to spread the word, develop advocates, and excite the community.

  1. Engage local leadership

As part of the White House’s initiative, more than 100 mayors signed up for the Mayors Maker Challenge. This effort underscores a valuable marketing point for public libraries: The support of local leaders is instrumental in the success of your Makerspace.  Local officials can make important connections between your library and major corporations in town that may be willing to donate or even underwrite your program.

  1. Reach teens @ their favorite hangouts

To build awareness among teens, concentrate your promotions in the places they regularly frequent. Get permission from school administrators to post flyers in schools and have news of your Makerspace added to their morning announcements. Use Instagram and Snapchat to connect with teens online, get their feedback, and build their support.

  1. Cultivate support of teachers and parents

Both teachers and parents can be powerful advocates. Visit your local schools, and partner with teachers to design your Makerspace. Teachers are uniquely qualified to help you fill any gaps in your program. Be sure to provide communications support for teachers to help them talk to students. Handouts, checklists and other materials will make it easier for them to share information and details. Get parents on board by presenting your vision at PTA meetings.

  1. Seek Partners

Local non-profit foundations and businesses can support your Makerspace with equipment, resources and funding. For example, the Grable Foundation is one of several organizations that have helped create the Remake Learning Network, which has committed more than $25 million to support hands-on, personalized learning, including Making.

  1. Market with Word of Mouth

To reach teens, it’s imperative to market to everyone in the community. Be sure to promote events using all marketing tactics, including media outreach and flyers, as well as your website, social media and newsletter. But perhaps the most effective tactic is word of mouth, in no small part because you can gather feedback about what the community wants. Librarian Justin Hoenke told School Library Journal in 2013 that he found listening and paying attention to what visitors used when they came to the library helped him define his library’s Makerspace.

  1. Establish a Makers in Residence Program

Another effective strategy is to anoint ambassadors for your Makerspace. In Washington, D.C., the Friends of the Tenley-Friendship Library sponsored a Maker-in-Residence program for the district’s public libraries. As part of the agreement for being makers-in-residence, the winners conduct community workshops.

  1. Promote with Hashtags on Social Media

When promoting on Twitter and Instagram, be sure to use the hashtag: #NationOfMakers and #njmakersday. Doing so will help you reach community members who may not already be following your library’s account.

  1. Hold a Maker Faire

The Maker Faire is “part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new.” It brings together people of all ages who are interested in technology, crafts, science, artists and more. These all-day events are usually held on a weekend, and they are interactive and hands-on. In addition to showcasing the creations of Makers, they offer opportunities for attendees to create something of their own. The editors of Maker magazine have created a detailed overview of what goes into planning a local (or mini) Maker Faire.

Finally, if you’re looking for good ideas for Makerspaces, check out this Pinterest board Library MakerSpaces.

5 Unusual Marketing Books for Librarians

Technology seems to add another dimension to the practice of marketing every day, making blogs and newsletters the best way to stay up to date on the latest trends. But if you want to learn more about how to influence and persuade others, there are plenty of books that can teach you the principles of marketing.

However, it’s also helpful to understand the psychology behind what makes people choose the products and services they do and to understand how to tell a story that will influence their decisions.

The following five books do just that. You’ll find most are somewhat unusual recommendations for marketing professionals. But each offers a unique perspective and will help you create more effective campaigns.


  1. Thinking Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman

How do people make decisions? Kahneman boils it down to two systems: “System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical.” These findings suggest advertising campaigns can be more successful if they appeal to system 1. Either way, the book is a fascinating read about how the mind works.

A related recommendation: The Undoing Project, Michael Lewis. Kahneman developed his ideas in partnership with another Israeli psychologist, Amos Tversky, and their work was rewarded with a Nobel Prize in Economics. Lewis writes about the fascinating relationship between two extraordinarily intelligent men.


  1. Ogilvy on Advertising, by David Ogilvy

A classic work from the father of advertising. If you want to understand why Don Draper’s pitch for Kodak’s Carousel (an iconic Mad Men scene) worked, this is it. Of course, much has changed in advertising since Ogilvy wrote this book, but the marketing and advertising principles still apply.


  1. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

This is a book about what makes ideas memorable. “Sticky” ideas share a number of traits: They’re simple, concrete, unexpected, credible, emotional and packaged as stories. The authors explain why and how you can apply these principles to improve your communications. The book is packed with plenty of memorable examples, such as the kidney heist.


  1. Slide-ology, by Nancy Duarte

The subtitle of this book is “The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations,” but this book is an excellent instruction manual for how to tell a story visually. While Duarte – who worked with Al Gore to create his “Inconvenient Truth” talk – focuses primarily on Powerpoint, she also shares invaluable insight about story structure.

Tip: Durate’s TED Talk, The Secret Structure of Great Talks, is a must-watch.


  1. Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, by Lynne Truss

In the age of text messaging, the survival of punctuation is increasingly at risk. Last year, a team of researchers found people who use a period to end a text message come off as less sincere. While there may be good reasons for this shift, and we should pay attention to changing communications norms, there’s still a good case to be made for proper punctuation. Without it, we might be sending the wrong message. Lynne Truss’s book makes a crisp case for paying attention to our commas and periods. Your marketing will be far more effective with clear and concise copy. It’s an excellent reference book to keep handy.


Chances are that each of these books is already part of your library collection. But I predict you’ll be tempted to add at least one to your personal collection!


How to Engage Millennials with Cause Marketing

How important is it for public libraries to engage Millennials as advocates and donors? The numbers tell a compelling story. As the largest living generation, today’s 75.4 million Millennials wield considerable influence. They drive $300 billion in annual spending and will be 50% of the workforce by 2020, according to the 2016 Millennial Impact Report.

In addition, they are much more generous than previous generations. In 2015, 72% of Millennial employees volunteered, 84% gave to a nonprofit, and 67% donated up to $499, the report found.

Nonprofits such as the United Way and Charity: Water are experimenting with new ways to win over this socially active, digitally oriented generation. They are engaging Millennials on social media, making mobile giving easier, and launching crowdfunding campaigns.

What marketing lessons can public libraries learn from these charities? By understanding what motivates Millennials and the tools they use to give and volunteer, public libraries can encourage more Millennials to support their local libraries.

Here’s what we know about this generation based on research.

  • When Millennials are passionate about a cause, they’re more likely to get involved.
  • They tend to give modestly to multiple nonprofits.
  • They’re also highly influenced by their peers and are more likely to volunteer if a peer or friend asks.
  • This generation will volunteer for a cause if they can use their skills or expertise to help.
  • They are heavy users of digital technology. The Millennial Impact Report found that 30% donated through an online/mobile platform other than the charity’s website.

These findings paint a distinct picture and are valuable for crafting cause marketing campaigns that will motivate members of this generation to get involved. Here are three ideas – based on the data – to consider.

  1. Partner with Area Businesses

Millennials prefer to work for socially responsible companies, and more than 80% see company-wide days of service and corporate-led charitable activities as important, according to Cone Communications. Public libraries can work with local corporations to develop volunteer programs that attract Millennials in the workplace. Makers’ Days, technology workshops, ESL classes and science programs can all benefit from this generation’s expertise.

  1. Launch an Online Campaign is a nonprofit with the “goal of motivating young people to make positive change both online and off through campaigns that make an impact.” Its online platform is a vehicle for creating and sharing charitable endeavors. Campaigns have included sending cards to deployed military personnel, helping older adults learn about technology, and encouraging people not to text and drive.

One campaign example relevant to public libraries is Library Card Leviosa, which aims to fight the “summer slide” by encouraging kids to sign up for library cards.

You can submit a campaign idea to or enquire about a partnership, but perhaps the best way to leverage this platform is to share existing campaigns, such as Library Card Leviosa, that align with your goals.

Other activist platforms include and

  1. Focus on Digital Marketing

Millennials prefer to get information about causes directly from the organization’s website, so be sure details of your volunteer or fundraising needs are easy to find and are optimized for reading on smartphones. Also, make it easy to share, give or sign up for activities that benefit the library on social media.

Given the size and impact of this generation, it’s important to find new and more effective ways to engage them. Their support of the public library will be critical for our future.


Podcasting Ideas for Public Librarians

Podcasts are a natural extension of the public library. They enable your staff to connect with people who can’t get to the library and are an excellent way to share information about library events and resources.

As you develop your podcast, the first question to ask is: “What should we talk about?”

To spark some ideas, here’s a look at public library podcasts around the country and the topics they’re covering on their shows. All are available on iTunes and on most of the libraries’ websites.


More Than Just Books, Warren-Newport Public Library, Gurnee, IL

This is a new podcast (just two episodes so far), but the Warren-Newport Public Library isn’t only talking about books and interviewing authors. They also plan to talk with community leaders. This approach can provide timely insight into the issues that matter in your community and help keep people informed.


Checked Out, A Virtual Book Club, Lexington Public Library, Lexington, KY

Librarians Alexa and Jenny talk about the books they’re currently reading and what they will be reading next. To add to their discussions, they also invite library staff members and readers to provide their expertise and viewpoints.


Everett Public Library Podcasts, Everett Public Library, Everett, WA

These podcasts are unique for their length – just 2-4 minutes each. Mr. Neutron reviews music, The Treatment covers film, and The Lone Reader talks about books. The Everett Public Library has also edited recordings in its oral history collection, making available local stories about past events, such as the depression, high school football and the circus.


Albany Made Podcast, Albany Public Library, Albany, NY

This new podcast focuses on the city of Albany, NY, and the library’s place in it. It explores local history, arts, culture and the function of the library in the community. It’s a great example of how you can use a podcast to help people understand how much the library contributes to the community.


Pint and Click, Des Plaines Public Library, Des Plaines, IL

This is a wide-ranging round-table discussion that covers more than books and movies. The hosts tackle a plethora of media, including popular new television series, mobile technology, virtual reality and much more.


MyCast, Mill Valley Public Library, Mill Valley, CA

This podcasting program was created by teens as part of a workshop, in which they wrote, edited and recorded their own works. The conversation ranged from cooking to politics to poetry. If you want to find a way to engage middle and high school students, helping them put together their own podcast is both fun and educational.


Tell Me Your Story, Iowa City Public Library, Iowa City, IA

Similar to the Everett Public Library’s local stories collection, Tell Me Your Story has mined a collection of video interviews, recorded between 1989 and 1992, with people who have “made a difference” in the life of Iowa City. By collecting stories about local people, this series preserved a piece of the city’s history.


As you can see, there are plenty of angles your podcast can take. For more examples, search iTunes for “public library.” Be sure to check out the podcasts offered by public libraries in New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle and Nashville.

How to Survey Your Community

A little bit of knowledge about your target audiences can make a big difference in the performance of your public library marketing campaigns.

But many of us hesitate to conduct market research because the costs and resources needed often seem out of reach for our budgets. However, there are ways to gather information without incurring steep expenses.

One advantage public libraries have is access to reference resources that include research from third-party and public sources, such as the Pew Research Center. But while reviewing the results of large-scale surveys provides insight into larger swaths of demographic groups, your community may have its own particular dimensions. Thus, it’s worth conducting some primary research to fine-tune your campaign.

Surveys are a great way to get real data on different demographic groups in your community. Although they can be somewhat costly to field, there are now much more affordable options. Web software such as SurveyMonkey enables individuals, small businesses, and nonprofits to design and field surveys at low- or no-cost.

To get the most accurate set of results, it helps to have someone on staff with experience in creating surveys. But even without this expertise, anyone can run a simple survey. There are two types of surveys: qualitative and quantitative.

Qualitative surveys are especially valuable for building “buyer personas,” which help tremendously in writing copy and designing communications strategy.

A qualitative survey is conducted in an interview format. As the researcher, you’ll identify 8-10 people in your target audience to interview. Be sure to set aside 20 minutes for each discussion, and ask if you can record your session. Then, create a survey questionnaire of 6-8 questions, which allows time for you to probe for the reasons behind the answers. For example, you might ask: Which sources do you use to learn about local events and why? What publications do you read and why? What topics interest you most and why? The answers will guide your distribution strategy.

Quantitative surveys, by contrast, can help you identify trends and attitudes. SurveyMonkey offers tips for conducting a successful survey. Here’s how they apply to public libraries:

  1. Set your goal. Before you begin crafting your survey, understand what it is you’d like to learn about the target audience. For example, you may want to ask about a new program you’re considering for small business owners. Some questions to ask might include: How often do you use the library? How useful would they find this new program (provide a description)? This will help you mold the program to their needs.
  1. Define your audience. For the program mentioned above, you’ll want to survey small business owners, and possibly startups and entrepreneurs as well, since these groups are your target audience.
  1. Determine sample size. This can be a bit tricky, but it’s a necessary step because you want to be sure you’ll have enough responses to make the results statistically accurate. SurveyMonkey offers a calculator to help you figure out how many people need to respond to your survey.
  1. Choose the best time to distribute. Your goal is to get as many respondents as possible, which will increase the reliability of your results. Choose a day and time when your target audience is likely to be available to answer the survey. For example, seniors may be more receptive during the daytime, while teens may be more likely to respond after 3 pm, when school is out. And of course, always avoid holidays and travel periods.

The more you know about your target audiences – who they are, what pain points they have, how they gather information and make decisions, and what preferences they have – the better you can craft a marketing campaign they’ll notice. Market research also can help you determine what services to offer, how to draft more influential marketing messages, and how to choose the best communications channels.


7 Reasons Why Content Is the New PR

Local media coverage of public library news and events is extremely valuable. It is usually viewed as more reliable and objective than advertising, and for that reason, it has greater influence.

But, as many library marketers know, media outreach can be time-consuming. There’s also no guarantee the media will cover your story. But there is an alternative: content marketing. Although the term is new, PR professionals have long created content for their organizations, such as thought leadership pieces and contributed articles.

What’s changed is we now have inexpensive means to distribute content, including email newsletters, websites, blogs and social media. While it’s still important to reach out and build relationships with local journalists, public library marketers no longer need to rely only on the media to get their messages out.

For public libraries who want to create their own content, here are seven reasons why I think content is the new PR.

1. Engage Directly with Audience

Public libraries can tailor content to the interests of their stakeholders – community leaders, library visitors, non-users, moms, teens, etc. – and publish helpful and informative pieces that might not make the editorial cut elsewhere. After publication, any comments or “shares” will come to your attention, enabling you to continue the conversation directly with your readers.

2. Share Your Perspective

When news happens, you want to share the full story with your readers. Given space and editorial restrictions, local media may not be able to accommodate all of what you’d like to say. But you can provide your perspective and more details about your news in your own content channels, and share it directly with your audience.

3. Respond More Quickly

In a crisis, getting information out quickly is critical. If you have control over the medium, you can publish urgent news immediately. On the flip side, you can also be the first to share exciting news.

4. Attract the Media

Reporters are always on the lookout for good story ideas, so they talk to a lot of people and they read widely. If you publish regularly, you may not need to conduct as much media relations outreach. Journalists can sign up for your newsletter or follow your blogposts and social media. When they see something that might add to a story they’re working on, they’ll give you a call.

5. Correct Misinformation

As a public institution, public libraries are often subject to criticism. Correcting misinformation or filling in gaps can be a challenge. As I’ve mentioned, editors have a good deal of discretion over what is printed in their publication (as they should). But you can use your own channels to correct errors and omissions.

6. Regular Coverage

In a perfect world, the media would write about your public library every day. Alas, that’s not realistic. But, with a well-planned content marketing strategy, you can build awareness by producing a regular stream of content distributed through each of your media channels.

7. Higher ROI

While a comprehensive content marketing strategy can take up a fair amount of resources, it can also pay off in a big way by giving you multiple opportunities every day to engage with your audience. As you reach more people and the volume of conversation increases, this strategy will result in a higher return on investment. A content program will build loyalty, increase library visits and event attendance, and gain greater support for your budget proposals.


How to Cultivate Your Public Library Advocates

Enthusiasm is contagious, which is why the people who love your public library are often your most effective advocates. But how do you find and nurture these library lovers? And more importantly, how do you give voice to their passion?

The secret to cultivating advocates is simple: It’s relationship building. And the more you engage with stakeholders, the more you’ll be able to build the kind of relationships that benefit both parties.

Fortunately, we have shelves of business books packed with tips and ideas for networking and relationship building. In my experience, the following four practices have proven to be reliably effective. Check them out.

1. Bring the Library to the Community

This is perhaps the best piece of advice I can offer: Be sure the library is highly visible throughout the community. Show your support of local arts foundations, business groups and chamber of commerce and school groups by attending their meetings and learning about their challenges and needs – especially those the library can solve. Over time, these contacts will prove to be especially valuable. They won’t hesitate to step forward and support library needs, budgets, and initiatives when you ask.

2. Be Generous

At the start of every relationship, spend more time thinking about what’s in it for the other party than what’s in it for you. There’s a reason this networking tip appears at the top of every best practice list: It works. Each time you solve a problem for a stakeholder, it provides tangible evidence of what the library can do. This is an especially effective tactic for both educating stakeholders and turning them into advocates. But be aware that creating trust in this way takes time, which means it’s important to start the process early, long before you need the stakeholder’s help.

3. Be Direct about What You Need

When the time does come to ask for help, be specific. Your stakeholders may be passionate about library programs, but they don’t always know what will make the biggest impact. So, have a plan and know exactly what your advocates can do for you, whether it’s writing a letter to the editor or reaching out to local politicians to support your budget.

4. Be Creative

Sometimes, even our biggest fans overlook the importance of sharing their viewpoint, but every voice counts when it comes to promoting library initiatives. A creative marketing campaign can encourage them to speak out. For example, to get your visitors to share their library stories, give them space in the library (a cork-board with note cards, for example) to post the reasons why they love the library. Or ask them to share on your Facebook page or on Instagram. Don’t forget to create a hashtag, such as #LibraryStories or #WhyILoveMyLibrary.

Remember, great relationships need time and nurturing before they can blossom. No matter who you’ve identified as potential library advocates – parents, educators, teens, business organizations, local artists, nonprofits, library trustees – be sure to make relationship building part of your everyday efforts.

How to Interact with Library Followers Using Facebook Live

Searching for a better way to connect with a younger audience? Why not try live streaming an event or announcement? By now, video has secured its place as a powerful marketing tool, especially among teens and Millennials, who are heavy consumers of video content.

Live streaming video got its start with apps like Periscope and Meerkat, but the medium was catapulted into the mainstream when Facebook launched Facebook Live in 2015. With more than one billion users, it’s all but certain Facebook will be successful with its live streaming feature. Before Facebook Live became available to all users in early 2016, Facebook users were watching more than 100 million hours of video a day.

Still, this is a relatively new feature, with a small percentage of marketers using it to promote their brands. However, research shows people watch live streamed events three times longer than they do pre-recorded video. All of which means this is a very good time for public library marketers to begin using this feature. Early adopters usually gain an advantage – and plenty of followers – when they are one of just a few content producers.

If you decide to live stream an event or announcement, you may feel as if you are freewheeling out of control. But the beauty of being one of the early entries is that mistakes are quickly forgiven.

In any event, Facebook Live is worth the experiment, even if you ultimately decide it’s not for you. If you do plan to give it a whirl, here are 10 ideas for library-focused live streaming videos.

1. Job seekers’ workshop

The advantage of live video is that it’s interactive. Viewers can comment and ask questions. Rather than simply stream step-by-step instructions about how to use library databases to search for a job, set it up as an interactive workshop.

2. Live announcements

Sometimes words aren’t enough for big news. If you’re launching a new program or initiative, take viewers behind the scenes to introduce staff and demonstrate how it will all work.

3. Virtual events

With live streaming, everyone can attend library events. This is especially valuable for community members who may find it difficult to get to the library, for example if health, family or transportation issues stand in the way.

4. Meet the author

The next time you host an author at your library, follow up the reading with a live interview and stream it on Facebook. By encouraging questions from viewers, you’ll engage a wider audience far beyond your library.

5. Advocacy appeals

Seeking additional funds for your library? Live stream an appeal for budget support. This format is best if you have the means to show your audience exactly what the funds will do for the library and how users will gain. Just be sure to include a call to action – such as an appeal to vote “yes” on a referendum.

6. Weekly staff picks

Show off your literary chops by engaging in a regular live stream of what your staff currently is reading. You can also gather some important market intelligence by asking viewers what their picks of the week would be.

7. Q&As

As noted earlier, Facebook Live is an excellent engagement tool, which makes it ideal for getting feedback from library users. Consider hosting a monthly library Q&A, during which viewers take the lead in asking the library staff questions.

If you’re not sure how to get started with Facebook Live, check out this article for some great live streaming tips!

4 Ways to Market to People Who Read Books – and Those Who Don’t

I’m confident public librarians have a good sense of their community’s reading habits: who’s coming into the library, what types of books they’re reading and why. But it’s always good to see hard numbers.

Pew Research Center released two reports this fall, one on trends in book reading and another covering nonreaders.

As always, demographic studies such as this provide useful intelligence for public library marketing. So here are a few of the findings as well as some thoughts about how to apply the data to marketing strategy.


1. Promote Reading Options for Mobile Devices

More Americans are reading books on tablets and cellphones, even as dedicated e-reader use has remained stableThe number of Americans who say they’ve read a book in the last 12 months has remained constant since 2012, at 74%. What is changing is how they are reading them.

The share of Americans who say they’ve read a print book has remained unchanged since 2012, but Pew notes the share of people reading on tablets and phones is growing. Since 2011, the use of tablets has tripled while the use of smartphones has doubled. This presents an excellent opportunity to promote your e-book collection. Consider a marketing campaign targeting these readers to make them aware the library offers e-books and to help them understand how they can download them to their devices. You may want to create a video or invite library users to a hands-on workshop.

2. Book Lovers as Library Advocates

College graduates are four times more likely than those who didn’t go to college to read e-books (and twice as likely to read a print book). Eighty percent of 18-29 year olds say they had read a book in the last year, compared to 67% of those 65 and older. And women are more likely than men to read books, and more likely to read print.

Book lovers are our best customers, and they could be some of our loudest cheerleaders as well. Develop programs to reach out to these groups and encourage them to become library advocates.

3. Why People Read

Pew also asked respondents why they read generally – not only books but magazines, newspapers and online content. Eighty-four percent of Americans say they research specific topics, a 10% increase over 2011. And while 82% of Americans say they read to stay on top of current events, almost half say they do so nearly every day. Reading for pleasure is still very popular, with 80% of Americans saying this is why they pick up a book.

Engage these readers with contests and games. For example, use your Facebook page to promote current event quizzes.

4. Who Are the Non-Book Readers?

Pew also looked more closely at the 26% of Americans who say they haven’t read a book at all, in any format, and found several demographic traits that correlate with non-book reading.

Adults with a high school degree or less, and those with an annual income of less than $30,000 are more likely to be non-book readers. These same demographic traits also apply to those who have never been to a library.

Older adults ages 50 and older are somewhat less likely than adults under 50 to have not read a book in the last year. And geography also made a difference, as adults in rural areas are less likely than those in urban areas to have read a book.

Public libraries should find creative ways to connect with nonreaders. One idea is to partner with local leaders and charity groups to bring the library into the community.

Be sure to check out both Pew reports for more details on their findings.