Thursday, 19 December 2013

What does Word of Mouth Marketing REALLY mean for libraries?

We all know roughly what it means, I think - but it remains a nebulous concept. We're all delighted if it happens of its own accord, but can you help kick-start that process, or amplify its impact? Yes, you can.

Read my Library Journal column all about it.

LJ screengrab

That's probably it from me on the blog until the new year - see you in 2014!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Building your professional brand

A stripped down reblog from thewikiman 

In October I was invited to South Africa to speak at LIASA 2013, the 15th annual Library and Information Association of South Africa conference.

I was asked to do three things at the conference - a marketing workshop (half a day on strategic marketing and half a day on emerging technologies), a session for the Higher Education Library Interest Group on induction / orientation here at the University of York Library (the presentation is here, although it doesn't make much sense without me talking over the top, I'm afraid), and a talk aimed primarily at new professionals on building your reputation and professional brand. It's a tiresomely controversial subject, this; what it comes down to for me is that people fairly new to the profession can sometimes worry about being some sort of super librarian and DOING ALL THE THINGS, but actually you don't have to be like this at all. You just have to get involved with the areas of librarianship which correspond to your goals in the profession. So the talk was about that, and about different ways to be part of the wider community.

Below is the talk: it consists of my slides, the audio of the talk (recorded from my iphone in my jacket pocket!) and a couple of pictures to look at while I talk about some things I wasn't intending to talk about, at the very start.



It was fun doing this talk, it was different to the normal things I do. The room was bigger - this is the first time, outside of the webinar environment, that I'd talked to several hundred people at once. Speaking to a room that size is very different to speaking to 30 people - my usual very conversational presentation style wouldn't have worked. Presenting is a bit like drawing a picture in that the further away the audience, the broader the strokes needed for the picture; the detail gets lost.

The atmosphere was different in SA that from conferences I've presented at in the UK, too - people were laid back, ready to laugh. I was one of only three international speakers so everyone was very welcoming. And also, this talk is a version of something I'd originally delivered at a New Professionals Day back in 2012 which was designed primarily to address an anxiety about branding I'd heard many new professionals express - an anxiety which, having arrived in South Africa and been at the conference for a couple of days already, I'd found to be largely absent! So I felt a bit like my talk didn't match my slides - certainly I was trying to manipulate the slides to tell a slightly different, more widely applicable story, as I went along. But anyway I really enjoyed it and I've had some genuinely touching feedback about people feeling inspired.


Friday, 6 December 2013

The key to good marketing is to promote one thing at a time

Reblogged from thewikiman

If you've got a great idea, don't dilute it. Simplicity results in better traction for your idea. You need to give people one idea at a time, so they can grab onto it, digest it, and see how it relates to them. Not only that, but the simpler the idea, the more likely it is for people to share and pass it on.

Think about the really successful online writers, like Seth Godin. He's made a career out of taking single concepts, focusing on them one at a time, and getting a bajillion hits to his blog as a result. Once people buy into his one-key-thing-at-a-time approach to ideas, they're then more likely to buy into him as a concept, and push his (more complex) books up the best-seller charts.

So, keeping things simple isn't dumbing down. It's providing people with an easy way-in. That's just good marketing. Much of marketing is to simply get people in the door - THEN you can give them a whole variety of reasons to say inside.

Most of the readers of this blog work in the information profession, like I do. This means we have a complex sell. Library services are myriad, but your promotion must be in bite-sized chunks. Libraries are complicated, but your marketing must not be. The secret to good communication is to market one thing at a time.

Here's an example of a poster promoting a library. In theory, it ought to be good. It looks okay, uses a nice font. But more importantly, it tells you about all sorts of amazing library services! What's not to like? How you can resist this?



But actually, this poster doesn't work. There's too much going on, it does not provide an easy way in. You're relying on people grabbing on to the part that relates to them, and then taking an action (coming to the Library) because of it - in most cases, that's too big a leap of faith. You're much better off dividing that list up into individual posters, and putting them in the most relevant areas for their specific target groups. So for example this message, even though it's only one useful thing instead of many useful things, is a much more powerful piece of marketing:



Then you make ANOTHER poster to cover another aspect of the original:



Or you can take multiple concepts but tie them together into one easily-digestible, relate-able, shareable package:



Finally, if you really want to put several library services into the same piece of promotion, you can do this and STILL have the one simple message for people to take away. In the example below, you're saying to people that the library is a welcoming place, that they can come in and use the wifi and enjoy the cafe, without being judged for not using the books and journals. But you're also listing all the other things they MIGHT do if they so desire. As I said above, much of marketing is to simply get people in the door - then you can give them a whole variety of reasons to say inside.



So remember, keep it simple. Market one thing at a time. It WILL yield tangible results.

(All of these posters are available on my Flickr account via an Attribution Creative Commons licence. Note that it's NOT a 'no-derivs' or 'non-commercial' license - in other words if you can find a use for these ideas, but want to change and adapt them to your own purposes, feel free to do so.)