The Toolkit book has 27 case-studies from around the world. In many cases, the amazing contributors gave me more than I could use within the word-limits of the book itself, so over the next few posts I'll be publishing self-contained additional materials from the case-studies. The idea is that they're both useful in and of themselves, and will also provide a richer pool of information for those reading the original case studies in the book itself.
The first of these comes from Alison Cullingford of the University of Bradford.
What are your 5 top tips for using modern tools to take Special Collections & Archives marketing to the next level?
- Marketing internally is vital, especially now, and especially for services like Special Collections and archives which may not be well understood. Social media offers ways to build friendly relationships with the movers and shakers/thought leaders in your organisation and move out of silos.
- Look for ways to use time and collections to build resources that will last and continue to attract attention. This helps get round the problem that besets one off events and news stories: people just don’t catch them because so much else is going on. 100 Objects will last two years for that reason. Social media offers powerful ways to bring collections to people in real time and make an impact.
- Social media works best if you have interesting things to say and say them in a fun, human way. Special Collections staff are lucky because there is so much interest, narrative and visual appeal in the collections and so much scope.
- Picture and video sites (especially Flickr) contain communities hungry for great content, notably local history, which Special Collections may be able to provide. Sharing such images will not necessarily hurt income from publication permissions, but can act as a showcase bringing in more requests.
- Special Collections services may fear marketing because it will attract more users, which they do not have the resources to handle. However, effective marketing and use of new technology (traditional web, social media, digitisation etc) can result in better informed users often getting what they need remotely.
Alison Cullingford is the Special Collections Librarian at the University of Bradford, as well as RLUK Unique and Distinctive Collections Project Manager. Her blog can be found at Collections in a Cold Climate and her authored volume The Special Collections Handbook was published last year, also by Facet. In the Library Marketing Toolkit book, her case study focuses on Bradford's successful 100 Objects marketing campaign.