Content Marketing for Libraries is the focus of this blog. Every week, I urge you to use relevant and valuable content to reach your cardholders, build their trust, earn their loyalty and respect, and inspire them to action. You agree, right? So what is the next step in this journey?
There. You don’t have to read any further. You now have the key to make your library content marketing work. Create a strategy. Done.
Why aren’t more library marketers formulating, writing down, and sticking to a content strategy? Is it fear? Is it time? Is it indecision?
It doesn’t matter. These are excuses, to be frank. I want the industry to thrive. And so I’m pleading with you—please, please, please—get a strategy for your library content marketing.
Why am I so passionate about this? Let me share some insight from the 2015 Content Marketing World conference in Cleveland. Joe Pulizzi, the founder of the event and an insanely smart and sweet guy, began by sharing some research recently completed by his company, Content Marketing Institute.
First, if you don’t have a strategy, you are not alone. Only 32% of marketers in all industries have a documented content strategy. It’s scary and elusive and frustrating to all marketers everywhere. But it’s still worth the effort. Because 79% of marketers who have a documented strategy with clear success metrics said their content marketing was effective. WOW.
Kristina Halvorson, author and CEO of Brain Traffic, took the stage for a keynote address and asked a wonderfully relevant question: “ If you weren’t spending money on content, where would you spend it? What do your customers want?” That’s all you need to think about when creating your documented content marketing strategy. What do your cardholders want? What problems do they need to solve? How can you help them? It’s not rocket science. Your librarians do that every day! That’s our strategy.
Here’s something else to consider. Halvorson says, “Strategy is a decision to take a path. It’s a decision to say no to certain things. It’s a decision to choose tactics and to have a shared outcome. If your marketing strategy is, “We will deliver content our customers can’t get enough of,” you’re doing it wrong. That’s not a strategy. That is a vision. Instead, Halvorson says you need to make business outcomes and customer satisfaction your goal. Ask yourself: Where is your library now? Where do you want to be? The path to get from the first point to the second point is your strategy.
Creating a strategy may seem like an insurmountable task. The word “strategy” conjures up images of a daunting, intense, complicated process. We’ll blame the marketing consultants for making it seem more difficult than it is. If I can do it, so can you.
When approaching my own strategy, I find it helps to have a series of questions to ask myself. I write out the answers and those help me see the whole picture and form a strategy. So here’s what you can ask yourself.
What are our key opportunities?
What are our core challenges?
What are the assumptions we make based on info we don’t have and can’t get?
What are our risks?
What are our success metrics?
Who is our audience and why do they listen to us?
Which is the audience that doesn’t listen to us now… but should?
What is the purpose of the ways we are currently communicating with our cardholders?
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