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Websites are a big deal for libraries. They run the gamut from simple portals to the catalog to complex Pinterest-like gateways  And every library is searching for the right way to make the most of their website real estate, giving cardholders the most convenient service and making sure they can get the information they want when they need it.

Many libraries are moving beyond catalog-based websites, adding content to their websites and that’s great. Content marketing is a huge opportunity for libraries to cement their brand voice and share ideas and helpful information with cardholders. But before you add a blog or post articles to your website, make sure you have a plan to do it right.

Andy Crestodina, strategic director of Orbitz Media, is a rock star in hiding. He’s quiet, practical, and he loves data. The dude knows how to build websites that drive traffic. And thankfully, he is willing to share those insights. Crestodina gave valuable website-boosting advice to me–and 4,000 other marketers–at Content Marketing World.

“Good content is amazing and bad content is so weak it gets no results at all. There is no middle ground,” Crestodina told the crowd. Oh my goodness, how true is that?

Here are five tips Crestodina says will work to make your library blog a success.

Write for promotional value. Crestodina says if you want to write something that will get more than get a cursory glance from your cardholders, you should try to make most of your posts fall into one of these categories: Opinion forming, authoritative, and original research.

You can write an opinionated post without alienating your audience. Write about what the library stands for and what it stands against. Write about the questions people have about libraries but are afraid to ask. Write about the faults of the library industry. Celebrate the strengths of libraries. All of these topics are compelling, and allow your library to cement your voice and your position in a way that your readers and cardholders will remember. What is it that people in the library world often say but rarely support? That’s the subject of your next article.

This approach works for me every single time I lean into it. My post last week about marketing in a Trump Presidency was one of the most viewed posts I’ve had in a long time. Take a stand. People will respect you for it.

Use your blog as a networking tool. Ask community leaders to write guest posts… school administrators politicians, and other nonprofit organizations. Or interview people. Then, once you publish, send a link to the contributors. They’re likely to share your post and help promote it. Crestodina explains it this way:  “An ally in creation is an ally in promotion.”

Create excitement for your blog post by being consistent. Crestodina says the best way to maintain web traffic to your blog is to make sure people are always waiting for an article to go live. If no one is anticipating what you have to say, you have a problem.

Be deliberate with your keywords. In the blog text you need to include keywords for search and people for social (this is a reason that you see me use the word “library” a bunch in my posts.) Crestodina suggests that you put your keyword phrase in title, header, and body of blog post 2-4 times. Target the topic, not just the key phrase.  If you are concerned about using the right keyword, try Keywordtool.io. It does an amazing job of helping you to narrow your target phrase.

Give away all your best advice and back up your claims.  Crestodina says you will endear yourself to your cardholders by constantly sharing your expertise with them. But don’t ask them to take your word at face value… never make a claim without supporting with evidence. In addition, collect cardholder testimonials and put them on every page of content for proof that you know what you’re talking about and others trust and believe your library.

Subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive an email every time I post. To do that, click on “Follow” button on the bottom left-hand corner of the page. Connect with me on Twitter and Snapchat–it’s where I talk about library marketing! I’m @Webmastergirl. I’m also on LinkedIn, Slideshare, Instagram and Pinterest. Views in this post are my own and do not represent those of my employer.

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