My entire perspective on library marketing changed this week while listening to a 20-minute podcast episode.

Jay Acunzo’s Unthinkable podcast highlights marketers who are changing the way their companies interact with their customers for the better. He’s tired of average content marketing. Each week he finds and interviews a marketer who is doing exceptional work–work that is Unthinkable.

During the episode titled Why You Should Focus More on the Insides of Your Content, the life-altering moment came in one of those interviews. One of Jay’s guests said: Marketers need to focus more on the content and less on the container.

When I market a library service or feature, I start with my promotional calendar. I determine whether an email campaign is appropriate. I decide if I should write an article for Library Links. I ask myself:  Do we need signs? Do we need social media promotion? Do we put something on the website? I schedule everything. And then I write all the pieces. I’m totally focused on the containers–the eblast, the Links article, the website, etc.–first.

Doing it the way Jay suggests means I should figure out what I’m going to say about the promotional item and then decide which containers will deliver that message to my audience in the most effective way. Content Before Container.

But why is this approach the better way to market? When you focus first on the content, you are emphasizing the message. You put your customer first–not your own promotional needs. You’re thinking more about the insides of your message, not the way it will be delivered and that means you are likely to be more creative. You will end up delivering your message to your audience in the way that they need it to be delivered. You’re putting the message and your cardholders first and not putting your library first. And that’s how we differentiate ourselves from the competition.

It sounds so easy. Why hadn’t I thought of this before?

Here are some resources for library marketers searching for help with their content marketing.

Content Marketing Institute: My favorite content marketing website. They do free webinars about the practice. Subscribe to CCO magazine–it’s free. Attend Content Marketing World with me! Attend their #CMWorld Twitter chat every Tuesday at noon to interact with top marketing experts and get your questions personally answered. And listen to their podcasts. You’ll understand more about content marketing and how it works.

Plus these blog posts about content marketing:

What the Hell is Content Marketing and Why Should We Do It?

Amazing Content Marketing Stories about Your Library are Right Under Your Nose

How One Library is Using Content Marketing to Capture the Imagination

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