Photo courtesy Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

If I had a nickel for the number of times I heard one of my library marketing friends say, “Wow, this was a crazy week” to me, I would rich.

The pandemic has wide-ranging implications on libraries and library marketing. Many of us are working under extreme stress, in conditions that are unfamiliar to us. The content calendars and the library marketing strategies we worked so hard to craft have been set aside for crisis communication messages. Everything about how our library operates and communicates changed in a matter of days.

As we all try to adjust our library marketing during this strange time, I’ll be focusing much of my blog posts on tips that will help you maximize the reach and effect of the work you are doing.

And one of the best ways to do that is through re-purposing. I’ve talked a bit about re-purposing content before but it’s time for a deep dive into the concept.

Re-purposing content is the act of finding new ways to recycle your existing content. It’s basically taking one piece of content, say an email newsletter, and re-formatting it for different mediums like social media, a blog post, and a press release.

Re-purposing content helps you reach more people. In a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential. You want to make sure everyone in your community has information about how library services are affected. You want to make sure everyone knows the resources still available in your digital library. During this time, re-purposing content is essential.

Your community is diverse. Their preferred methods of receiving information are diverse. Some of them are visiting your website and blog every day for updates. Some are seeing your social media posts. But most of your audience is busy trying to figure out how to navigate COVID-19 in their lives. If they see your library marketing, it’s by accident. Re-purposing content can make it more likely that your message gets in front of them.

For example, let’s say your library starts doing live virtual story times on Facebook. A librarian reads a book from one of the publishers who have temporarily opened their license requirements to allow such readings. After reading the book live, the librarian teaches the audience a song and explains a simple craft that caregivers can do with children at home.

Step-by-step guide re-purposing example

Step one: Record the story time simultaneously with the live video. Ask your librarians to set up their cell phone or an iPad and make a separate recording of the story time. This will allow you to edit the video later for various formats. Here’s a tutorial for recording on an iPhone or iPad. Here’s one for Android devices.

When the Facebook live ends, post the entire video for on-demand playback (Facebook will prompt you to do this as soon as you hit the “end live” button). Ask the librarian to send you the video file through Dropbox or some other file-sharing method.

Step two: Break videos into shareable pieces. Take the recorded file and use video editing software (here’s a great list), create three separate videos… one of the story, one of the song, and one of the craft time.

Over the course of the next week, upload and release these three videos on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook as separate pieces of content. If your library has a podcast, play one of the segments in your next episode. Use these individual videos to drive people to watch the full story time on your Facebook page. You can also use them to drum up excitement for your next live story time.

Step three: Upload the whole video to your library’s IGTV section on Instagram. IGTV is Instagram’s answer to YouTube. It’s designed for long-form videos. Any Instagram user can set up their own channel and share video that’s up to 60 minutes in length. It was just released in July of 2018 so it’s new and there isn’t much content there. This is a perfect time to experiment with posting long-form videos on your library’s IGTV section. As a bonus, IGTV these videos do not disappear, so you get long-tail marketing reach by using this section of Instagram.

Step four: Transcribe the video. If your library has a blog, turn the transcription into a blog post with a link to the eBook version of the story, the song lyrics, and instructions for the craft. If you don’t have a blog, add it to the COVID-19 resources I’m certain are already on your website. In your library’s next email communication, promote this post with a link directly to your website.

Step five: Break the transcription into pieces for social media. The song and the craft can be separate visual posts on Pinterest. Create a simple graphic or take screenshots from the video to use as visuals.

Re-purposing all content

You can do this with any piece of content, from podcasts to press releases. Break the content down in pieces and spread them across all your available platforms. In this way, you can make sure everyone in your community sees your message. You also can make sure the work you are doing right now will have maximum impact.

There’s also a side benefit to re-purposing: more data. It won’t take long for you to learn where your audience is mainly getting news about the library. If you notice that engagement is high on one marketing channel, you will know to post important information about your library’s COVID-19 response on that channel first.

Have more ideas or examples to share for re-purposing library content? Post them in the comment section.

More Library Marketing Help During the COVID-19 Crisis

I’m doing three live webinars this coming Thursday, March 26 (for EBSCO) on Promoting Online Resources & Library Online Courses Using Social Media. You can register for session one, session two, or session three here. They’ll all have the same content.

Self-Care for Library Social Media Staff in the Midst of a Crisis like #COVID-19

Library Marketing During a Pandemic: Tips for Working from Home or the Office and Dealing with the Stress of a Crisis

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