Photo courtesy Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library

Now that you’ve created a library promotional strategy, it’s time to take the next step. And that is to create a calendar for all your library promotions.

Three main reasons a library promotional calendar is important

A promotional calendar is vital to success. This is especially true in an organization with many contributors and stakeholders, like a library.

Here’s why you’ll want to have a promotional calendar, even if your team of content creators or contributors is small.

  • It helps you stay organized and focused on the goals you set as part of your promotional strategy.
  • It helps you to keep track of holidays, seasonal library and literary events, and major annual promotions like summer reading.
  • It keeps everyone at your library up to date on your promotional plans.

How to set up your library’s promotional calendar

Scroll down to the bottom of this post for my recommendations of three free calendar templates that you can use to create your library’s promotional calendar.

No matter which template you choose, the calendar should be shareable. This will ensure the contributors at your library can see all future promotional plans. It will also make it easy for contributors to add comments and ideas.

Once you choose a template and a location where it will “live,” set up the columns to track the important pieces for library marketing. Your calendar should include spaces to track these things:

  • The name of the event or service you wish to promote
  • The date of the event or service launch if the service is new. If it’s an existing service, you can leave this space blank.
  • The start and end date of the promotion
  • The type of content. For example, blog post, video, etc.
  • The channel(s) in which the promotional content will be published. For example: email, social media platform, digital signs, etc.
  • The topic. For example: you may have two promotions for summer reading. One could be planned for two weeks before summer reading begins with the purpose of promoting registration. Later in the summer, you may launch a second promotion marking the halfway point and encouraging readers to log their reading hours. The “topics” for these two promotions could be “Registration Push” and “Halfway Check-in.”
  • Due dates
  • The date and time for publishing the content
  • The person in charge of each promotion
  • Follow-through. This column is where you will note if the content was published according to schedule or if there were delays. Tracking follow-through will help you spot hurdles in the process of creating and approving promotions, which will lead to more efficient planning of promotions in the future.
  • Links to promotions after they are published. This will be helpful for those times when you’ll need to find and analyze a promotion after it’s out in the world.
  • Success measurements. List the data you gather after the promotion is published to measure engagement and effectiveness. Tracking your promotional success will help you spot the topics, formats, and publishing platforms that yield the best results for your library.

How your promotional calendar will improve your library marketing

The Marketing Rule of 7 states that a prospect needs to hear or see the advertiser’s message at least seven times before they’ll buy that product or service.

For your library, the Marketing Rule of 7 means it’s important to publish content on various platforms and in multiple formats. This will allow your library to reach your entire target audience.

Your promotional calendar will help you make those decisions by having a list of your channels all in one spot. Your calendar will also help you to spot effective ways to re-purpose your content.

For example, let’s say you created an infographic demonstrating the value of summer reading in preventing the loss of literary skills. Initially, you planned to post the infographic to Instagram.

Using your promotional calendar, it may occur to you that the infographic would be a great starter for a blog post on the dangers of the “summer slide.” Then, you realize you can promote that blog post and infographic in your next library e-newsletter.

The library promotional calendar helps you to see all your promotions and create a holistic campaign. It can help you decide if you have enough resources to focus on the platforms where your target audience is most likely to see your content.

Use your calendar to prioritize your most important channels. Focus on creating high-quality content instead of aimlessly posting on all available platforms.

Your calendar can also help you set deadlines. You’ll quickly learn how often you can realistically create and release new promotions.

Finally, your library promotional calendar will help you spot the busiest times for your library before they sneak up on you. It will help you plan for those busy times. You’ll be able to ensure that the promotional creation process is finished well before the publishing date!

What to include in your library promotional calendar

  • Holidays, especially ones that affect your library’s service hours like Independence Day and Veterans Day.
  • Local holidays. For example, where I live in Cincinnati, Ohio, opening day for the Cincinnati Reds is a holiday.
  • Literary holidays such as Library Lovers Day or Audiobook Appreciation Month.
  • Seasons, like back to school or graduation.
  • Promotions tied to popular culture, like the Superbowl and the Olympics.
  • Building openings/renovations
  • New service releases
  • Summer Reading
  • Author events
  • Fundraising opportunities, like Giving Tuesday and National Library Week.
  • Patron stories
  • Interesting or funny details about your library.
  • Evergreen content, like collection promotion.

Three free promotional calendar templates

Some of these websites make you an offer to try their product, but you can still get these calendars without making a purchase.

  • Smartsheet: I recommend the Marketing Campaign Calendar Template.
  • Aha: I recommend the Integrated Calendar
  • Search Engine Journal: This is a template set up in Google Docs, with instructions on how to copy it for your library’s use.

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