Photo courtesy Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library

Have you been in the grocery store cereal aisle lately?

Recently I had a craving for yogurt topped with cereal as a snack. So, I went to the store with the simple plan of buying a box of cereal.

Did you know the average grocery store carries nearly 300 types of cereal? The cereal in my store takes up the length of an ENTIRE AISLE.

Holy Cheerios, Batman.

There is such a thing as too many choices.

When you’re faced with a wide range of selections, you can end up feeling paralyzed and unable to decide. Or, worse yet, you make a decision that turns out to be the wrong one because there were too many factors to take into consideration.

I sometimes feel the same way about working in library marketing.

Many of us have too much work to do. We have multiple goals we are trying to reach. And all that work makes it impossible to do anything well. It’s no wonder our promotions fail. We need to focus on focusing.

Now that’s you’ve created a promotional strategy and you’ve set up a promotional calendar, you may be tempted to try a whole bunch of new promotional ideas all at once.

But for true library promotional success, you’ll need to pace yourself. You want to be deliberate, intentional, and thoughtful about the library promotions you put out into the world.

Easier said than done, right?

So how do you create your promotions, track the results, and not lose your mind?

By using something I like to call “the divide and conquer approach.

I’ve put together a three-step process to help you manage your workflow. This simple plan will help make sure your time is spent wisely. It will ensure you have the time to create your promotions and check the results so you can ensure that you’re reaching your promotional goals.

This method will make your marketing goals feel more manageable to you. You won’t get overwhelmed. And you’ll be able to spend time creating and tracking promotions to make sure the work you’re doing is effective.

Tackle one goal at a time.

People often sing the praises of multitasking, but any time management expert will tell you it kills productivity and leads to burnout.

Instead, you’ll want to prioritize your library marketing goals. Decide which is the most important by asking yourself one simple question:  Which goal will have the most positive impact on your library? That’s the one you should focus on.

This laser focus will actually allow you to reach ALL of your library promotional goals faster. When you focus fully on one goal, you can learn valuable lessons about your community and how they respond to your promotions on your available channels. And those lessons will make it easier for you to reach your future goals.

As you work towards your goal, you’ll learn along the way which work, which don’t, and how to carry them out effectively. You can use this valuable knowledge for future goals.

Create an action plan with list of tasks you need to complete to reach your goal.

In this step, you’ll very specifically lay out what needs to be done to reach your goal. This will make the final goal seem less overwhelming. It will also help you to gauge how much time you need to set aside each day to work on your promotions.

Let’s say that your priority goal is to increase the number of people who come to visit a physical library space. Your initial task list might look something like this.

  • Create a weekly email to promote a service that’s only available inside a library branch.
  • Create one Instagram and Facebook story per week to highlight a service that’s only available inside a library branch.
  • Create two social media posts per week on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to promote one in-person event.
  • Create a video that shows people coming into a library branch, focused on the physical space as a place of community and social interaction.

Now that you have your initial list of tasks, you can divide each task further into two or three smaller action items.

For example, your initial task of creating two social media posts per week on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to promote one in-person event can be accomplished by making a smaller action item list like this:

  • Choose events (consult with programming department)
  • Write post text
  • Create images
  • Schedule posts

Set a firm timeline for reaching your overall goal. Assign deadlines for each item on the task lists.

For our example, we may decide that we are going to work for the next two months on increasing in-person visits to the library.

Now, we can take our lists of tasks and set deadlines for when each of these tasks needs to be completed and released out into the world. Those deadlines will help you reach your target efficiently by assigning a timeframe—a start and end date—to every step in the process.

This “divide and conquer” approach gives you and your co-workers a chance to merge this new way of thinking and the new workload into your schedule without stress. It will make it easier to measure results.

Related Posts

How to Create a Social Media Strategy That Actually Works

Call It What It Is: Toledo Public Library Explains Their New Brand Strategy

Subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive an email every time I post. To do that, enter your email address and click on the “Follow” button in the lower left-hand corner of the page.