Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

The ridiculous reach of Slideshare

09 May

I’m always banging on about to anyone who’ll listen – I think it’s the great underrated social network, the secret weapon of communication. And people do listen – whether it’s librarians on presentation skills or social media courses, or academics on web 2.0 / edtech courses, people are amazed at the reach Slideshare can provide. An example I like to give is of a presentation I created a couple of years back called The Time For Libraries Is Now - it’s essentially pro-library propaganda packaged up in such a way that non-librarians will hopefully look at it. I’ve only given that presentation once to a room full of people, but it’s been viewed around 70,000 times online – that’s the equivalent of my having presented at Wembley Stadium! It’s more or less the same amount of effort, for hundreds of times the audience and reach, and that makes Slideshare invaluable. People LOVE to share presentations, they tweet links to them, they talk about them on Facebook, they embed them on their own blogs and sites - and they view them a lot more readily than they’ll read an article or a blogpost. It’s all about packaging up a message for maximum impact; I’ve said before on this blog, that if I have something really important to say, I’ll say it with slides.  Here’s my Slideshare profile.

Anyhow, Slideshare have just started emailing users with updates on how their decks are doing. This week I got this:

Slideshare stats showing 397k total views and 2k views for this week

What struck me (apart from the fact that the Tweets / FB stats are wrong for some reason) is the sheer number of views per week – for things I’ve already done, and don’t update or even regularly add to. Around 2 thousand views a week! This blog gets around 2,500 views a week (unless I actually write a blog post in a given week, in which case hopefully it goes up a bit…) and that’s with an archive of 100s of posts for Google to find – Slideshare only has about 25 of my presentations on and yet that many people are receiving the messages I’ve put out there. (Plus, only four of my blogposts have had over 10,000 views, let alone 50 or 70,000.)

So, information professionals with something to say – make a nice slidedeck and get it on Slideshare. Libraries with key messages for users and potential users – by all means use all the usual channels, but use Slideshare as well! Got some new facilities? Make a slide deck about it, full of nice pictures of those facilities, and embed it on your library homepage. Got some new courses coming up? Create a PowerPoint with what the courses are, why they’ll benefit the users, and some quotes from previously satisfied customers – stick it on Slideshare and embed it on your bookings page. Teaching information skills? Put the PowerPoint on Slideshare afterwards so your students can refer back to it.

In terms of getting your message to stick, and generally making slide decks which are nice enough to get shared a lot on Slideshare (and perhaps picked up and featured on their homepage, which guarentees a huge amount of exposure), here’s some tips I’ve previously posted on here – on a slidedeck of course!


And if you’re interested and haven’t seen it, here’s the Time For Libraries Is Now deck I mentioned at the top of the piece.

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Creating ambient awareness of the Library as authoritative source

07 May


Picture of the LJ column

Click the image to read the article


I’ve recently become a columnist for Library Journal, along with several others, as part of an Advocates Corner feature all about library marketing and advocacy. Here’s where you can read the first of my columns, about the increasingly important practice of marketing with video. The second one went online last week – you can read it here.

It’s about creating ambient awareness of the Library as authoritative source – the reason it doesn’t say that in the article itself is that it’s a much better way of putting it than I could come up with myself! The particular phrase comes from Valarie Kingsland, as part of this tweet responding to the article (see more response below).

The central tenet of the article is something I first grasped when Terry Kendrick explained it to me – that it’s very hard to get anyone to take an action as a result of any one-off piece of marketing, and that it is this unrealistic expectation which leaves so many library marketers disappointed. You really have to build an awareness of what you do over time, so you’re the first thing people thing of when they DO need your services – rather than expecting them to drop what they’re doing and run to the Library when they see your tweet / poster / email / leaflet or whatever… Hence the title of the column – marketing libraries is like marketing mayonnaise, in that no one sees an ad for Hellman’s Mayo and rushes out to buy some, but when it comes to the time when they need mayonnaise, Hellman’s are foremost in their minds because they see so many ads and promotions. Read the article to see what I’m on about!

The reaction to the piece was fantastic, and I’m really pleased to see how many people really ‘got’ it. I’ve documented a small selection of it on Storify.


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People don’t need to know about all the services we provide – they just have to know what’s relevant to them

20 Apr

Reblogged from the Library Marketing Toolkit

Pew Internet have just released their 10 key findings from their Library research:

The slide I’m particularly interested in is number 11, which tells us that:

  • 22% say they know all or most of the services their libraries offer
  • 46% know some of what their libraries offer
  • 31% know not much or nothing at all of what their libraries offer

Initially this makes somewhat depressing reading, statistical proof of what we’ve all known for a long time: the public don’t understand what modern libraries actually DO. The library brand is so synonymous with ‘book’ that there’s little room for the many and varied services we offer, and it really is the services we must emphasize in our marketing, now the content we provide is often readily available by other means. Ambiguity or confusion is the enemy of great marketing – simple messages stick so much better. But inevitably, as we change to accommodate the new needs of our users, and add more and more aspects to the offer we make, it becomes harder to summarize the modern library and easily communicate how we can help people in their lives.

Actually though, the figures aren’t that bad. 22% is a surprisingly high number to know most or all of the services their library offers – I’m not sure I know all the services my library offers and I work there! With an offering as diverse as ours no one needs ALL that we offer, so what matters is not everyone knowing everything, but each group knowing what is relevant for them. Perhaps it’s time to stop worrying about whether people ‘understand’ modern libraries in general, and move on to simply ensuring that the parents know what services we offer for children, the people on the wrong side of the digital divide know we can help them get online and use new technology , the people who hold the purse strings know how important we are to the local community, and so on.

This process is formally referred to as ‘segmentation’ or ‘segmenting the market’ – dividing your users up into groups, basically, and tailoring the message to suit each one. It’s something library marketing types go on about a lot, and perhaps fills non-marketing types with dread… But it doesn’t have to be intimidating. At its simplest level, you’re targeting each group with a slightly different aspect of the same message, making sure they know about one key service relevant to them, and then letting them discover the rest once they’re in through the door.

Going back to Pew’s findings. the 31% who know nothing of the library is much more worrying. But again, the approach needn’t be ‘how do we tell all 31% everything we do in the Library!’ – it can be about dividing that 31% up into existing segments, and targeting them with relevant services. The average person in the street doesn’t need to think ‘I know all about the Library’; they just need to think ‘I want to start looking into the genealogy of my family tree, and I know the Library can help me’, or whatever their need might be.  Segmenting the market is hard to do, but it’s proper marketing – the results can be hugely beneficial.

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A small change in the way these blogs operate

19 Apr
Picture of a spanner

A small adjustment. CC pic by JanneM – click to view on Flickr.

Short version of this post

I will occasionally be reblogging content from the other blog I write, at, on here.

Longer version

This blog, thewikiman, used to have a lot of content about marketing libraries on it. In fact that’s partly why I got asked to write a book on the subject in the first place. When the book came out and I launched the website to go with it, I started blogging about marketing stuff on there, and in order not duplicate content, I stopped talking about marketing stuff on here.

However, after thinking about it for a while and talking to people who read one or both of the blogs, I’ll now be reblogging relevant content from the Toolkit blog on thewikiman blog. This for a number of reasons:

  • The content I’ll be reblogging is relevant to both audiences
  • I blog far less these days anyway so splitting the posts between blogs makes them even scarcer…
  • I still sometimes hear this wikiman blog referred to on Twitter as ‘one to follow for marketing’ so there’s an expectation that it’ll have some marketing stuff!
  • This blog gets a larger audience than the Toolkit blog, and generally speaking I want as many people to read my posts as possible

So I’m going to start by reblogging the last couple of posts from the Toolkit blog, and then carry on as normal from there. It won’t be that the blogs are identical – there’ll be plenty of stuff on here about library issues generally which doesn’t make it onto the Toolkit blog, and the odd obscure marketing post on the Toolkit blog that doesn’t make it on to here.

I hope that’s okay with everyone! :)




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