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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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Repeat after me: host content externally, embed content locally

19 Apr

Reblogged from the Library Marketing Toolkit

Modern library websites now have ALL KINDS of content. Where there used to be lots of text and a few images, there’s now much more dynamic content. We’ve got presentations, videos, audio, even embedded documents. This opens up a great opportunity to reach more and varied people.

It is possible to host all this stuff on your own website. But why do that when you can host them externally, and just embed them locally? It will save you an enormous amount of bandwidth, but more importantly, it will make your content infinitely more discoverable. We can’t rely on people going right to the Library wesbite; we have to show up in their Google searches too.

As we all know, a lot of people don’t know what libraries can do these days. If we host our content elsewhere on the internet, we’re going to the people rather than relying on them guessing that the library might be the one to help. We’re showing up in their searches. We’re appearing on the platforms they frequent anyway. We’re boosting our reputation among other libraries.

If you host a video on YouTube it will get views from people browsing that platform, as well as the views it will get embedded in your library website. The same applies for images which, if they’re magnificent Special Collections images for example, you could put on Flickr in their own group, and embed them in the Library website (and why not set a up a Tumblr blog or a Pinterest board for them while you’re at it?).

If you have Prezi or Slideshare presentations these can be picked up and featured by the hosting sites, leading to an exponentially increased audience. The same goes for PDFs too – host them on Issuu.com (like the new case studies for this website) or Scribd.com and they look good, get a lot more use (because people know what they’re getting without having to open a file) and could become featured documents.

The Twitter for research PDF I recently uploaded to Scribd, to my organisation’s account, was seen by around 3,000 people in its first two weeks of publication, because Scribd featured it on their homepage. So it was very useful locally, because putting on Scribd meant we could embed it locally making it more useable for our staff and students. But it was also useful internationally because it helped our institution reach a large audience, as a provider of useful guidance in an emerging area.

And what about Library news – why write it on the library website itself when you can host it on a blog and embed the RSS feed on your own site? Basically anything you think of can be hosted externally, embedded locally. What this means is you are AMPLIFYING your content and increasing discoverability – essentially, the work you put into your resources is going to be more richly rewarded.

So, repeat after me! Host externally, embed locally

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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 librarymarketingtoolkit.com, 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! :)

Cheers,

Ned

 

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10 non-standard tips for public speaking!

11 Apr
Old-school presentation image

Flickr CC Image via Louisville Joe – click to view original

 

I teach a full-day Presentation Skills course for the British Library, among others, and I recently sought feedback on it from someone I trust. The thing he wanted more on – and it was one of those ‘it’s obvious now they say it’ moments – was presenting itself, the process of it, rather than just preparing the materials. There was indeed a section on this in the training but it wasn’t very long, so in order to improve the course I’ve read up on it a bit more; I learned a lot of useful things (and had others I already knew better articulated to me) so I thought I’d share some of them here.

Preparation

1. It’s better to know the subject than the presentation. Learning anything from memory is really hard. But so is looking at notes, or reading presentations out from a script. If I try and learn a presentation I get worried – I’m aiming for something so specific, there’s a feeling of pressure around getting it right, and a feeling that if I forget something the whole house of cards will fall apart. I prefer to only speak about stuff I know a bit about, and just use the slides to reinforce key points and basically prompt me to talk about certain aspects of a topic, as appropriate to that particular audience. This is much more relaxing than worrying about remembering particular phrases etc. It also means you’re more flexible – things can even be tackled in a different order based on what the audience wants, for example.

In short, you can’t be derailed because you’re not on rails. That’s a very reassuring feeling.

2. Imagine your audience leaving the room (after your talk!). It’s often very hard to know where to start when creating a presentation – the default position is ‘what do I know about this subject?’ but actually that’s the wrong way around most of the time. The more pertinent question is ‘What do the audience want from this subject?’ – if you imagine your audience leaving the room after you’ve spoken, what have they learned, what do they know now, what did they get out of it? Think about what is important to them in that moment, and build the presentation from there – if necessary going and doing more research beforehand, so you can talk more authoritatively about what matters to them.

3. The rule of three – there might be something in it… I’ve heard many times now that we remember things most easily in groups of three. There’s a lot of it about – 3 act plays, stories with a beginning, a middle and an end etc. Presentations-wise, it’s relevant because the audience will likely only remember 3 things from your presentation, so you need to make sure these are the most important three! If you’re completely stuck for a structure, try the 3:3:3 method – three main parts of your presentation, each divided into three sub-sections, and if necessary each of those subsections divided into three as well.

4. Store your presentation in the cloud. Of course every presenter takes their presentation along on a USB stick but USB sticks do break sometimes, and they’re small and easily lost. So a sensible back-up plan is to store your presentation in the Cloud, and of course the easiest way to store your presentation in the cloud is to email it to yourself. (Then it’s backed up twice! Once in your inbox, once in your sent box. :) )

5. Have a one-page cheat sheet. Part of presenting well is being relaxed, and a lot of being relaxed (for me, certainly) is knowing exactly what your doing with the logistics of the day. So make a one page document with EVERYTHING you need to know in it: presentation start time, room number, directions to the venue, contact name and details, train self-ticket machine reference number, etc – print it out and carry it with you, and email it to yourself so you can check it on your phone. You’re much more likely to arrive relaxed, on time, and focused.

Delivery

6. Look everyone in the eye, then pick your favourites to come back to… This is particularly useful for nervous speakers. Public speaking is about communication, and communication is better with eye contact. So I will try to literally look every member of the audience in the eye at least once, at least as far as I reasonably can. (After 5 rows or so, it’s hard to be specific.) During this time, I’ll notice a few people who are particularly receptive – they’re nodding emphatically, or smiling at what I’m saying – and I’ll come back to them throughout the talk, as a form of encouragement… I don’t get nervous anymore, but even as a non-nervous person I like to see people on my side. (The flip-side of this idea is to work on the more indifferent members of the audience – or even hostile, but that doesn’t come up too often in our industry, thankfully – by focusing more explicitly on them.)

7. Remember if people are looking down at a screen and typing, it’s a compliment. I can imagine that it can be disconcerting if you’re not a Twitter user, and you see people looking down at their phones rather than up at you. It must feel like kids ignorning what you’re saying and texting their friends. But it’s a good thing! They’re sufficiently invested in what you’re saying that they want to broadcast it to their network on Twitter – it’s also a way for them to make notes at the same time. And of course, that means your words are reaching a bigger audience, which is excellent.

8. Have a Plan B for your intro and your outro. It sounds obvious but knowing what your opening line is going to be is quite important. Sometimes people decide to with something like ‘Hello everyone, my name is Ned, I’m from York’ but then the person introducing them says ‘This is Ned, he’s from York’ so you really can’t use that one… So know what you’ll say if your planned opener is ruled out for whatever reason. The same goes with the closer – if it’s covered in the questions for example, or if you finish surprisingly early and need some more material to call upon, have a relevant topic in mind in advance.

9. Listen very carefully, an introvert will say this only once… Lots of people reading this will be introverts; I’m one, certainly. A characteristic we share is only saying stuff once – if it’s said, it’s done with, we don’t want to say it again. I feel embarrassed telling a story to someone if I know I’ve told it to someone else, even if the two people are completely unconnected! But in presentations we have to fight that instinct, and make sure we say the really important stuff (main arguments, big statements, statistics, quotes) at least twice; perhaps in different ways but at least twice nevertheless.

10. Think in tweetbites. You thought it was enough to think in memorable soundbites! Not anymore. For the maximum impact, your most important statements needs to be tweetable so that your presentation is amplified beyond the walls of the room you’re in. You’ve put hours of work into it, so why not double, triple or otherwise exponentially increase the audience for your key messages? Think in quotable, tweetable chunks (as long as that’s not actually to the detriment of your presentation, of course…).

Is there anything else you’d add? I’ve love to hear from you in the comments so this post becomes more useful over time.

More tips

You can find all sorts of presentation tips online – the following three articles were particularly useful in assembling the list above: 30 quick tips for speakers; Compulsive obsessive details will save your neck; and the Introverts Guide to presenting.

As the title suggests, these are non-standard tips for public speaking – which is to say, beyond the obvious ones everyone knows such as not facing away from the audience etc: for more ‘nuts-and-bolts of presenting’ advice, and more on creating materials, check out these previous posts:

Plus there’s also this early blog post on: tips for first time speakers.

Good luck!

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