NEST 2011 – Beauties and Beasts at the Barn…just kidding

DIY Publicity & Promotion with Susan Brown, Lawrence Public Library Marketing Director

  • LPL’s strategic plan pushed marketing and promotion – new logo, new position for Susan, etc.
  • Free and Easy things libraries without a marketing director can do to promote/publicize the Library
  • Libraries are ‘pre-paid services’ rather than Free and we don’t really have something for everyone (think PlayBoy and ILL tee hee)
  • Susan believes that our Stories are the best asset and People – staff, patrons, volunteers, Board members, etc. “People think libraries are a books profession and they are not, they are a people profession.”

Top 10:

10. Write a good Press Release – One page, contact info, catchy title, write it like an article for them to just drop it in, hook (who, what, when, where, how, why), 2nd paragraph with quotes, 3rd boilerplate.  Written for events, programs, new service/collection, grant, staff awards.  Proofread them and email as an attachment, with text in the body.  Time it right and send it to the right person.

9.  Make Friends with the Media.  Susan called every media outlet in Lawrence and asked “What’s the best way to get our information out to you?”  Identify the one right person at each outlet/agency.  Bribe with pens and t-shirts.  Quotes, sources, and give them follow-up.  Be available for after-hours calls.  Channel 6 has a late night show – so Susan pitches shows related to the Library.   Go to them, don’t wait for them to come to you!  Pick the slow news day and pitch them a story.  Local bloggers in press releases – send to them, too.  Pays off in positive articles.

8. Leverage Free Resources – Use free community calendars (paper, visitors center, radio station, school calendar, chamber).  You can pull stories from the calendar…and you can train volunteers to help with this.  Buy one get one free advertising for non-profits.  ASK.

7. Tell a Great Story. Stories are the ‘good stuff.’  Who is the public fascinated by?  Children’s librarian? Your building? Some program or event you have?  Lawrence focused on kids and lack of meeting space for area non-profits.

6. Collect Great Stories. Many photos from snapshot day.  Collect quotes, testimonials, stories, pictures.  Example, LPL identified a woman who uses the library every Tuesday morning – it’s part of her routine.  Simple, but powerful, story.  Man who got his diploma 40 years after leaving high school with library computers.  Videorecording stories for capital campaign.  Homeschoolers, couples meeting at the library, gamers, etc.

5. Repurpose Content. Reuse stuff from snapshot day.  Use a professional photographer (maybe) to build a library of stock photos.  Stuff goes into the calendar once, and it gets reused for all the other calendars and the press release – write good content once and use it over and over again.

4. Be social.  Facebook, twitter, flicker – use and get Free PR.  Example, one tweet about friends booksale and it’s been retweeted.  Keep it up if you get into it.  Be in it to win it…

3. Get out of the Library. To get people in, you have to get out!  Health and wellness fair at the school, use volunteers (freestate comicon), international festival of cultures, KU volunteer fair.  Have a table cloth, swag, free pens, tattoos, bookmark and sample books, and candy.  Also creates organizational partnerships.

2. Market to your Staff  Promote within first! Have to market to frontline staff – they can’t share what they don’t know.  Includes advocates, as well.  Staff needs to be able to answer questions and sell programs.  A couple of days prior, remind staff.  Circ staff are going to help people sign up for an e newsletter and if they do good, they’ll earn free pizza.  “incentives work very well.”  Build a staff talent inventory!  Knitters, gardeners – build on their existing relationships (share this program we are having about knitting to your knitting friends).  Market through them.  Word of Mouth marketing.

1. Build Relationships.  Brand is a promise of what you’ll get when you come into the door.  Power of a cup of coffee.  Director of arts center, homeless shelter, chamber, city staff – share concerns and open up doors.  Get programs, cross promotional ideas.  Only a small percentage of folks really know about the Library.  Promote others on your social media, along with your own stuff.

  • If you have a little money to spend:
    • Advertise – weekly paper, summer reading in arts center, bought back page of parks and rec guide, and target market (ad space in high school paper)…TV if you have a lot of money.
    • Buy promotional items – pens, tattoos, t-shirts, fans “I’m a fan of the library,” LPL was all over the Lawrence sidewalk sales b/c of the tats and fans.  (Use baby-wipes to apply temporary tats.)
      • Make relationship with your local promotional supplier (Snap Promotions in Lawrence).  $4 t-shirts bought for staff and volunteers and could have sold.  Summer reading finale had t-shirts on sale for $5…and onsies for the babies.
      • Money from Friends group.
      • Don’t forget to GIVE THEM AWAY.
      • Janway, too.
    • Hire a Graphic Guru.  Grant? Build in money for a professional graphic designer.  Logos.  LPL hired Billy Pilgrim.  Red square logo with white dot (where Library is located in Lawrence).  “Your spot…”
  • Bite-sized Marketing from ALA and Doing Social Media So it Matters 
  • Discussion: Have a competition for a new logo, silk-screen your own t-shirts (program and product)
Children and Code Adam – Diana Weaver, Vickey Long and Jenne Laytham
  • Stolen Life – about abduction, currently an Amber alert for a missing 10 month old in KC.
  • Lost children, stolen children – what do you do if it happens at the Library??
  • Free Kit provided – “Emcor Taking KidSafety to the Street” – started by a group of Walmart employees – In memory of Adam Walsh (1981).
  • Monthly dry-run or test – self explanatory, with a film!
  • Predators go where children are – crowded, parents are distracted…Code Adam – John Walsh co-sponsored of National Center of Missing and Exploited Children.
  • Code Adam – Easy to implement 6-step program to locate missing kids and reunite them with their kids.  Time is critical – immediate response.
    • Grassroots – Crawfordsville, IN – Obligation to take care of customer’s children
    • Kids get separated, distracted, bored, shiny – lots of reasons
    • To find the child: 1. detailed description of the child. 2. Page “Code Adam” with that descriptions.  Employees monitor exits. Checking likely areas for hiding/toy section/restroom 3. Call the Police if child not found in 10 minutes. 4. If child is located, verify identity. 5. Use reasonable efforts to delay departure of adult accompanying child – don’t put yourself in risk.  Write descriptions, tage number, direction they’re going.  6. Cancel the Code Adam.  File a report.
    • Great public service – important to community.  Great return on investment.
  • What do you do when the children answer “No” when asked, “Is this your parent?”  Hard to NOT intervene – get the descriptions – let the parent interfere.  Have the parent at the front of the library.  Don’t want to endanger the child by being a ‘hero.’
  • If you participate, you get a window decal, and poster for your office.
  • Basehor developed their own.  Page as soon as you get name and age.  Assign folks to go to each section and announce, if you don’t have a paging system.  One person with parent, one person at circ desk, everyone else goes and looks!
  • Role playing at staff meeting (and at NEST).  Tee hee – because I’m blogging, I don’t have to act.  Woot.  Found Vickey’s daughter Teddy in 3 minutes!  Make the activity ‘fun’ – but it still practices the skills!
  • Having this in place helps calm the parent.  Old person with memory issues – they can disappear, too.
  • Get a copy of the sheet – laminate it, put it at each help desk…where it can be found.
  • Would having the decal in your window be a deterrent?  Maybe.
  • Greeting everyone who comes in the door also deters predators.
  • How would you tailor this to a one-person?  Go to entrences, then scan.  How close is law enforcement?  Call support from neighboring business?  Coordinate a neighborhood code adam in super small communities.  Get your regulars to help you.
  • Practice it – go over it – use it or lose it.  Quarterly, along with how to use the fire extinguisher.  If you haven’t done it, when stressed you blank!
  • Also to increase awareness and observation.  Overall emergency preparedness.  Do you have Policy and procedures to help?  Seizures, stroke, whatever…  CPR training.  Step 1. “Call 911” (for most emergencies)
  • “Attention Staff, this is NAME. We have a Code Adam” – that way the garbles at the beginning aren’t so important.
  • Do you advertise the name of the child?  If the abductor doesn’t know it, have you just given them the name?  Use your own judgment.  Basehor does ask and broadcast the child’s name.
  • Take advantage of your small space and just announce it.
  • Holton Story – Bomb scare downtown Holton.  Library wasn’t asked to evacuate, so they stayed open and tuned in to WIBW (online) or cable/TV.
  • Tornadoes – what do you do?  Bathrooms?  Some don’t want to leave.  Took kids to the police with the staff in personal cars.  Weather radio.  Have a policy about what to do during Warnings.  FEMA shelter libraries have restrictions and additional responsibilities.
My Turn to Present – Kete and Local History
Evening Entertainment – Improv and Book Trivia (we tied…it was fun)
Photos (taken by Connie Weber…I stole them from Richmond Public Library FB page)


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