Libraries are lights in dark

Leave the Library Lights On

You Can’t Do Homework at ‘Home’ If You Don’t Have Web Access

It may come as a surprise that many folks still do not have internet access at home. The Digital Divide is still a very real thing.

students-library-computers-v2The numbers are improving quickly (up to 70% of US now does have broadband access) but there are pockets without regular access.  [Nonprofit Everyone uses a 1 in 4 stat]  This is truer in some inner city areas, as well as rural areas not served by broadband.  38% of African American households, and 44% of Hispanic homes do not have high-speed access.  Yet more and more class work, projects or ‘homework’ calls for computer use, often submitting work to teachers electronically. So where do parents and kids turn for help?

Their local libraries of course!

Libraries have long been champions of both homework help and access to the Internet. As more schools and teachers put homework or supplemental work online, ‘parents can’t count on home for doing homework’.  They turn to local libraries for computers to use and web access to submit work. And they are often waiting long into the evening thanks to computer shortages (thanks to budget cuts + shortfalls facing many libraries).  The problem isn’t just in the Miami-Dade area, featured in the above article.

NYPL-LCC14-library web access Media Relations – presentation at LCC14

At a recent conference, NYPL’s Angela Montefinise (Director of Media Relations) shared that there are many similar stories in New York.  Her media team was able to have several  featured in stories in the NY Times this summer. [Hopefully successful media relations leads to more funding and internet access!]

Students head to their local branch early in the a.m. to finish homework, come back in the afternoon and evening, and will hang around on the steps outside even after the library lights dim, just to use the library’s wifi and continue working. Sure, sometimes they’re also chatting online, playing games with friends, or searching YouTube. But isn’t that what most kids and teens do in their downtime?

These kids just can’t do that, or their new online homework, at home.

Libraries need to keep telling stories like these to counteract the image that they are only repositories of old books. Nothing could be further from the truth! Want a robot? Try Chicago’s main public library branch. How cool is that?!

Most library users already know that today’s libraries often look not much like the libraries of their youth. But the general public needs to get the story too – and good stories, told through media relations like NYPL, Chicago and Miami-Dade have achieved a great step forward.  Your smaller branches and county systems can do the same.  Find your stories and learn to tell them in compelling ways.

Want help telling your stories online? Check out my free guide on easier online writing .



Marketing Mix Monthly Roundup – September

The Belated September Marketing Mix FallLeavesRoundup!

Fall has fallen, like the nightly temperatures and the leaves on only one of my front yard trees.  And so did my posting schedule.  But we’ll get back on track for October and a scary good roundup for Halloween!

The Mix

Entrepreneur – 9/11/2014: ‘5 Tips to Rehab Your Pitch’

Pitching for public relations and media attention – what to tweak, what’s missing from your PR pitch

  • Look at your org’s existing content – do you already have customer success stories you can share? Can you get more from quick interviews (even better if you get on video)?
  • What’s the emotional angle to a company’s product or service? What’s the big “why” factor? And ‘why’ is almost never about specs, or speed, or MPG, or torque, or other numbers or dry facts.
  • “always be launching” – and start the conversations early about your events, launches, news and releases. Get influencers and opinion leaders on board early to start sharing your story. Think about Apple – how many months in advance are people talkiMProfs – 9/29/2014: How to construct a content machine (even if you’re not a natural-born writer) ng about a product that doesn’t exist, and that we’re not even sure WILL exist?!
  • Be nice – cultivate useful, mutually beneficial relationships and be polite and nice about it. If a journalist takes a dislike to your org, you can be toast. Don’t spam them. Don’t bombard them with irrelevant pitches or stories; don’t be ignorant of who their readers/audience really are.

MProfs – 9/29/2014: ‘How to construct a content machine (even if you’re not a natural-born writer)’

Yes, you too can create awesome, original, valuable content. The secret is to create and use a system.   The system proposed in the article has these key parts:

  • Raw materials – e.g. data. Go get you some! Better, get data out of your own organization. You probably have more relevant data than you think you do.  If you go outside, look for industry data, data from other libraries and nonprofits, data from their surveys to supplement your own.
  • Mix w/ creativity – what does the data point to in terms of problems faced by your audience? Does it also point out ideas for solutions? Leave time to think creatively on problems and solutions – because you know the old sayings about ideas coming best … in the shower, the car, walking the dog, sitting down – um, doing other things. That’s what Evernote, Notability, Penultimate and your Moleskine are for. Or a whiteboard for the shower?
  • Edit those ideas – think of a story arc. The MProfs piece gives a simple outline for most articles or blog posts (and it’s similar to the classic problem, climax, resolution arc of movies and books). And don’t worry about perfect yet. This is rough editing.
  • Research – now get the details and the extras to put the meat on.
  • Production department – which for most of us is, well, us. So set aside 2 hours of writing time. Not ‘go out and find more facts and cool photos’ time – that was the step before. This is ‘bolt yourself to your laptop’ time.
  • Polish up – now, edit it for real and get it ready for prime time.

And that’s all probably easier said than done!   I do have a short ebook I’ve put together with more details and tips on writingfor various online content, if you want more help.

SE Journal – 9/24/2014: ‘ Kings of Content – 9 lessons from those who are doing it right’  CM costs demandmetric-760x336Hey, I just quoted this Demand Metric stat in a presentation I’m giving:

“content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing, while generating 3X as many leads”

Pulling your prospects towards you, attracting with engagement isn’t just the right thing to do in terms of giving your audience value, it’s also the right thing to do for your org’s bottom line!

The article includes several case studies of small businesses, start-ups or mini-preneurs who are using content marketing in successful ways.

Just don’t forget content marketing needs to be coordinated, coherent and cohesive.

Live Your Message, Melissa Murgatroyd -9/23/2014: ‘ How to find your unmistakable voice in a marketplace full of copycats’

Pollack : One, Number 31, 1950 - image from MoMA, NYC
Pollack : One, Number 31, 1950 – image from MoMA, NYC

Everyone starts somewhere, and often not as ‘them’ – the You that you get known for. The example given is that even when Jackson Pollack  started as a painter his early works looked nothing like those he later became famous, iconic, for and recognized instantly by even non-art aficionados.

We all learn how to be who we are, including as marketers, from other inspirations.

I have inspirations – tons of them. From the advertising classics of Rosser Reeves, Ted Bates, Ogilvy and Leo Burnett, Al Ries and Jack Trout to ‘new’ marketing and business experts of Guy Kawasaki, John Jantsch, David Meerman Scott, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Seth Godin. From internet marketing leaders such as Danny Iny, the guys of Marketing Genesis, Jeff Walker (Launch), Neil Patel and the Superhero Summits founder Melissa Murgatroyd.

To all my library and information influencers – Nicholas Belkin, Brenda Dervin, Carol Kuhlthau, Herbert Simon, Thomas Mann, Dense Agosto, Sandra-Hughes Hassell, Mary Ellen Bates, Marcy Phelps, Amelia Kassel and so many more.

Who are you learning from? Who inspires you?

Info Pro + Marketer = Strategy First | Smarter Marketing