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SpringyNews: It's Your Move to Make

October 2018

5 Tips for Letting LibGuides be Your ‘Voice’

When you think of marketing buzzwords like 'viral' or 'smart content' or 'hyperlocal advertising' - they're all just synonyms for sharing.

At it's very core, that's all that marketing really is - sharing and communicating your stuff.

These Tips and Tricks focus on ways you can take the first step and proactively share your LibGuides content to stakeholders, in new and interesting ways that include honing and refining your 'voice'.


1. Don't Pitch. Tell Your Story... with LibGuides

We totally get it, your library has awesome resources, amazing tools, and phenomenal programming... and you want to share it all with your patrons. But sometimes, constantly telling customers what you have can come across like a sales pitch.

Rather than pitching products and services, tell stories. When you're telling someone what you have to offer them, aka. a pitch, you can lose that vital  human connection.

Stories, well... they open people up. They become more receptive to hearing what you have to say. When you tell a story, it feels more genuine, and your patrons will see opportunities to connect with you.

Emotionally-connected patrons/customers become library advocates... resulting in a measurable increase in library usage.

Where does LibGuides come in?

Easy! One way to communicate your story is by creating a LibGuide! It's a content management platform you're comfortable using, which will make it much easier and faster to build the content. Plus, it makes it easier to weave in library resources, like books or a LibGuides A-Z database, into the story-telling.

Tips & Ideas


  1. Create a LibGuides CMS Group to organize all stories together.
  2. Invite customers to write their own story by making them an editor of their own LibGuide.
  3. If your story is short and sweet, consider writing a LibGuides Blog post instead.
  4. You don't always have to plug resources, simply writing the story is a library advertisement.

What kind of stories should I tell?

  1. How you discovered a problem... and fixed it. Was your library website not accessible? Was the men's room not equipped with a child-changing station? Did your programming not accurately reflect your community? Everyone loves an underdog story... especially when the underdog wins. If you discovered a problem that your customers were facing, build a LibGuide that:
    • Explains the problem
    • Showcases how the library addressed that problem
    • Provides context by illustrating why it was in need of solving
  2. Make the customer the hero. Your library services a diverse community of patrons, all of whom have stories to tell. A great way to promote your library is to share the spotlight with others, especially if your library was instrumental in helping that customer become a hero. Build a hyperlocal LibGuide that:
    • Captures the reader's attention with an engaging narrative
    • Communicates the feelings and emotions that the customer felt
    • Highlights the challenges faced by either the patron or the library in the story
    • Build to a 'ta-da' moment with a satisfactory ending 
  3. Let's go on a quest. Perhaps the library has had a long-term goal or project on deck. A great way to market the library and increase mindshare is to take your patrons on that quest with you. Build a LibGuide that:
    • Details the origins of the quest and how it came to be
    • Showcases key movers & shakers and customer heroes that have helped the library move along its journey
    • Where you are on the journey: beginning, middle, or end

Examples:
 


2. Shorter is Not Necessarily Better... for Friendly URLs

Whether you're sharing a LibGuide via email, on social media via Twitter or Facebook, or adding a LibGuide to a list of citations - always make sure your LibGuides URLs are as descriptive as possible... not as short as possible.

There's a natural inclination when creating a guide's friendly URL to make it as short as possible. The shorter, the better...right? Actually, no. Users are far more inclined to click-through to a web resource if they can decode what that website contains via the URL.

Plus, it helps with SEO

While URLs are a minor ranking factor for search engines, keyword use in a URL is a ranking factor.

Let's do an example... together!

The LibGuide is titled, ESL, GED, and Citizen Resources.

What should its friendly URL be?

Worst

URL: https://springylib.libguides.com/c.php?g=19

  • No friendly URL at all
  • Requires user to click-through

Better

URL: https://springylib.libguides.com/esl

  • Doesn't cover all guide content
  • Doesn't fully reflect the title

Best

URL: https://springylib.libguides.com/esl-ged-citizen-resources

  • Fully describes entire LibGuide
  • Accurately reflects guide title

5 Tips for Creating Descriptive Friendly URLs

  1. Match the URL to the title of the LibGuide
  2. Omit stop words: and, or, the, but, of, a
  3. Use dashes (-), not underscores ( _ ) to separate keywords
  4. Always use lowercase
  5. Avoid keyword repetition: it can make your URL look spammy

With all of this said, however...it's not that you can't add a short-ish friendly URL if it makes sense to do so! Don't artificially inflate a friendly URL if the most useful / descriptive version (see tips above!) just happens to also be on the shorter side. :)


3. Be Where They Are... Inside Blackboard, Canvas, Desire2Learn, etc.
(LibGuides CMS and/or E-Reserves Customers Only)

It's an oldie, but goodie. The 3rd P in marketing's 4-Ps matrix stands for place. Or, in lay person's terms - location, location, location.

A great way to proactively promote your content is to put it where they can't miss it. And for Academic Libraries, that's inside your courseware tool.

Students typically spend several hours a week inside their courseware tool participating in discussion forums, downloading/uploading assignments, submitting questions to their professors, and more.

Get the library right in front of their eyeballs, literally, by creating a Library Page using the LibApps LTI tool.

Our exclusive LTI Automagic Tool allows you to customize the content that students see when they login to their courseware tool. So each different course will display unique and relevant content.

It's as easy as adding guide-level metadata keywords to your LibGuides. Oh, and you'll get killer usage stats to boot.

Learn About LTI


  1. SpringyCamp Presentation. Marymount University Library: Embedding LibGuides in your LMS - Meet Your Students Where They Are. (28 min)
  2. Training Session. Planning & Understanding the LTI Tool. (1 hour)

Communications 449 Canvas Course

  • LibGuide matching on COM449 metadata
  • E-Reserves matching on COM449 metadata
    (E-Reserves module only)
  • Subject matching on COM metadata
    • Communications Subject Databases
    • Communications Subject Experts
  • Other Springshare Tools (Subscriptions Required):
    • LibAnswers: LibChat and Searchable FAQs
    • LibCal: Library Hours, Space/Room Bookings, and One-on-One Appointment Scheduler

Communications 103 Canvas Course

  • LibGuide - general subject guide match (vs. specific course) matching on COM metadata
  • No E-Reserves match on COM103 or COM
  • Subject matching on COM metadata:
    • Communications Subject Databases
    • Communications Subject Experts
  • Other Springshare Tools (Subscriptions Required):
    • LibAnswers: LibChat and Searchable FAQs
    • LibCal: Library Hours, Space/Room Bookings, and One-on-One Appointment Scheduler


4. "I Wish I Knew Who Was Reading Our Blog!"

Do you know who's reading your LibGuides blog? Not an abstract demographic segment like "undergraduates" but actual named individuals. Why ask yourself this? Well, knowing exactly who is reading your blog can be helpful data to better tailor your blog posts, message, and delivery. 

How can I get this information?

From inside your LibGuides Blog (either at the guide-level or the system-wide level) go to Blog Management > Subscribers > Export the List of Subscribers.

Voila! Now you can see exactly who is (and who isn't) subscribing to your blog.

What can I do with this data?

Once you have a list of named subscribers, match that data against your ILS or Active Directory database of users to identify segments and clusters.

  • If 50% of your blog subscribers are undergraduates / teens - then you might want to adjust your voice and tone to match a younger audience.
  • If 30% of your subscribers are male and 70% are female - ask yourself if your blog topics speak to the wider demographic that you serve.
  • No faculty or senior citizens subscribe to the blog - are they aware of the blog and ways to subscribe? Time to send them an email!

5. Create a '#TrendingNow' LibGuides Widget

All teaching librarians know - the most successful teaching sessions are based around an assignment, or project, or task.

Contextual learning = long-term learning.

That same equation applies when you connect learning resources with topical, current events. Users are far more likely to engage with and deep-dive into material when the subject matter is topical and relevant to them.

So while you could create a 'Popular Music' LibGuide, a more well-received guide might focus on a current trending album and deconstruct it. For example, Jenny Ferretti's 2016 Beyonce Lemonade LibGuide or the COM Libraries' Kendrick Lamar LibGuide.

Types of #TrendingNow LibGuides You Could Build (as of...now!)

  • The Odds of Winning the Lottery
  • U.S. 2018 Midterm Elections & Voting Information
  • Unplugging from Smart Devices
  • AI Code of Ethics
  • Going Vegan, Dairy-Free, or Gluten-Free
  • Fixing Mass Transit
  • Getting Your Best Sleep
  • Building Your Own Chicken Coop
  • Are Driverless Cars In Our Future?
  • Identifying Fake News

Organize using #TrendingNow Tag

Creating these #TrendingNow LibGuides can have a short shelf life, so use tags to organize these trendy guides. Then when they're considered 'old news,' simply remove the tag. (Consider unpublishing these guides, if it makes sense to do so, to keep your guide list manageable.)

 

 

Display #TrendingNow LibGuides in a Widget

Showcase all your #TrendingNow guides in one place by creating a guide widget!

Login to LibGuides > go to Tools > Widgets > Guidesfiltered on tag = TrendingNow > change sort order to Date Published (newest first)

Get the word out about your current events content by embedding your #TrendingNow Widget on your library homepage, blog, and even on your LibGuides A-Z list!