Advertising Drives Awareness
Making an impact means using as many avenues as possible to introduce your campaign to your community.
Make your advertising plan diverse—budgeting for various local media such as newspapers, billboards, radio, TV and online will help reach a lot of people quickly. Traditional advertising such as newspaper and magazine ads are effective ways to create a buzz and encourage interest in the campaign. (Billboards can be an especially effective form of advertising!) It costs money, but regardless of your budget, it’s worth looking into. There are many opportunities for all kinds of budgets.
Start by evaluating how much money you have to spend and where you can most effectively put those dollars.
- Solidify your budget.
- Identify all appropriate local media opportunities (e.g., newspaper, online, radio, TV, etc.).
- Answer the following questions:
- What geographic area do you want to cover?
- How will the media outlets appeal to Probable Supporters?
- What is your timing?
- Finally, obtain rates/proposals. Actual rates/proposals help provide a better sense of how to prioritize your budget. Contact the appropriate media representatives and discuss:
- Campaign background and objectives
- Desired ad sizes/lengths
- Discounts available*
- Estimated budget (optional).
If you are new to paid advertising, find someone on staff or in your community to help. Once you’ve settled on a budget and advertising mediums, you should also determine:
- The ad unit sizes you want to purchase. This depends on the advertising medium, budget, discounts, availability, etc. In order to make an impact, we recommend nothing smaller than a half-page ad.
- The day of week, month, etc. For example, newspapers typically have one rate for Monday to Friday and another rate for Saturday and Sunday due to increased circulation on the weekends. Consider upcoming library events, relevant special sections, weekend vs. weekday circulation and cost.
- Positioning priorities. Positioning is the location in the publication where your ad will run. Position is not typically guaranteed unless you pay a premium, but you can make requests. Ask your media contact for recommendations based on your objectives.
- Pricing. Make sure to discuss if there are any discounted rates (e.g., buying multiple pages and nonprofit rates). Ask for any added value for your purchase. For example, radio ads are often combined with free DJ remotes, mentions on specific programming, etc.
- Creative considerations. For example, for newspapers, confirm total number of column inches, as well as other space guidelines. This is important for the person resizing your ads.
- Space close and materials close dates.
- Space close = date you need to sign the order
- Materials close = date the paper needs the creative materials
Consider All Kinds of Advertising
There are countless advertising opportunities available—explore as many as possible.
Remember, negotiating down the current list rates is a common practice. Many media outlets also provide discounts or even free add-ons depending on what you purchase, as well as special online opportunities.
Traditional print publications
Look into all local publications, tabloids and newspapers—especially the weekly community papers. Many of your campaign’s target audience may be newspaper readers who view them as trusted sources of information. Keep in mind that ads may need to be resized according to the specifications set by the publication. Work with the publication’s sales representative to obtain ad specifications, space close and material close dates, etc.
- Ask your local newspaper for free space or extremely reduced rates for excess ad space inventory they may have in any upcoming editions. You can provide the artwork, so they can just drop the ad in if/when they have ad space inventory they can’t fill.
- Discuss options with local utility companies. Ask if a campaign handout can be enclosed with a bill mailing or if messaging could be printed directly on bill correspondence.
- See if your local newspapers, tabloids or magazines will agree to include a handout as an insert in an upcoming edition.
- Talk to local organizations that print newsletters and see if they will include an ad.
- Work with local arts groups that print programs for concerts, art fairs, stage shows or events, and see if they will include an ad in an upcoming event program.
- Reach out to local churches and schools—they may be willing to let you place an ad in their church bulletins or in school handouts.
Benefits of radio include a community tie, concentrated local attention and the ability to work with trusted on-air personalities. Work with local station(s) to record and review the ad.
You can also secure station appearances at key library events and ask for help promoting a campaign event.
- Contact local radio hosts and work with them to get an on-air mention of an upcoming campaign activity.
- Reach out and see if a local radio station will do a live remote interview from one of your community events.
- Ask if a local radio host will let your director discuss the campaign and the myriad of ways in which the local library is used by the public and the value it adds to the community.
- When you launch the awareness campaign or at various points during your local campaign, visit local morning radio shows and drop off goody bags (e.g., giveaways and donuts) for the DJs. Be sure to include campaign material to inspire them to chatter about the awareness campaign live on the air.
Regular TV ads may be cost-prohibitive to develop and to purchase, but there could be opportunities with your local access cable channel.
- Use high-definition, 30-second compilation videos as television ads. Check with local cable stations to see if they will run the ads for free or at a discounted rate.
- Get some promotion at local movie theaters. Theaters may be willing to run your campaign videos as advertisements between movies at a discounted rate.
- Work with local businesses and organizations to see if they will let you place the videos on their Web sites.
- Seek out opportunities to get a two- to three-minute interview on a morning news segment featuring local businesses.
Utilize social networking Web sites to chat about your campaign.
- Facebook: Provide regular updates and educational information to your community. Watch the conversation grow and join in when appropriate. Follow Geek the Library’s Facebook posts and repost items that might add value to your page.
- Twitter: Keep your patrons up to date with short tweets about the campaign and library funding. Tag them #AdvocacyinAction or #geekthelibrary
- Flickr: Document library events and share them with the community.
- YouTube: Bring the campaign to life by documenting activities with short videos.
Other nontraditional advertising
Advertising comes in all shapes and sizes. Keep your eye out for interesting opportunities. Geek the Library found success with public transportation advertising (on buses and in bus shelters), lamppost banners, billboards, movie theater advertising, etc. Again, don’t forget online opportunities.
- Reach out to local businesses and ask if they would consider posting a Geek the Library banner ad on their internal and public Web sites.
- Ask local businesses to also include a short blurb about the library and why it’s important to the community.
- See if other local or nearby community organizations (e.g., clubs, recreation centers, parks, etc.) will post an online ad for free, or post a notification of an upcoming library campaign-related event.
- Check with any city-hosted Web sites or county sites, chambers of commerce or bureaus of tourism sites to see if they will let you place a free banner ad.