There's a great deal you can to do before launch to ensure your local awareness campaign makes a successful first impression.
The more preparation you do, the smoother things will go once your local awareness campaign gains momentum.
Set up an internal team
All library staff should know about the campaign and be involved in some context, but also select a primary point of contact for campaign-related activities and a team of employees, friends, and/or volunteers who will have specific responsibilities. Get staff onboard, excited and trained so they become effective advocates for your library now and in the future.
Develop a marketing strategy
Your marketing plan will help you focus your efforts, ensure team accountability and reach desired outcomes. Your plan should cover at least the first six months of your campaign and include how you will integrate your campaign messages into current initiatives. Define your marketing budget and advertising strategy, and pick an official launch date. Plug in dates for scheduled local events and potential events into a planning calendar. Start crafting your talking points.
Create a list of community leaders and possible partners
To make a broad impact, utilize supporters and influential members of the community and organizations (e.g., chambers of commerce, local businesses and the Kiwanis). Set up meetings to educate these individuals and groups about the campaign, and discuss how they can play a role.
Identify stories of library transforming lives
Discuss how your library adds value to your community, and how stories can illustrate this value. Work with colleagues and patrons to discover the individual stories (e.g., someone who landed a new job using library resources or earned their GED via your library’s free internet) that bring the library’s bigger impact to life. Gather these stories and integrate them into your promotions and campaign messages.
Choose a date and plan your launch
Plan an informal press conference or a party for launch. Invite influential members of the community, local businesses and organizations, and the media. Consider holding the launch at a community venue other than the library, to promote media coverage, create momentum, increase visibility, and make a strong impact. Consider starting with an internal launch: Ask staff to have photos taken and incorporate them into a creative display to serve as a "coming soon" promotion within the library prior to your official launch.
Top 10 Ways to Make Your Campaign a Success
1 Commit. Building awareness takes time, and staff should be prepared to consistently promote the campaign through all phases.
2 Focus. There should be at least one person who spends time each week specifically focused on the campaign, but all staff should be included in planning and implementation.
3 Plan. The more you prepare, including writing a detailed marketing plan, the more successful the campaign will be.
4 Speak up. In order to educate the community most effectively, library administrators and staff need to speak openly and frankly about funding.
5 Reach out. In order to gain media coverage and maximize the number of community members educated by the campaign, continuously pitch your campaign and library funding stories to the local media.
6 Market, market, market. To get the campaign noticed and the messages understood, many marketing tactics should be used simultaneously, including public relations efforts and social media.
7 Show up. Take the campaign out into the community, establishing a consistent presence at community events of all kinds.
8 Localize. Include local information, library statistics, personal stories, etc. in your campaign messaging and information.
9 Network. Inform and include influential members of the community throughout the campaign.
10 Advertise. An investment in advertising will help your campaign reach the intended audience for your campaign.
Be sure to consult with your legal counsel before engaging in any campaign activities as the actions of your library may be subject to certain legal restrictions and requirements.
"There are no strings. There's no set prescription. And it’s totally scalable. You can make it fit whatever your capacity is ... and you're only limited by your own imagination on how to make it work."
—Mary Stein, Assistant Director, Administrative Services East Baton Rouge Parish Library
"It's really important to be flexible. The campaign is going to build its own momentum within your organization and within your community. Your plan shouldn't be something that will hold back that momentum. It should be something that will embrace that momentum and allow it to be even greater than you planned."
—Tuscarawas County Public Library Director Michelle McMorrow Ramsell