Do you have a good turnout at your events? Do you feel your advertising is bearing fruit? If the answer is “no,” some of you might be wondering “what is wrong with my publicity?” However, if your answer is “yes” you might not suspect there is a problem with the deliverance of your publicity. This is what happened to us during a strategic planning meeting with teachers from our community.
Our Marketing Coordinator and I were leading the meeting. We asked teachers for feedback on how they wanted the library to improve and how the library could serve the school community better. At this point, each one of the teachers started to say they would like to see more communication with the library, and that they did not know about our programs or the resources the library offers. This discovery felt like a bucket of cold water, since we send schools flyers – via e-mail – for all our programs and events. These flyers are approved by the school district. Additionally, our programs are regularly well attended so there was not any reason for us to suspect teachers were unaware of our programs.
This is how we advertised:
- Advertise programs and events in the local newspaper.
- Advertise using our social media platform.
- Advertise on our website monthly calendar and front page banner.
- Advertise with flyers displayed throughout the library.
- Advertise with district approved flyers sent to local schools.
Naturally, we wondered why our advertising was not reaching the teachers. After discussing the issue, we realized the e-mails with library information were sent to the schools’ administrators. One issue is that school administrators receive an abundance of e-mails and perhaps ours were getting overlooked. Another issue is that teachers might not have access to the local newspapers.
Therefore, here are some ideas to improve communication with local teachers:
- Once a month contact school union representatives and ask them to forward your e-mails to the teachers.
- Follow up with your school union representative to ensure teachers are receiving your flyers and information.
- Ask permission to superintendent to post your flyer on teacher’s lounge.
- Contact the teachers you already know so they can post flyers outside the classroom’s wall for caregivers to see when they are dropping off and picking up kids.
- Place ½ sheet size flyers inside hot books in display.
- Post flyers on local business windows.
- Consider posting at online newspaper sites like patch.com.
- If you are already sending press releases to your local newspaper (print version) find out whether it has a digital version, where you can advertise your program.
- Follow local schools on social media so you can share your information with them.
- Be creative and concise with your flyer. Too much text will diminish the value of important information.
Getting your word out is time consuming and flyers require clever language and images. However, if you see an increase in your programs’ attendance, and teachers start to connect with you and the library, you will feel real satisfaction that your publicity is working.
Kathia Ibacache, is a Youth Services Librarian at Simi Valley Public Library. She has worked as a music teacher and Early Music Performer and earned a MLIS from San José State University and a DMA from the University of Southern California. She loves to read realistic fiction and horror stories and has a special place in her heart for film music.
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