David Lee King's Blog
March 6, 2014
On page 101, Michael writes this:
“Unless you are a megacelebrity, readers don’t care about you. Not really. They care about themselves. They want to know what’s in it for them. Your personal stories can be a doorway to that, but in the end, the best posts are about your readers’ needs, fears, problems, or concerns. Always ask, “What’s the takeaway for my reader?”
Cool thought. Now apply it to your library’s website, and not just to blog posts. Think about your library’s About Us page, or a page about a specific library service.
Then, ask these questions:
What’s the takeaway for my reader?
Is there a clear next step for the reader?
Is the question “what do I do next” answered?
Is that next step at the top of the page, rather than at the end of a humongous chunk of text?
If your website is like mine, after answering those questions … you have a LOT of rewriting to do. Get busy!
image from Michael Hyatt’s website
Related PostsStarbucks Cards and Libraries – Would it Work?ALA President’s Open Letter on Ebooks and Publishers doesn’t get us very farBe Business CasualCreate Better Content to Create Better EngagementFive Tips to Reshape your Social Media Plan in 2013
March 4, 2014
I recently read Michael Hyatt’s book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. It’s a really useful book on how to build a platform – a way to amplify your voice in order to be seen and heard in today’s crowded online world. Go read it.
One idea I picked up while reading was about creating a “wall of fame.” Here’s what Michael says about a wall of fame (from pg 66):
“This is basically a “wall of fame.” Include your best product reviews, customer reviews, Twitter comments, Facebook comments, Google+ comments, and so on. The idea here is to share endorsements and enthusiasm from your fans to fuel even more enthusiasm.”
What a cool idea, and one that translates well into a library setting. For example – right now, my library has a section on our Press Room pages called “TSCPL Headlines” (yep – horrid title. I’ll need to get that changed). It’s a Delicious.com feed of mentions of my library in the news.
That’s a good start on building a wall of fame. To go further, we could collect positive and interesting Tweets, Facebook mentions, comments, and photos of our library from Instagram, and display those on a “wall of fame” page.
We could also use those quotes and content in marketing materials.
Why? A Wall of Fame is a great visual way to show your organization’s value to the community … from the community themselves. Instead of saying “we have the best kid’s area ever,” we can show tweets and images showing kids and their parents having fun in the kid’s area.
Do you gather and use this type of community conversation in your library’s marketing and promotion initiatives? I’d love to hear about it!
image from Michael Hyatt’s website
Related PostsStarbucks Cards and Libraries – Would it Work?Share the Right InfoFive Tips to Reshape your Social Media Plan in 2013Make your Stuff ObviousAnswering some Questions about Social Media
March 3, 2014
Information Today does a great job at getting information professionals of all types relevant, useful, and most importantly – current information. They do this through conferences like Internet Librarian and Computers in Libraries, and by publishing books on those topics (and yes, they have published both my books. Definitely NOT the reason these conferences rock, but still … ).
My assignment to you, if you can attend: don’t just attend – submit a speaker proposal, too! That’s how I got started speaking – my first national presentation was at Internet Librarian 1997 (on websites, of all things).
So – go submit a speaking proposal. Right now. Then don’t totally freak out if you get picked to speak And hey – I’m on the Organizing and Review committee this year. Really looking forward to hearing your ideas!
Related PostsReminders for Frequent Speakers10 Tips to Do Presentations Like Me: Use Screenshots10 Tips to Do Presentations Like Me: Learn Your PC10 Tips to Do Presentations Like Me: Use Presenter View10 Tips to Do Presentations Like Me: Don’t Use Templates
February 20, 2014
Your website is already mobile. It just might not be delivering the best experience.
Jeff Wisniewski, in his presentation on responsive design at Internet Librarian 2013, said this – “All of your content is now mobile, so be kind.”
What did Jeff mean? Probably this – If your organization has a website, it’s already “mobile” … because people with smartphones can get to it using their smartphone web browsers.
It’s a done deal.
Well – sorta done. Your website might be available to mobile users, but is it usable? Does it adapt or respond to different screen sizes? Is the content written to be quickly scannable on a mobile device, or is it a huge river of text?
Here’s a question for you: What kind of experience are you providing your mobile customers? Is it good or bad? Have you ever thought about the mobile web user experience? If your organization is providing a less-than-stellar” mobile web experience, what are you planning to do to improve it?
I’d love to know!
Pic by Robert Scoble
Related PostsiPads at the AirportFind & Fix your PotholesWebsites at the Next Level – Internet Librarian 2012Newest Freak Out, Geek Out, Seek Out PresentationCIL2010: Developing & Designing for Mobile
February 18, 2014
Every once in awhile, I receive a copyright takedown request for one of my videos. In two recent cases, I challenged the process and ultimately won – which means I didn’t have to take down or change the music bed to my video. Here’s what happened in both cases:
Case #1 – Prince and SirsiDynix. In 2010, at ALA Annual, I was invited to a SirsiDynix party. I went, video camera in hand, and took a short video of some dancing librarians. The song, played by a cover band, was Kiss by Prince. The video’s about 30 seconds long.
I posted a version of this video to my Vimeo account, and last year I received a takedown notice from Vimeo, saying that Prince (i.e., most likely some third party company hired to find his songs on the web?) was claiming a copyright infringement.
Case #2 – INgrooves claims a “free to use” song. Sometimes, I use Apple’s license-free music that comes with iMovie as a music bed for some of my videos. In my video Busy Day, I did just that. I used a “free to use” song loop. No problem, right?
Late last year, I received a message from Youtube, saying that INgrooves was claiming the song was theirs.
What did I do? In both cases, Vimeo and Youtube have ways to contest the notice. With Vimeo and Prince, I argued Fair Use. With my Busy Day video, I shared that the music was already covered by a license. Both Vimeo and Youtube have pretty clear ways to argue your case.
In both cases, just by following through with an appropriate response, I was able to keep the video up with music intact.
Why share this? Because you might have to do the same for your organization or your personal video account at some point. If that happens, here’s a really simple tip (which I plan to start doing) – in the video description section of your Youtube post (I’ll use Youtube as an example), mention where the music came from. Be specific about it, too – where you found it (with a URL), if it had a Creative Commons license, if you wrote and performed it, if it was a loop-based creation, if it came with your video editing program, etc.
Do this as a reminder to yourself. Then, if you ever receive a Copyright notice or a takedown request, you’ll know where the music came from!
Related PostsStability Fix in YoutubeFive Tips to Reshape your Social Media Plan in 2013New Song/Video Announcement and Call for Participation!Will Copyright Catch up?Final Cut Pro X video tutorials
February 13, 2014
During that presentation (you can find my slides here), I mentioned new skills that information professionals need to successfully run social media for their organization. That list included these things:
The normal mad librarian skills (fill in the blank here). Searching, reader’s advisory, research, etc. These “traditional” skills can easily be used in a modern online setting.
Web and social media skills. As in, being an expert end user. It’s hard to be an expert in Google searching if you don’t really know all the bells and whistles of Google searching, for example (and yes, I’ve known librarians who really couldn’t use basic online search engines well, let alone a web browser). The same thing goes for social media tools – you won’t be very successful at running the library’s Twitter account if you don’t really “get” Twitter.
Writing skills. Most of us learned how to write in school. Unfortunately, we learned how to write business letters and academic papers. Guess what? That’s not how we should write on the web. If you want to start a conversation, you need to use a conversational writing style. If you want readers to quickly grasp your content, use some of those writing tips I mentioned in my article Writing for the Mobile Web.
Photo and video skills. Social media is very visual. Take a peek at Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Slideshare, Vine, Flickr, Youtube, Vimeo, etc. All include photos and videos. That means YOU need to be able to create photos and videos that quickly communicate to your organization’s social media crowd.
Networking. Social media IS networking. Today’s librarian needs to be good at talking to a crowd – online and in-person.
Marketing & promotion. Part of your social media duties include sharing the cool stuff your library is doing.
What would you add? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Related PostsReinventing Spaces & Places – Internet Librarian 20123 Ways to be more Social in Social SpacesWebsites at the Next Level – Internet Librarian 2012Face2Face – my Handheld Librarian 7 PresentationFive Tips to Reshape your Social Media Plan in 2013
February 4, 2014
Wow – how’d that happen? Facebook is 10 years old today. Happy birthday, Facebook!
57% of all adults use Facebook. That’s a LOT of people. Think about that statistic locally – it means that over half of YOUR community is using Facebook. That means that your organization should be actively using Facebook, since it’s a primary communication and hangout tool for over half of your community.
64% of Facebook users visit the site daily. That means your organization’s Facebook Page should post daily, too. On Facebook, you’re not seen if you don’t post – so post!
Major reasons to use Facebook – sharing and laughs. Share a mix of fun and useful content, and your network will respond (i.e., comment, like, share, etc). Because they LIKE to respond – that’s what you DO on Facebook.
Half of all adult Facebook users have more than 200 friends in their network. If one of them decides to share your content, that content will be seen by people outside your library’s Facebook network. That’s the power of Facebook sharing – it can really stretch beyond your normal Facebook boundaries.
Check out the article – good info there!
Facebook logo by Sharon Mckellar
Related PostsGetting More Facebook Clicks – an experiment and some thoughtsCreate Better Content to Create Better EngagementFive Tips to Reshape your Social Media Plan in 2013What do you Want from your Facebook Page?Answering some Questions about Social Media
January 23, 2014
You can check it out now at our beta, pre-launch URL – dev.tscpl.org.
Here’s our go-live process:
Work on the site like crazy (we still have a big list of stuff to do!)
Today, we posted a head’s up to our customers, and asked them for feedback, too
We go live on January 29
Then, we’ll continue to tweak things as we notice them for 2-4 weeks.
Sometime after the big launch, we plan to have Influx take a peek, to catch stuff we missed.
Finally, we plan to do some usability testing to catch even MORE stuff we missed.
So, what’s new and different about our redesigned site? Quite a bit:
We went responsive, so one set of code works on all browsers and devices.
We have consolidated some of our blogs
Really worked hard on our links, our navigation, and directing people to the right content
Modern design, modern web fonts, white space, etc
On the back-end, we focused on letting WordPress do most of the work, instead of custom-coding. This will make things like sidebar widgets and pages MUCH easier for us to update
And probably much more that I’m missing. So go check it out!
Related PostsWebsite Redesign Time!iPads at the AirportFind & Fix your PotholesOur Website Redesign is Live!Answering some Questions about Social Media
January 21, 2014
Writing for the mobile web is a LOT like all those “writing for the web” articles you’ve probably seen before, but with more emphasis on scannability and engagement. Why?
Because writing for the mobile web has an audience mostly using smartphones. Three things apply here:
You are writing for the small screen. So the ability to quickly scan content is HUGE.
People are used to interacting with their smartphones. They “touch” Facebook and Twitter. They can comment, like, or share easily.
People are easily distracted on smartphones. If your content doesn’t load fast, they’re gone. If it’s not engaging, they’re gone. If they don’t “get it” fast, they’re gone.
We have our jobs cut out for us, don’t we!
Here are some tips for writing for the mobile web (these also apply to writing for the general web):
write short, to-the-point articles
edit, edit, edit – make every word count
Stick to one idea, topic, or goal per post
Create strong titles:
Make titles short. The BBC uses 5-6 words per title!
Front-load the title with appropriate words to make the point of the article clear and understandable out of context (i.e., for search engines)
Create actionable content:
Focus on the benefits of using the product or service, not the features. What’s in it for the reader?
Have a next step or call to action in each article. (i.e., check out this book, attend this program, etc.)
Always link to things you talk about (i.e., link to the catalog when mentioning books, etc.)
Frontload your content. The first paragraph of text should be stuffed with the most important content (think inverted pyramid).
Make content scannable:
No huge blocks of text – break up long paragraphs.
Break the rules and use fewer than 3 sentences per paragraph if needed. One sentence paragraphs are ok, if it looks correct on a mobile device!
Use headings, subheadings, lists and bullet points. These help make the content scannable.
put your readers first. Speak to them, not at them. Use we and you.
Use informal, conversational writing. Blog posts are a conversation!
Ask questions, ask for a response.
Type like you talk. Read your content back to yourself. If it doesn’t sound like something you’d actually say, re-write it so it does.
HOW TO: Optimize Marketing Copy For Mobile
Best Practices for Mobile Web Writing
Writing for the Mobile Web
Writing Style for Print vs. Web
User-Centric vs. Maker-centric Language: 3 Essential Guidelines
World’s Best Headlines: BBC News
What should be added here? What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
photo by Robert Patton
Related PostsBe Business CasualiPads at the AirportWhy Isn’t Your Stuff Getting Read?Librarians were trained to Write the Wrong WayFive Tips to Reshape your Social Media Plan in 2013
January 16, 2014
My library’s web developer, Nathan Pauley, shared this article with me: The Mobile Moment, by Luke Wroblewski. In the article, Luke discusses how processes, priorities, and product thinking change when the majority of your web traffic shifts from desktop to mobile devices.
Probably a good thing to start thinking about now, rather than later. Why? Well, in my library’s case, we are getting closer all the time. For example, the image included in this post shows mobile visits for my library’s website for December 2013:
Blue = desktop website visits (67.4%)
Green = mobile device visits (20.3%)
Red = tablet device visits (12.3%)
So … add the mobile and tablet percentages together, and you get 32.6%. Almost 33% of web traffic coming from some type of mobile device! What was that percentage a year ago? A whopping 17.6%. If that rate continues, we’ll be around 50% mobile traffic in another year. Wowser!
What should we be thinking about when we hit 50% mobile traffic? Here are some thoughts – please add yours!
Responsive website, or at least some form of mobile website. That’s why my library is going responsive (our redesign should be live by the end of January!).
Mobile-friendly content. It’s not enough to have web-friendly content. Think about making that content mobile-friendly, too.
Easy ways to share, like, and interact with social media sites.
Quick ways to connect to library staff and to library content directly from a customer’s mobile device.
What else? Let’s get this mobile thing figured out!
Related PostsiPads at the AirportStarbucks Cards and Libraries – Would it Work?CILDC Day One: Mobile and Augmented RealityCIL2010: Developing & Designing for MobileALA President’s Open Letter on Ebooks and Publishers doesn’t get us very far