Blogging Process for Topeka

Today, I met with some library staff where I work and talked about starting up another blog on my library’s website (look for a sports-related blog soon!). That reminded me that I said I’d write a post about our blogging process at tscpl.org … so here’s that post!

Our blogs are generally team-based, and are connected in some way to our collection or services:

Content Connections: For example, our Travel blog is connected to our Travel Neighborhood in the library (we have been pulling our collection out of traditional Dewey order, and are grouping them by topic – so for example, now all our travel books are grouped in one handy place, and labeled Travel). Our Art blog is connected to the art gallery in the library.

Team-Based: we generally have a team leader and 1-3 other staff who are team members. The team leader makes sure blog content matches the goals for the blog; makes sure content is actually getting posted; writes content; and can edit content as needed. Team members help write the blog posts, and do whatever else is needed for that blog.

When we create a new blog, our web team meets with the blog team (can you tell we like teams?), and we create some short-term goals and next-steps, including:

  • What’s the topic? Is it connected to the library’s collection?
  • Who’s the team leader? Who are the team members?
  • How often will you post? We have a posting schedule for our blogs. For example, the Travel blog has a new post every other Wednesday. We have a Google Calendar that serves as our content calendar.
  • During the meeting, we talk about content – mainly me talking about how every post needs to relate back to the library. Each post should focus in some way on our staff, our stuff, and our community – and it should always point back to the library.
  • They’re also reminded that photographs and videos are cool, too – as long as they relate back to the topic.
  • We ask the blog team to create a list of 25 things our customers should know about that neighborhood or collection, and use that list as ideas for the blog’s first 25 blog posts. This helps our bloggers (some of who are new at writing scheduled posts) some blog posting ideas.
  • I also ask each blog team to develop a persona or two to target with posts. We’re big on analytics and market segmentation data here, so generally we’re using a couple of target audiences that relate back to the library’s strategic plan.

That’s pretty much it. We have approximately 18 blogs on our public website right now, and are growing more as we need them.

image by Maria Reyes McDavis

Why Isn’t Your Stuff Getting Read?

Are your library blog posts getting read? If not, here are some possibilities as to why:

Bad content. Simply put, your content might not be all that good to begin with. Maybe it’s stuff you’re interested in, but your patrons don’t share that interest. How to fix it – Why not find out what your patrons are interested in, then write about that?

Poorly written content. Maybe the topic is on-target, but your writing stinks. If your writing is hard to read, guess what? Your patrons probably won’t read it. How to fix it – Why not work on improving your writing skills? Go consult some of those “How to Write” books in your library’s collection. Let the good writers on staff write your blog posts. Use modern web-writing standards.

Your website looks bad. If your website site looks icky, people will assume the content is icky too. How to fix it – update that website. Use a modern CMS like Drupal or WordPress, and use a nice-looking visual template design (or find a talented graphic designer that understands how to design for the web). Make it look as professional as the rest of your library.

Your content is hidden. Is your content hidden under multiple links? Not pulled out in an obvious way so people can find it? If so, that could be the problem. Why? Because your customers aren’t going to hunt for it. How to fix it – pull that content out. Put obvious links on your library’s main page that lead to your great content. Make sure your site is easy to use.

You’re not promoting your content. Maybe your writing is good, the site looks inviting, and your content is easy enough to find – but you’re simply not telling your patrons about it. Instead, you’re playing that passive “oh, I hope How to fix it – promote your blog posts. Instead of making a nice mystery book display in the library, write some short, pithy book reviews. Post those. Then drop the link onto your library’s Facebook Wall, and ask for responses. Ask people to Like it, for their thoughts … which helps spread the joy of your writing into other people’s walls, potentially lead to other comments, etc. Then rinse and repeat.

What would you add?

pic by vial3tt3r

Celebrating My Second Blogging Anniversary with a Song

For my second blogging anniversary, I’m not going to spew y’all with boring numbers about how popular my posts are, how many people subscribe, etc. Instead, I’m going to give you some good, old-fashioned entertainment (well, maybe not old-fashioned). I’m going to give you a song. And a video. About Web 2.0. ‘Cause I’m sometimes silly that way. So – if you want to download these behemoth files, here they are:

And of course, since my singing is most likely incoherent to some, the lyrics, in all their danged glory, are included below. Enjoy!

Are You Blogging This?
2006 by David King

My picture is flickring around technorati
And I just discovered I am such a newb, I’m on YouTube

Are you blogging this?

Delicious myspace then tell me with meebo
Drop my feed into bloglines, I’m so web 2.0

Are you blogging this?

Blogger blummy skobee ditto seekum suckingfish
Auctionmapper
frappr zoomr feedwhip blish
Rollyo
seekum previewseek swicki wink
Flickr
scanr talkr cheapr soonr kitchen sink

All Ourmedia’s confusing me
Maybe I need to read a Wikipedia entryAre you blogging this?

Google froogle blogger SketchUp calculator talk
Code
news catalogs academic search
Finance
images video alerts
Mobile
SMS picasa translate search

Are you blogging this?

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