Content Strategy for Librarians

Callan Bignoli

Public Library of Brookline


Tell us about yourself.

1) Name
2) Library
3) Your role
4) Your interest in content strategy
5) One thing you hope to get out of this workshop

What is content strategy?

CONTENT | noun

a : something contained
b : the topics or matter treated in a written work
c : the principal substance (such as written matter, illustrations, or music) offered by a website


a : a careful plan or method
b : the art of devising/employing plans toward a goal

The dictionary definition

Content strategy is a plan or method with specific goals
for creating the substance
offered by an organization online.

The emotional appeal

Content strategy is the art of bringing the right content to the right person at the right time and in the right context.

But how?!

But how?!

Why Before How

1) Identify problems

• Too many cooks
• Too many platforms
• No one saying "no"
• Not enough [insert here]

Don't set it

& forget it

2) Know business goals

Awareness Visits Usage

3) Know content goals

Useful Usable Findable

4) Understand your audience

Who are they?

(be more specific than "everybody")


What do you want them to do?

What do they want to do?

How & where are they trying to do it?

5) Assess what you've got today

Your platforms

& channels

Your messages

Your voice & tone

Your process

Content audit!

Content type/purpose
Responsible person
Keep, revise, delete?

What's missing?

Caveat: Pick your battles


Library Wins

Library Lost Causes

6) Establish workflows, governance, and standards

Pick your team

Give editors the support & power they need

Create once, publish everywhere

Buzzfeed & TV Guide: Bite, Snack, Meal


Build an editorial calendar


7) Evaluate

Return to goals

Awareness Visits Usage

Useful Usable Findable

What can you measure?

(Lots! Usage of a streaming service, e-book downloads, circulation, program attendance, web analytics, new followers, retweets)

Is your process working?

Who's doing it well?

New York Public Library

New York Public Library

Informative, Inviting, Inspiring

"The New York Public Library offers 93,000 programs a year across its 92 locations, from author talks and performances to exhibitions. Meet your favorite author, hear a live concert, or find something new at the Library."

Free Library of Philadelphia

The total package

Core Strategy Statement

We will publish content that
• Is useful
• Is aware of our audience and context
• Supports our mission, objectives, and brand
• Helps us deliver effective service to our users
- Jefferson County Public Library

Work on your core

• Describe your library's goals
• Describe your audience
• How & where is content currently created?
• What are your content goals going forward?
• How will you measure success?

The dream

All content serves the needs of the audience and the goals of the organization.

Be a content advocate


Reading List

Content Strategy for the Web
Kristina Halvorson & Melissa Rach

The Elements of Content Strategy
Erin Kissane

Content Strategy for Mobile
Karen McGrane

Some Other Helpful Things

 Xtensio (free persona builder)

 Excel template for content audit

 Content strategy worksheet

 Demco activity calendars

 MailChimp content style guide

 A Librarian's Guide to User Experience Design

 "Meet Them in the Moment: Engaging Public Library Patrons When It Matters Most"