The role of content marketing is more than producing, sharing and having a voice, it’s all about creating a place for others to be part of.
Lets put all the content marketing talk to one side and think about it in the context of a library.
A library sits as a key part of a community for others to interact with, be part of and more importantly use as a place to learn.
Setting The Scene
Whilst the onset of the digital world has meant considerably low visiting figures (the Department of Culture, Media and Sport highlighted in 2013 that only 36% of Britons had visited UK libraries in 12 months), it’s role has always remained as a resource and those libraries that are still here (according to the Library Campaign there will be 1,000 closed libraries from 2009 to 2016), have adapted to the needs of the community with computers, free WiFi and niche areas such as hundreds of thousands of research journal articles to be made available on library computers (the Access to Research initiative from earlier this month).
The Key Things
The whole library experience is one where the interaction of people is encouraged to request and advise. Automation isn’t supported, it’s all about the way that people interact with others and to talk to those that are knowledgeable, accessible and human.
Behind the people who are part of the library are the resources that are readily available. Once you’ve become a member, you are then free to explore the information and stories that are at your disposal. You don’t have to leave details every time you enter the library, you just have to be a ‘subscriber’ to have access.
On certain days there may be particular groups or those with an interest in a particular field of expertise who come to interact and listen to what the group has to share. If it’s on a regular basis, there is the hope that the group members grow in numbers and form a key part of the community.
The library also works by the partnerships and collaborations that are made with others from the local area, such as schools, colleges and more informal local community groups. Accessibility plays its role for how a library is valued by others.
The Comparisons To Be Made
The comparison with the principals of a library and content marketing does go hand-in-hand. Lets look at a changing mindset for our businesses, where we need to:
- have a role to support our respective communities
- be regarded as a useful resource (not a provider product driven interruption)
- make relationships real, not automated
- build relationships to encourage longevity of ‘membership’
- adapt with the times or face a rapid demise in a short space of time
- respond to what our audience wants and to help solve what they are looking for
- become more accessible
- work in collaboration with others who share our beliefs and what we stand for
- encourage interaction so others feel they are part of a bigger cause, such as guest blogs from other businesses or industry related interviews on your platform
- make resources freely available (and not hidden behind a ‘leave your email address’ prompt)
- make sure everything is controlled in one central place, such as your website (and not on a LinkedIn group where ownership is someone else’s)
Starting To Sum Up
Libraries have represented a role to inform, educate and entertain others since the mid 19th century (the first public library was in Manchester by the way in 1852), shouldn’t this be a key role that our businesses need to provide to our customers?
Be interesting to know your thoughts if you agree that the principals between that of a library and a content marketing approach has its similarities.