Effectively managing the budget of the library is an important and continuous task. Any strategies to help promote library services, raise awareness for libraries and attract library visitors at a low cost are enticing for libraries to review and potentially implement. Egor Gerashchenko, chief of Marketing & Development Department, Central Library System of Moscow Region shares his experience in this blog about how he was able to effectively and successfully promote an event that attracted a substantial number of visitors, and media mentions at a very low cost. Read below to see how Egor was able to do this.
Successful Promotion of a Library Event
Imagine you have organized a big event, but no one knows about it and you must raise awareness but do not have a large amount of funds to promote it. What can you do? Let me tell you about a PR campaign we held to promote the Steven King Festival in Friends Library, St. Petersburg, Russia.
Factors to consider:
The issue: lack of information resources to promote library events.
The goal: to attract as many guests as possible.
Advantages: entrance to the festival is free
Disadvantages: great competition in the event market, low media coverage.
PR on a budget
It is necessary to provide information to the target audience. This usually requires funding but doesn’t always have to be large amounts. There is an inexpensive way to do it. It’s called “PR-technologies”.
The challenge faced in promoting an event is attempting to sync your marketing and promotional actions with a trend currently or soon to be occurring. With this in mind, we dedicated the festival to Stephen King for a reason.
The writer’s anniversary was approaching, everyone was waiting for the remake of the film “IT” to be released. At that time everyone talked about King and the main character of the film – the clown Pennywise. If you asked anyone, “who is the king of horrors?” the answer would be – Stephen King. It was necessary to direct this potential to the benefit of the library festival. And so, we settled on the idea, where recognizable heroes would walk through the city, frightening passers-by and informing them about the upcoming festival “the great and terrible” is coming.
PR promotion for Stephen King themed library event
Even if the library is located in the farthest part of the city, one should hold the PR action in the city center. We have chosen the most popular prospect in St Petersburg- the Nevsky Prospect. This place not only ensures many passersby but also was a convenient location to meet media and bloggers.
“Pennywise” IT character for promotion in St Petersburg- the Nevsky Prospect
Resources, reducing the expenses and hiring the volunteers. When attempting to keep the budget low, leveraging the libraries resources and gathering helpful volunteers is important. For us, we addressed the request to the local cosplay community. So, we found the main character of the action, our “Pennywise” and continued to move forward. The aim was for everyone to learn the date of the festival, so we printed flyers. And this was the only expense, but these could also be printed in the library to avoid high costs.
How to work with the media.
Here are 3 steps for maximum mention-ability.
Step 1: Write a press release and send it to the media with an invitation to visit the festival. That’s the way we got our first mention.
Step 2: Carry out a promotion, distribute the flyers, shoot video, take photos. Even if television and bloggers also attend, it is still necessary to record everything yourself as well.
Step 3: Write a press release. The media not in attendance could still write about your event and may do so if you provide them a spectacular report.
How To Promote A Library Event On A Small Budget
Day of Action
Our “Pennywise”, walked through the city center during rush-hour, he scared passersby’s and took pictures with them. At the same time the volunteers nearby handed out the flyers and raised awareness of the event we were putting on.
More than 300 media mentions about the library’s PR-event. Which is rated as record coverage. All media mentioned us for free, because this was a resonant event. More than 800 people attended the festival – this is 4 times more than the average attendance of such holidays.
The PR campaign was held 5 days before the festival. It took no more than a day to prepare it. If you are organizing a major event or you need to draw attention to a certain problem – use this experience to help construct your own PR plan.
More pictures of promoting a library event in St Petersburg- the Nevsky Prospect
For further information or discussion, Egor Gerashchenko, Chief of Marketing & Development Department, Central Library System of Moscow Region can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org