New Marketing Trends

Marketing Ideas for Non-Profits and Libraries

The M Word helps librarians learn about marketing trends and ideas.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Crafting a Strategic Story for Your Library

As promised, here's the basic outline for crafting a strategic story:

1. State your message:What do you want your listener to walk away knowing? Make sure it answers, “So what?”  
Example: People have told me libraries are "nice to have" but when the community budget is so tight, we need to fund the life and death services. I say libraries are exactly that service and need to be funded. 

2. Introduce your character: Who is this person and why does he/she need to take action. 
Example: Sue's only son lives a hundred miles away. When he called to tell her he had only a few years to live because of a rare disease, she didn't know what to do, but she knew she had to do something.

3. Introduce the conflict: What obstacle is keeping her from success? What is that person feeling?  
Example: She went to the library for a book and after talking to the librarian decided it would be better to use the Internet. The only problem was, not only did she not have a computer, she had no idea of how to use one. She could feel her body going weak - fear and despair were beginning to take hold. The thought of her boy, her only son, dying was overwhelming. But she knew she'd never learn to use a computer in time. 

4. Tell the resolution: How was the obstacle resolved? How did the character feel? How does the resolve connect back to your message?
Example: Well Sue had never met our librarians. We got her started with a one-on-one session and then signed her up for a few classes over the next week. In no time she was researching and getting the answers she needed. We even helped her set up an email account so she was able to forward her research directly to her son. That first day Sue just broke down into tears of joy. For the next month she was the first person at the door when we opened. Everyday we saw her step get a little lighter and more confident. Sue helped her son find solutions that have extended his life. 

5. Connect the resolution back to your message.
Example: You might think Sue is the exception but that's not true. Everyday our librarians are helping people transform their lives and realize their dreams. We don't rush into burning buildings or patrol the streets, we rescue residents from the fear of the unknown. And that is always worth funding. 

This was really dramatic and a little too wordy. If you are going to tell your story, keep it short. If it sounds like you are reciting a speech, its too long. If you want to share some of your stories, love to hear them. -Nancy

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