Academic journal article Journal of the Medical Library Association

Creating Content Marketing for Libraries

Academic journal article Journal of the Medical Library Association

Creating Content Marketing for Libraries

Article excerpt

Content marketing can be a powerful tool for marketing the services of academic and health sciences libraries. Competing for the attention of busy students and faculty, the library must develop its own channels of engagement, which makes content-driven activities essential. A common example is resource licensing. Once a library licenses a new resource, driving or encouraging usage is a challenge. Traditional communication efforts such as email blasts are usually not sufficient as busy users tend to use resources that they are already familiar with. Creating content-driven marketing around the availability of library resources is an innovative way to create long-term engagement with users and reinforce the availability of new resources. Yet creating content for marketing is not an easy task, especially when librarians are already busy with managing their libraries' daily operations and a variety of projects.

There are different types of content that can be used for marketing, including social media content and content created for publications such as newsletters and blogs. These content types are distinct in nature; the former is preferably visual and concise, while the latter is more elaborate and topically diverse [1]. Regardless of the content type, content should be interchangeable and communicated across different platforms and channels.


For decades, the Levy Library was a relatively small health sciences library serving the faculty, students, and staff of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine (now the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai [ISMMS]). However, as Mount Sinai expanded into a sprawling health system and a flourishing research facility, the library has transformed to serve all communities in the system. These communities include researchers, clinicians, medical students, graduate students and postdocs, fellows, and house staff across several hospitals and research centers. To create activities that interest all of our communities, we took stock of our current activities and identified those that we had not yet served: faculty and clinicians. While we had traditionally worked closely with the medical and graduate schools to provide information literacy and evidence-based medicine instruction, we did not have a wider potential audience there.

As a starting point, we focused on two types of content: an educational series and research reports.


By developing a branded educational series, we were able to create content for social media marketing. In July 2015, we created the ''The Levy Library Research Insider'' seminar series [2] and blog [3]. The purpose of the series was to bring together researchers, clinicians, information technology (IT) professionals, and the library to highlight the latest innovations in various scientific fields as well as library resources and services. To feature valuable and relevant content to all intended audiences, we collaborated with various departments in the organization. The seminars enabled us to create stories around the topic, speakers, and event itself. Our first seminar, ''Rx in the App Store: Current Issues in Health Care Apps'' [4], featured a Mount Sinai emergency room (ER) doctor who invented an asthma app, an IT director who is working on medical apps, and the deputy director of Mount Sinai Health System Libraries, who manages licensing of resource apps for the Levy Library.

Before the event, we broadcasted a series of tweets focusing on medical apps and about app development at Mount Sinai. Announcements and images of the seminar's posters were uploaded to all our channels including Facebook, Twitter, and the Research Insider LibGuide on our website. During the event, we took pictures and live tweeted them, along with quotes from our speakers. After the event, we posted an event summary on our Facebook page, complete with photos, tagging individuals where appropriate. …

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