There is no better temple to the printed word than our public libraries. So why not consider making sure that your publication – and by extension, your brand – has a home in them?
There are some great opportunities to consider regarding a library’s role in your publication’s success and growth. In addition to the opportunity for a larger audience, which advertisers will love, there are also revenue opportunities similar to those traditionally associated with book publishers.
Greater access to new readers
One important thing libraries provide is a large and diverse audience. Another is the fact that reading areas in many libraries are set up to be comfortable and are often surrounded by magazine racks.
Getting your publication in this mix means your brand is front and center with library patrons. The increased awareness of your publication among new readers will drive new subscriptions and motivate people to search for future issues.
Be flexible in how to partner
Libraries know their patrons and have a good understanding of what’s being read most in their communities. If your publication might get lost on crowded shelves, consider other ways you might partner with a library to increase the visibility of your magazine.
Do your local libraries have a specific spot dedicated to free publications or to local publications?
Is the library willing to feature your magazine in their New Arrivals display area each time a new issue is published?
Is there an opportunity to sponsor or help organize an event that appeals to library patrons and relates to your magazine?
Work to identify where your publication can add value to the people in your community. Investigate opportunities to bring in a speaker or to offer a how-to class that relates to your publication’s core mission and audience.
Advertising for trade versus dollars
Partnerships are all about looking for situations that are mutually beneficial. It’s likely that libraries won’t have the budget to advertise in your publication. Instead, ask if they would be willing to visually feature your publication in a high traffic area in exchange for a dedicated Library Events section in your magazine.
Take cues from book publishers
Book publishers have long partnered with educators to add value in the form of teacher’s guides, discussion guides, lesson plans, author interviews and more. Consider what your publication could develop that would be a notable and useful resource for librarians and educators.
Are there particular classes that the library puts on frequently that could use some help in the form of expert interviews, thematic guides or lesson plans that relate to your publication’s focus and would augment the offering?
Many tutors use the library as a place to meet their students after school. Could you develop free resources for them that would get students interested in different topics and help expand their knowledge base? This can help position your brand and print magazine as a resource, which will increase your appeal to advertisers.
If you aren’t sure, ask
It’s possible that partnering with libraries is a new frontier for you and you’re not certain where or with whom to start the conversation. An in-person visit and conversation with a library manager is a great place to start. Starting with a single location or branch will help you establish the partner activities that benefit your publication and that library.
Expanding to other locations will likely be as easy as sharing your success story with other branch managers. Once you get rolling, the opportunities for expanding your audience and connecting with your community will be virtually endless.