- Tutorial videos should be under three minutes; if a video exceeds three minute then the tutorial should be broken down into multiple steps. The videos should be uploaded to the library YouTube account in the "tutorials" channel and put into a playlist. The playlist should be embedded into the library help module, appropriate LibGuides, and in the description of each database on the library's webpage. The purpose of these videos is to demonstrate a single electronic resource and the best practices associated with that tool.
- Video advertisements should be created for major library events such as fundraisers and speaker series events, not for individual workshops or classes. The advertisements should be focused on promoting a single event, not an ambiguous announcement about events at the library. The advertisements should be uploaded to the library's YouTube account in the "advertisements" channel. The URL should be changed to a short link and put on all flyers and print advertisements for the event. The video should also be linked to the library's blog announcement of each event and attached to the calendar entry. The purpose of these videos is to promote a single library event to an internal and external audience.
- General promotional videos should be created by departments to promote the use of their services. Videos should not be created for individual lectures or workshops. The videos should be uploaded to the YouTube account in the "promotional" channel. Videos should be humorous in nature. There should be a video made for each library service before a second video promoting a single service (i.e. there should not be a second video for research consultations before a video for interlibrary loan has been made). These videos are to improve the general perception of the library, and feature services which students, staff, or faculty may be unaware.
- Will special software be needed? There is a wide range of video editing software available, and costs can range from free - several thousand dollars. Knowing the general skill level of the staff members responsible for generating content, as well as the number of people expected to contribute to projects are good starting points.
- Will special equipment be needed? We have two campuses at our library; at our branch each librarian has their own office. We can create videos without interrupting one another any time we'd like. However, at our main campus the librarians share a work space. A "studio" was created out of a storage space that was not being used. A computer with editing software and a microphone were set up in this space for content creation. To date, our librarians have been focusing on screen-capture based tutorials. In the future, if we were to focus on promotional advertisements we would need to consider a budget for cameras, microphones, lighting equipment and other materials. Legally, we would also need to work on release forms that show everyone featured in the video gave consent to participate.
- Will you be hiring someone to create content? Many great videos, including like the NEIU videos featured above, are created by graphic artists, consultants or video production studios. At universities, we also could take advantage of the opportunity to work with students in graphic design or video production classes. The key thing to remember is budget and skill level; do you have the skill set on staff? If not - where will you find it and how much will it cost you? As a special note, just because someone on staff may be creating the videos does not mean the video was free to create. Staff time is very costly and during some times in the academic year - very hard to come by!
- Is funding available externally? Grants and scholarships may be available for equipment, editing, or creation of videos. Start exploring local options and use national organizations as a resources as well.
Place & Promotion
There are several well-known video platforms available; undoubtedly the most popular and famous is YouTube. In 2015, 41% of survey respondents said they had watched a video tutorial or how-to video from their cellphones (IAB. (n.d.). Which of the following types of video have you watched on your smartphone in the past three months?. In Statista - The Statistics Portal. Retrieved March 3, 2016, from http://www.statista.com/statistics/446414/most-frequently-watched-mobile-video-content-smartphone-users/.) Clearly our audiences know video tutorials are helpful - but do they know they need one for the library, or do they know you've created videos to help?
Our library heavily uses research guides, which is why our videos are so successful on that platform. My business research guide generated almost 12,000 views during the previous academic year. However, videos should be linked wherever your students know to find library content. If you have a successful blog - put them there! Link to them on Facebook or Twitter. Send them to professors to include in the course management system modules! My favorite - send a tutorial video over chat reference. The key takeaway is that librarians are not creating these video tutorials for ourselves; we want them to be found, used, and shared. By leaving them on YouTube (or other platform) page without linking back to a student-centric platform, we're doomed to low view counts and low return on investment.
Do you have a favorite library YouTube channel or video? If you're in the Chicago area and interested in this topic - come to the March 11th Academic Library Marketing Meeting at Northwestern University!