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Coronavirus resources – creating digital content
The closure of museums during the Coronavirus crisis has brought a big focus onto digital content and organisations are finding ways of giving their audiences access to the museum online. If this isn’t something you’ve done yet, or don’t know where to start, we’ve put together six top tips to digital content creation. These top tips will help focus your efforts so you’re using your time wisely and have the best possible chance of engaging with your audience.
1.Know your audience
Set your objective – is this about communicating with existing visitors who are missing their trips to the museum? Communicating with educational groups? Or do you have members you want to maintain regular links with?
Once you’ve decided on this, make a note of what you already know about them and what they are interested in. You’ll have a much greater chance of success if you’ve thought about who your content is for and understand what they want from you.
This is also a good time to think about what you want to achieve from your digital content and what success would look like so you’ve got clear objectives for the team to work to.
Take a look at AIM’s Success Guide ‘Understanding Your Audiences’ if you need to clarify who your key audiences are and what they want. We’ve updated this with the Coronavirus crisis in mind so this is a piece of work you can do during closure.
2. Pick your channel(s)
Where is your target audience? Where do you normally communicate with them? If you already have good engagement on Facebook for example, then this is a great place to keep up communication while you’re closed.
Digital content will be best created with as many colleagues as you can realistically involve; anyone who would normally have regular contact with your target audience and / or knows your collection will be a valuable source of information and ideas. Hold a virtual meeting to get started on the brainstorming.
However, you do need to be realistic about what can be achieved while everyone is working from home without access to the physical space and the collection. Listen to concerns from colleagues regarding workload and skillset, especially if you plan to run activity you’ve never done before. And it’s ok to start small and build from there.
4. Idea generation
Have a look at what other museums are doing – learn from best practice and build popular hashtags into any social content. We’ve included links to some good examples across the sector at the bottom of this page.
Don’t be afraid to try things you haven’t done before; this is a great opportunity for experimentation. But equally, don’t feel you need to take on new technologies if you’re not comfortable with them, work within your available resources and skillset.
Make use of your existing resources. Many museums are repurposing existing content, whether that’s resource packs for school visits, or family focused activities. This will be cost effective as well as quicker to implement.
Don’t lose sight of your mission and purpose – everything you do online needs to be true to who you are as an organisation and the purpose of your museum. Keep in mind what makes your museum unique and what makes people want to visit.
Thinking ahead to a time when you can reopen the museum, your content plan will encourage people to visit again. Now is the time to demonstrate your value to the community; what content will be useful to your audience e.g. family activities for home schooling parents? The audience will remember this when you reopen.
Check back on your original objectives before you agree what ideas to develop to make sure you progress the most relevant content.
Have at least a rough plan of what is going to be posted on what channel and when. This will help manage the workload so you can prioritise content creation, but will also help you make the most of all the great ideas the team has generated and ensure you post well written, well thought out content.
Don’t forget to make your content inclusive. There are some great tips from DCN here on the main things to remember when posting content to social media channels.
Look at what’s working well and what isn’t and don’t be afraid to change your plan to focus on more of the successful content or bring in additional new ideas to hep you meet your objectives. The lessons you learn during closure will be a great starting point when you come to look at your re-opening marketing plan.
The AIM Consultants are available for an hour-long one-to-one session to help with any issues arising from the Coronavirus crisis. Find out more and how to apply here.
AIM Hallmarks from Home is a programme of online events intended to support the recovery and reopening of museums. Take a look at forthcoming events and find out how to book your place here.
The Arts Marketing Association is offering AIM members one-to-one surgeries on digital topics via their Digital Heritage Lab. Find out how to book a place here.
This is just a selection of the digital content being made available during the Coronavirus crisis. If you’ve got an example to share, please let us know on email@example.com.
- Kids in Museums are publishing a weekly top ten of things museums are doing to engage with people digitally. You can see the latest list here
- Museum of Childhood is running a virtual doodle club; a weekly tweet with an object or artwork for children to copy and share via #mocpicks on Twitter
- Black Country Living Museum has a weekly #historyathome post with links to their educational resources
- V&A has launched #LetsMakeWednesdays to run once a week during lockdown. Unusual items from the museum archives will be used to inspire the future generation of designers
- Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology having launched the #IsolationCreations campaign, encouraging followers to ‘create’ one thing inspired by their collections every day it remains closed. An object from their collection is shared daily as stimulus for the public to respond to
- Birmingham Museums launched #museummeme which has gathered pace across the sector with participation in #memechallenge
- Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery has launched RAMM at Home – a weekly challenge for people to make their own RAMM collection based on the museum’s objects
For the exhibition lovers
- The National Football Museum has transferred their latest exhibition ‘Strip! How Football Got Shirty’ online. As part of the online action, the nation is also asked to take part in the ultimate poll to decide the Greatest Shirt of All Time (G.O.A.T)
- Museum of Cornish Life are posting ‘An everyday thing, every day’ so the community can still enjoy the objects on display
- Chatsworth has been taking part in #archive30 – 30 days of sharing unique and unusual items in the archive
- People’s History Museum has a new project, Vital Voters, that invites young people to connect with and explore what democracy means to them
- Lymm Heritage Centre have adapted their processes to continue to add photos to their archive and tell the stories of local people and have even generated local press coverage.
- Cogges Manor Farm have a sunflower theme for their season ticket holders. Each ticket holder will receive a packet of sunflower seeds and activity on the closed Facebook group will encourage image sharing and top tips.
For the community
- Kiplin Hall and Gardens is thanking key workers by asking for nominations to receive Annual Garden Pass tickets to use once lockdown is lifted. As well as a great reaction from the community, the tweet about the scheme achieved ‘Tweet of the Month’ from Welcome to Yorkshire.
- Crewkerne and District Museum and Heritage Centre celebrated VE Day on YouTube by sharing local war time memories among other stories about Crewkerne put together by young people.
How much do you know about the make-up of your audience or visitor base? Do you know who is and isn't visiting, the frequency of their visits, what would make them visit more, spend more, donate or volunteer with you? What could improve their engagement with you and spread the word? And what about who isn't visiting but could be persuaded to? This guide will help you to consider what you know about your audiences both current and potential, why it would be worthwhile improving this, and how you might go about doing it. Crucially, it looks at how you can then use this knowledge and insight to deliver your strategic goals and make your organisation more resilient.