For Admins: Ideas For Promoting LibriVox

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acloward
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Post by acloward » April 10th, 2012, 3:15 pm

Admins,

As admins, I'm not sure how often you have virtual meetings among yourselves and LibriVox leadership, but if you do, here are some more ideas to create more public awareness and volunteer recruitment:

Ask volunteers to reach out to their local media for coverage

This is something I've been working on in my small corner of the globe. Draft a sample letter that current volunteers could use to send out to their local media (TV, radio, newspapers), reserving a section for the volunteer to personalize the letter. For example, a general plea for media coverage along with some LibriVox titles/authors of local interest or the local volunteer's personal experiences. Quite often small to medium size communities are starving for story ideas and it's a great way to highlight how local citizens are impacting the world in a positive way. You may need to create a pool of admins who would be available to the media for interviews (see last suggestion: Marketing/Promotions Team).

Create official and unofficial promotional videos
We've got lots of wonderful instructional video, but I haven't seen much promotional video. This idea has three levels of engagement:
  • First, is the idea of creating a couple of "official" LibriVox produced videos which can be uploaded and shared online. Draft some of our more talented voice artists to write and record 1-2 minute audio explaining very simply what LibriVox is. Then, have some of our volunteers who are gifted in graphic arts to add visual elements to the voiceover to create videos. Once the videos are uploaded, encourage general volunteers to "like" the video on Facebook or other social media sites.

    Second, create a separate "theme" of official LibriVox videos similar to the first example, but marketed more toward those who are aspiring to be professionals in broadcasting, audio engineering, etc. Promote the idea that LibriVox is a great way for these career-minded folks to gain experience and to have some career-related community service to add to their resume.

    The third idea is to have volunteers create their own personalized video following a theme such as "Why I Love LibriVox". They could share personal stories, scenes of them recording, etc. and then post their personalized "commercial" to YouTube, Facebook or their own websites.
Host Free Live Workshops
Have some of our more seasoned voice artists and audio engineers host free live workshops (via free web meeting services such as http://www.join.me and promoted on the main LibriVox website). The workshops could be on topics of interest to both regular volunteers, but also as free education for those who are aspiring in careers of broadcasting, audio production, etc. Since we are all in various parts of the globe, several different instructors could do their live presentation at different times/dates. Of course the PR twist here is that the workshop itself is not necessarily the main purpose. The real idea is using the workshop as a venue to sell the idea of getting more people within the industry to donate their time and talents to LibriVox and by doing so, they are gaining experience and a great addition to their resume. For this to be sucessful, there would need to be some work done by LibriVox in getting the word out via the web (Google meta tags, search engine optimization, etc.)

Recruit at VolunteerMatch.org
Text from their website: As the largest online network of participating nonprofits, we help thousands of organizations recruit volunteers every day. Regardless of your volunteer needs, we can help. As a VolunteerMatch member, you can post your volunteer opportunities, track your interested volunteers, increase the visibility of your organization and more! The best part? Registration is free, and only takes a few minutes.

Marketing/Promotions Volunteer Team
Now, take all of the ideas listed above (and even some that I haven't thought of) and create a new team of volunteers who are interested in coordinating and coming up with new ideas for the PR/Promotions of LibriVox. This team may need their own bulletin board section and/or they could meet virtually through JoinMe. I've offered just four marketing/promotion ideas, but I'm sure there are many, many more and the work involved could keep these volunteers quite busy.

Your feedback is welcomed. I hope that some of these ideas can take LibriVox to the future and beyond!

Aaron

TriciaG
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Post by TriciaG » April 10th, 2012, 3:28 pm

It sounds wonderful - but exhausting. LOL!

If there are members who are game for this, I say, go for it! There may be some admins that are interested as well, but since everyone here is a volunteer, I don't know that having admins do it is necessary. Any members are welcome to head up and move forward with such ventures.

For now, I think discussions for this can go in "Volunteers Needed: Other Projects". If that area gets overrun with promotional discussions, creating a new area for promotion is certainly an option.

There are a couple nicely done videos introducing LibriVox. The links are on this page: http://wiki.librivox.org/index.php/Promotional_Material
I haven't watched them in a while, so I don't know if they're up to date.

Hope this helps!
Mystery stories: The Master of Mysteries
Kerner Report on 1967 race riots: LINK
Mussolini's speeches thru 1923: LINK
The Medici family history: LINK

acloward
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Post by acloward » April 10th, 2012, 4:37 pm

Yes...very exhausting! There's so much work out there!! It's the bitter-sweet part of the growth of a non-profit venture.

So, I have to confess that I'm fascinated with organizational growth, especially among web phenomena. What took Wikipedia from a little volunteer-based operation to a website which virtually everyone in the world uses? So, to your point, it's actually the very topic of sheer exhaustion that prompted the "promotion/marketing" idea. It's not necessarily motivated to just gain more membership, but rather, it's the downstream effect of recruiting new volunteers. I'm intensely curious as to how LV growth plays out in the long term.

Just as an opinion from a newbie, it would seem that more and more help is needed to just keep the LibriVox machine going on a daily basis (cheers to you as admins). So, the thought was that as LV increases the numbers in the general volunteer pool (readers, BCs, PLs, etc) that some of the more seasoned veterans might be willing and able to progress into the admin role. Then with more volunteer admins, the more even more seasoned admins would have more time to dedicate to such things as organization development, new web technologies, coming up with ways to make things more efficient, new promotion ideas to gain yet more volunteers (coming full circle).

In other words, I look at LibriVox as an organization and wonder if we're all volunteers just running the day to day operations, who is looking after the greater vision of LV and working on taking it to the next level? I assume there is no Board of Directors, any form of "headquarters", etc. So, how does LibriVox become as recognizable to the public as Wikipedia? Does it even want to be? If it does, it would seem to me that the only way to do this is to recruit (and help retain) more and more solid volunteers, asking veterans to volunteer for admin roles and admins moving into lead admin roles, etc. Absolutely no disrespect for LibriVox (as you can tell, I love LV) but I can't see LV ever becoming the next web phenomenon if our most seasoned and expert folks are just perpetually doing the day-to-day admin tasks.

So, I suppose my motivation for the promotions and marketing ideas were a way to help push LV forward a bit more...to challenge it to take the next step in growth and development. Exhausting? Yes, incredibly, and I'm too new with LV to know if it's even ready to take such steps.

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Post by JohanLiebert » April 10th, 2012, 4:45 pm

Just to add something...
I did a little promoting when I suggested this site as supplement for our library to my University's Chancellor of Academics and Finance. But I just haven't got a word fro here since march. Maybe to those who still in High school or college, getting the LV database integrated with the library is a good little way....
April Gonzales :D
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I will not be around the forums for quite a time but I'll log-in whenever there's time. Please PM me if you need to talk with me. Thanks!

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RuthieG
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Post by RuthieG » April 10th, 2012, 11:37 pm

ADMIN HAT OFF

Let us just step back a little and see what LibriVox has achieved in 6 years:

When it started it was literally Hugh and a handful of web friends. After two months, this is how things stood:
18 October 2005
Some LibriVox stats for everyone:
  • Days since LibriVox started: 71
  • Number of volunteers on the forum: 65
  • Number of volunteers who have completed at least one chapter: 27
  • Number of chapters recorded (roughly): 130
  • Average number of chapters produced per day: 1.83
  • Number of projects completed: 4
  • Number of solo projects done or underway: 7
  • Number of completed books expected by Dec. 31, 2005: 24
In fact, 30 books were catalogued in 2005 and 358 in 2006. By 2009 we were cataloguing over 1000 books a year. Today those stats look like this:
  • Days since LibriVox started: 2438
  • Number registered on the forum: 31812
  • Number of volunteers who have completed at least one chapter: 4880
  • Number of completed projects: 5481
  • Average number of projects currently produced per day: 2.96
  • Total number of projects currently in progress: 553
  • Number of completed solo projects: 2453
  • Number of completed non-English projects: 794
  • Number of languages with a completed work: 32
Mike Linksvayer, Vice-President of Creative Commons, described it as "perhaps the most interesting collaborative culture project this side of Wikipedia". Not enough?

My opinion? Let the growth continue to be organic. Of course promotion is a great thing. But it is not something for the admins to do. We do have a vision, but that does not include world domination. It is currently focussed on survival.

Admins have enough to do, and have even more whenever there is an influx of new volunteers. I recall, for instance, a great many new volunteers when LibriVox was mentioned in an article in a US magazine for retired people. The level of support many new volunteers need at the beginning is very high and is largely provided by relatively few established members. Few of that new intake stuck around - the rate of attrition amongst those attracted by such promotions tends to be very high, as people think “Oh – recording audiobooks. That must be easy” and then find that it is time-consuming and not as easy as they think, and drift away. I would rather have one committed volunteer than a hundred who post a test recording and never even come back to read my carefully thought-out feedback.

Ruth
(replaces admin hat Image)
My LV catalogue page | RuthieG's CataBlog of recordings | Tweet: @RuthGolding

acloward
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Post by acloward » April 11th, 2012, 6:01 pm

I fear that my message has been poorly communicated, so with sincerity I apologize if I have caused offense.

I am truly astounded at the progress LibriVox has made in the 5+ years. It is definitely a most unique and wonderful project which I am glad to have found. However, the point that the admins are busy enough with survival is also precisely my point as well. I would love to see LibriVox continue forward in developing new technologies, more robust interface and catalog/databases, etc. This is not to say that there are problems with the current set-up. I just suggest that there's always room for improvement and ways to make things more efficient. However, since the admins are truly incredibly busy with daily survival (and you do a knock-out job by the way), I wonder who else there may be to carry out the upper-level planning for growth, new development, etc. As with other web phenomena that begin with a handful of volunteers, growth can happen faster than the organization can support. So, as a newbie, I have been ever curious how and what group of people LV has to brainstorm, plan and coordinate future growth and advancement. As you point out, the admins already have enough on their plate to take on such tasks. I may be incorrect, but from my observation there is no organized body of LV veterans who are overseeing the organizational leadership. Maybe there is a great group of LV mystics and sages who meet and plan such things without the knowledge of a newbie volunteer. However, without such a team operating formally, I wonder what other means LV may chart new paths and undertake any structural improvement and development. Perhaps recruiting more volunteers (and thereby advancing seniority levels and responsibilities) is not the best solution. It was only an idea.

Surely we do not seek world domination. :) This did make me smile. However, I do think we would always aspire to fulfill our greatest potential and follow the example of other grass-roots organizations that have started with so little and have grown to be so important to the world.

In one of my suggestions for recruitment, I offered the idea to have live web training sessions via JoinMe (like WebEx). The idea is similar to the LV podcasts, but a bit more interactive and visual. Whether through a JoinMe session or a podcast discussion, perhaps this would be an interesting topic for LV volunteers to discuss with the founders. When I was thinking of this, I was also wondering if the founders have any discourse with volunteers (either through a newsletter or forum thread) to convey updates, announcements, encouragement, news, etc. That also may be a good way to discuss these issues.

Again, I certainly hope that my message was not interpreted to mean that I have ill feelings about LV or doubt it's potential for even greater success. To the contrary, I only wanted to open the dialogue on the topic since we are all "stakeholders" in the success of LV. It's a natural part of me (and a trained part of me from my career) to look at all things that are dear to me constantly evaluating, setting goals and asking "What have I (or we) done well? Where can I (or we) improve? Am I (or are we) at the point where we hoped we would be a year ago? What specifically should I (or we) accomplish over the next year?".

I hope this better conveys what my original message was trying to say. :)

TriciaG
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Post by TriciaG » April 11th, 2012, 6:14 pm

You'll be glad to know that things are in the works to update the database and other processes. See here: http://librivox.org/2012/04/05/jobs-were-hiring-a-tech-project-manager-and-a-developer/

I think that perhaps what Ruth is saying is that now isn't a good time to get a large influx of new volunteers. Since this has been an all-volunteer organization up to this point, the database and other behind the scenes structure was cobbled together by different people at different times. One of the things the developer will be doing is to update, streamline... get things working in a more efficient manner. Once that's done and things are humming along again, perhaps that would be the time to really consider branching out and promoting and expanding more?

I'd write more, but my husband wants my attention... ;)

And I'm sure no offense has been taken!
Mystery stories: The Master of Mysteries
Kerner Report on 1967 race riots: LINK
Mussolini's speeches thru 1923: LINK
The Medici family history: LINK

carolb
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Post by carolb » April 12th, 2012, 1:38 am

Just a few random thoughts from a volunteer of a little over a year.

I feel hugely indebted to and in admiration of all the admin team, and everyone else who makes life here at LibriVox so enjoyable. There is an enormous amount of work going on behind the scenes, by generous people who are willing to give their time and talents for the rest of us. It is great news that there is now an opportunity for a few technical experts to work on some of the trickier stuff!

My view of LV is rather that of a group of friends, albeit worldwide, with the knowledge that it is unlikely that many of us will ever meet face-to-face..although wouldn't that be fun. An LV Convention!!
Image

However, within my own circle of friends there is love and acceptance; with encouragement and support but not an urgent striving to push people onwards and upwards towards higher spheres of existence. We meet, we chat and we do things together that we all enjoy. We take the rough with the smooth and are always there for each other.

This is how I feel about LibriVox.

Thank you all!

Carol :wink:

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Post by Cori » April 12th, 2012, 4:09 am

acloward wrote:When I was thinking of this, I was also wondering if the founders have any discourse with volunteers (either through a newsletter or forum thread) to convey updates, announcements, encouragement, news, etc. That also may be a good way to discuss these issues.
No, it's not quite as separate (or as organised ;)) as that. Our founder is hugh, everyone is a volunteer ... some volunteers have powers to administer the forum and catalogue books and they're referred to as admins. There's not a planning or steering group (though some parts of that will come about temporarily as part of the tech update Tricia linked to.) News is shared in the News forum as and when it comes up, and admins can also blog, which we do very intermittantly. We occasionally make Community Podcasts which are another way to keep people in the loop. But, there's not so much of a 'they' to go with our 'we' ... if someone wants to say or do something, they ask, if necessary, and then get on and do it. :D

It's a natural part of me (and a trained part of me from my career) to look at all things that are dear to me constantly evaluating, setting goals and asking "What have I (or we) done well? Where can I (or we) improve? Am I (or are we) at the point where we hoped we would be a year ago? What specifically should I (or we) accomplish over the next year?".
Ah, this to me is key. It's the point of biggest difference between what you've been saying and how I see LibriVox (which is just my point of view, I'm not a founder, I only have one voice, same as everyone else.) Some of us have goals at a personal level; and at a community level, we periodically set short-term goals in the form of Finish-Up Months, or perhaps special interest collections. But in terms of X volunteers by Y date, producing Z recordings ... we don't have that, and I do not think it would be a good thing to bring to LibriVox. Any kind of goal can easily become a stick to beat ourselves with (all newbies replied to within 24hrs, tests listened to within 12hrs, Launchpad titles MC & DPL claimed within 3 days) -- oh, it would be horrid, really. It might feel organised, but it would lack soul and fun. This isn't a workplace -- it doesn't MATTER if we don't hit an arbitrarily-set target. It's really, really important for people to do things because they WANT to, and I've seen a fair amount of burn-out happening where people feel duty-bound to do something (honestly, nothing here should feel that way. If you don't want to do something, there IS someone else who can step up to that job.)

Not that you're necessarily advocating anything like that, and in truth, I like a lot of your initial suggestions, though largely for their benefit to our existing community -- how much fun to see each other YouTubeing about why LibriVox is cool! How interesting (and scary?!) to listen to each other's "real" voice over Skype and not folks' beautiful reading voices. (Not everyone sounds that different, but I reckon I do. :roll:) There isn't a committee for Getting Stuff Done, so ... if there's something you'd like to organise, by all means go for it. And this is a general you -- you-the-reader, not just acloward! If you need help from other people, then post in the Need Help forum with details. If you want it to be 'officially LibriVox' then I'd suggest that some admin backing is good because part of being an admin is grokking LibriVox's aim and mission, so if several think something is a good or bad idea, chances are that's representative of the community. If it needs to be super-official, or a significant change, it needs hugh's attention. But everything starts because one person thought it was a good idea. LibriVox itself, and all the processes and tasks within it. :D


[I think I've said in 400 words what Carol said much more warmly and concisely above. :D It's a special power I have. :roll: ]
There's honestly no such thing as a stupid question -- but I'm afraid I can't rule out giving a stupid answer : : To Posterity and Beyond!

TriciaG
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Post by TriciaG » April 12th, 2012, 7:49 am

Also, just a note that although Hugh is the founder, he isn't really the CEO. Some things we refer to him or flag him for decisions or input on, because he has been around the longest and has the Prime Directive always in mind. But he's got his finger in a bunch of other pies as well, so he isn't here much. It's a lot of ad-hoc, self-directed work and projects that go on around here, and hence the cobbled-together feel of the place. ;)
Mystery stories: The Master of Mysteries
Kerner Report on 1967 race riots: LINK
Mussolini's speeches thru 1923: LINK
The Medici family history: LINK

acloward
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Post by acloward » April 13th, 2012, 2:14 pm

Thank you all so very much. You've helped me to better understand the functions and how things happen beyond the day to day. You really all have been so nice to work with and I'm glad you didn't take my words as being critical.

Speaking of having an idea and running with it, I've been working with Phil in collecting all of the videos and placing them in a more organized and easy format. He desperately wanted to have a better presentation than just a list of them in the Wiki. It's still a work in progress (some of the pages are blank and some fonts need to be standardized) but here's a sneak preview:

http://sites.google.com/site/librivideo/home

Thanks again everyone!

Aaron

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Post by kayray » April 13th, 2012, 11:59 pm

Hey, that rocks!
Kara
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Post by anna » April 14th, 2012, 12:08 am

Image
Knowledge speaks, wisdom listens.
Kennis spreekt, wijsheid luistert.

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