Over the last months we’ve been busy with the launch of xwashier, our physical and digital network of historical places. In my presentation at MuseumNext and in a recent blogpost I advocated the use of integrated media strategies to make your product (exposition, activity, app) known to your audience. In this post I will share some of my experiences with the xwashier campaign that is currently unrolling.
(Despite our best intentions, in the end the media campaign accompanying the launch became the happy chaos communication tends to be. So, copy and steal ideas, but do so wisely.)
Message, target groups and designing the campaign
Xwashier is about the experience of history on the location where it actually happened. The relevance for the potential visitor/user therefore is local. Also, xwashier is a platform for local history, getting together many different organisations from around the country. Thirdly, xwashier is personal. A location is especially relevant to somebody, if s/he has a personal relation to the location.
Although we want to reach everybody (of course), from the general target groups in communication we identified opportunities online to reach day trippers, iPhone users and the networks of local institutions as well as increase our reach within our network (people enjoying history and heritage). Read the rest of this entry »
It’s been more than three months since we at the Museum of National History launched our new website. And, apart from the usual glitches, it pretty much does the trick we expected it to do. Besides the website, we also launched the INNL network, a semantic network of historical websites. At the moment it connects over 200,000 stories, photos, people and events from different websites in a – hopefully – meaningful way.
The INNL network is built on the premises that providing your data in a meaningful way to a larger network of websites provides 1) more context for your online information and 2) a wider reach for your information. For a website owner this should mean more high-quality visits and less hours of editing. (I wrote a post about how the network works earlier.)
So, were these assumptions correct? Does a semantic network improve the quality of museum website visits? It’s a bit early to give a definite answer, but with 3 months of stats I feel I should be able to say something about the “semantic visitor” (the visitor coming to our website through the INNL network). The table below shows some indicators I believe are related to the quality of a visit:
* Non-flirts is a term I borrowed from Avinash Kaushik and adjusted to mean visits with either depth equal to or greater than 3 or a duration equal to or greater than 2 minutes. These visits are more than merely ‘flirts’ (hits from Google or Twitter, quick checks to see if anything changed) but potentially interested visits. I’ve added Twitter to compare statistics.
One of the objectives of the National Vending Machine is to provide us and partners insight in popular historical objects. Stuff that gets people enthusiastic. In a way, we’re doing an extremely fancy kind of market research. The other day I received a provisional overview of Holland’s hottest historical objects (read: top-selling items in the machine). Here they are:
Volkswagen camper van:By far the most popular object in sales, comments and enthusiasm of buyers, probably due to its everlasting hipness and important place in the youth memories of the Culturally Engaged.
Cow: A replica of the famous Dutch grazer in Delftware, popular to more than just the tourists. Maybe owing to its cute smile or maybe because it’s a colourful object which boosts sales (we found when testing the objects).
Libraries can be inspiring places, and not only because of their books. I’ve written about the public library of Amsterdam and its astounding interior design before. This week I’ve visited the public library of Delft, DOK. In 2008 the shifted librarian called it the world’s most modern library. Three years later, the “library concept center” still made a tremendous impression on me.
Five great things about DOK I took home:
1. A good understanding of a library’s future role in society
Libraries are about making information accessible to people. Libraries that are not used by the people, fail their task. Books have become increasingly cheaper and information more easily accessible. To the greater audience there’s hardly a need for the traditional library. There is, however, a need to be guided in the quest for information, to detach from the busy society, to discover new things, to meet people and learn from each other. DOK is more an “information community centre” than a library. They have an art library in the building, organize debates about literature but also finace, … This might very well be the future of more cultural institutions than just libraries.
At last! The new website of the Museum of National History and its related semantic network are live. I’m very proud of the end result and thought I’d share it with our international followers. This post is a transcript of the presentation speech I gave, with some minor adjustments, so please forgive the enthusiastic promotional language. I’ll go into the juicy details later on this blog.
(Also, the website is in Dutch, which will be a challenge for Google Translate.)