Repeat after me: host content externally, embed content locally

Reblogged from the Library Marketing Toolkit Modern library websites now have ALL KINDS of content. Where there used to be lots of text and a few images, there's now much more dynamic content. We've got presentations, videos, audio, even embedded documents. This opens up a great opportunity to reach more and varied people.

It is possible to host all this stuff on your own website. But why do that when you can host them externally, and just embed them locally? It will save you an enormous amount of bandwidth, but more importantly, it will make your content infinitely more discoverable. We can't rely on people going right to the Library wesbite; we have to show up in their Google searches too.

As we all know, a lot of people don't know what libraries can do these days. If we host our content elsewhere on the internet, we're going to the people rather than relying on them guessing that the library might be the one to help. We're showing up in their searches. We're appearing on the platforms they frequent anyway. We're boosting our reputation among other libraries.

If you host a video on YouTube it will get views from people browsing that platform, as well as the views it will get embedded in your library website. The same applies for images which, if they're magnificent Special Collections images for example, you could put on Flickr in their own group, and embed them in the Library website (and why not set a up a Tumblr blog or a Pinterest board for them while you're at it?).

If you have Prezi or Slideshare presentations these can be picked up and featured by the hosting sites, leading to an exponentially increased audience. The same goes for PDFs too - host them on (like the new case studies for this website) or and they look good, get a lot more use (because people know what they're getting without having to open a file) and could become featured documents.

The Twitter for research PDF I recently uploaded to Scribd, to my organisation's account, was seen by around 3,000 people in its first two weeks of publication, because Scribd featured it on their homepage. So it was very useful locally, because putting on Scribd meant we could embed it locally making it more useable for our staff and students. But it was also useful internationally because it helped our institution reach a large audience, as a provider of useful guidance in an emerging area.

And what about Library news - why write it on the library website itself when you can host it on a blog and embed the RSS feed on your own site? Basically anything you think of can be hosted externally, embedded locally. What this means is you are AMPLIFYING your content and increasing discoverability - essentially, the work you put into your resources is going to be more richly rewarded.

So, repeat after me! Host externally, embed locally