Clever Dogs Media

Johnson County Public Library

The Johnson County Public Library has great stories to tell. 

Clever Dogs Media Greenwood Indiana


About Our Client

The Johnson County Public Library is one of Indiana's largest - with four branches and an administrative service center. Its mission is to strengthen its community by connecting people, resources and experiences.

In 2011 JCPL held its Centennial Celebration, to recognize and celebrate the library’s lasting impact on the community. From humble beginnings in 1911, Franklin’s first library opened on the second floor of the old Hulsman Block building. 

Throughout the past 100 years JCPL has expanded and now offers four branches and a Library Services Center.

What They Needed

The library board and staff created a Strategic Plan that called for a comprehensive approach to marketing. 

They wanted to develop a marketing plan that helped the community better understand the relevance of today's library.

How We Helped

Partner Jeff Owen worked with the JCPL executive team and marketing staff on two comprehensive marketing plans. Inbound Marketing was at the core of the library's marketing efforts for the next six years and featured:

  • establishing six buyer persona audiences
  • posting more relevant and frequent social media content
  • managing a new website project; and creating content for it
  • creating various campaigns (see below) that reached audiences through digital and video content
  • coordinating various public engagement campaigns
  • training marketing staff on digital strategies and content development
  • serving as a consultant on two Strategic Plans

What We Learned

The six years of work with the Johnson County Public Library provided a valuable experience in how nonprofit entities can and need to engage their audiences through strategic marketing efforts.


JCPL Projects

Bright Ideas for Business

Bright Ideas for Business

As one of the largest library systems in Central Indiana, JCPL has lots of resources for small business owners - from online information about starting up to free Internet service to small conference rooms.

During their Strategic Plan, library leaders decided they needed to encourage small business owners to use these remarkable services. We were asked to help set up an Inbound Marketing program that engaged entrepreneurs.

Working with the library's Marketing and Communications team, we developed Bright Ideas for Business - an information blog for small businesses. We used the library's new website as the hub for the blog and the library's online Small Business Resource Center. The blogs appeared every week and were promoted through the library's patron email system and social media sites. We evaluated open and click through rates and measured against benchmarks.

We served as the project manager, editor and content distribution coordinator. The blogs are posted on the library's website, PageAfterPage.org. True to an Inbound Marketing strategy, we also are using the library's social media sites and emails to distribute the blog.

The email click-through rates and website traffic exceeded benchmarks and goals established by the library's Inbound Marketing team.

We also partnered with the Johnson County Development Corporation, the Franklin Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Greenwood Chamber, Discover Downtown Franklin and the City of Franklin to generate topics for the blogs and to help distribute the content through their digital marketing resources.

Now You Know

Clever Dogs Media Greenwood Indiana

The JCPL marketing team is telling their stories through another successful Inbound Marketing campaign.

The latest is Now You Know, an Inbound Marketing initiative aimed at engaging patrons on five key topics - technology, local history, healthy living, stuff to do and what to read.

Our role in this project included:

  • facilitating focus group sessions with patrons in a targeted audience
  • working with the library's Marketing and Communications team on content
  • developing social media strategy
  • and setting up the blog hosting platform on the library's website.

The five library staff writers rotate blogs each week, and grow an audience interested in their specific topics. The blog platform encourages viewers to subscribe to future blogs through a Landing Page and to receive emails when new blogs are posted. Users also can comment on the blogs and provide topic ideas for the blogs.

We coordinated and edited the blogs and provided support on social media content related to the topics.



My Library Story

The library board and staff wanted to follow up a successful branding campaign with a new public awareness effort.

As part of a leadership team, we helped the JCPL staff and board develop a program that helped the community better understand the relevance of today's library. And who better to tell those stories than library patrons?

We created the "My Library Story" campaign that featured 10 patrons providing testimonials about the impact of the library on their lives and their careers. This is a diverse group of people who use many of the library services. One was an 87-year-old retired teacher, while another was a 17-year-old high school junior.

We also had two local business leaders talking about the importance of the Johnson County Public Library branches in economic development for the county. And one patron talked about his lifelong learning experiences at the library.

The campaign included print and digital advertising and broadcast commercials. We partnered with Barney Wood of Wood Innovative Group to produce and edit commercials and a marketing video.

Each of the advertisements features unrehearsed stories told by the library patrons.

Watch the Video



Memo for Mom

Memo For Mom

The Children's Library Staff knows how hectic life can be for young mothers (and other child caregivers). Using a pilot Inbound Marketing program - the librarians connected with Moms in a special way.

The library produced a "Memo For Mom" blog that helps Mothers (and Fathers and Grandparents) make their children's lives better and their days easier to navigate.

Written by the library staff, the blogs provide helpful hints and great ideas for Moms to use when spending time with their children, and promotes the library's children's programs and services.

Jeff Owen served as the project manager, editor and content distribution coordinator. The blogs are posted on the library's website, PageAfterPage.org. True to an Inbound Marketing strategy, we also used the library's social media sites and emails to distribute the blog.

The email click-through rates and website traffic exceeded benchmarks and goals established by the library's Inbound Marketing team.

Some of the topics included:

  • How to teach your kids to love science.
  • Free or low cost family activities.
  • Websites and apps children will find fun and educational.
  • Tips for story time.
  • How to prepare your child for a visit with Santa Claus.

The goals of this pilot program were:

  • Provide a needed service to one of the targeted audiences in the library's overall marketing plan.
  • Increase traffic to the new library website.
  • Increase participation in the library's children's programs.



First Teacher

Jeff and the JCPL staff have produced a free downloadable guide entitled: "First Teacher: A Mom's Guide to Helping Your Little One Learn." 

The guide includes activities to help toddlers and preschoolers with reading, writing, talking, singing, playing and exploring math and science.

What Our Client Said

"Jeff was an invaluable asset throughout every stage of the communications process: figuring out who our customers are, what they want and how to talk to them. His expertise helped us build lasting connections throughout our community."

- Davin Kolderup, Branch Manager, Johnson County Public Library

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