In today’s highly technical world, engagement is easier than ever, if you can get your audience’s attention. With limited resources, this often proves challenging for museum professionals.
Business Cards with Personality: A Case Study
National Park Service archeology collections have huge research potential. In our lab, we see a lot of NPS archeology collections and are always looking for ways to get the word out to researchers about the materials that are available. But, with our limited resources, how do we let researchers know that these materials exist?
For a while, we talked about creating bookmarks or business cards to direct researchers to contact us if they were looking for more information on NPS archeology collections. But we wanted to make sure that whatever we did would grab their attention.
After finding a volunteer photographer, we had a plethora of professional quality photos of NPS artifacts. And then we learned about a company that allows you to upload images to create personalized mini cards.
Turning a Concept into a Reality
Even if you lack computer skills, creating mini-business cards could not have been easier. The most difficult part of this project was deciding which images to use – we loved so many of them.
As we were exploring this method of outreach, we were preparing for an event for Massachusetts Archeology Month. We thought the mini cards would be a nice advertising tool for the event. We pulled together images of the artifacts we would be discussing at the event, added the event time and location to the back of the cards and were able to hand these out as a way to let people know about our event. And the response was very positive.
More than just a pretty picture
While the ‘pretty’ pictures on the cards are pleasant to look at, they are more than just aesthetically pleasing. The images create intrigue. They draw the viewer in. They make the viewer want to know more while giving the viewer an idea about the variety of NPS artifacts. And then the information on the back of the card directs the viewer to our facebook page and blog. As a bonus, we even put pictures of the mini cards on facebook so that people can identify the image on their cards.
When was the last time you talked to your friends about a business card? Or thought about it afterwards? I’m guessing your answer is “not often.” But with our customized mini cards, people have been showing them off and talking about them to other people. We have even had people ask us about them and how we made them. For a small investment, we publicized an event for the community and succeeded in getting people to talk about us. We created community engagement.
What easy, inexpensive methods have you used for engagement?