Outreach: collaborative promotion

To promote a project in development is not an easy task but it isn’t impossible. Like other projects of the DH class, the outreach approach of Beyond Citation has been conceived as a collaborative effort from all team members.We all feel confident that the project has much to offer.  The question really is: how to make it known to our potential users.  However it is hard to measure what a strong audience is.  Right now we have a monthly average of 285 unique blog  visitors.  Is this number enough? What is considered a success in the online world?

Also, it is important to keep in mind that outreach isn’t a popularity contest; it is a combination of individual and collective actions working toward a common goal of engagement with the project. And that entails more than just counting the number of visitors.

Therefore, it was imperative to understand who is our core audience.  Based in the type of found on Beyond Citation, we believe that scholars and users of academic databases will be our core audience. But what is the best way to reach them?  Once the website is fully operational, having a minimum of 28 monthly users could be considered an outreach achievement. That could tell us that at least 10% percentage of our blog audience understood what Beyond Citation is.

WordPress is used for blogging, with different members of the group contributing. They have covered topics from understanding what is an academic database to questioning the importance of digital tools in the academic world.  We are having a good response from the on-line community, many of the post have gotten feedback through comments, tweets and retweets. The blog has become the main voice of the project while the platform is still under construction.

Since Beyond Citation is a digital project it seemed logical to use digital tools such as WordPress, Twitter and  LinkedIn for online promotion.

Twitter  has provided us with valuable ways to interact with scholars and members of the academy.  This powerful tool is the main social network to promote Beyond Citation. According to our Google Analytics report 95% of social referrals come from shared links from Twitter.

On the other hand, LinkedIn is a relative new outreach strategy.  The principal reason to have a LinkedIn account is to create a deeper online presence. This social network allows us to find specific users (based in their professional profile) and to establish different paths for promoting our project on the web.

Nevertheless there are some concerns surrounding what to do next. Press kits, tutorials and even podcasts are possible future outreach actions. However, we still need a final product, something more tangible to promote. Then each member of the team will have another task: keeping the interest of the users.