Enhancing your online activity with Storify

Heritage Open Days can put your attraction in the digital spotlight like at no other time of the year. Along with the promotion offered by the national Heritage Open Days team, an online buzz from social media, newspaper articles, blogs and user-generated photographs and videos can also promote your venue to a new and wider audience.

© Storify - Website

However, such mentions in the digital world can often be spread across various platforms and titles, making it difficult to keep track of them in the same way one would for press clippings. Yet, having them all in one place would enable you to promote your venue further for the following Heritage Open Days whilst also proving to staff and stakeholders that the event was a clear success and involvement in the initiative should continue. Luckily, there is an online application that enables this and more, preserving digital content in your own space that can be shared with others.

The application in question is called Storify. It allows the user to become a journalist, filtering mentions of a particular topic online and creating a coherent story from the available sources. For those who have yet to come across Storify, the best way to get to familiarise yourself with it is to explore good examples currently online.

The National Railway Museum (NRM), as part of their Mallard 75 celebrations, have effectively used Storify to capture the excitement surrounding the coming together of all the remaining A4 locomotives in York. The NRM’s Mallard 75 Storify has been viewed over 530,000 times!

Storify is a really good way to record live Q&As that take place on Twitter, offering a ‘catch up’ facility and preserving the virtual discussion. A good example of this can be seen via the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Storify.

However, perhaps more poignant for us is the current Storifys that showcase how the application can enhance Heritage Open Days. Norwich’s Heritage Open Days in 2012 and 2013 were both featured on Storify, as was The Churches Conservation Trust

What Storify can do that traditional media and your own website can’t do as effectively is capture the opinions of your visitors. Storify can capture their thoughts and feelings, socially validating your attraction in an unbiased way.

In terms of creating your own, it couldn’t be easier. You can login through Twitter, a personal Facebook account or via email and then begin creating your Storify by searching for media elements on your desired topics. Storify lets you search social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram and more to gather material, plus you can also add text to weave the individual elements together. Once you are happy with your Storify you simply publish and a link will be available for you to promote amongst your networks. A good video example of how to create a Storify can be found below:

So, this year, after your Heritage Open Days, don’t forget to capture the digital traffic your venue will attract over the event. Encourage people to share their thoughts by promoting your attraction’s social media links throughout your venue and in any printed materials, as well as suggesting hashtags that you can then search for in Storify. Remember that contributors don’t need to be registered with Storify for them to be included in yours, as the application searches across social media platforms. The best advice for Storify is to give it a go and when you’re happy with what you’ve created, make sure you share amongst your networks.