Don’t Forget to Invite Your Neighbors – Whoever and Wherever They Are.

If you were to plan a massive Grand Re-Opening party at your museum or gallery, who would you invite?  Would you invite just those folks who’ve already been visiting for years, or would you try reaching out to new people who’ve never stepped foot inside before?  Would you want to do something special for them, letting them know you care, that you ‘get’ them, and that all their various interests and uniquenesses matter to you.  Or, would it be the same ol’ gang who always shows up for everything (whether you want them to or not 😉 ). 

My guess is that you’d want to throw your doors open as wide as possible and do as much as you can to make as many people feel as welcome, included and understood as is feasible.

Well I’ve got some good news for you.  First and foremost, let me relieve you of the party-planning panic and say you sure don’t need to plan a giant party – unless of course you want to.  Secondly, CultureSpots can help with everything else.

You see, we don’t just focus on giving you the easy ability to create fascinating, high quality audio tours for your museum and/or gallery; we also care about the expansion of your reach. With our mobile audio tour platform, you can speak to anyone, anywhere, anytime, using practically infinite layers of audio tour content tailored to any audience, whether they’re close by, or far away, all due to the magical reach and pervasiveness of the mobile Web and smartphones.

Have you ever wondered why people within the geographic vicinity of your museums have failed to visit, even though it might not necessarily cost them much time, effort or money?  It could vary from a fear of not belonging, feeling out of place, or a general indifference about the activities that take place there. It could be a plethora of reasons, but one thing is certain, CultureSpots has the potential to bring your museum to each of their doorsteps.

With the help of our built-in audience analytics and layering of different types of audio tour/spot content, you can produce and endlessly tweak specific tour/spot content for any audience you aim to reach.  You can create very niche/specific tours for a specific potential visitor who may otherwise not feel like the museum is the kind of place that would care about them.  Creating tours specifically for different audiences will personalize the whole experience and help them relate more easily to your object collections, events and overall mission.

Think about your neighborhood, and all the different people who live there.  Now, push that out another few hundred miles – at least, and even further. Now we’re talkin’!  Think about all the different kinds of people you could cater to with tours specifically produced for young children, teens, college and grad students, people with different ethnic backgrounds, languages, or from the perspective of different professions – history, literature, politics, finance/economics, geography – or different cultural references – media, music, fashion – or…  you get the drift, the options are endless.

These are just a few ideas on how CultureSpots can help you increase your demographic and geographic footprint. With CultureSpots, you can do it.  Let us help you get more people in the door and make everyone feel like they’re part of your neighborhood.

If you would like to talk more about what CultureSpots can do for you, and want to see it in action, how about a demo!?  Click here to set one up 🙂.  We’d love to talk with you!

Be well,

Cliff Stevens

Amplify Your Marketing Impact with Audio Tour Content from CultureSpots

Enabling museums and galleries to create high quality, creative and engaging mobile audio tours has always been the goal for us at CultureSpots.  But did you know that the content you create for your audio tours can also be used elsewhere as a great way to promote and generate interest in your exhibitions, events and object collections?  Here are a few interesting ways to super-charge your marketing efforts with your mobile audio tour content on CultureSpots  while keeping your audience informed of what’s happening at your museum or gallery.

 

One way is to add snippets of your mobile audio tour Spots to your Instagram and Facebook Stories.  Stories are popular, attention-grabbing feature that allow you to always be present in the minds of your audience.  With social media, your reach is practically limitless, and potentially hyper-targeted, so you can draw audiences of all demographics, or very specific ones, all while going where your audience already is, instead of searching for them.  And since Stories are only up for 24 hours you can really have fun with it, and plan out a whole campaign of sharing portions of your mobile audio tour Spots throughout the runup to a new exhibition or big even as behind-the-scenes, sneak peaks of what your audience can expect.

 

Another way is to use some of those branded, short URLs and QR codes we auto-generate for you!  You can highlight a Spot in both print and e-mail by using your links and QR Codes to reach your audiences in new and different ways.  Add them to your newsletters, ads in local newspapers and promotional posters and flyers too. It’s important to be online AND offline – you never know who you might attract.  So keep using those links and QR Codes! 

 

Want to hit the airwaves?  You can create a short radio ad (“PSA” – which can be free!) and include a snippet of your most popular and interesting mobile audio tour Spots on your local radio station that can highlight for listeners what they could experience when they visit!  Feel free to reach out to podcasters as well – there are a LOT of them now – and set up an interview with them or have them take a tour of your museum/gallery and do an audio review or endorsement for you. Podcasts are impactful, gaining massive audiences, and can be a surprisingly effective way to get your message out there.

 

And of course, always promote your tours at all your events.  Have you ever considered having a food/beverage-tasting event in your museum or gallery, and leveraging the CultureSpots platform as a way to augment their experience with real-time, guided audio while they enjoy what they’re tasting?  All while they’re enjoying your collections and exhibitions? Could be great fun! Get creative, try new sensory combinations, and always think of how you can make your visitors’ experiences more interactive, unique, meaningful and memorable, and remind them how to take advantage of it all.

 

There you have it!  Just a few, yet powerful ways to add your mobile audio tour content on CultureSpots to your ongoing marketing efforts, while hopefully helping you think more creatively about how to get the most out of it all.

 

How have YOU used CultureSpots to amplify your marketing efforts?  I’d love to hear your stories! Let me know 🙂



Cliff Stevens 

Founder, President/CEO of CultureSpots

cliff@culturespots.com

Work smarter, not harder with CultureSpots

Usually with a new exhibition comes the desire for a new audio tour.  Of course, the process of creating an audio tour doesn’t just happen all by itself, and will require a bit of effort.  But, we want you to know there IS a way to make this process easier and less stressful, even when you’re dealing with limited time and resources.


Our tip? Reuse materials you already have at your disposal.  By this we mean doing things like extracting audio from videos you’ve already created, or link to the videos themselves online, repurpose or point to your social media content, or even articles and other media content that is available on your website or that can be downloaded from your object collection database.  The internet is a rich resource, as are the materials you’ve already got in your possession, so rather than create all kinds of new content, download, digitize, and/or link to content that’s already out there, mostly ready and waiting.

We’ve all had moments where we are writing something and we think to ourselves, “I have written this before”. Instead of recording a whole new audio to go with an object, you can pull certain parts of old audio recordings where you have longer, detailed description about something that can be pared down and added to your new audio tour in multiple, shorter, more focused Spots. Or maybe some of the objects in the upcoming show were part of a previous exhibition and you can simply reuse the audio from that archived exhibition. With CultureSpots the old Spots that are no longer “live”, are all saved in the platform’s Archives and you can make them live again or add them to a different exhibition with just a few clicks. 


At CultureSpots, we believe that ensuring your visitors enjoy the best experience possible at your museum shouldn’t be an overwhelming project or overly time consuming. We designed and built our system so that you can quickly and easily pull together whatever content is available to you and create a fresh, awe-inspiring tour for your visitors each and every time.


If you have questions about, or tips for re-using existing content that you’d like us to share, please send me a message or add it in the comments section of the blog.

 

Be well and enjoy your day,

 

Cliff Stevens
Founder, President/CEO of CultureSpots
cliff@culturespots.com

Getting Started on the Right Foot with CultureSpots

In our last blogpost we told you we’ve made CultureSpots as easy to use as possible. Today we want to prove it to you. Let us walk you through the easy 5 step setup process and help you get started off on the right foot with CultureSpots. 

 

Step 1: Subscribe and Create an Account
Creating an account with CultureSpots only takes a couple minutes. On the CultureSpots website, click ‘pricing’, located on the green banner at the top of the screen. You’ll then be provided with details of all our pricing and plans. Once you’ve chosen your plan click ‘sign up.’  After filling out some basic information and setting up a username and password you will be on your way! 

 

Step 2: Branding
Want to show off your branding with CultureSpots? We can do this for free for you, once you have completed the initial setup. If you want to get this out of the way yourself, press the ‘configure your brand’ button located at the top of the page and add a logo image, header image, welcoming paragraph and your brand colors. 

 

Step 3: Audio Recording and Editing
To record audio, scroll to the bottom of the page on culturespots.com and then press ‘audio recorder beta’ under Help & Support. Click the microphone button on the right hand side of your screen. Once you’re finished recording, press save and the recording will go to your downloads folder. 


Editing your audio is just as easy. It’s located right under the ‘audio recorder beta’ button at the bottom of the page at culturespots.com. Simply drag the file you want to edit from your hard drive onto the editing screen. The bar above the editing panel offers you the tools you need to create a more professional sounding recording.

 

Step 4: Create a Spot
To create a Spot, login to your administrative account on CultureSpots and click the second option, ‘2. Create a Spot.’ Then enter the name of your Spot, a numeric ID, a brief text description, and upload a cover image. Click submit and you’ll be brought to the edit Spot page where you’ll be prompted to upload your audio file if you want to add one. Reminder: Audio is optional, not a requirement for a Spot. Instead of audio, you can connect your visitors to a video, your online store, an event registration page, etc.

 

Step 5: Create a Tour
To create a tour on CultureSpots, select option three on the landing page, ‘create a tour.’ Give your tour a name, text description and cover image. You’ll then be provided with a QR code that points directly to your tour that you can easily share. 

 

You’ll also see the ‘manage tours’ page option. From this screen you’ll be able to edit your tours, delete them, or archive them, as well as your organize your Spots into your tour. 


That’s it!

If you’ve followed the steps, you now have created and launched an audio tour. Easy, right?! 

Can’t wait to get started? Click here to sign up! 

 

Cliff Stevens,

Founder, President/CEO of CultureSpots

cliff@culturespots.com

The many under-the-hood benefits of using CultureSpots

CultureSpots has many benefits.  One of the most basic, yet notable ones, is that you don’t have to buy, build, install or maintain any new software, apps, mobile devices or servers.  CultureSpots is so easy to use that nearly anyone can use it, regardless of their technical expertise. We understand that most museums and galleries don’t have huge budgets nor vast departments of specialized teams, but rather, usually have small teams where everyone wears many hats.  In order for you to get up and running quickly, while continually offering your visitors new and engaging experiences, we’ve made CultureSpots as easy to use as possible.


And by easy, we mean both for you, and your visitors.  As mentioned above, CultureSpots is not an app that you or your visitors must download in order to access your content.  Many people wouldn’t have the space on their device to download yet another app and media files, or wouldn’t want to anyway – we call that “app bloat” and “app fatigue”.  


Kids are a whole other story – they often need permission from their parents to download apps, and by the time they get their attention and permission, the moment has already passed, and they miss out on all your great content.  Literally, all your visitor has to do is point their phone’s camera at a QR code and start listening to your tours. Or, they can just enter a short, branded URL into their browsers’ address bar – either way, easy peasy.


The CultureSpots platform is also not a WordPress website, which many museums use to host their websites and media content.  The amazing advantage of this is that you don’t have to host, configure or update anything server-related. And of course, there’s no code for you to write.  Check out this link and see how quick and easy it is to set up your CultureSpots landing page and audio tours.


Another huge plus to being a mobile web-based app is that you don’t have to purchase, upgrade or fix any hardware.  Hardware is so often very expensive to purchase and maintain – we’ll have none of that please!


Let’s say you already have a native mobile app that your visitors are using, but you’re missing an audio tour component.  You and your developers will be very pleased to know that adding your CultureSpots mobile audio tours to it will be a snap and likely no more than a few lines of code, which we’d be happy to help them with!  Bottom line, CultureSpots doesn’t replace or muddy any of your existing digital assets, but augments and strengthens them instead.


Are you interested in CultureSpots but not quite sure if it’s the right fit for your museum or gallery?  Just write me an email and we can set up a quick demo of how CultureSpots can work for you.

 

Cliff Stevens,

Founder, President/CEO of CultureSpots

cliff@culturespots.com

If you know better, you can do better

In this day and age, words like data, insights and statistics are thrown around on a daily basis. Even though it can all seem overwhelming at times, when your job is focused on improving your organization’s service to and relationship with an audience, having access to this kind of information is vital and can be super-useful.  Anytime you’re making online content available to your visitors via their mobile phones, especially your well-researched and carefully-produced audio content, being able to know what they’re listening to, how much, and how often, can tell you a lot about what’s working for you, what’s not, and what kind of content you should be creating more and less of in the future. This in turn will make your efforts a lot easier, more effective and meaningful too.


The CultureSpots platform gives you different sets of data in two different ways. Built into the CultureSpots platform are your audio/play statistics.
These tell you in total, how many times all of your audio was played over time, and how many times each individual audio was played over time, in the form of easy-to-understand and user-configurable line charts, pie charts and tables.


CultureSpots can also provide
a monthly Custom Google Analytics Report via email that shows MANY different statistics such as:

  • line chart of unique visitors per day over time
  • total # of unique pageviews
  • line chart of unique visitors per day over time
  • total # of audio plays, stops, pauses, and skip-backs over time
  • total # of sessions by device type: mobile, tablet, desktop
  • total # of users by operating system: ios, android, windows, mac, linux
  • total # of sessions and session duration by browser: safari, chrome, firefox, ie
  • total # of users by city
  • average time on page, and bounce rate
  • unique pageviews by page, and exit rate


The best (and most fun) aspect of having access to all this data is that it allows you to do A/B testing, and then take appropriate actions based on what you learn.  A/B testing is a method of comparing two versions against each other to determine which one performs better. This way you can try out different techniques, ways of talking, length of audio, or type of information you share to see what resonates more with your audience. Or which one works better for what kind of visitors. The possibilities are endless.


All in all, the insights and statistics CultureSpots gives you access to will help you understand your visitors better and help you create better content and more engaging visitor experiences so that they will want to come back and bring their friends.  All while providing you with highly coveted audience-engagement data that you can use to stay informed and share with your colleagues, executives, boards and funders – BONUS!!!

 

If you are ready to learn more about all this and more, and potentially see how CultureSpots can work for your organization, please send me an email at cliff@culturespots.com

 

Have a wonderful day!

Cliff Stevens

CultureSpots lets you tell ALL the stories!

Greetings CultureSpots family,


As you know, context is neither static nor unidimensional.  A single work of art is always layered in a multitude of contexts.  In order to understand (and sometimes appreciate) a work of art, it helps to know the context.  And in order to share stories about the context, you need to make choices.  Are you going to focus on the artwork’s aesthetic, historical, philosophical, social or cultural context?  Or perhaps let the artist’s individual, personal, familial, educational or professional aspects take the focus?


With CultureSpots you don’t have to limit yourself to just one or a few contexts.  And we understand there is not just one story to tell, but many.  Sometimes you want to share them all at the same time, or just share one, or many different ones at different times throughout the year/exhibition.  The CultureSpots platform provides you the ability to create an infinite amount of content that can coexist in digital space without taking up any of your precious physical space.

By creating several Spots for one work/item you can also speak directly to the many different audiences.  For instance, you can create audio tours that include the same artworks for kids as adults, but with content that is specific to and different for those two audiences.  And, then create other tours for even more specific audiences.  The only limits to what you can do in terms of the audiences you can speak to, and the types of stories you can share with them is your imagination, prioritization and dedication.

 

And since now you can create Spots on CultureSpots without audio, you can share all kinds of other types of content and information too!  Like, a documentary video about the artist or artwork, photo galleries of other works of art by the same artist, other online articles about the styles, symbols, techniques, inspirations and anything else that your visitors would love to know.

We would love to help you leverage this opportunity to share multiple layers of interpretation with your audiences.  Please reach out when you’re ready to learn more!

 

We look forward to working with you!

Cliff Stevens

Here’s the Promise vs the Reality of AR & VR

The museum community has always explored and embraced fun and innovative ways to interact with visitors.  Especially since audio tours entered the scene back in the 1950s, museums have been experimenting with new technologies as a way to more creatively and effectively engage their audiences. Today, as museums and galleries continue to branch out, they are finding smartphones and apps to be an exciting way to connect with their visitors, and broader audiences, even from the comfort of their own homes.

One of the latest and most talked-about ways for people to enjoy the cross-over between art and technology are Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. VR is perhaps the more recognizable of the two, with the current state-of-the-art being big goggles that cover your eyes and ears and take you into another dimension. AR is actually turning out to be the more practical and readily available solution since anyone who has a smartphone can use it.  If you are wondering what AR is, think of it as a way to bring a real physical environment to life on your screen with layers of digital augmentation visible on top of it. For instance, some museums have apps where you point your mobile device at an object and you’ll see on your screen both the object you’re pointing at, and layered on top of it, background information about the artist, the object, and a carousel of other works by that artist.

While VR and AR solutions are wonderful ways to connect with your audience, they’re often very involved and cost-prohibitive to design, develop and maintain, especially for small to medium-sized museums and galleries. Thankfully, there are other solutions that get you most of the way there, but with far less demand on your limited time and resources.

CultureSpots is of course one such solution, and we believe, the most appropriate, effective and capable one for the vast majority of museums and galleries today.  With CultureSpots, you can rapidly publish intuitively-organized tours for your visitors that optionally include images, audio, text and links to anything else online (ex: videos, webpages, social media content, e-commerce storefronts, etc).  CultureSpots makes it super easy to get up and running quickly, with the control and flexibility you need to keep everything updated and relevant in real-time, all while keeping your costs way down, and visitor engagement up, since anyone with a smartphone can access it anytime, anywhere.  It’s all on the Mobile Web so that neither museums nor visitors have to download any new software/apps – it’s all online and available via any browser. All visitors have to do is point their smartphone camera at a little sticker on the wall, or enter a short URL, and POOF your tour content pops up!

If you’re interested in setting up a tour on CultureSpots or need help finding a way to reach your audience better, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Enjoy your journey!

Cliff Stevens

Why Going Live NOW and Adjusting Continually in Real-Time is SO HUGE.

Greetings Friends,
 
Today we want to share some thoughts on (READ: “grab your attention about”) how CultureSpots gives you the unique ability to easily post your content online and adjust that content, in real-time, as often and as many times as you like – AND, even MORE importantly, how and why that benefits you when you are running a museum or a gallery. 
 
In this digitized world, we are all craving authenticity more and more. This is evident in the way social media trends are evolving and the rise of Podcast Culture. For instance, Instagram Stories and Facebook Live are filled with raw content. And some of the most popular Podcasts aren’t professionally produced and “perfect”, they’re just real.
 
We are drawn to things that make us feel connected and a part of a meaningful experience. Being able to experience things in real time creates a feeling of inclusivity and being part of what’s happening. With CultureSpots you are able to connect with your audience in a similar way. Next time you have an artist talk, a conversation with a curator or a live performance post it immediately after the event is over so your ‘at home’ audience can experience it too.
 
At first glance this idea can be intimidating. Naturally anyone putting themselves out there would want things to be flawless. But we feel it’s more to your advantage to just get it out there and don’t sweat the small stuff. This way you can stay relevant and connect with your audience. And afterwards you can edit it and have it online for your audience to enjoy whenever. Being able to do this will not only allow more people to enjoy your event but you can also share it with future audiences and get them excited about being physically present at the next one. How great is that?
 
This ability to go live and edit along the way can come in handy in other settings as well. Sometimes you might organize an exhibition that grows and changes throughout its course. This is where you can really take advantage of going live instantly. Now you can keep up with the exhibit as it changes. So no more wishing you could go back and change something. No more worrying if people will be able to get the content and context you want them to experience. With CultureSpots you can stay ahead of all of this simply because you can publish and edit your content in real time, anytime, as many times as you want. How wonderful!
 
Going live so quickly gives you more relevance, timeliness, and creates a greater sense of urgency, while also giving your audience more ways to connect with you. It builds community and is a perfect way to play into social media trends. 
We hope that by adopting this stance, you’ll be even more excited than before to take full advantage of CultureSpots – and remember, share it sooner, perfect it later. THE SOONER THE BETTER! 
 
Sign up today and get started. If you’re already a subscriber, we would love to hear about a recent experience you’ve had with going live and adjusting along the way.
 
The video below shows one example of how quickly and easily you can record, edit and publish (“Go Live!”) new audio content on CultureSpots: 

Thank you, be well, and enjoy!

Cliff Stevens

Founder, President/CEO of CultureSpots

cliff@culturespots.com