Strategy?! Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That!

If you find that you “ain’t got time for that” then I encourage you to make time. This is so important and should actually help guide you in some way, shape or form towards a more developed communications strategy. I want to share with you some steps I have had to learn over and over again when figuring out how to develop and carry out a strategy. These are by no means perfect and I am sure compared to some of the experts, I have left out something. The cool thing about these steps is that I can use them constantly. I have to remember that communications strategy is an ongoing process,

# 1. Your vision – Make it known.

This is the most important step. Without a vision, nothing is communicated. Clarify, cast and integrate your vision.

#2. Your Priorities – What is important?

Separate what is important into levels. (Yes, everything is important but if you don’t set priorities then everything becomes important, which in turn makes nothing important.) Communications levels can be decided by the team in the order of importance. Use verbiage like “Big Days” would always let me know what was a level one. Levels can be decided into examples like this:

Level One:  Easter, Christmas Eve/Day, Giving, Vision Casting, etc. Its going to be something that is going to impact at least 80-85% of the church.

Level Two:  VBS, Student Camps, D-Now’s, Men/Women’s events, Promotion etc. A major ministry event that is aimed toward a large majority of your people.

Level Three:  Women’s Bible study, Men’s breakfast, Celebrate Recovery, etc. This pretty much is everything else. Things that are reoccurring throughout the year.

#3. Your Channels

What communication channels are most important? You should choose between 2-4 channels. (Social media – you should start out with 2-3 channels of this as well – blog, newsletter, email, announcements, etc.) This should be based on your vision and overall audience. (Note: I italicized two very important ones. You’re welcome!)

#4. Your Audience – Who you talking to?!

Whose is your audience? Make sure to have this written down.

#5. Your End Result – See, what had happened was…

Did this turn out the way you initially wanted? Identify what you want the win to be and then use that to measure your results.

#6. Adjust

This just means to start over and constantly have this process being followed throughout your church or organization.

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Paint the Town..err..Web!!

Post originally on Church Marketing Sucks

There are endless ways you can promote your church online and we’ll just list a few ideas to get you started. Remember that the idea is to spread the word about your church, not relentlessly spam people. Keep it relevant and personal.

  • Facebook – It’s the largest social network ever. If you want to connect with people, they’re probably on Facebook. There are a lot of ways to promote your church on Facebook, from liking your church’s page to adding comments on their posts. To get more involved you can share their content with your friends, post your own links, photos or videos, invite your friends to church events and more. The activity of your friends is what gets noticed on Facebook, so talking up your church is a good way to casually introduce your friends to your church.
  • Local Listings – Make sure your church is listed accurately in local sites like Yelp, Foursquare and more. Check in, post a comment, add a rating or review. Whatever the particular service lets you do, do it so your church has some activity and credibility.
  • Create Pages – Head over to some of the content creation sites like Pinterest, Squidoo, Storify or Wikipedia and create pages for your church. Maybe you pin your church’s sermon graphics or you create a Squidoo page about an upcoming event. It might be harder to meet Wikipedia’s guidelines, but some historic churches might fit (remember that Wikipedia is about unbiased facts, not marketing—follow the rules or your page will get deleted).
  • Create Groups – Create groups for your church on various social networks like LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube, etc. It’s a good way to pull people from your church together and that can be stickier for new people. Sometimes it works best to have a specific topic in mind, like a jobs/networking group for LinkedIn.
  • Conversations – There are a lot of local groups, forums and sites online where you can join some local conversations. This is where you need to be personal and relevant. Form relationships and talk about your church when it’s natural. Don’t just blow through local forums posting random invites. That’s spam and will do a disservice to your church.
  • Links – It’s as simple as linking to your church. Google has turned links into gold by pairing them to search results. So link to your church from your site. Add links in your blog posts whenever you can and help boost your church in the search results.
  • Email Signature – It’s kind of old school, but your email signature is another place where you can promote your church online. It might be a little odd to constantly promote your church there, so maybe reserve it for special events or tack on a holiday invite when you’re emailing local friends.