Storytelling Rules.

Storytelling is used everywhere! As a church we have the most incredible, life-changing, powerful story to tell and share with the world…the Gospel. Churches mainly use storytelling in testimonies, cantatas, videos, promo videos, etc. Maybe your church has even more things it does when it comes to storytelling. Here are a few tips I grabbed on to on storytelling…from Disney Pixar’s own, Emma Coats. Yea…she’s legit. Although she is now a director in L.A she knows a thing or two about storytelling:

#1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.

#2: You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.

#3: Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.

#4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

#5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.

#6: What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?

#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.

#8: Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.

#9: When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.

#10: Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.

#11: Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.

#12: Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.

#13: Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.

#14: Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.

#15: If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.

#16: What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.

#17: No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on – it’ll come back around to be useful later.

#18: You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.

#19: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.

#20: Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?

#21: You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?

#22: What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.

Emma CoatsTwitter: @lawnrocket

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.