23 June 2011
Take Time This Summer To Review and Improve Your Church Communications. Here's How.
Summertime in the church is often a time to gear back and take stock of our ministry.
We review the last program year and plan the next one. We map out worship, adult education, youth ministry, Confirmation, Sunday School, service projects, and the list goes on.
But what about our communications?
Do we take time to step back and evaluate how we are communicating? Summer is a great time to do this. Here's how:
Start with an audit of all your church communications. List out all the ways you communicate with your church and community. I did this for Redeemer. Here's my list. It was helpful to organize it by frequency.
- Personal Conversations
- Personal Emails
- Facebook and Twitter Updates (Pastor and Church)
- Website Update With Information about the Upcoming Sunday
- Two Minute Bible Study on YouTube
- "Redeemer Weekly" Email on Wednesdays
- Sunday Announcements (Spoken)
- Sermon, Posted on Sermon Blog
- Printed Service Materials (Bulletin and Written Announcements)
- Pastor's Blog on Woburn Patch
- Church Blog Post (that's the goal, anyway)
- Newsletter - printed for those without email and posted online for everyone else
- Periodic email announcements for special events or seasonal information
- Announcements or Letters from Church Leadership
- Annual Meeting and Reports
Once you've got your list, consider these six questions:
1. What do you notice?
What frequency are you favoring most? What type of media do you use most? How does it correspond to statistics on how people engage online. 92% of adults use email, 66% watch videos, 61% do social networking, 32% look for religious/spiritual information, 32% read blogs, 13% use Twitter. (Stats from Pew Research.)
2. Who are you reaching?
If you still rely on print for most of your communication, use this summer to plan your transition into digital media.
If you rely on digital media, it's especially important to provide for those who don't have email or internet access. The information from our weekly email is also included in Sunday's written announcements and some are shared in the verbal announcements. We've post our newsletter online and send an email with a link to our website when its published, but we print hardcopies for those without email.
3. How do they fit together?
Do your communications look they are coming from the same place? Do they complement each other in the way they look - logo, color, font, style? Are you using a similar voice and vocabulary across these different media? They should.
4. Are you sending the same message?
It is such a challenge to hold people's attention and keep everyone moving in the same direction. Are the ways your are communicating hurting or helping you? Are they reinforcing the message you want to get across or splintering it? It's a good idea to share things across all your communication platforms so people get your message multiple ways in different forms.
5. How are these different modes connected?
Be sure to link your different modes of communication. For example, people can sign up for our email list on our website. We put our social media links on all our emails. All the links for me and the church are in my email signature. We include links to our website and Facebook page on our Sunday bulletin.
6. Is it worth your time?
Is there anything that takes a lot of time and just doesn't seem to catch on? Maybe you should drop it. We had an adult forum blog that took a lot of time to maintain and no one really used it, so we dropped it. Is there anything that has been particularly effective? Find ways to do more of it.
Good luck! Let me know how it goes!