How to Create a Content Calendar and Engage More People in Your Church

One of the best ways to connect with your church throughout the week is with social media.  Statistically, over half of your congregation will spend some portion of their week actively engaged on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs.

But connecting with your audience through social media requires consistent and compelling content.  And not just any content. Your content must be emotional, intelligent, shareable and intentional.  But developing content that is both creative and inspiring takes dedicated time and resources, as well as a considerable amount of effort on your part.

The best way to create emotional and inspiring content is by developing a Publishing Schedule. Developing a publishing schedule helps you plan, produce and publish compelling content that clearly articulates the vision of your church.

Without one, your content quickly becomes redundant, outdated, and unnecessary, and you end up with content no one cares about.

In my research, I found a formula created by Russell Sparkman of Fusionspark Media, used to develop a publishing schedule. The formula is 1-7-30-4-2-1.

I am adapting the formula to 1-7-30 for the sake of simplicity.

Here is a breakdown of the formula:

1 = Daily, 7 = Weekly, 30 = Monthly

This formula determines what content you will publish daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly. Keep in mind that whatever content you publish must reinforce and advance a Big Idea or theme.

1 = Daily 

  • Twitter Tweets (3-5 Times)
  • Facebook Updates (2-4 Times)
  • Respond to Twitter, Facebook and Blog Comments

7 = Weekly

  • Blog Posts (2-3 Times)
  • Short Video (1 Time)
  • Update and Edit Website Pages (1 Time)

30 = Monthly

  • ENewsletter
  • Video Interview
  • EBook

This formula might appear overwhelming at first glance.  Maybe you’re thinking, “There’s no way I can accomplish all of this!”  But start where you are, keeping in mind your resources and your target audience.

Content Ideas –

  • Devotional eBook Series – Write, design and send eBooks on spiritual subject matter or a book of the Bible
  • Short Videos – Interview staff members on why they love their role or brief updates from the Senior Pastor
  • Blog Posts – Select a theme and write a series of blog posts.  Write posts on event highlights, life-change stories, sermon notes, book recommendations, devotionals, etc.
  • eNewsletter – Switch up layout and flow of eNewsletter and give the reader value with free downloads, resources, etc.

Remember, your key messages are too important not to communicate them consistently, concisely, and with incredible clarity.  Social media is a valuable tool for communicating the mission and vision of your church.

 Read more from Tim here.
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Tim Peters

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

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12 Essentials of Church Communications

The church is the hope of the world. As church leaders we have the responsibility of communicating the greatest message known to mankind; the only message capable of changing a person’s entire eternity.

The weight of that responsibility is both profound and incredible. It moves us to action, and demands that we communicate it well.

In the United States alone, we have 350,000 churches; each started by people with the desire to communicate the gospel message. Yet oftentimes, churches have a difficult time communicating this message because they don’t understand the basics of communication.

Think about it … Is your church clear on who they are and where they are going? Does your church use social media to nurture and grow relationships? Has your church spent unhurried time developing a brand that resonates with people in your church and community? Are you proud of your website and does it accurately communicate the uniqueness of your church? Have you evaluated and observed what guests experience on a Sunday morning? Do you want create more awareness of your church in local communities?

These things may not seem significant, but they are critical. In fact, they are essential.

We have researched and identified the 12 Essentials to Church Marketing and Communications and developed a resource that equips Church Communications leaders. And we did it for one reason; because eternity is at stake. We developed this important resource to help you reach more people with the gospel. We  wanted to give you a sneak peek at the 12 Essentials.

The 12 Essentials to Church Marketing and Communications

#1 – Eternal Perspective

When it comes to Church Communications, it’s critical to remember that you want to produce an excellent product not for excellence sake, but because eternity is at stake.  Lose that perspective, and you lose everything.

#2 – Vision Clarity

Vision clarity is about staying focused on the mission and vision of your church.  To reach clarity, you must know who you are as a church and where you are going.

#3 – Brand Standards

Brand Standards are the compilation of documents where you articulate the mission, values, strategy, and vision of the church.  They protect the treatment of everything from your logo and tagline, to fonts and color choice and even email signatures and phone messages.  Brand Standards are critical but often overlooked.

#4 – Communication Strategy

Your communication strategy involves understanding your audience and then identifying the best way of communicating who you are to that audience.  It helps you determine what, when and how you will communicate.

#5 – Project Systems

Andy Stanley says, “The systems down the hall trump the vision on the wall.” If you don’t have systems in place, standards and strategy mean absolutely nothing. The systems that you set in place allow the day-to-day operations to run smoothly.

#6 – Social Media

With over 845 million active users each day, Facebook reports an unbelievable 4 billion posts, likes, comments, and photo uploads every single day. Facebook and other social media sites understand the power of community. They understand that people want to be a part of something they feel connected to.  Learning to use social media to reach the lost and to extend the influence of the church isn’t just a good idea, it’s a must.

#7 – Web Essentials

We live in a technology and social media driven society. Today’s church visitors will most certainly check out your church on the Internet before they attend for the first time. It must reflect the experience they will have when they do attend.  It has to be more than just a website of information. It has to be an experience.

#8 – Guest Experience

There are few things first time guests expect when they visit your church. They expect to be greeted warmly; they expect to fill out a card with their contact information; and they expect someone from your church will follow up with them. Fail to meet any of these expectations, and they aren’t likely to return for a second visit.

#9 – Audience Connection

Ever been disconnected on the phone but not realize it until you have finished speaking?  Then you understand the importance of making sure you are connected to your audience.  To connect to your audience, you must understand who they are and how they take in information.

#10 – Creative Leadership

Creative people are not easy to lead and motivate. They are a breed of their own. Understanding how to lead creative people, and how to facilitate a creative meeting are critical. Moreover, learning to lead those in authority over you who lack creativity is equally important.

#11 – External Marketing

Churches and marketing have a rocky relationship. Historically, churches have not communicated effectively to their external audiences. Most churches make the same marketing mistakes: the message is not unique; the content is not inviting; and there’s no long-term strategy in place. If that description fits your church’s marketing, it’s time to make some changes.

#12 – Storytelling Principles

At the end of the day, stories move people.  Effective storytelling is always more effective than just another event announcement. Vigorously find and celebrate the stories of people within and outside your church.

The 12 Essentials help you master the basics of Church Communications. Mastering the basics of church communications helps you reach more people with the most important message in the world.

Simply put, it’s essential. 

Read more from Tim here.

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Tim Peters

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

3 Ways to Create a Successful Blog for Your Church

When it comes to reaching people on the Web, few online tools are more advantageous than a blog. A church communications blog can help you better disseminate your message, create stronger connections with church members, and drive more people to your church website. Yet many churches continue to shy away from setting up blogs either for general fear of the unknown or because they just don’t know where to begin.

Here’s the good news: Setting up a blog for your church doesn’t have to be intimidating or complex. In fact, setting up a blog for your church is quite easy. The hard part is getting – and keeping – your content rolling so you can enjoy all the benefits a blog has to offer. Here are a few practical tips for launching and maintaining a successful church communications blog.

Three Steps to Make Your Church Blog a Success

#1 Get Senior Leadership Buy-In

In order for your blog to be successful, church leaders must be on board. How do you get them on board? Use the facts. Explain the benefits of having a blog in a clear manner. Tell them a blog is no different than standing on stage on Sunday and speaking your message – it just happens to be online. Let them know a blog is another forum for making your church’s voice heard and getting your message across to more people.

Once they understand the benefits, they’ll want to know how the blog will function – and what role they will play. The key here is to let them know they will be involved without placing significant burden on their already-heavy workload. Set aside a chunk of time for the staff to brainstorm blog content ideas and create a blog-posting calendar. Let senior leaders know they will not be required to write blog posts (unless they want to), but they can still contribute ideas and direct the content of the blog.

#2 Encourage Contribution

While you don’t want to place the blogging burden on senior leaders, you will need help. You don’t want to go it alone. The more people who contribute to your church blog, the more successful it will be. More contributors increases the likelihood your church blog will keep chugging along and not fall by the wayside in the months to come. The key to getting people to contribute is making it as easy as possible.

Install a simple way for staff members to submit blog content ideas or even posts they’ve written. Create an easy-to-remember email address (for example: blogideas@abcchurch.com) where staff members can submit their suggestions or drafted blog content. You can even share that email address with your congregation members and let them know they can submit content (personal stories, upcoming events, etc.) to be considered for posting on the church blog. The more people you have involved, the more content youwill have to post. The more content you have to post, the more effective your blog will be at enriching your church marketing and helping you reach more people.

#3 Select a Content Curator 

To keep your content rolling, you need a Content Curator. Having a Content Curator is essential to ensure your church blog is posting regularly and your messaging is consistent. This is a very important role. The individual who takes on this role must have strong writing, editing and organizational skills. They will receive and review all the content submitted from contributors, edit and revise it as needed, and post it on the blog.

The Content Curator will also be the person who spearheads the church blog. Your Content Curator will work to recruit volunteers and contributors, and generate ideas for future blog posts. They will monitor the blog, respond to comments and keep track of traffic. They will also be responsible for communicating to church leaders and church members the existence of the blog. They need to let people know the blog is a platform for highlights, devotionals, stories and more. They will work to help spread the word.

Setting up a church blog is advantageous for any church that wants to continue to grow and expand. It’s a great way to reach more people with your message, and draw in new church members. But you have to do more than just create a blog – you have to nurture your blog. By getting senior leadership buy-in, encouraging contribution from staff members and making sure you have a reliable content curator, your blog will give your church a powerful and resounding voice in the online space.

How does your church staff generate and maintain blog content?

Read more from Tim here.

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Tim Peters

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Power of One Word: Can You Describe Your Church in One Word?

“The most powerful concept in marketing is owning a word in a person’s mind.”

A church will be in better position to grow if it can find a way to own a word in the minds of people within the community. I’m not talking about a complicated word or a word that must be invented. I’m talking about a word we’ve all heard before; a word taken right out of the dictionary.

When people hear the name of your church in the street, this one word is what they will immediately think. It’s what they associate with you.

Here are some examples:

  • If you hear the word “computer”, you think IBM
  • If you hear the word “phone”, you think iPhone or Apple
  • If you hear the word “copier”, you think Xerox
  • If you hear the word “chocolate”, you think Hershey’s
  • If you hear the word “cola”, you think Coke

 

The most effective words are simple and benefit-oriented. You can’t use another church’s word (at least not in the same community). You can’t steal and borrow. This one word is all about you. This is the word you want burnt inside the minds of people in your community. You can’t abandon your word in search of a word owned by others. You have to own this word.

Here’s the real kicker: If you don’t find your one word that describes your church, the people in your church and community are going to create that word for you.

The key to finding your word (and marketing in general really) is narrowing your focus. There’s no way that your church stands for everything. You can’t stand for every injustice, every ministry and every opportunity. If you’re chasing everything, you don’t really stand for anything. So it’s huge to find this one word you want people to use to describe you.

Three steps to finding and activating your church’s “one word”:

#1  Identify. It’s crucial that it starts internally. You don’t want external factors determining your one word. Your one word is sitting inside the hearts and minds of the leaders within your church and members. Collectively and internally, you have to spend time reflecting on what is the one word you feel comfortable attaching to your church.

Here’s an exercise: Get a huge white board and a room full of 5-7 hand-selected leaders who understand your culture and history. Ask each person to get up and write three separate words on the whiteboard they think accurately describe the church and what the external community perceives of the church. After everyone has written their three words, each person will go up and select which one word they think most accurately describes the church. See which word receives the most votes, and if there’s cohesion amongst the team about the one word.

#2  Test. Now you want to test your one word externally. Go into your community and find out if your word accurately communicates your church in the minds of people who are not involved with your church. You want to find people who know the name of your church, but are not members of your congregation.

Here’s an exercise: Send several of your staff members out on a busy Saturday to the mall or a heavily trafficked area like a park. Simply walk up to people and ask, “Have you ever heard of X church? If they say yes, then ask them politely: “What one word would you use to describe this church?” Collect this data and come back and look at it as a team. You want to test externally, but you also want to test internally with people outside your team (congregation members) on a Sunday morning. Pull people aside asking them the same question, gathering the same data.

#3  Communicate. Once you find and commit to your one word, make sure that you consistently communicate it. Any time you communicate internally or externally, this one word should be used in your communication in some way, form or fashion. On top of using this word in the right context and the right communication channels, you can use images, video and design as ways to supports your one word.

Now that you’ve identified your one word, you’ve tested it with the public and your church audience, and you’re consistently communicating this message, it’s important to protect your one word – especially if it’s positive (if it’s negative than you have to go back to the drawing board). Say, for example, your one word is “radical”. You want to make sure every action your ministry takes and every communication reflects “radical”. It all starts internally. This one word is a word that defines your culture, so you are ultimately protecting your culture.

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Tim Peters

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

6 Ways to Maximize Stage Announcements

Inside the church (internally), stage announcements are a constant battle. The people programming services, who are in charge of the flow of services, are constantly asking:

  • Do we really have to do announcements?
  • When can we do announcements so it doesn’t mess up the flow of worship?
  • Is it worth it since people aren’t even listening to the announcements?

 

Then you have every single ministry leader fighting for stage time. They want their ministry, event or serving opportunity presented from the stage. So now you have the conflict of everybody wanting stage time, and the people who are directing the flow of the service forced to decide what will be communicated and when it will be communicated.

With all the chaos and discord, I’ve often heard the frustrated refrain behind the scenes at churches: We’re not going to do announcements anymore. Yet they all continue to do announcements because it is a great opportunity to speak to your congregation as they are sitting in a seat right before you and you have their attention.

Make no mistake, announcements are extremely hard.

As a communications professional and former communications pastor, I know firsthand the challenges posed by announcements. Yet when I sit in church as a member and somebody says the word announcements (“I have a couple announcements for you this morning…”), my mind automatically checks out. It always leads me to wonder:

  • How can we better maximize this stage time when we’re announcing what is going on inside our church?
  • What can we possibly do to take full advantage of having the attention of all these people?

 

In answer to those questions, here are six ways you can capture people’s attention and maximize stage announcements on a Sunday morning.

#1. Follow the 80% rule.

When you’re deciding what you’re going to communicate from stage, unless it’s an abnormal situation, you want to ask yourself: Does this impact 80% of the audience sitting inside our worship center? If the event, ministry, serving opportunity or message does not impact 80% of your audience, then you do not want to dedicate stage time to it.

Remember you only have an hour or so of people’s attention a week. You don’t want to waste a single minute. If a message doesn’t impact 80%, as a communication leader you have to politely say “no” and give them other ways to communicate that message – through the e-newsletter, social media, or the website events page. You have to protect the stage with only messages pertinent to 80% or more of the entire audience.

#2. Lead with “the why”.

I see this all the time with church leaders. They stand on the stage and start rambling about the what, when and how of an event, ministry or message. They throw out words, dates and times, and people turn their ears off because it doesn’t capture them. I say this over and over on this blog because it is so important – you have to lead with why. Capture their heart about the event, serving opportunity or ministry, and then subtly and quickly give them the what, when and how.

You can even give them the what, when and how on a media slide projected behind the stage presenter. That way you don’t even have to state the information and people can still absorb it. Then you can really zone in on the why. The why is also the perfect opportunity for you to tie a life-change story to an event, ministry or serving opportunity. If it’s a teen event you’re promoting and you’re telling them the why, throw in a story of a young person who was changed by this event. That will propel and lift up the message to make it much more effective.

#3. Keep clear and concise.

As the person responsible for picking who will do the announcements, it’s important that you provide the announcer with a script. You are the communication leader. Your team needs to write the script with the why, when, where and how. And you need to help the announcer rehearse and practice – not to be perfect – but to move on and be clear and concise. Youprovide them the script and you encourage them to rehearse, so they can be clear and concise on Sunday (not perfect).

#4. Revitalize your presenters.

Don’t use the same rotation over and over again. Eventually, people will hear that person and begin to tune out. You want to keep things fresh. I recommend that you get really creative in this area. For example, use children and students that you have trained, taught and practiced to do the announcements alongside an adult.

You can even video the child or student doing the announcements. That way you can edit and add music. Another idea is to use Skype and pipe in missionaries from around the world to give the announcements. Do whatever you can to revitalize the presenters, mix it up and catch people’s attention.

#5. Play background music.

I’ve seen music used in church announcements very effectively. It helps keep the flow and energy of the room up – especially if you’re coming out of a song or you’re moving into a song. It keeps things smooth and natural. People are used to listening to individuals speak in movies, shows and YouTube with music in the background. It makes the message more engaging and exciting. The key is not to overwhelm people with the music so they can’t hear the message.

#6. Rotate the way you communicate.

You have this announcement time and you can use it however you choose. It’s not restricted to the normal person standing up there for 5-10 minutes rambling on without anyone actually hearing then. You can use this time and space in countless different ways.

You can use a live person on stage. You can use a prerecorded video to communicate your announcements. You can do it in print, where one Sunday you simply print out the announcements and place them in every seat. The person doing the announcements simply says, “We’re moving on in the service, you can read today’s announcements from your seat.” The options are endless.

While announcements may not seem like a big deal (the common thinking is, “it’s only 5-10 minutes inside a service”), you have to recognize you only have an hour of people’s attention. Even then, you really don’t have their full attention every minute. You want use these 5-10 minutes when you’re communicating ways for people to engage with your church in a very clear, concise and compelling way. Lead with the why, be fresh and creative, and make sure you maximize this time using the tips above.

How do you maximize your church stage announcement time? 

Read more from Tim here.


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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Communication >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim Peters

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.