Do you still have people coming up to you asking why they didn’t hear about an event or program? You worked hard to put everything everywhere and still, nobody gets the message…but is that really what a good church communications plan looks like?
In this episode, Seth Muse dives into the top 3 places churches use to communicate. And you’ll see how you can form an effective church communications plan so no one gets left in the dust.
About Our Guest: Seth Muse
Seth Muse is the communications director at Hope Fellowship in Frisco, TX. He hosts The Seminary of Hard Knocks podcast on iTunes and Google Play and blogs at SethMuse.com about church communications, social media, and email marketing. You can find his most recent eBook “88 Ideas for Church Social Media Posts” at SethMuse.com
What’s Wrong With Your Church Communications Plan
Marketing is delivering the right message to the right person in the right way. What this means is that real communication is delivering your message to a single person the way they want to receive it.
We’re no longer living in the time of “one-to-many” communications. With all the advertisements people are getting every day, they are getting better at tuning stuff out. So now we need to move to “one-to-one” communications.
In other words, we need to shift the way we communicate across platforms. We need to speak to people they way they want to be spoken to. And we do that by focusing on the best ways to use each tool in our church communications plan.
The Church Communications Plan That Actually Works (Part 1)
There’s so much great content in this episode that we didn’t want you to just breeze past it. So we’re splitting it up into 2 more digestible episodes.
Today we’ll cover the first 3 communication platforms most churches use. Then next week we’ll go into 2 more plus one that Seth is really excited to start using in 2018.
Church email is the most likely-to-connect channel that you have. The problem is churches do it so badly that we train people to ignore us. Why do they ignore us? It’s pretty simple…we do annoying things.
We use long chunks of text that’s hard to read. And we send so few emails that we’re just never on the radar. And some send way too many irrelevant emails that it’s considered spam.
Email is one of the few platforms that can give you one-to-one conversations and relationship building. So it’s not something to be blown off.
Here’s how you can boost your email strategy:
- Cast your vision. Have the pastor share more stories and provide value that wraps around where your church is heading.
- Share the most important next thing. Keep emails under 150 words and focused. This is not a bulletin.
- Make it easy for your readers to take action. Put an obvious button for people to sign up.
Social media started as a social platform and then evolved into a marketing platform. And with Facebook’s current changes, it’s shifting back into a social gathering place.
It’s still a good marketing platform, but we need to utilize it differently than 2017.
Facebook is hindering organic posts that tell people to leave the platform, so that needs to come to an end. And along the same lines, if you’re still using social media as a megaphone, leaving no room for conversation, you will see a negative impact on social.
So, now that we’re shifting social media away from marketing and more towards conversation, here’s what your plan should look like
- Go live more often. Interview your leaders and planners. Go behind the scenes to show the intention and reason for what you do.
- Show off your church culture. Post about the people, the community, and the message.
- Talk about things, but don’t tell people things. Talk with your followers, not at them.
- Encourage conversations and sharing. These posts with lots of attention and engagement will not be zeroed out by the changes. This is key to building meaningful relationships.
Sunday Morning Announcements
There’s no more important place to understand who your audience is than on Sunday mornings. You need to know who’s sitting in that room and what’s important to them. Then you can really hook them into what’s coming up at your church when you relate it to their interests and priorities.
With your church announcements, you want to make sure that you motivate the audience to take action. Don’t just give information, give inspiration. Here are a few ways you can turn your announcements around:
- Make your announcements relevant to the majority of your audience. Don’t announce to 300 people what only affects 20.
- Inspire the congregation with your “why.” They won’t remember the details, but they will remember how they felt about it.
- Keep your announcements simple and brief. The announcements aren’t another sermon.
A better church communications plan is not a shotgun approach. When something lives everywhere, it ends up living nowhere. This is why people still complain that they didn’t hear about your event when you’ve announced it in 5 different places.
Instead, focus on how you can use email, social media, and your Sunday morning announcements in a unique way that communicates more effectively.
Use email to cast vision. Use social media to start and grow conversations. And keep your Sunday announcements relevant to the congregation.
These are just a few of the tools in your church communications plan. Next week we’ll hit on the bulletin, your website, and surprising platform that Seth’s church is using in 2018…
How will this change the way you communicate with your church? Leave a comment down below!
And while you’re improving your church communications plan this year, download the 2018 Church Events Planning Checklist to up your event planning along with your marketing.